Openly gay one-time NASCAR driver Stephen Rhodes gave an interview to Race Hub on the Speed Network this week about his plans to return to the sport after a 10 year absence. The segment questions how fans and other drivers might possibly react to an openly gay driver.
Rhodes, who has been openly gay since he was 17 years old, has an opinion about this:
"I don't think going into a sport - having to face the ones that either like me or don't like me - is anything any different than I live any day. I live in the South. I know that NASCAR has a conservative, Southern fan base, and I'm not going to try and change anyone's minds and their opinions. They're either going to like me or going to hate me. That's just life in general, really."
Bleacher Report lists a few reactions on Twitter - both positive and negative.
Watch the full Race Hub interview, AFTER THE JUMP.
Watch: The very first full-length trailer for the upcoming film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Yesterday, Andrew Garfield told Comic-Con attendees: "'Spiderman stands for everybody -- gay, straight, bixsexual, transexual,' Garfield said. 'To me, love between two consenting adults is love. To me, that anyone would bat an eyelash at what I said to me is interesting.'"
Jesse and the Rippers reunite, thanks to John Stamos and Jimmy Fallon.
Man injures only himself after setting off home-made bomb in Beijing International Airport.
Will season three of Once Upon A Time introduce a gay character?
Lesbian couple in Canada receives disturbing threatening letter: “We know you and have been following you for the past several weeks and we wish for you to leave this city, before it is too late, for you.”
An abandoned set from the original Star Wars film is in danger of being covered up by sand dunes in Tunisia.
Ryan Murphy speaks out about the death of Cory Monteith: “It’s always sad and shocking when somebody so young dies, but one of the things that made it even more upsetting is that so many of us who knew and loved him were actively involved in trying to get him better.”
"Out in the ‘Hood: Young, Gay and Hoping for Something Better": A photo essay about a young gay black man by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Preston Gannaway.
RIP: long-time White House journalist Helen Thomas.
Prepare for Superman and Batman - in one film!
The anti-flash mobs: "bash mobs."
JK Rowling was not pleased to learn that a partner in an entertainment law firm was the one who leaked her highly secretive pen name to his wife's best friend: “To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”
House Debates LGBT-Inclusive Student Non-Discrimination Measure, Passes Student Success Act Without It: VIDEO
Several House lawmakers took time to show their support for a measure to be considered alongside the Student Success Act. Called the Student Non-Discrimination Act, the piece of legislature was considered during a House Rules Committee hearing for the Success Act. Gay representative Jared Polis (D-Colo.) led the charge for the new amendment.
During the rules committee hearing, Polis said the Student Non-Discrimination Act is necessary — even with other options on the table like school of choice — because some students have only one choice for a school in certain places in the country.
“If you come from a small town with a thousand families, you have a school, you go there, and it’s tough,” Polis said. “It might be tough to grow up if you’re the only African-American family in town, it might be tough to grow up if you’re the only gay kid in town, it might be tough to grow up if you’re the only Catholic in town, or the only Muslim or the only Jew in town.”
Polis's proposal for the amendment was voted down 5-7, based largely on the Republican-controlled panel.
The only Republican in committee to vote in favor of the proposal was Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who’s an original co-sponsor of the legislation and also spoke out in favor of the bill in committee. She’s among 155 co-sponsors of the bill in the House.
“Through the years, we have seen a lot of bullying taking place at our schools, and LGBT students are particularly vulnerable to education and harassment in our education system,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “They currently lack the protections that would prohibit this dreadful behavior.”
The Student Non-Discrimination Act, should it have been approved, would establish gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes in schools, and would not allow discrimination, including bullying, to befall students without repercussions.
The next day on the House floor, a number of lawmakers joined Polis in speaking out in favor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, including Reps. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).
“The federal government has a responsibility, Mr. Speaker, to do all that we can do to ensure the safest and best possible environment in which students can learn,” Cicilline said. “When students are bullied and harassed because of who they are, they’re denied the opportunity to achieve their full potential.”
Despite these objections, the House approved on Friday the education reform bill by a vote of 221-207 after two days of debate. In a statement after the bill’s passage, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised the legislation for consolidating federal programs and eliminating red tape for schools.
Check out videos of several representatives' statements here.
And watch a portion of Rep. Polis's proposal, AFTER THE JUMP...
After being denied a marriage license earlier this month, a gay couple from Virginia has now filed a federal lawsuit that challenges that state's ban on same-sex marriage. The suit is a first of its kind and follows an announcement from the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia who are currently preparing a similar lawsuit.
The Virginian-Pilot reports:
"They thought about getting married in another state, but decided against it," said Robert Ruloff, an attorney for London, a Norfolk real estate agent, and Bostic, an Old Dominion University assistant professor of English. "They are Virginians and they want to be married in Virginia."
Of course the wingnuts have already responded:
Chris Freund, a spokesman for the Family Foundation, a conservative nonprofit based in Richmond, said he was not surprised by the lawsuit. He said the plaintiffs are trying to circumvent "the will of the people."
"They know they can't win at the legislature and they probably can't win at the ballot box, so they are trying to find a judge or some judges to overturn the will of Virginians," Freund said.
Earlier this week (actually on the day this lawsuit was filed) Andy posted an item about a new Quinnipiac poll which revealed 50 percent of Virginians support same-sex marriage and 43 percent oppose it.
Christer Strömholm, a Swedish photographer living in Paris in the late 1950's, befriended and photographed the transgender communities of the place Pigalle and place Blanche neighborhoods, providing us with a glimpse at life on the margins.
A little-known Swedish photographer, Christer Strömholm, visited Paris to experiment with a new style of night-time street photography. He immersed himself in the red-light district of Place Blanche where he beautifully captured through his lens the wide variety of young trans women struggling to make a living.
In 1983, Strömholm published his book, Les Amies de Place Blanche, with the photographs from his visit.
Inside he wrote a powerful introduction:
“This is a book about insecurity. A portrayal of those living a different life in the big city of Paris, of people who endured the roughness of the streets.”
“This is a book about humiliation, about the smell of whores and night life in cafés.”
“This is a book about the quest for self-identity, about the right to live, about the right to own and control one’s own body.”
“These are images of women—biologically born as men—that we call ‘transsexuals.’ As for me, I call them ‘my friends of place Blanche.’ This friendship started here, in the early 60s and it still continues.”
New attention has been brought to Strömholm's subjects as the photos have been released in a new version of the 1983 book, this time with stories and essays to accompany them.
The complete collection of photographs can be found here.
Photos courtesy of Buzzfeed (Source: © C.Strömholm/ Agence VU / via: messynessychic.com)
A controversial federal judge in Arkansas has recused himself from hearing a marriage equality case filed in that state earlier this week. The case challenges the states ban on same-sex marriage.
The AP reports:
U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes on Thursday ordered that the lawsuit challenging the ban be assigned to another judge. Holmes cited personal and professional relationships with leaders who drafted and campaigned for the ban that was approved by voters in 2004. Holmes wrote that the relationships developed in 1980s working on issues similar, but not identical, to the gay marriage ban.
The Arkansas Times points out that the one of the "relationships" is likely Jerry Cox, head of the conservative religious group the Arkansas Family Council.
The case will now be handed to Judge Kristine Baker who was appointed by President Barack Obama last year.
The Times also reminds its readers about some of the past controversial things Holmes has written in the past.
Holmes argued in a 1997 article co-written with his wife for a Catholic publication that “the wife is to subordinate herself to her husband.” In another article, he incorrectly claimed that “concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”
Read Holmes' full order here.
Watch a speech by Holmes at Aquinas College from 2012, AFTER THE JUMP.