It seems that in order to have a successful reality show on TV these days, featuring a member of the LGBTQ community is a must. Robear Chinosi is a gay tattoo shop manager featured on TLC's NY Ink, whose dramatic second season includes exploring the personal lives of the cast. I talked to Robear about what it's like searching for the man of his dreams in a notoriously macho world, for a TV audience. Robear talks about his experience speed dating on an episode of the show, which he says was actually lots of fun. Robear is also a fierce gay rights activist and gives his spin on crucial issues facing the LGBTQ community.
When asked what drives his personal commitment to LGBTQ civil rights, Robear stated:
I'm very committed to the cause of gay and lesbian civil rights because as a gay man, I'm just immersed in that community more and more. Now that I'm on television, I have a platform and a voice to hopefully make a change and be a role model. You know we've been fighting since the '60s for equality. We are making progress, but then we get pushed back a little, and then we make more progress. You know it's just fighting for what is right and what straight people have. Why wouldn't we have the same rights as anyone else? We love the same, we're human, and it just happens that we love the same sex. I'm heavily involved with HRC and GLAAD. I support all those organizations that have really made such progress and have put this into the forefront of society. Especially with the government, you know we're taxpayers and we're part of the community. Why are we not getting the same rights as everyone else? I can only hope in this lifetime that I see it come full circle and that we get the same rights.
Chinosi is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ teens, who are four times more likely to attempt suicide after facing bullying incidents than their heterosexual peers are. Robear shared his personal experiences of being bullied and gay-bashed. He stated, "What got me through is that I knew from an early age that I wanted to become a leader in our community, and now, hopefully and successfully, I have stepped into my role as a social influencer in the world of fashion, design, and television."
NY Ink airs on TLC on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST.