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First Out Gay Contestant to Compete in Miss South Carolina Pageant: VIDEO


Analouisa Valencia is breaking down barriers in South Carolina as the first out gay contestant to compete for Miss South Carolina, WISTV reports:

"Last year, I did compete at state, but I wasn't as comfortable because of the fact I was hiding who I was," said Valencia. "This is my first year coming out and saying, 'This is me, girls. Sorry, I'm going to be changing in the same dressing room as you. This is what's going to happen.'"

Valencia's appearance in the pageant is not just history-making in South Carolina.

"I'm the first openly lesbian contestant in the Miss America system, the first bilingual contestant we've had, so that's good," said Valencia.

With three titles already under her belt, Valencia's family says her success helps represent the changing face of the south.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP... - Columbia, South Carolina |

Posted Jul. 5,2013 at 6:00 PM EST by in News, Pageants, South Carolina | Permalink | Comments (21)

News: Bradley Manning, Rhode Island, Adam Lambert, Lovelace

RoadGay marriage: what's next for Utah?

RoadCalifornia legislature passes trans bathroom rights bill: "California lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would require public K-12 schools to let transgender students choose which restrooms they use and which school teams they join based on their gender identity instead of their chromosomes."

PromRoadSenior gay couples get a prom night in Los Angeles.

RoadAlec Baldwin done with Twitter, maybe acting.

RoadProsecution rests in Bradley Manning trial: "The defense could begin its case as early as next Monday, when the trial will resume. Manning's defense said at the opening of the trial that he was a young and naive, but a good-intentioned soldier whose struggle to fit in as a gay man in the military made him feel he 'needed to do something to make a difference in this world.'"

RoadMatt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo on the set of The Normal Heart.

RoadRihanna on her relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo: “I have a lot of gay friends and support sexual diversity.”

RoadCher on being Cher: "She admitted that she doesn’t get as many calls as she used to. And that she thought the reason may have something to do with her famously wrinkle-free visage. She recalled reading an article a few years ago in which the reporter said that the star looked neither young nor old, just Cher. Which of course makes it hard for Cher to become a character other than Cher."

RoadIan Somerhalder puts on a gun show.

HudsonRoadCatholic high school president resigns after coming out as gay: "I love the Totino-Grace community, however I need to be truthful about my life," said Hudson in a statement. "I am in a committed same-sex relationship, and I felt the best course of action was to inform the school. I value my time at Totino-Grace as one of the most enriching experiences of my career."

RoadWaPo-ABC News poll shows support for SCOTUS marriage rulings: "The poll found that 56 percent approve of the ruling 'providing legally married same-sex couples with the same federal benefits given to other married couples,' while 41 percent disapprove."

RoadRhode Island Senate Dems formally segregate gay and straight marriages: “It’s really an insult and disrespectful, what happened today in the Senate with the marriage bills,” Ferri said. “There’s solemnization-of-marriage bills that they held for 30 days or more and for whatever reason – we don’t know – but when they came out today and voted on them, they actually segregated the same-sex marriage bills and the non-same-sex marriage bills.”

RoadIndigenous gays celebrate traditions in Mexico.

StuRoadStu for Silverton: New musical about Silverton, Oregon transgender mayor Stu Rasmussen.

RoadOfficials: TWA Flight 800 not brought down by missile.

RoadAdam Lambert speaks out as part of the AT&T Live Proud campaign, honoring the Trevor Project for its efforts in crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth.

RoadVOA: U.S. immigration barrier removed for married gay couples.

RoadVIDEO: The first trailer for Lovelace.

RoadCBS releases statement on Big Brother racism and homophobia, won't air it on broadcast TV: “Big Brother is a reality show about watching a group of people who have no privacy 24/7 — and seeing every moment of their lives.  At times, the Houseguests reveal prejudices and other beliefs that we do not condone. We certainly find the statements made by several of the Houseguests on the live Internet feed to be offensive.  Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by a Houseguest appearing on Big Brother, either on any live feed from the House or during the broadcast, are those of the individual(s) speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS or the producers of the program.”

Posted Jul. 5,2013 at 4:30 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (17)

Nigerian Government's Website Hit by Pro-Gay Hackers


The government of Nigeria's website was reportedly hacked on Thursday night by a hacker demanding the government end its support of an anti-homosexuality bill, The Street Journal reports:

The attack on the website, took place in the evening and messages urging the President to overrule the laws were displayed on the site until around 11 pm when the administrators regained control of the site. The hackers protested against the 14-year jail term for homosexuals in Nigeria.

The attack came from Paddyhack, who wrote on the site that “nobody should live in fear of being jailed when their action is loving another consenting adult, regardless of gender.”

The President was asked to “veto or renounce the bill” within 72 hours. Issuing a threat after, the hackers stated on the website that “failure to follow our order will unleash a torrent of fury aimed directly at the direction of your administration, starting with some startling but unsurprising evidence of corruption in your ranks.”

The hackers also continued with an assurance as the message continued with “no need to start destroying evidence, I already have it.”

Posted Jul. 5,2013 at 3:24 PM EST by in News, Nigeria | Permalink | Comments (14)

Wyoming More Progressive On Gay Rights Than It Seems

Amid last week's celebrations over the Supreme Courts rulings in favor of marriage equality, one could not help but consider those LGBT people living in states with same-sex marriage bans and zero gay anti-discrimination laws protecting them.

