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The world under the ground

That the traveling – not just the destination – can be a way to having fun is true, particularly as being shown by New York City’s subway system, and as discovered by Dom (DominiK/Dominique). Here’s why Dom thinks it’s a world on its own that is worth discovering.



The first time one of my Dads took me out riding New York City’s subway system, there weren’t that many people. I think it was past 9:00AM already, so the rush hours were done. Plus – coming from Queens while heading to Brooklyn – we already passed Midtown Manhattan, so the only people left were those who weren’t stuck for the day in the Big Apple, and I tell you, there aren’t that many on weekdays…

That first time, I remembered seeing much: a heterosexual couple eating each other’s faces (my Dad said for me not to stare, but…); still-sleepy commuters heading to work; tourists who were finding their ways toward the city’s attractions…

But, apparently, as they say, I’ve not seen nothin’ yet!

You know that cliché about a journey being of value not only because you’ve reached your destination, but because of the travel towards that destination? Well, I’d say this is true. Particularly if you’re traveling using the subway of New York City, as you try to reach point A to point B to… point Z.

Because in not so many words, braving (yes, I used the word braving) this city’s subway system is in itself an adventure.

That there is an underground world is true. And no, I don’t mean those bunks that weird people may have built in anticipation of an atomic war, or to hide from the arrival of zombies. But a concept of an underground world is exemplified by, yes, the subway.

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Here, you’d see people do what they would be doing at home – eating proper meals (complete with silverware cutlery); expertly put on make-up (using the windows, darkened because the train’s moving underground, as mirrors); make-out (like that time that Dad said for me not to look); do homework (kids even have their crayons out!); and so on…

You’d see people, too, continue what they started elsewhere – the laptops come out for work; Kindles pop out for reading; yoga stretches in the middle of carriages; and so on…

My favorite would have to be the performers. Actually, Dad calls them performers. But they’re really buskers. They perform a song or two, and then they ask for money. Like carolers in the Philippines. Only here, no dog will chase them. But I like them – the hip hop artists, the balladeers, the acoustic performers, the rappers…

There are, of course, beggars who ask for help – the war veteran, the pregnant woman, the homeless old man, the abandoned younger people…

What I don’t like is the rudeness of some. There was one time, I saw someone pick a fight with someone because he took his bike in the train. The bike owner wouldn’t have any of the rudeness, so he became rude, too. They were blabbering so loudly right there, in the middle of the train – and during rush hour, too. It was kinda weird…

But then there’s kindness, too. Dad’s friend from Kenya, Angela Muthama, said that she was told that one of the signs one has become a New Yorker is when he/she starts wearing earphones/headphones while traveling in the subway. And she may be right – just about everyone has ear pieces that allow them to get lost in their own worlds. But they’re never really “lost” – one time, Dad dropped a piece of paper, and this young woman chased us to give it back to him. At another time, this Black guy’s money in his back pocket was just about to fall out, and this Chinese guy called the Black guy’s attention about it. And at so many times, people – men or women – offer their seats to others. For instance, if you are with someone, and only one seat is available, the one seating beside you/your friend will offer his/her seat to you/your friend so that you can be together. I think this is very nice indeed…

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That people can be nice was experienced by me when I had my photos taken in F train. They were all giving me space, and then giving me smiles as I shyly tried to pose.  That was awfully nice of them, I think.

And then there are the sweet stories of meeting the love of your life emerging from the subway.  Makes me want to find my Teddy, too…

My Dad met this girl, 70ish-year-old Babara Adams, who said that so many New Yorkers “live their lives under” (that is, they spend most of their time in subways, going from here to there, and vice versa), and so they miss out on so many beautiful things above the ground. In fact, Dad said Barbara would only go to a station where her train actually is; not on connecting stations, because then it would mean she’d walk from one station to another under the ground. “Why go under the ground when you can have all these?” she supposedly said, gesturing to the world around her.

She’s much older, so Dad believes her.

I think I only half believe her. Don’t tell Dad, okay? He may tell my other Dad.

Because I say that now and then, going under isn’t all that bad.

If it’s winter time, and you don’t have thick clothes, then going in the subway is always a relief.

And if you wanna people watch, you can skip the café; just head to the subway.

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In the end, there’re all kinds of weirdness there, and so there’s much, much more life there!

