Prior to 2008, Alex Hausner was a psychiatric patient and self-described gay, Jewish white-supremacist from Queens, New York. However, that year was the first in a five-year ordeal, during which Hausner repeatedly tried to harass out news anchor and "silver fox" Anderson Cooper, even going so far as to attempt breaking into Cooper's apartment. Security footage depicts Hausner as repeatedly trying to kick down Cooper's door while yelling “I swear to f--king God, don’t insult me!" and “I’m going to f--k you up!” Upon being told to leave, Hausner reportedly tried to tell police that he had a right to be there, and that Cooper and his boyfriend were actually the ones stalking him.
Before his arraignment in a Manhattan Criminal Court last night, Hausner said "I can prove from my sources that his boyfriend has sent people after me," according to the New York Post. Meanwhile, Assistant DA Rachel Rachel Ehrhardt had a different story to tell, saying, “he was told on numerous occasions not to call.” Prosecutors continued the story, relaying to the court that, on June 22, Hausner “showed up at Anderson Cooper’s house, and he was told that he did not have permission to be at that location."
This is not Hausner's first run-in with the courts. According to Ehrhardt, he has faced multiple felony and misdemeanor charges before. ONe ex-neighbor told the New York Post: "He was a radical — he believed in his [Jewish] religion, and he believed in the one race, the white race." He is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail, and is now facing charges of felony first-degree menacing and misdemeanor harassment and stalking.
While it may have only been a week since Queer Nation began the organized boycott of Russian vodka over the country's virulently anti-gay record, the global media attention brought to the issue is undeniable. Already, Stolichnaya vodka, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and NBCUniversal have been forced to address concerns by LGBT supporters over their ties to Russia.
With this in mind, gay radio host Michaelangelo Signorile has declared that 'a line must be drawn in the sand' for American companies doing business in Russia. Signorile has identified five other targets with Russian ties in the hopes of broadening the boycott's impact:
Procter & Gamble. Despite this US-based multinational company having a 90 percent on HRC's Corporate Equality Index, they are no stranger to gay boycotts. The company's ubiquitous spots for shampoos, toothpaste and maxi pads have made P&G Russia's biggest television advertiser. With millions of dollars being funneled into state-owned, pro-government, homophobic Russian television, putting pressure on P&G would surely make waves.
Holiday Inn Express. A recent and dramatic expansion of American hotel chains in Russia has been touted on Russian news sites, with Holiday Inn planning to unveil 100 hotels across the country by 2020. The hotel chain already has LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination policies, as well as lucrative contracts hosting major LGBT-related events and conventions at their properties worldwide. This policy of inclusion should naturally be extended to our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia.
Caterpillar. The heavy machinery company has been busy expanding just outside Moscow with long-term plans to invest in machine building across the country. The company positioned itself as a supporter of gay rights this summer when it decided not to fund the Boy Scouts any longer over its anti-gay policies. Clearly, like P&G, Caterpillar has bowed to pressure by gay activists, which is a promising sign if a future boycott is to take place.
Ernst & Young. The multinational accounting and professional services firm has proudly touted its 100 percent score on HRC's index along with its list of LGBT-related awards over the years. Last September, the company announced the opening of an EY office in Vladivostok, Russia to bring American and other companies to invest in the country.
Hillary Clinton. Many remember Clinton's historic speech in Geneva in December 2011 before U.N. leaders, saying that 'gay rights are human rights.' However, as Secretary of State, Clinton was a strong supporter of Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization and of U.S. companies investing big in Russia. In 2009, Russian gay activists pleaded with Clinton to address the Russian government's anti-gay policies during a state visit. Clinton declined.
As Signorile states, "American companies and politicians who court LGBT people are going to have to stand against this brutal regime in no uncertain terms. And it must be expressed in actions, not just words."
You can read Signorile's full piece, HERE.
A new app for iPhone and Android is invested in teaching the LGBT community about just how far it has come. Quist, released for download globally today, will teach its users a daily history lesson, ranging from the darkest corners to the brightest high points of LGBT culture, politics, and movements.
Historical events in the app paint a picture of how far the LGBTQ community has come over time — how we have been treated, how we have reacted, how our allies have supported us, and how others have worked vehemently to stop the progress. LGBTQ individuals’ contributions to society and events in HIV/AIDS history are also included.
