The bad press for Russia and its abominable anti-gay "propaganda" law just keeps building and building. Sir Ian McKellen is a vocal opponent of the law, and now the actor has been joined by almost 30 Nobel laureates from the fields of science and the arts, including novelist JM Coetzee, geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, and chemist Sir Harry Kroto.
An open letter was penned and given to The Independent to publish, and says in part:
On June 30th 2013, President Putin signed into Russian law a nationwide ban on the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”. This inhibits the freedom of local and foreign Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people to speak openly about their sexuality and prohibits Gay Pride celebrations[...]The letter is written to indicate that many senior members of the international scientific community show solidarity with politicians, artists, sports people and many others who have already expressed their abhorrence for the Russian Government's actions against its gay citizens.
The letter is then undersigned by laureates who received their designation ranging from the 1970's to post-2010, displaying a broad generational consensus.
A new super-teaser has arrived for RuPaul's Drag Race featuring more footage as well as some of the guest judges on tap for this year including Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Adam Lambert, Paula Abdul, and Khloe Kardashian.
NewNowNext adds that Game of Thrones star Lena Headey, Exorcist star Linda Blair, Jaime Pressly, Community’s Gillian Jacobs, Leah Remini, Chaz Bono and Cher’s mom, Georgia Holt are also joining the show in its sixth season.
The show premieres February 24.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli hates gays so much that he was thinking about how to further oppress them on his last day in office, Think Progress reports:
Cuccinelli’s non-binding opinion, which is dated January 10, 2014, concludes that “a Governor may not direct or require any agency of state government to allow same-sex couples to receive joint marital status for Virginia income tax returns.” Cuccinelli’s successor, Democrat Mark Herring, was sworn in January 11.
The question of whether married same-sex couples may file joint Virginia tax forms hinges upon a potential conflict in state law. Although the state constitution includes an expansive ban on same-sex marriages or similar arrangements, gay rights advocates note that forbidding same-sex couples from filing jointly “is in conflict with the state law that requires conformity with federal rules” — married couples of all kinds file joint tax returns under federal law.
Virginia's new governor Terry McAuliffe, on the other hand, made LGBT rights the first issue on his agenda.
VICE has posted part one of a five part series called "Young and Gay in Putin's Russia".
In the first installment, VICE's author explores Moscow's underground gay taxi service, which arose as a result of violence and discrimination targeting the LGBT community, taking a ride with one of its drivers named Artem. Artem describes how life "becomes more difficult" for you if you tell someone you're gay.
They also explore the rise of violent, homophobic vigilante groups.
VICE also visits with Yulia, a young lesbian who teaches LGBT self defense classes after attacks targeting a Moscow gay bar. The attacks recently prompted the manager of the bar to seek asylum in the U.S..
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
"Hello, Conan. I've been expecting you," says Gregory Keating, in a comedic, mysterious web video gaining viral steam on the web.
Keating says his mother worked at 30 Rock in the early 90's as a news producer and was fired when she got pregnant. He says he just doesn't fit in with his family, and he has always been mocked for his appearance.
Although it has the feel of one, there's no indication so far whether this is just Conan pulling a Jimmy Kimmel-style 'twerk FAIL' hoax on the internet, or if it's Keating acting independently, yet there is no denying the freakishly striking resemblance.
Watch and offer your thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP...
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today vetoed a bill that would have allowed trans people to change the name on their birth certificate without undergoing gender reassignment surgery, Think Progress reports.
Wrote Christie in his veto statement:
A birth certificate is an important legal document. In many instances, the production of a birth certificate is a prerequisite to obtaining other critical identification documents that factor into decisions concerning employment, financial services, education, and travel. Birth certificates are often required to complete myriad security-related tasks. Accordingly, proposed measures that revise the standards for the issuance of amended birth certificates may result in significant legal uncertainties and create opportunities for fraud, deception, and abuse, and should therefore be closely scrutinized and sparingly approved.
Unlike many other states, New Jersey already has an administrative process in place to streamline applications to amend birth certificates for gender purposes without court order. Under the proposal before me, however, the sponsors seek to alter the amended birth certificate application process without maintaining appropriate safeguards. Consequently, further consideration is necessary to determine whether to make such significant changes to State law concerning the issuance of vital records.
Garden State Equality's Executive Director Troy Stephenson released a statement denouncing the veto, calling it a "vindictive move" by Christie:
"Governor Christies veto of this legislation was a vindictive move to punish the LGBT community after a year of tremendous progress. This was a simple bureaucratic change, which would have offered tremendous support to the transgender community, and have zero effect on anyone else. The governor’s security argument is disingenuous at best, as there is already a process for one to change their gender marker; this legislation would simply end an unnecessary surgical requirement. This malicious use of the veto pen is shameful and beneath the office of governor.”