I’d say you may have arrived in New York, but you haven’t really arrived until after you’ve braved this world underground…

My name is Dom - that's short for DominiK... or Dominique, depending on which parent you're speaking with. One of my Dads, Michael, says it should be the former; but my other Dad, also named Michael, said it should be the latter. It must be because they have the same names, so they get confused about me, too (!). But no matter, I'm here - all peachy and fluffy. About me: I'm almost peach in color (not brown, ARGH!); have striped ears (white and red), black eyes (and toes), and brown nose. No, my nickname is NOT "Fluffy"! I'm only four (or five - again, depending on which Dad you ask); but that's a gazillion years in Teddy-time (if you must know). So I feel... experienced. I move a lot, too, with my Dads, and I'm here to share everything as I move around. So come join me...


Are robots designed to include the LGBTQIA community?

Developers need to be more inclusive with AI and robot design, researchers say.



Photo by Jesse Chan from

Technology is not developed in a vacuum, but instead reflects biases and reproduces societal values and beliefs.

This is why “it is imperative that we construct mechanisms and policies that acknowledge the importance of inclusivity, diversity, and non-discrimination, also for the LGBTQ+ community in the development and use of robots and AI,” said researchers.

In a new short paper in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence, Roger A. Søraa from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and co-authors Eduard Fosch-Villaronga from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and Adam Poulsen from Charles Sturt University in Australia discuss what a queering of robots might entail.

Søraa is active in robot and cyborg research through the newly started Immersive Technology and Social Robots Lab at NTNU, and has been active in queer and gender debates, including starting the NTNU LGBTQ+ networks for employees.

Søraa and his co-authors highlight the lack in the inclusion of queer perspectives on robots and machines. This, they argue, should be better recognized in both the research and design of the robots of the future, and should prod developers and designers to be more inclusive in how they build and create the machines that increasingly walk, talk and act among us.

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Health & Wellness

10+ lifetime sexual partners linked to heightened cancer risk

Those who reported a higher tally of sexual partners were also more likely to smoke, drink frequently, and do more vigorous physical activity on a weekly basis.



Photo by Mia Harvey from

A history of 10 or more lifetime sexual partners is linked to a heightened risk of being diagnosed with cancer, reveals research published online in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.

And among women, a higher number of sexual partners is also linked to heightened odds of reporting a limiting long term condition, the findings indicate.

Few studies have looked at the potential impact of the number of sexual partners on wider health outcomes.

To try and plug this knowledge gap, the researchers drew on information gathered for the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a nationally representative tracking study of older adults (50+) living in England.

In 2012-13, participants were asked how many sexual partners they had had. Complete data were provided by 5722 of the 7079 people who responded to this question: 2537 men and 3185 women. Responses were categorised as 0-1; 2-4; 5-9; and 10 or more sexual partners.

Participants were also asked to rate their own health and report any long standing condition or infirmity which impinged on routine activity in any way.

Other relevant information obtained included: age; ethnicity; marital status; household income other than a pension; lifestyle (smoking, drinking, physical activity); and presence of depressive symptoms.

The average age of participants was 64, and almost three out of four were married. Some 28.5% of men said they had had 0-1 sexual partners to date; 29% said they had had 2-4; one in five (20%) reported 5-9; while 22% reported 10 or more.

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The equivalent figures for women were: just under 41%; 35.5%; just under 16%; and just under 8%.

In both sexes, a higher number of sexual partners was associated with younger age, single status, and being in the highest or lowest brackets of household wealth.

Those who reported a higher tally of sexual partners were also more likely to smoke, drink frequently, and do more vigorous physical activity on a weekly basis.

When all the data were analysed, a statistically significant association emerged between the number of lifetime sexual partners and risk of a cancer diagnosis among both sexes.

Compared with women who reported 0-1 sexual partners, those who said they had had 10 or more, were 91% more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer.

Among the men, those who reported 2-4 lifetime sexual partners were 57% more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer than were those who reported 0-1. And those who reported 10 or more, were 69% more likely to have been diagnosed with the disease.

While the number of sexual partners was not associated with reported long standing conditions among the men, it was among the women.

Women who reported 5-9 or 10+ lifetime sexual partners were 64% more likely to have a limiting chronic condition than those who said they had had 0-1.

This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause. Nevertheless, the findings chime with those of previous studies, implicating sexually transmitted infections in the development of several types of cancer and hepatitis, suggest the researchers.

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They didn’t obtain information on the specific types of cancer participants reported, but speculate: “…the heightened risk of cancer might be driven by those types known to be associated with [sexually transmitted infections].”

And they suggest that enquiring about the number of sexual partners might complement existing cancer screening programmes by helping to identify those at risk, if further research can establish a causal association between the number of sexual partners and subsequent ill health.

But an explanation for the gender difference in long term condition risk remains “elusive,” they write, especially given that men tend to have more lifetime sexual partners than women, while women are more likely than men to see a doctor when they feel ill, so potentially limiting the associated consequences for their long term health.

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Health & Wellness

Visual disturbances in Viagra users

In a new study, Viagra patients suffered numerous visual disturbances, including abnormally dilated pupils, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and color vision disturbances, which included intensely blue colored vision with red/green color blindness.



Sildenafil is commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction and is generally regarded as safe with limited side effects. However, a recent study in Frontiers in Neurology has highlighted the risk of persistent visual side-effects, such as light sensitivity and color vision impairment, in men who have taken the highest recommended dose of Viagra. While these effects appear to be rare, the research suggests that first-time Viagra users should start with a lower dose before increasing it, if necessary.

Erectile dysfunction can have significant psychological consequences for men who are affected by it, and it can make fulfilling sexual relationships more difficult to achieve. Sildenafil, more commonly known by its trade name Viagra, became available in 1998 as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. It soon became the fastest selling drug in history, demonstrating the phenomenal demand for treatments that enhance sexual performance.

Originally developed as a treatment for high blood pressure, the drug dilates blood vessels and relaxes smooth muscle in the penis, making it easier to achieve and maintain an erection. The effects of the drug normally last 3-5 hours and although side-effects such as headache and blurred vision occasionally occur, they usually disappear relatively quickly.

However, Dr. Cüneyt Karaarslan of the Dünyagöz Adana hospital in Turkey, noticed a pattern in 17 male patients who attended the hospital. In the new study, Karaarslan reports that the patients suffered numerous visual disturbances, including abnormally dilated pupils, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and color vision disturbances, which included intensely blue colored vision with red/green color blindness.

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All 17 patients had taken sildenafil for the first time, and all took the highest recommended dose of 100 mg. None of the men had been prescribed the medication. The visual side-effects began once the drug took effect, and were still present when the men arrived at the clinic 24-48 hours later.

The doctors in the clinic conducted various eye tests and monitored the patients over time to see how their symptoms developed. Fortunately, in all 17 patients the symptoms had cleared up by 21 days later, but this was doubtless a difficult experience for the men involved.

“Many men use non-prescription performance enhancing drugs to help with sexual anxiety and erectile dysfunction,” said Karaarslan. “For the vast majority of men, any side-effects will be temporary and mild. However, I wanted to highlight that persistent eye and vision problems may be encountered for a small number of users.”

So, why were these men susceptible to such long-lived side-effects? It may be possible that a small subsection of the population does not break sildenafil down and eliminate it from the body efficiently, leading to very high concentrations in the blood compared with most users.

These men also took the highest recommended dose of sildenafil on their first time taking the drug. Starting with a lower dose may have meant less severe side-effects. In addition, taking the drug under medical supervision would likely have meant that the men would not have used such a high dose on their first time.

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So, if you are struggling with erectile dysfunction, should you be worried about trying Viagra? In short, no. Such persistent side-effects appear to be very rare. However, it is always best practice to consult your physician first, it may be best not to start at the highest dose, and in case you are particularly sensitive, consider first using the drug under medical supervision.

“Although these drugs, when used under the control of physicians and at the recommended doses, provide very important sexual and mental support, uncontrolled and inappropriate doses should not be used or repeated,” said Karaarslan.

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The new culture surrounding health

The culture that surrounds health and good lifestyle choices in some parts of the world is most definitely influencing it.



The culture that surrounds health and good lifestyle choices in some parts of the world is most definitely influencing it. Now fitness and having a good body has become more of a fashion statement, and we can definitely say that social media has influenced that. There are now more social media influencers on Instagram that are selling training packages and essentially selling a dream to young people. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although they will have a lot of knowledge about the fitness world, it’s rare that many of them have done more than a personal training course. That means they only have knowledge of the human body and nutrition through their own research.

