NJ H.S. Senior Jacob Rudolph Talks to Thomas Roberts About His Viral Coming Out, Identifying as 'LGBT': VIDEO
Most of you have by now seen the video we posted earlier this week of NJ high school senior Jacob Rudolph's coming out to his entire class. One of the most striking aspects of the clip was the fact that Rudolph said "I'm LGBTT" rather than "I'm gay".
MSNBC's Thomas Roberts interviewed Rudolph today about the video, and his identification:
"I intended to come out as an LGBT and not say bisexual or gay or straight because I feel like those are the labels of the past. Especially in modern times when people are really questioning who they like and what they like I think that saying 'I'm bisexual', it could change in the future, I could be sexclusively for one sex or another. So I think that putting it in a more general term like LGBT is extraordinarily appropriate even though I'm not a lesbian or a transgender."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
GOP Congressman Tells Sally Kern He'll Use 'Power of Humiliation' to Stop Obama's Homosexual Indoctrination: VIDEO
Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), the fifth-ranking House Republican, recently gave an Oklahoma City Town Hall and fielded questions from constituents. Among those at the town hall was gay-hating Oklahoma legislator Sally Kern, who you may recall from her "homosexuals are worse than terrorists" days.
Anyway, Kern is back with a new concern, and it's clear she has a soulmate in Lankford. Here's a transcript of their exchange:
KERN: I want to know if you’re aware of the Substances and Mental Health Services Administration that has a book called the Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Individuals.
KERN: They are going around the nation, they just did this here in Oklahoma, December 7th, and having conferences that are educational. [...] About 2 percent of the conference is dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. 98 percent is doing indoctrination or pushing the homosexual agenda. This is what our president is doing. He has a federal agency doing it. Our state, the Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department, put this conference on and is indoctrinating our citizens who are totally against this. Is there any way you can look into this?
LANKFORD: Oh yes, sure. You know I can absolutely get a chance to take a look at it. We’ll start the process, try to see what we can do to identify it. Some of those things you have the power of humiliation where you can raise it and put in sunlight. They love functioning in the dark. You put some sunlight on it, that does help. But, we’ll see. I’m glad to take that on.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Writes Oklahoma blog The Lost Ogle: "What’s ironic about Kern’s question and statement is that our government may not need a pamphlet called “Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Individuals” if people like Sally Kern, James Lankford and their Derplahoman cronies didn’t openly ostracize, shun and discriminate against LGBTs just because they are different. If they were treated like normal people and given equal rights under the law, maybe they wouldn’t need specially tailored counseling."
The OXD Mirror is a weekly music column brought to you by the boys of OCCUPY THE DISCO (OXD), a New York City based movement created by three music lovers, Ru Bhatt, Josh Appelbaum, and Tadeu Magalhães, who want to share their love for disco, house and dance music with the gay world.
Disclosure: 'White Noise ft. AlunaGeorge'
There's nothing I love more than seeing two buzzworthy up-and-comers team up to put out some great work. Disclosure has been teaming up with talented vocalists like Sam Smith to create sexy, garage house-inspired tracks like their latest hit 'Latch,' which climbed up to #11 on the UK singles charts. After burgeoning popularity with their original tracks and with remixes for artists like Jessie Ware, they've teamed up with Aluna Francis, lead singer of the hot electronic duo AlunaGeorge, to create a fun, upbeat dance track that will keep your feet moving.
The Embassy: 'Related Artist'
Swedish duo Embassy have a knack for creating breezy indie-pop tracks inspired by the likes of Elvis Costello and Saint Etienne. Their latest single, 'Related Artist', combines guitars, some bird noises and husky vocals to create an ethereal track that seems well-suited for a roadtrip playlist.
Grizzly Bear: 'Gun Shy (Lindstrøm Remix)'
Grizzly Bear is a Brooklyn-based band, fronted by openly gay lead singer Ed Droste, who is known for their generally mellow and sweet sound and very tender vocals. The band's most recent release, 2012's Shields, was widely acclaimed by music critics and reached #7 on the US Billboard 200. 'Gun Shy' is a track that does not stray far from Grizzly Bear's very mellow sound - until Norwegian producer Lindstrøm adds his blend of danceable synths and fun beats to the song. Droste's voice lends itself nicely to this upbeat remix; perhaps some pop-inspired tracks could be a fun side project for the very talented Droste some day!
