Executive Editor at Hello Mr. and Co-Host of Food 4 Thot, Fran Tirado is the queer collective’s proclaimed “Homosupremacist,” serving goth glam and Miranda Hobbes puissance – constituting change and voicing unrepresented narratives for the queer community. The soon to be author of a book of essays and a queer coming of age novel weighs in on astrological dating apps, redefining health and fitness and discusses his new endeavour, “Communion.”
ROLE MODELS and CULTURE
What are three books off your shelf that you would recommend and why?
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee, All About Love by Bell Hooks, and The Pisces by Melissa Broder.
When did you start to wear makeup and proclaim your identity?
It wasn’t so much an identity proclamation as it was a slow unraveling of my own sense of masculinity, and how we define ourselves beyond the preconstrained understandings of gender most men have. I’ve been wearing makeup for years, but only started doing it more regularly, and keeping a manicure, last year.
Is there a peer in the media industry who inspires you, and why?
Oh, too many! Janet Mock, Alok Vaid-Menon, Sasha Velour, Phillip Picardi. The people I look up to the most are usually the ones who look after their communities in big and important ways, but also do it with flair, confidence, and a flashy sexy lifestyle on social media.
You’re transparent on social media in the sense that you don’t fabricate an “online self.” Given your openness, what is something people may not know about you?
That I would like to write for TV and movies one day.
Whilst you’re not an active user of traditional dating apps – would you consider a queer astrological dating app for this strapping Taurus?
Hahahah YES, that should be a thing already. I love CoStar, which is an astrology app that matches your compatibility with others based on birth chart information. If any hottie wants to add me there, that would be amazing.
“It wasn’t so much an identity proclamation as it was a slow unraveling of my own sense of masculinity, and how we define ourselves beyond the preconstrained understandings of gender most men have.”
HELLO MR., FOOD 4 THOT and COMMUNION
How has the social landscape of queer culture changed since your time at Hello Mr.?
Oh, so much! When I started at Hello Mr., we had OUT, The Advocate, HuffPost Queer Voices, and that’s pretty much it! At the time, I was starving for something like Hello Mr., and moved to New York with this heaven-ward mission to “change the face of queer media.” I found the first issue of Hello Mr. on the shelf of McNally Jackson and was like “fuck, someone already did it!” My idea of what queer media could be was still so small, because we had so few reflections of ourselves. Now, queer folks go into bookstores looking for something more than Hello Mr., which is why we now have Cakeboy, Posture, LSTW, them., INTO, or even El Champ! The landscape has so much richer multiplicity of perspective now, and it’s everything I’ve hoped for.
Is there a narrative that should have more representation?
Yes, all the ones that aren’t cis gay white males.
You quit your full-time job to essentially create your own role through toiling and more importantly, honoring your truth. What advice would you have for someone who feels confined by their capitalistic cubicle role and who dreams of writing their own future?
One of the most rewarding experiences a person can have is in realizing that their job is so life-giving that they’re excited to get working everyday. There are so many models for life that we don’t see. Yet, it’s hard to imagine anything outside the cubicle. The process of having a job outside a desk job is a long, hard journey — one that requires a lot of diligence, long nights, failures, ideation, and years and years of work. I’m still not there yet, even if I seem like it.
You’re unapologetically vocal concerning your stance on “pink-washing.” What message do you think needs to be sent to these multinational corporations? Is boycotting the answer to wake them up form their myopia?
Where we once felt happy and excited about their limited-edition rainbow products, in 2018, inclusion isn’t the exception, it’s the expectation. This means brands should be held accountable to higher standards for their Pride ads, or they will continue to commodify queer identity and make a quick buck with vague “love is love” messaging. Where I would like to think boycotting would have impact, I know too well that corporations don’t care much if a group of queers decide to not subscribe anymore — they’re just too big to care. But being loud on social media and demanding more, with higher standards.
As a freelancer, how do you deal with that uncertainty and criticism of your work and is validation something you still seek?
Oh, absolutely. I can’t do anything I do without an audience and constant validation and assurance. I’m human! I work hard not to let superficiality and performativity get in the way of my actual work, but it’s still hard sometimes. I also just, don’t take any criticism well — I mean I don’t take it at all to be honest. I block out feedback and criticism when it inconveniences me, and just trust my gut most of the time.
Talk to us about your new endeavour, Communion, the catalyst of the initiative, religious connotations and what you hope it manifests into?
It’s an experiment! Last year, Justin Wee (one of my creative accountability partners) and I started making dinner once a month for a room of 20 or so queers. The results have been mind-blowingly beautiful. For just a few hours, we engage in conversation, keep away from our phones, and just exist in a psychosocially safe space. The religious imagery is a reclaiming of something that once traumatized me. Communion is such a gross idea in Catholicism, but the actual meaning of the word is so beautiful — a gathering at the table, a sharing of ideas intimately and spiritually. There’s a little bit of a witch flair in there too.
“My idea of what queer media could be was still so small, because we had so few reflections of ourselves. Now, queer folks go into bookstores looking for something more than Hello Mr., which is why we now have Cakeboy, Posture, LSTW, them., INTO, or even El Champ!”
FUTURE and WELLNESS
As a full-time homosexual, you’re either writing, editing, speaking or riding between events (or for causes). What daily rituals or tools do you have for self care?
I read my tarot, meditate, and try to read for an hour with my coffee everyday. When I’m busy, I rarely get time for myself, so I try (and fail a lot) to keep my mornings sacred from the rest of the day. My brain is best in the mornings, so I try to take that good brain time and put it to good use manifesting my goals and thinking about my art and practice.
What can we expect from the novel and book of essays your currently working on?
Book of essays I often describe as the “Bad Feminist” of gays. There are so many things I have to say about how gays can wake up to their own potential and extraordinariness, and also just be better humans. Much of the essays have to do with that, grounded in personal narrative.
The novel is a queer coming of age nautical adventure novel — I can’t say much more about it, other than it will definitely be something people either love or hate.
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Was having a very shit day yesterday, & seeing my newfound friend slash fellow drag herstorian @MissManhattanNY brought me out of a funk with laughs & bright emotional company. Please check out this beautiful spotlight (& photos) in her bio capturing a bit of a day in my life! 💋
Wellness if often conflated with happiness, when the conversation of happiness really needs to be about self-acceptance. Where are you at in your journey of self-acceptance and when are you happiest?
It’s taken me a long time to get as far as I am now. I spent the first 18 years of my life hating myself, and now I’m just making up for lost time. I try to affirm myself constantly and revel in my successes rather than gloss over them. I’m still deeply insecure and often take my success for granted, but it’s morning time where I try to take the mental headspace to be grateful.
Your Go-To workout tracks?
Literally anything by Carly Rae Jepsen
How do you think we can destigmatize and redefine health and fitness within the queer community and associate a new concept of beauty and masculinity that’s not confined to heteronormative boundaries?
By doing away with the old models and starting on our own terms.
What would you graffiti on a toilet door?
“Queers Run The World”