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08/30/2014

Gay Iconography: Diana Ross Is A Supreme Icon

548px-Diana_Ross

Way before Beyoncé could even dream of slaying the MTV Video Music Awards, another female entertainer had risen to super-stardom from a successful singing trio. When Diana Ross had her first number one single with the Supremes, Bey was still about 17 years from even being born.

Diana Ross and the Supremes are one of the most successful groups from Motown Records. Their polished, feminine act helped make them crossover stars, including becoming the first all-female group to have an album top the Billboard Top 200. In addition to her success with the Supremes, she's also a successful solo artist, as well as an Academy Award-nominated actress. She's one of the few people to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one for herself and one as part of the Supremes.

Diana's disco-flavored solo career enshrined her as a gay icon, but she received some pushback for a less than enthusiastic response about gay marriage to The Advocate in 1999: "I just don't think I can speak about this particular issue [gay marriage] because I haven't really given it enough thoughts. It seems like girls, guys, whatever, should be able to live together without a legal contract." This soft answer aside, her music is a staple of pride celebrations across the country and woven into the fabric of gay culture.

Let's revisit some of the ultimate diva's musical high points, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Gay Iconography: Diana Ross Is A Supreme Icon"

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 12:00 PM EST by in Diana Ross, Gay Iconography | Permalink | Comments (0)


Georgia Teen Speaks Out About His Family's Horrific 'Pray the Gay Away' Intervention: VIDEO

Pierce

Yesterday, we posted a disturbing video of Daniel Pierce recording his family's heartbreaking rejection of the Georgia teen because of his sexual orientation. In the three days since the footage has been uploaded to YouTube, the video has amassed over 3 million views and a GoFundMe page set up to support Daniel has raised over $90,000. 

Speaking to Atlanta's 11Alive NBC station, Daniel shared more information about his parents' reaction - revealing that he had actually came out last October and that the video footage was of his father, grandparents, step-mother and her sister staging a "pray the gay away" intervention on his behalf. 

Pierce2"I thought for myself, for my own protection if something were to happen it would be best to have it on video. I just hit record. I just hit camera and hit record. I just know that I did it for my protection and it kind of all went from there, and the video really speaks for itself," Pierce said. [...]

"What I hope people take away from watching that is it still happens. A lot of people don't realize that it happens. They see all the positive videos and the negative video never gets seen so if one family maybe watches it and maybe changes their mind in how they are going to handle it about their son or daughter coming out, one family and I will be happy. I want to education people on the issue because it is something going on," Pierce said.

Pierce said he has had no contact with his parents since that moment caught on video. He says, "the ball is in their court" and he "has so much support from other avenues," he doesn't need it.

"The video was not posted for people to attack them. I wouldn't want it to happen to me. I wouldn't want it to happen to them. They are still my family and they are in my heart but what happened in that video is very hurtful," he said.

Pierce also spoke about the help he's received from LGBT support groups such as Lost-N-Found Youth and his plans to donate a portion of the $90,000 raised to help support gay teens in similar situations.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "Georgia Teen Speaks Out About His Family's Horrific 'Pray the Gay Away' Intervention: VIDEO"

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 11:00 AM EST by in Gay Youth, Georgia | Permalink | Comments (3)


Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie Says Support for Marriage Equality Cost Him His Reelection Bid

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who recently lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary to state Sen. David Ige, told reporters this week that it was his decision to call a special session last year to legalize marriage equality that ultimately led to his re-election bid defeat. 

The AP reports:

Abercrombie"Republicans crossed over en masse to vote in the Democratic primary, and then the religious factor came in," Abercrombie said. "Doctrinally I was outside the circle and paid for it." He argued that voters were urged to choose his opponent by their religious leaders.

Abercrombie, who spoke to reporters in his office, lost to Ige by a stunning 2-1 margin, the first time a Democratic governor has been unseated in a Hawaii primary.

But Abercrombie said losing was worth it to pass a law legalizing gay marriage.

"There's no way I could live with myself if I thought I was diminishing another human being's ability to reach their full capacity," Abercrombie said.

Executive director of the Hawaii Catholic Conference Walter Yoshimitsu said that he was unaware of any religious leaders urging voters to cross party lines and vote against Abercrombie in the primary. He did add though that many people were upset with Abercrombie's special session last year. 

"We couldn't have figured out what the urgency was," Yoshimitsu said. "If he had dealt with it in the regular session, there would have been more time."

Sometimes it's hard for the heterosexual Christians to see the "urgency" in the push for equal rights, ya know?

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 10:00 AM EST by in Elections, Gay Marriage, Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie | Permalink | Comments (6)


Opera Singer Fired For Facebook Rant Against Drag Queen: VIDEO

Facebook

Opera singer Valerian Ruminski [pictured below] does not like men decorating their nails. He dislikes it so much, in fact, that he took to Facebook to complain - at length - after encountering a man on the OC Transpo bus who had long, jewel-studded nails. Said Ruminski, in part:

RuminskiLook at the stupid nails this moron had on while taking a bus in Ottawa. I guess he needs diamond-studded nails to make up for his face.
[H]e is asking for criticism by parading his choices in front of everyone. Like the black males who wear their pants down off their asses. They WANT you to notice it and get angered by it. Thats [sic] part of the strategy. He has an agenda by gluing diamonds onto his nails...and so do I by commenting on how stupid it is!

