Coming on the heels of the arrest of three Dutch tourists in Russia under the country's new gay 'propaganda' ban, Queer Nation has begun an organized boycott of Russian vodka over the country's virulently anti-gay record.
From the statement:
In light of the Putin regime's attacks on the LGBT community, Queer Nation is calling for a worldwide boycott of Russian vodka.
Do not buy or drink Russian vodka: Brands include Russian Standard and Stolichnaya. Demand that bar owners do not buy or serve Russian vodka. Ask your favorite club promoters, DJs, and entertainers to insist that Russian brands are not served in the venues in which they perform.
It's time to target Russia. Dump Russian vodka!
The organization expects to have additional upcoming actions that the LGBT community and allies can take to send a message that anti-gay violence will never be tolerated. The announcement follows a similar call by Russian LGBT activists to boycott the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
[image by Gilbert Baker, the designer of the rainbow flag]
In the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent decisions to sign laws banning "gay Propaganda", as well as adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples, openly-gay actor, playwright, and Kinky Boots scribe Harvey Fierstein has written an op-ed for the New York Times. In it, he decries Putin's "campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people."
"Historically [fear-based] scapegoating is used by politicians to solidify their bases and draw attention away from their failing policies, and no doubt this is what's happening in Russia... Mr. Putin's campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook. Can we allow this war against human rights to go unanswered?"
You can read the entire op-ed piece HERE.
Over 1,000 people in Haiti took their anti-gay animus to the streets to protest the proposed legalization of gay marriage, and some members of the protest even threatened to burn down parliament if gay marriage were to become legal. The protest was religious in nature, organized by groups like the Haitian Coalition of Religious and Moral Organizations, and resulted in the murders of two men presumed to be gay by the mob.
A short video taken from the protest can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...
Q: If gay people continue to exercise their rights what are we going to do?
A: We'll kill them, we'll destroy them because we don't need that in our country. We don't want the question of gay people/homosexuals we want a man and a woman. Gay people will curse our country and we already have curses.
Matthew Rettenmund over at Boy Culture has a fantastic interview with gay "All-American Boy" singer Steve Grand, with Grand setting the record straight on his image as the 'first openly gay country star,' his difficult past, and the long road ahead.
Boy Culture: There's been some backlash to the Buzzfeed article that labeled you the 'first openly gay country star.' Do you see yourself as a country artist, let along as the first openly gay one?
Steve Grand: 'The first openly gay country star'...there's a lot of things wrong with that statement. I didn't set out to be the first of anything. I just wrote a song that I really believed in and that I wanted the world to hear.
There've been people who've been out in country music before me, like Drake Jensen and Chely Wright and k.d. lang. It's false to say that I'm the first - I've never said that, I've never stood behind that. But I do appreciate the media that picked this up because I had no means of promotion, so I certainly have no ill will to any press that said that.
I've never considered myself country and didn't set out to write a country song. That isn't an important label to me. If some people wanna call it country, that's fine with me. I'll let people decide how they wanna label it; I just write the songs.
And I'm not a star! [Laughs] I have one video with 1.6 million views. I'm so grateful that it's reached so many people so quickly, but more so, I'm grateful for the people who've reached out to me and are putting their trust in me. That bond I feel we're already establishing I hold more sacred than anything, and I wanna do anything I can to honor that.
BC: Why did you use other names before, and why did "All-American Boy" deserve your real name?
SG: I guess I struggled with knowing myself for a very long time. That's caused a lot of pain and frustration in my life. Like, I remember being at some points in my life and being like, "I don't know what I even think about this, I don't know what I think about myself, I don't know what I think about the world, I don't know what I think about this issue - I'm so lost." I remember just breaking down and saying that to a really close friend. So I think part of the fact that I was using all these different names was a very kind of literal representation of the fact that I was trying to find an identity for myself.
It all comes back to the simple fact that you have to just embrace who you are, and everything that you are, and so I was like, "Well you know what? If I'm going this far, this song is very close to me, it's very personal to me." I'm not a calculated person. I'm someone who's an emotionally-driven person. So that all goes into the fact that I was acknowledging all of these parts of myself and I was like, "Well, I have to start with my name." For a while, I really didn't want to do that, I was like, "What if this all blows up in my face?" If people hated it, it's tied to my real name forever and maybe I'll really regret doing that, but it pretty much got to the point where it was just like, let's face it, I'm never gonna be able to forgive myself if I don't put this out there.
This is a song I've been trying to write for a very long time and this is one thing I feel so strongly about. And I'm so excited to feel so strongly about something for once.
Check out the full Q&A over at Boy Culture, where Grand goes on to discuss growing up a 'drifter,' his religion, what qualities attract him to a man, and even what's next on his life's road.
This weekend in Snowmass, CO Justice Antonin Scalia spoke to a gathering of the Utah State Bar Association. The "strict originalist" bemoaned judicial activism and his colleagues treating the Constitution as a "living document" in a speech titled "Mullahs of the West: Judges as Moral Arbiters." His argument was that elected officials, not unelected judges, should be the ones to legislate society's moral views.
Justice Scalia wasted no time in invoking Godwin's Law, opening his speech with the claim that judges interpreting the law in ways that reflected "the spirit of the age" in 1930's Germany was what led to the rise of the Nazis and, ultimately, the holocaust. He also pointed out that Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution wasn't necessary at the turn of the century in response to the women's suffrage movement. However, he conveniently omitted that it was due to the Supreme Court intervention that schools were desegregated and interracial marriages were made legal.
Scalia received a standing ovation for his speech, the attendees apparently unaware that the first person to invoke Godwin's Law loses the argument.
The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a son weighing in at eight pounds six ounces. The birth of Queen Elizabeth II's first great-grandson was announced first via press release and then, as anticipated, on a proclamation set forth on a gilded easel in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace, the same easel first used to announce the birth of the baby's father, Prince William, in 1982. The New York Times reports:
“Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4:24 today,” the statement proclaimed, nearly five hours after the actual birth. “Her royal highness and the child are both doing well.”
Prince Charles, said he and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, were "overjoyed" at the good news. A spokesman for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh added that they were "delighted."
The Duchess and the young Prince of Cambridge are expected to stay in hospital overnight. We may not get our first glimpse of the new prince until tomorrow morning. Congratulations to the happy parents!
Watch a video of the proclamation being brought out AFTER THE JUMP...