In a time where gay teen suicide is still a devastating reality, Quist (which is available as a free download) cites generating an awareness of past shared struggles for LGBT youth as one of its goals. The app evidences a need for new ways of constructing, remembering and sharing queer history, as the LGBT community continues to make political and social gains and risks forgetting the trajectory that has brought us to this point.
By bringing Stonewall, the Mattachine Society, and other formative queer moments and movements into the new millenium, Quist could be an important new tool for LGBT community building.
Download it today on your mobile device or online through iTunes.
Col. Denise Lind, the military judge presiding over the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, has announced that she plans to announce her verdict at 1 PM Eastern on Tuesday. Manning, who has been on trial since June 3, faces the potential charge of "aiding the enemy" among others, the penalty for which is life in prison without parole. Manning faces 21 counts in all for his release of over 700,000 to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He has already plead guilty to 10 of those counts, all of which could potentially carry the collective penalty of 20 years in prison. According to the Huffington Post:
"He also is charged with eight federal Espionage Act violations, five federal theft counts, and two federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations, each punishable by up to 10 years; and five military counts of violating a lawful general regulation, punishable by up to two years each."
A sentencing hearing has also been tentatively scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
With various "whistleblowers" making headlines throughout recent months, Bradley Manning's soon-to-be verdict will no doubt revive much of the extensive debate that erupted when his story first broke in May of 2010. Closing arguments from both sides reflected the nature of the debate surrounding Manning, with the defense painting him as a "naive whistleblower" and the prosecution characterizing him as "an anarchist hacker and traitor".
Manning was also the subject of controversy earlier this year, when it was first revealed that he had been appointed grand marshall of the San Francisco Pride Parade. SF Pride subsequently changed their minds, prompting extensive debate.
Towleroad readers know that Pat Robertson isn't exactly known for his tolerance or open-mindedness. On the contrary, he has an extensive history of making ignorant and homophobic remarks. However, in a recent "Bring It On-Line" Q&A segment on his show, Robertson made an admission that many may find shocking.
The question came from a viewer named "David", who asked:
"I work with two people who have decided that they are females. I know what the bible says about homosexuality, but is it wrong to refer to them as females since they have had their gender status changed in the eyes of the law?"
Robertson's reply, in short: no. While he did call the process of transitioning "drastic" and "radical", and said that he would "question the validity" of anyone who would come out to him as trans, Robertson did admit that "there are men who are in a woman's body. It's very rare, but it's true...or a women that are in men's bodies." Such an admission from the likes of Pat Robertson would already be considered a victory. However, he also added that "I don't think there's any sin associated with that. I don't condemn somebody for doing that," before concluding that "it's not for you to decide or to judge."
Imagine that, a televangelist televising a message of (relative) tolerance.
If you're having trouble believing it, you can take a look at the video AFTER THE JUMP (at around the 2:28 mark). In context, do Robertson's comments represent a step in the right direction for trans equality? Give your opinion below.
Pope Francis was in Rio de Janeiro for the week to celebrate World Youth Day, and on Sunday morning he attracted a huge crowd of three million for Mass. While this Pope is certainly popular in Brazil, he may gain some (hesitant) popularity with the LGBT community now as well.
While taking questions from reporters on the plane back to Rome, Francis spoke about gays and the reported "gay lobby." According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pope's comments about homosexuality came in the context of a question about gay priests.
The pontiff broached the delicate question of how he would respond to learning that a cleric in his ranks was gay, though not sexually active. For decades, the Vatican has regarded homosexuality as a "disorder," and Pope Francis' predecessor Pope Benedict XVI formally barred men with what the Vatican deemed "deep-seated" homosexuality from entering the priesthood.
"Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?" the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. "You can't marginalize these people."
Father James Martin, S.J. who is an admirer of Francis, said that the pontiff's comment about gay people is consistent with the rest of his papacy.
"One of Francis's hallmarks is an emphasis on mercy, which you see in that response. That mercy, of course, comes from Jesus. And we can never have too much of it."
During the interview, the Pope also reported that several allegations of gay trysts with high ranking Vatican officials had been investigated and had no truth to them. He reportedly delivered this news, and his other comments, light-heartedly; according to the AP, "He was funny and candid during a news conference that lasted almost an hour and a half. He didn't dodge a single question..."
The Pope did still refer to homosexuality as a sin, but his reported good will came through.
...when someone sins and confesses, he said, God not only forgives but forgets.
"We don't have the right to not forget," he said.
Could the Catholic Church be taking a progressive turn? Was the Pope simply having a good day? His comments are at least a small step in a positive direction.