JOHN BOEHNER: Getting testy about the sequester.
BUTTER CANDLES: Not the prettiest things, but who knew?
SCIENCECAST: NASA looks at the origin and make-up of the Russian meteor.
MARRIAGE NEWS WATCH: AFER's Matt Baume on the briefs in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.
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Former Senator Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as Secretary of Defense in a 58-41 vote four hours after the Senate invoked cloture in a 71-27 to end debate on his nomination.
The Washington Blade reports:
Among those casting a vote in favor of Hagel was lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who previously told Washington Blade she had a “very good conversation” with him and would support his nomination. Last month, Baldwin said she had “tough questions” about his view of the post-”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military.
Hagel’s nomination was controversial in the LGBT community because of remarks he made in 1998, when he said the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, Jim Hormel, shouldn’t be confirmed to the post because he’s “openly aggressively gay.” Hagel also had a dismal voting record on LGBT issues during his tenure in the U.S. Senate. Just prior to his nomination as defense secretary, Hagel apologized for the anti-gay remarks.
Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson praised the Senate in a press release:
"We congratulate Senator Hagel for enduring an incredibly arduous confirmation process to become our next Secretary of Defense – this is a win for all service members, and for LGBT service members and their families especially. We thank the Senator for his commitment to equal treatment and equal opportunity, and we urge him to take swift action to include our service members in non-discrimination and anti-harassment protections. It has been reassuring to see Senator Hagel show the kind of clear, unambiguous leadership in support of our service members and their families he has demonstrated in recent months. Now he has the opportunity to turn his commitments into action, and we look forward to working with him to ensure our military embodies the same values of fairness and equality it protects."
According to Outserve-SLDN:
Unlike other minority groups, LGBT service members are not currently protected with an avenue of recourse outside their chain of command should they experience harassment or discrimination. Such protections are common elsewhere in the federal government and throughout the private sector, with 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies protecting employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Ugandan tabloid again puts gays in danger by outing them.
Andrew Sullivan has made $611,000 to date on his new Dish blogging venture.
Gay Melbourne dance party 'Closet' stirs controversy by using Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe on its signage.
Celebrating John Travolta's Oscar wig.
National Journal: Base revolts as some GOP leaders promote an LGBT-inclusive approach. "National Journal’s Political Insiders survey last month found that nearly half of Republicans think the topic should be avoided. Nearly three out of 10 said they support same-sex marriage, while only 11 percent are opposed. That’s a big departure from 2009, when half of the Republican Insiders said the party should oppose gay marriage."
Macy's D.C. steps up their gay-inclusive marriage marketing.
Photographer Nigel Barker talks about his upcoming film based on the life of David Mixner: "The film will cover his childhood, who he was as a young man, where he comes from in New Jersey -- which seems like it was akin to the Deep South at the time. Then you see his sensibilities grow, his fights for human rights for everybody and anybody he came across -- he dedicated himself to Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War, and Peace. The AIDS epidemic hits and is really the change point where many of his friends start to die and be blamed at the same time. He thought that was an outrage.Then of course the rise of the gay movement and him really being in the forefront of it and being a gay rights activist."
Janet Jackson reveals that she got married.
Former Idol contestant Blake Lewis returning with new album: "Obviously, it is nearly impossible for any artist, particularly one that came to fame via a reality show, to get a second or third chance in the music business. But Blake cites more than just hard work when he is asked how he bucked the industry’s odds."
North Dakota high school students wear KKK uniforms to hockey game.
Michelangelo Signorile on the Vatican's gay fear: "The swiftness with which the pope accepted O'Brien's resignation, before the cardinals had even met to elect a new pope, reveals how much the Vatican is deathly afraid of how the gay issue will play out. If the allegations against O'Brien are true, the story would expose to the world the hypocrisy and self-loathing of powerful men who condemn homosexuality -- and blame the ills of the world on it -- while they may be secretly gay themselves."
London Mayor Boris Johnson challenged in court over decision to not allow "ex-gay" group's signs on city buses: "The posters said 'Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!' and was in response to a previous poster campaign by Stonewall, the gay rights group, which said: 'Some people are gay. Get over it!'"
