Community and LGBT activist (and former political editor for Towleroad) Corey Johnson has declared victory his NYC District 3 City Council primary race. Johnson will take the seat vacated by Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a district that counts Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, and the West Village among its neighborhoods.
Tweeted Johnson: "WE WON!! IT'S OVER!! THANK YOU ALL!!"
Bill de Blasio took a wide lead in New York City's Democratic mayoral primary tonight, poised to beat out eight other contenders, including William Thompson and Quinn, who had hoped to be NYC's first woman and first openly gay mayor. It was unclear if De Blasio would have the 40% needed to avoid a run-off with the runner-up.
In other City Council races, transgender candidate Mel Wymore came in behind Helen Rosenthal in District 6 with 22% of the vote to Rosenthal's 27%, and Carlos Menchaca won his race in Brooklyn's District 38 by 57% to 42% over his opponent Sara Gonzalez.
In the NYC's Comptroller race, Scott Stringer beat Eliot Spitzer by 51.8% to 48.2%.
In a special primetime address to the nation, President Obama argued his case for the use of military action in Syria, and recent developments that could lead to a diplomatic solution to the crisis over chemical weapons. Specifically, a proposal that international monitors take control of Assad's arsenal and ultimately oversee its destruction.
Watch the speech, AFTER THE JUMP...
The NYT offered an excellent summary of the rapidly-changing developments shortly before the speech:
On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in London that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria could avert a strike if he turned over his chemical weapons stockpile within a week, adding that such an outcome was unlikely. Mr. Kerry’s staff later described the remark as a “rhetorical exercise,” but by Monday night his apparently off-the-cuff proposal had gained broad support, including a warm welcome from both Syria and Russia, which said it would bring Syria’s chemical weapons under international control. On Tuesday, France said it would propose a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for Syria to allow weapons inspectors to oversee the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile and to require it to sign the international treaty banning the use of such weapons. But Russia responded that the French resolution was “unacceptable” because it allowed for military enforcement, and said it would propose its own measure.
The Westboro Baptist Church came out to picket country singer Vince Gill at a concert in Kansas City, Missouri on Sunday, and Gill came out to troll them back. Here's my transcript.
Gill: "I just came to see what hate looked like. I came out to see what hatred really looked like in the face."
WBC member: "Well, more importantly, what are you doing with another man's wife? Don't you know that divorce plus remarriage equals adultery?"
Gill: "Don't you know that you f**kers are lucky that you don't have a sign that says something about my wife?"
WBC member: "Jesus Christ said that."
Gill: "You know what else he said? He said a lot of stuff about forgiveness, about grace. And you guys don't have any of it. (Looks at another WBC member) I’ve seen you on TV, man. You’re a big dips**t. You know that don't you?”
WBC member: "I don't care what you think?"
Gill: "Are any of you guys Phelpses? Or are you guys like the C team?"
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Last week, Towleroad reported on the brutal attack on 23-year-old Jared Olson of Denver, and now police say they have identified a suspect:
According to police, 20-year-old Tilo Sandoval is the suspect in that attack, which reportedly took place near Sam’s Hookah Lounge on the corner of Alameda Avenue and Zuni Street over Labor Day weekend. Jared Olsen, 23, was the victim in the attack, and told police he and his friends had been out at a club before going to the hookah lounge. That’s when he said two men approached the group and called them names, including gay slurs.
“They were just cussing at us and slurring, then one guy walked to my door and opened it and hit me in the face,” Olsen said. “We drove off right after that.”
Jared’s injuries were not life threatening, but he reportedly lost several teeth and says he may need surgery to treat painful injuries to his face.
Watch KDVR's report on the attack and new information, AFTER THE JUMP...
While many people already know Steve Grand by the title "first openly gay male country singer" (in truth a misnomer), few are aware that Grand's Catholic upbringing and faith remain essential parts of his identity and image. A member of a tight-knit Catholic church in the Chicago suburbs, Grand maintains in an interview with The Huffington Post that his close relationship with the Catholic community is 100% compatible with his life as a gay man in the media spotlight.
Grand said he has been both surprised and moved by the reactions to his first video. Fans have declared him a "hero," while critics have accused him of betraying the gay rights movement - both by expressing support for the Catholic Church and by refusing to condemn the Christian therapist he was sent to by his parents to be "cured" of his homosexuality.
"A lot of people have criticized me for playing at Catholic churches, where I made a lot of money, and I was shocked by that," Grand said. "In my mind, I think it could only be a good thing. Ten years ago, I was sitting in those same pews, and if I'd seen an openly gay musician leading the songs of worship in church, that could have really changed my life and saved me many years of feeling that I was somehow wrong."
It what may seem like a surprise to many, Grand's church has been nothing but supportive of him, his identity, and his career. Grand received a standing ovation from his church last month when he stood in front of the congregation and said, "You know, I'm gay. And I think that's okay and I really believe that God loves us for who we are, gay or straight."
Father Kurt Boras, the priest at the church, holds Grand up as a model Catholic and says Grand's visibility has sparked new discussions and dialogue within his congregation about faith and sexuality.
"I've never seen this before. It's opened up conversations with me that are unbelievable, really" he said. "A lot of folks have come to me and said, 'I have a gay daughter, a gay son.' This young man has really opened up some conversations that maybe I would never have had as a pastor and they're coming and saying, 'Can we talk to you?'"
You can check out Grand's newest video, "Stay" right HERE.
Back in July we featured a clip in support of women's rights from Full Frontal Freedom, a coalition of independent artists and media execs who expend their creative juices on enhancing civil discourse.
This week they released a video in collaboration with Dream It Productions and Ryan Hanson productions in honor of marriage equality, to remind folks that we're still seeking it in many places.
The clip, set to Macklemore's "Same Love" (if you're like me it never gets old) features dancers Nick and James Aragon (The Ninja Twins), Nicole Bondzie, Filippo Calvagno, Ryan Hanson, Emrhys Cooper, Charlotte Price, Hannah May Evans. It's choreographed by Emrhys Cooper and Ryan Hanson.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...