That's what makes the The New York Times' recent article on the slowly changing gay rights landscape of Wyoming so worthwhile.

Wyoming_flagRemember, this is the state where openly gay student Matthew Shepard got murdered in an anti-gay hate crime 15 years ago. The state is largely red with over 69 percent of its votes in the 2012 elections going towards the GOP.

But while the Supreme Court decisions won't make life any easier for LGBT couples in the so-called "Equality State," the decision may help accelerate the state's gradual thaw towards legally protecting LGBT couples:

Like 36 other states, Wyoming limits marriage to a man and a woman. State lawmakers have voted down attempts to include gay and transgender people in Wyoming’s antidiscrimination laws. There are no hate-crime laws on the books, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group…

Wyoming has never been easy to pigeonhole when it comes to gay rights. Republicans dominate state and local politics, and support for gun rights, low taxes and small government runs as deep as groundwater. But so does a cowboy libertarian streak, residents say, rooted in ranches, homesteads and a notion of “You live your life, and I’ll live mine.”

Wyoming repealed its sodomy law in 1977, a generation before the Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional. Several times in recent years, Republican lawmakers have rejected efforts by social conservatives to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states or to add “defense of marriage” amendments to the State Constitution.

The article focuses on the domestic partnership bill created by the state's only openly gay legislator, State Representative Cathy Connolly. The bill would have given same-sex couples most of the rights of marriage. But even though it passed with bipartisan support out of committee, it later died in the house in a 35 to 24 vote . Nevertheless, it still did better than similar bills had in the past, and its final vote count is impressive when you consider that the Wyoming State House has 52 Republicans and only eight Democrats.

Though the Wyoming legislature rejected a bill to legalize same-sex marriage earlier this year, the state has also managed to stave off a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, making the state less conservative in practice than its political makeup might lead you to think.

Posted Jul. 5,2013 at 2:30 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Wyoming | Permalink | Comments (9)

Stephen Amell Celebrates the 4th of July with a Shirtless Basket: VIDEO


Happy birthday America!


Posted Jul. 5,2013 at 1:30 PM EST by in Basketball, News, Stephen Amell | Permalink | Comments (17)

The OXD Mirror: New Music for 7.5.13



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 world.


Sally Shapiro: 'I Dream With An Angel Tonight (Lovelock Remix)'

Following the release of their third studio album, Somewhere Else, the Swedish duo Sally Shapiro has more in store for their fans with Elsewhere, a collection of remixes of the album tracks by the likes of Little Boots, The Field, Nite Jewel, Young Galaxy and Lovelock. Over a year ago, we featured Lovelock's 'Maybe Tonight' on this column, and it is lovely to see more great work coming from the hands of Steve Moore, the name behind this moniker.


Brynjolfur: 'I Love You'

An up-and-coming producer hailing from Copenhagen, Brynjolfur is now the newest member of the Eskimo Recordings crew. His debut single on the label, 'I Love You,' adds in to the Eskimo signature chill and space disco sound that is so well known from artists like Aeroplane, Satin Jackets and Drop Out Orchestra. 'I Love You' comes with remixes by Copycat & Martin Brodin (who we featured before), Pharao Black Magic as well as another artist I love very much, Peter Visti. All tracks are available for preview and will be officially out on July 15th.


Dusky: 'Vanishing Point'

Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman are two producers hailing from London and together they form Dusky, a duo that has been one of the key names in the revival of the UK Garage/90's house scene, alongside names like Disclosure, Bicep and Ejeca. Dusky's outstanding hit 'Nobody Else' is likely one of 2013's most impressive highlights and the follow up track, 'Vanishing Point,' is no less impactful. The soulful vocals and uplifting grooves in the new work are the kind of combination that really makes your mind drift away on the dancefloor.


Simian Mobile Disco & Bicep: 'Sacrifice'

Within house music, there is a myriad of sub-genres and different influences drawing from countless sources. And while we usually focus on showcasing the more approachable variations to our audience, our interest also covers less commercial styles. The recently released collaboration between the acclaimed British duo Simian Mobile Disco and one of our favorite new acts, Bicep, falls in the more obscure end of the house music spectrum. The track, 'Sacrifice,' relies on throbbing, strong beats and subtle variations of melody and synths, making it a more brainy and repetitive work, but no less beautiful. The animated video that accompanies it does a great job materializing each instrument's sound into a unique graphic element, making it easy to understand how an apparently simple track can actually be very complex and full of intricate layers.


Navid Izadi: 'Feelin' Purple'

Aside from putting on some exotic and fierce middle-eastern inspired looks, Navid Izadi is an intriguing musician, playing various roles as a DJ, producer, singer and rapper. The Wolf + Lamb/Soul Clap boys have welcomed Izadi into their circle and are now responsible for helping him with the release of several tracks this year. His latest work is 'Feelin' Purple,' a 5-track EP which includes three original songs and a couple remixes (one of them by Soul Clap). The title track brings up memories from the late disco era as well as 90's R&B, although successfully keeping the sound fresh and contemporary.


We are now on Spotify!  Subscribe to our 'As Featured on Towleroad' Playlist to listen to tracks posted from past weeks.

For more information on OXD, check out our website and accompanying blog at, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: @OccupyTheDisco.

Posted Jul. 5,2013 at 12:30 PM EST by in Music Recommendations, Occupy the Disco, Tad Haes | Permalink | Comments (0)


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