Ben Affleck shaved his beard off at George Clooney's Oscar party.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West take off their clothes for L'Officiel Hommes.
James Franco turns up the blond.
"Ex-gay" activist Linda Jernigan says that homosexuality is not a roach motel - you can escape it.
Missouri Supreme Court to hear case of gay spouse whose partner, a state trooper, was killed in the line of duty, and the spouse, Kelly Glossip, was denied benefits.
Connecticut school allows student to wear anti-gay t-shirt.
UK couple: hotel forced us to take twin beds. "A major hotel company must be well aware they can no more turn away a gay couple than a mixed race couple, even though they might not approve of them either."
Chris Christie snubbed by CPAC. "On the one hand, it spares Christie — who’s running for reelection in a blue state — the agita of having to make an appearance that Democrats would use against him in 2013. On the other, it underscores that some conservatives still are angry over the post-Sandy performance, as well as his tongue-lashing of House Speaker John Boehner for tabling a bill to provide storm aid."
Father Tiger, who lit up last December with their musical fantasy about Santa as a young dark-bearded stud, is back with some hunky dudes engaged in competitive eating.
Check out "Head Hung Low", AFTER THE JUMP...
A Boston frat is demonstrating exactly what the word fraternity means, raising money for their transgender brother Donnie Collins's surgery. As of this posting, they've raised $6,862. Story below.
Writes Benjamin Lindsay at OUT.com:
Earlier this year, Visual & Media Arts sophomore Donnie Collins pledged as a prospective brother to Phi Alpha Tau, the nation’s oldest professional communicative arts fraternity. An Alexandria, Virginia native, Collins didn’t come out as transgender until age 17 while attending a boarding school in Windsor, Conn. Of his time in an all-girls dorm, he says in a recent interview, “They were really nice, but it was all horrible."
Thus far, Collins has been taking his gender transition one step at a time. Barred from using his mother’s insurance to cover any physical transitions, he has singlehandedly covered the bulk of his hormone therapy since December 2011.
“I’d go to the endocrinologist and pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket, because, of course, I didn’t have insurance of my own,” he explains.
Collins now has a college health insurance policy through Emerson, a policy, like so many others, that is trans-exclusionary. It is common practice for insurance companies to deem female-to-male breast augmentation—or top surgery—as a cosmetic plastic surgery rather than a necessity. So Collins has been raising money for the procedure for months, but it seemed that one door after another would close in his face. His petition for a trans-inclusive policy was recently denied by the college's insurance plan, and his personal Chipin fund will cease when the crowd-funding site shuts down next month.
In a time when his options were running out, Collins’s brothers in Phi Alpha Tau have rallied together to cover some of the surgery’s cost. Find their indiegogo fund here: Brothers of A Boston Fraternity - FTM: Top Surgery. The brothers' fund has already surpassed the $2,000 they initially hoped to donate, but now they’re looking to cover even more of the procedure’s $8,100 cost.
Watch Phi Alpha Tau's fundraising video, and Donnie Collins thank you, AFTER THE JUMP...
Rapper A$AP Rocky is asked by Mr. Porter if his masculinity is ever called into question because of his interest in fashion:
A$AP arrives at the MR PORTER shoot wearing clothes by Jil Sander, Balenciaga and Junya Watanabe, but, again breaking the rap mould, says he has no plans to set up his own fashion brand. "I don't want to. It would be disrespectful to take my stardom and bully my way into the fashion industry, because I didn't go to [fashion] school to learn about design, sketching and fabrics. I just enjoy it; I'm a consumer." Given the macho nature of the hip-hop world I obliquely ask if A$AP's interest in fashion, and the cut of his jeans, have ever led people to call his masculinity into question. He responds bluntly: "People say I'm gay sometimes, but I have a lot of bitches so why would I care? It doesn't bother me at all. You know why they say that? Because they can't say that I suck, they can't say that I'm not handsome, and they can't say that my lyrics are wack, so they say that I'm gay because they don't have anything on me."