It would seem Ruminski wasn't aware that things posted on Facebook are not private. Even with privacy settings maxed out, all it takes is one friend or follower to screencap a post and then it's out in the wild, which is exactly what happened. Karma was quick and Ruminski was fired from his role in Puccini's Tosca to start this fall. 

Opera Lyra general director Jeep Jeffries said that he was "disappointed and appalled, to be honest," in an interview on CBC Radio’s All in a Day. For his part, Ruminski has posted a lengthy public apology to his website, complete with the "I've had gay teachers and friends" line and an attempt at identifying with the total stranger he tried to publicly humiliate:

I didn’t take the time to pause and think and consider that we are all special and that this person was different in a way that was unique to everyone else around us. I am an opera singer. He, as I learned, is a drag queen. The two of us are not too far apart, I guess.

No, Ruminksi, you and drag queens are actually quite far apart. Drag queens, for example, actually know how to read.

You can see a video report of the incident AFTER THE JUMP...

[photo via Facebook]

Continue reading "Opera Singer Fired For Facebook Rant Against Drag Queen: VIDEO"

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 9:00 AM EST by in Opera, Video | Permalink | Comments (22)


Homeschoolers Target Pro-Gay Marriage New Mexico State Rep.

Nm

Pro-equality New Mexico state Representative Bill McCamley (D) is being targeted by a local homeschool co-op for his stance on LGBT rights.

From ProgressNowNM:

In the legislature, McCamley has been a strong supporter of LGBT equality.  That’s no surprise given Dona Ana County’s prominence in the national marriage debate following the decision by County Clerk Lynn Ellins to begin issuing New Mexico’s first licenses to same-sex couples in 2013.

Nearly 900 same-sex couples have received licenses in Dona Ana County, which includes McCamley’s district, since last year.

So, it’s not surprise that marriage equality could be an important issue in House District 33. McCamley recently started handing out a campaign walk piece featuring his position on the issue and that has his opponent fired up and ready to lead an army of children (literally) against McCamley in their “critical” quest to defeat the progressive candidate in HD33.

HooksA member of the homeschool co-op, formed to “connect local homeschool children and share instruction”, recently sent out an email to other members of the group, asking for help enlisting homeschooled children in distributing campaign literature for McCamley’s opponent, creationist Republican Neal Hooks [right], who, as Joe.My.God points out, believes "The push of homosexual agenda in our schools are destroying us”:

I would like to ask the Homeschool group for young people, who can walk in Neal’s District and hang Neal’s door hangers.  We will start this Friday, August 1st at 9:00 AM at my house (920 Raleigh Rd). Our walk will be very safe & organized, 4 – 6 young people per adult in a car…My house will be the “hub” where we will all meet, have refreshments, & go out again.  We will finish between 11-11:30…I am sure this could be counted as community service and Government extracurricular activities.

Apparently, taking a stance against equality now warrants school credit. 

(top photo via Facebook)

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 8:30 AM EST by in Gay Marriage, New Mexico, News | Permalink | Comments (4)


Conversion Therapy Survivor Alleges Sexual Abuse During Treatment

Jeff White

Jeff White of Walls, Mississippi came out to his family in 1996 while still a student at Bethel Baptist School. His family in turn went to the church to try and figure out what to do, and the church promised that they could "cure" White of his homosexuality. This cure, evidently, consisted of attempting to rape the gay out of him.

According to White, teacher Steven Barnes was his conversion therapy counselor, and his preferred method of treatment was to rape and sexually assault White "to convince him that being gay was more painful than suppressing his sexual orientation." White dealt with ten years of emotional damage and turmoil from enduring three years of brutal "therapy", but is speaking up now in response to the National Center for Lesbian Rights' #BornPerfect campaign and its attempt to end conversion therapy in the next five years. Said White,

After growing older and witnessing so many who are still harmed by the church and by efforts to correct homosexuality through traumatic and damaging tactics like the ones used against me, I finally realized that it is my duty to stand up against those who have harmed me. By speaking out against the wrongdoings that were committed within the walls of Bethel Baptist School, I hope to shed light on the darkness that is so easily hidden within the church, and to help ensure that no one else suffers the pain that I had to endure.

BornperfectNCLR helped White file a complaint with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department against Bethel Baptist School. White is now the executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center, the first LGBT center in the state. Barnes is now the Assistant Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Walls, MS.

In June, NCLR launched the #BornPerfect campaign to protect LGBT kids from the harms caused by attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Posted Aug. 30,2014 at 8:00 AM EST by in Crime, Mississippi | Permalink | Comments (6)


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