However, the fuel it’s giving to people all around the world is insane, so we want to talk about the new culture surrounding health and how you can be a part of it.

Using Alternative 

Medicine is something that has become rather corrupt over the years. Health services all over the world are stretched, and in many countries, their hospitals are on a business model, rather than a healthcare model. They’re a way of the higher powers in the world making  a lot of money.

One of the ways they do so is through the many medicines they have to dispense for the many conditions that we all have. So now people are switching to vaping as an alternative to smoking, and we think it is very cultural based. In the US and the UK, vaping is higher than it has ever been before.

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Smok is just one of the brands you can use to vape. They do coils and tanks that can suit your needs. The health benefits are far better than smoking, and it’s a much easier way to get off smoking. Wean your way off the vape and you won’t have any cravings at all. 

Lifting Weights & Sculpting Bodies

Lifting weights has become far more popular for both men and women. Women in particular are now proud to be strong, and are no longer shunned to the treadmills. Lifting weights is so good for your body. It tones up your muscles, releases endorphins, strengthens your joints and muscles, and gets you feeling good.

To get into it you could do one of the classes each week such as the body sculpt classes. They’re usually based around lifting weights and they sculpt your body so much. It’s a good way to get comfortable with lifting weights because it is in front of an instructor. 

Supplements & Strict Diets

Supplements have become so popular for those who are going to the gym. Weigh protein is essential for anyone who is looking to gain muscle mass. Strict diets have seen an increase in the number of people who are turning vegetarian.

There are many vegetarian brands selling great meat substitutes, and vegetarian meals in the restaurants are incredible. It seems to have become a modern view that vegetarianism is cool now, when people once used to joke as it was different. 

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Sorting your new broadband after you move house

One of the key factors that is going to play a role in your move is the broadband you choose for your new home. This is something that’s going to impact your life in a big way, and these are some of the things you need to think about when trying to sort this out right now.



Moving house is a process that comes with a lot of stress and worry, and you need to think about the best ways of achieving a stress-free move as much as possible. Think about what it takes to move house in the most organized and efficient way you possibly can. This is a big step in your life, and it is important to make sure you focus on doing things in the right way when you plan your move. 

There are so many factors that play a part in making the right kind of house move, and this is something that you need to keep in mind right now. One of the key factors that is going to play a role in your move is the broadband you choose for your new home. This is something that’s going to impact your life in a big way, and these are some of the things you need to think about when trying to sort this out right now. 

You also need to look at how you can find the best possible deal for your broadband, and this means looking at the right providers.

What are the Options?

The first thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that there are multiple options that play a role when it comes to choosing the right broadband. This is something you are going to have to keep in mind as much as possible when you are looking to make the right options here. You might like to go for regular broadband, or you may be considering fibre optic broadband options. Either way, it is important that you do what you can to make the right choices here. 

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How Can You Find the Best Deal?

You also need to look at how you can find the best possible deal for your broadband, and this means looking at the right providers. There are a lot of great ideas that you need to work on when it comes to improving your broadband options, and one of the key things to consider is finding a deal that works for you. There are a lot of things that play a part in this, and looking at package deals is something that plays a massive part in helping you achieve this. 

Do Plenty of Research

You should make sure you do plenty of research before you actually choose any options or deals. There is so much information online where you can find the best broadband reviews, and discover all you want to know about how to get the best broadband for you. Make sure you think about what it takes to find out about your deals and check out the different suppliers and providers on the market. This is something you are going to need to get right as much as you possibly can, and this is important for finding the right options for you. 

One of the key factors that is going to play a role in your move is the broadband you choose for your new home.

These are some of the key considerations you’re going to need to make when you are trying to choose the right broadband deals for you and your home. There are so many excellent benefits to getting the right broadband, and this is most definitely something you have to make sure you get right. 

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Best LGBT TV shows you have to see in 2020

Here, we’ve selected some titles will be essential viewing over the months ahead.



Image from "AJ and the Queen", courtesy of Netflix

2019 was something of a watershed year for LGBTQ representation on the small screen. GLAAD’s latest Where Are We on TV report indicated that there were more non-straight characters on TV last year than ever before, and that some of the best shows with mainstream appeal had an LGBTQ focus. These included titles like Pose, Fleabag and Watchmen. 

So it looks like 2020 has a hard act to follow. Here, we’ve selected some titles will be essential viewing over the months ahead. 

Love Island
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Love Island has become something of an institution among all ages, sexes and sexualities, to the extent that you can even bet on the Love Island winner using online bookmakers. However, the show has come under fire for failing to reflect the real world with its blinkered focus on heterosexual dating. Of course, this is a show that has been franchised across the world, and you can rely on Australia to take any challenge by the horns. Love Island Australia has been the first to introduce same-sex couples, and the rest of the franchise will surely have to follow suit. 

It’s not all fluff and fun in the sun. This drama series is from the pen of Russel T Davies, the man who brought BBC classic Doctor Who back to our screens and then broke down the boundaries with the amazing series Queer as Folk. In Boys, he tackles the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s through the eyes of three young gay men living in the UK. The production values are everything you would expect from a Channel 4 production, and the cast includes Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris. 

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Ryan Murphy has done more to bring LGBT into the Tinseltown mainstream than anyone He’s the man behind Glee, Scream Queens, Pose and lots more. His 2020 project is set in Hollywood’s golden age, and while full most of the details are still under wraps, we know that it will feature Jake Picking in the role of Rock Hudson, a Hollywood legend forced to spend most of his career in the closet. 

I am Not Okay with This
Graphic novels are turning into a rich source of material for TV in the Netflix and Amazon era. First we had The Walking Dead, but there are no zombies here. Directed by Jonathan Entwhistle, he of The End of the F****** World fame, I Am Not Okay With This is a parable for our times. It features Syd, a teen struggling to come to terms with her sexuality, her relationship with her best friend and an irritating outbreak of superpowers. 

The Barking Murders
True crime more your thing? If so, this compelling BBC docu-drama surrounding the crimes of Stephen Port is something you mustn’t miss. In case you missed the original story, Port was a serial killer and rapist who caused panic in London’s gay community about five years ago, selecting his victims on Grindr before meeting them under a false name and committing grisly crimes in his East London apartment. The more sensational aspects of Port’s crimes have already been discussed at length in other series. This one focuses on the effects he had on those additional victims who so often go unnoticed, the families of those that he murdered.  

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Katy Keene
True crime stories make for compelling TV, but sometimes you want to watch something that lets you just kick back, switch your brain off and be entertained. If you loved Glee back in the days when it was all about the fun and high jinks, then Katy Keene could be just what you’ve been waiting for. The series follows the eponymous Katy, an aspiring graphic designer, along with her three best friends, including Ginger, a would-be drag queen played by Jonny Beauchamp. The show also features Shangela from Drag Race as Ginger’s nemesis.

The Stand
Stephen King adaptations haven’t traditionally set the world on fire with their representation of LGBT characters. However, the forthcoming adaptation of his apocalyptic epic might just change that, with a crucial update to one of the book’s core characters. Danya Jurgens is set to play a young bisexual who is one of a handful of survivors in an earth decimated by plague. Look out for it on CBS later this year. 

Love, Simon
Disney has taken an interesting journey of its own, from being something of a conservative bastion of mid-20th century attitudes to taking positive steps in featuring LGBT characters in its most recent original series. Love, Simon is a TV spin-off of the 2018 movie of the same name, and will again feature Nick Robinson as Simon. Watch out for Michael Cimino playing the role of Victor, a newcomer at Simon’s school who is struggling to understand his own sexuality. Who better to reach out to for some help and advice than Simon? 

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Y: The Last Man
Here’s another comic book adaptation that has been in the pipeline for so long, we wondered if it would ever see the light of day. The story revolves around a world in which there is only one man left alive on the planet. The original comic came out around 20 years ago, and prompted some accusations of being transphobic. Interestingly, transgender author Charlie Jane Anders has been hired to write for the series. It will be fabulous to find out what they have done with this incredible source material when it is released later this year. 

AJ and the Queen
If you loved RuPaul on Drag Race then you’ll have the time of your life with the LGBT legend’s latest production. She plays a drag queen who’s down on her luck and touring the less salubrious corners of the USA, accompanied by her worldly-wise 11-year-old traveling companion, AJ. Josh Segarra plays Mama Ru’s love interest, and the series has just been released on Netflix, so you can start bingeing right now.

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