MORE NEW MUSIC, AFTER THE JUMP...Hot Natured: 'Assimilation'
House music super group Hot Natured is comprised of Jamie Jones, Lee Foss, Luca C and Ali Love and take inspiration from legends like Larry Levan, Aphex Twin and Kerri Chandler. Their latest track 'Assimilation' features vocals from Ali and Art Department's Kenny Glasgow. The slick vocals nestle in perfectly with the track's deep bass to create a sassy, very 90's-inspired house track that we continue to see more and more of with the rediscovery of the greatness that was 90's house music.
Kris Menace feat. Unai: 'Lone Runner (Aexl Le Baron Remix)'
Famed producer Kris Menace has remixed the likes of Depeche Mode, Lana Del Rey, LCD Soundystem, Róisín Murphy and had made quite a name for himself in the music business. His new album Features recently dropped and 'features' (get it?) guest vocals from Miss Kittin, Simon Lord (ex-Simian) and friend to OXD/New York Nightlife personality Lawrence LT Thompson of the Kiki Twins. This particular cut featuring vocals from Unai has a disco-pop feel suited perfectly for that playlist to get you going in the morning. For extra credit, make sure you revisit the collaboration between LT and Menace I posted in June on Towleroad.
Chicken Lips: 'He Not In (Groove Armada's Dub Reconstruction)'
Though maybe not sporting the sexiest name out there, Chicken Lips has been putting out their own unique brand of house music since 1999. They've remixed songs from artists like Robbie Williams, Mark Ronson and Tiga in addition to putting out some albums and compilations of their own. Their latest track, 'He Not In', got a great treatment from one of my personal favorite group, Groove Armada. It's a deep house dub track for sure, and probably not for everyone, but it's perfect for that underground late night dance party you might find yourself at on a fun weekend :)
This week's post was written and curated by Josh Appelbaum.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Agree That Hillary Clinton Made the GOP Look Like 'Weenies' Yesterday: VIDEO
Jon Stewart praised Hillary Clinton's skills as a 'finger point Magneto' at yesterday's Benghazi hearings, refusing to absorb attacks from Republicans eager to score political points.
And Stephen Colbert expressed his anger and disappointment that Clinton's feet weren't held to the fire: "Congressional Republicans proved definitively that they suck at their jobs."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
President Obama's reaffirmation of leadership at the Capitol (right, photo by James Loduca) this weekend was remarkable for its history, democratic and progressive message, and, of course, fashion. But, our community and the national media are rightly focused on the extraordinary gay rights surprise the President gave us in his inaugural speech:
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
Anyone can see that this statement was historic. It was the first time the word "gay" had been used in an inaugural address; it was the first time that "Stonewall," an iconic New York City gay bar that has become synonymous with the uprising against anti-gay police raids and the beginning of the modern gay rights movement, appeared as well. Placing Stonewall in the progression from Seneca Falls, a tiny upstate New York hamlet where the women's rights movement held a groundbreaking conference, and Selma, an Alabama town where Martin Luther King, Jr. conducted several important civil rights marches, did more than place the quest for gay equality in America's progressive tradition.
It elevated gay rights from the journey of a few to the imperative of the many.
I would like to add some legal context to the discussion and argue that President Obama's overt reference to marriage rights and Stonewall suggests that this President may be willing to use the power of his office to do nothing less than change the relationship between the American government and its gay citizens. But to do that, he must confront two related obstacles, one of his own making.
CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...
First, when he came out for marriage last year, the President expressed his "personal" support for marriage, but believed that the issue should be left to the states.
"I've just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," the President told Robin Roberts of ABC News in May.
In making that statement, the President made history and silenced any of his reasonable LGBT critics who found him insufficiently pro-gay. He also said that "I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what's recognized as a marriage."
And yet his unambiguous and unconditional support for marriage in the inaugural address was different. He was telling his audience on the Maill (left, photo by James Loduca) that marriage rights are for all of us, not just those of us in blue states.
Second, marriage rights at the federal level right now depend on the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in the Prop 8 case in March. The Obama Administration may be actively opposing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in Windsor v. United States, but it is as yet not participating in the Prop 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry. The President's inaugural speech leveraged his resounding victory at the hands of a diverse electorate to show the Supreme Court that there is more than just an "emerging consensus" around gays marrying. The consensus has emerged. But, his rhetoric will force him to confront his Administration's absence from the Prop 8 case.
How, then, can we explain White House spokesman Jay Carney's statement that the Administration has no plans to file an amicus brief in support of marriage in the Prop 8 case? Perhaps Mr. Carney was playing a semantic game: he did not say that the Administration will never get involved. He said he has nothing to announce on the Prop 8 case at this time. Briefs aren't due just yet, so the Administration still has time to change its position. Perhaps the Administration feels that filing a brief in this particular marriage case may not be the best strategic decision, especially if the Office of Legal Counsel or the DOJ feel the Court will toss the case on jurisdictional, i.e., standing, grounds. Maybe they are waiting for a "clean" marriage case from the States. Or, perhaps the shift in the President's rhetoric may portend a more aggressive use of his moral authority in the political, rather than the legal, sphere. That is, if President Obama sincerely believes that marriage is a state issue, he may believe that actively and fiercely supporting marriage initiatives in the states is the only legal option open to him.
Those arguments are feasible, but they make little sense to me. The first is a semantic cop-out. The second is a craven approach to something the inaugural address suggested is a moral imperative. The third is just wrong: recognizing that states are the ones that have to pass marriage laws does not preclude those laws from being anathematic to the federal constitution.
It is beyond doubt that marriage law is the realm of the states; states decide whom can marry whom. But, state laws can be unconstitutional. State laws banning interracial marriage were declared unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia. State laws banning prison inmates from marrying were declared unconstitutional in Turner v. Safley. Therefore, believing that states have the power to define marriage cannot be inconsistent with believing that some of those definitions violate the constitution. If President Obama thinks otherwise, he should review his Constitutional Law syllabus from his days as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
At a minimum, the President used his inaugural address to send a message to the Supreme Court in anticipation of the Court's consideration of the DOMA and Prop 8 cases in March. As I have noted before, the politics of the freedom to marry can have a direct effect on the law of the freedom to marry by showing that marriage freedom is part of the "emerging consensus" of the American public. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, not to mention countless Court scholars, have argued and shown that the Court rarely steps too far afield from public opinion, making decisions that most often reflect a public view trending toward social consensus. It makes sense for the Court to behave this way: its legitimacy depends on public acceptance.
President Obama used the fact that he had just been re-elected by an American majority consisting of minority populations, young people, and growing powerhouses in the political arena. They didn't just tolerate his warm embrace of the gay community; rather, they grabbed it and shouted it proudly as a major reason for their support. This coalition has the potential to win national elections for years and change the dynamic of the American political map, turning places like Texas purple and Florida deep blue.
The inaugural address, then, issued a warning: This is the America that will be living under the Roberts Court decisions, and if the legacy-conscious Chief Justice wants to keep the Court in line with the deeply held convictions of this emerging New America, he had better tread carefully when it comes to gay marriage. The President was telling the justices that you cannot support racial equality and simultaneously reject gay equality. He was telling the Court that the public -- through his powerful aggressive progressive voice -- will not stand for an anti-gay decision. When the Court issues its DOMA and Prop 8 decisions on the tenth anniversary of its decision in Lawrence v. Texas, President Obama will be watching, with a bully pulpit waiting to be used to attack and, if he stays true to the meaning of his words, a pro-marriage freedom brief should follow shortly thereafter.
Ari Ezra Waldman teaches at Brooklyn Law School and is concurrently getting his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. His research focuses on technology, privacy, speech, and gay rights. Ari will be writing weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.
Wyoming lawmakers will consider marriage equality legislation and other LGBT rights legislation this coming Monday.
NCLR is working hand in hand with our friends at Wyoming Equality, the Human Rights Campaign, and other supporters to pass the first-ever LGBT equality bills in Wyoming—The Equality State. Three bills—marriage equality, domestic partnership, and non-discrimination—have just been introduced, and the first committee votes are only days away.
At noon on Monday, January 28, the House Corporations Committee will hear testimony on the marriage equality and domestic partnership bills. If one or both pass committee, they will proceed to a vote by the entire House of Representatives a few days later. On Wednesday, Jan 30, at 8 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on the non-discrimination bill.
NCLR urges Wyoming residents to TAKE ACTION NOW and have provided contact information for lawmakers HERE.
As I noted last week, the legislation has bipartisan support.
Read more HERE.