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Michael Sam Signs With Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes

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Michael Sam is finally getting his shot on the gridiron, albeit now in Canada:

The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League announced Friday that they have signed Sam to a two-year deal. Sam spent parts of last season with the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys, but did not play a regular-season snap for either team.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Sam signed a one-year deal with a team option year, according to Sam's agent, Joe Barkett. Sam became the first openly gay player in NFL history when he was selected by St. Louis in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

"With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today," said Alouettes' general manager Jim Popp. "Not only have we added an outstanding football player, we have added even a better person that brings dignity, character, and heart to our team."

Sam will be introduced at a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday, according to the CBC:

Alouettes"Congratulations to the Montreal Alouettes on the signing of Michael Sam," CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said in a statement released by the league. "Our players come to us from different places, different walks of life and ultimately they take different paths to get to our fields. Today is another indication of how open and progressive the CFL is — consistent with our rich and storied history of great football tradition. Welcome to Montreal, Michael!"


Edmonton Catholic School Board Moves To Allow Transgender Girl Access To Girls' Bathroom

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After a meeting of minds at the Catholic school board of Edmonton, a young transgender girl will finally be able to use the bathroom that she feels most comfortable going into. Originally the seven year old girl’s school opted to have her use a special, gender-neutral bathroom apart from the other children, something her mother took issue with and brought to the attention of higher ups within the Catholic school board and the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Initially, the school board informed the girl’s family that it wouldn’t take her complaint into consideration until the Commission judged that their issue had any merit to it. Patricia Grell (above center), trustee to the board, insisted that the group act faster, speaking out against her fellow board members in person and online via her personal blog.

"No parent wants to have the conversation with their child about encouraging them wanting to live, and encouraging them that they are not a disgrace to God," Grell said. "So you go and you pray in your own sanctuary and here comes Patricia Grell. The answer to my prayers."

Grell’s agitation drew the attention of Debbie Engle, head of the board, who quickly submitted a motion to have Grell dismissed from the body. Grell was set to appear before the board to explain her outspokenness on Monday when it suddenly decided to drop the issue.

“The mover of the intended motion advised that she wished to withdraw that single item, and as a result, the board determined that it was not necessary to proceed with today’s meeting,” the board’s press release read. “The agenda item was to discuss the public nature of board business and may be addressed at a future date.”

While the girl will be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom at her school going forward, it’s important to point out that no official decision has been made for the entirety of the province. The board has said it will consult with the Archdiocese of Edmonton, medical specialists, parents and educational experts in the creation of a new bathroom policy. 

"For the first time in quite some time, [my daughter] was able to use the bathroom alone and so that made her feel wonderful," the girl’s mother explained to the CBC, adding her uncertainty about the rules for other children like hers. "Is this a today solution and then next year it's a different solution? I'm very torn."


Among Six English-Speaking Countries, Study Finds American Sports Are Most Homophobic

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A new study titled "Out On The Fields," which is considered the first international study on homophobia in sport, found that the U.S. ranks the worst in sports homophobia reports TIME. The study, which surveyed 9,500 people from six different countries (U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand), found that LGB people in U.S. sports report the most instances of receiving verbal threats and homophobic slurs because of their sexual orientation.

Researchers found that 82 percent of LGB participants either witnessed or experienced homophobia in sports with 84 percent of gay men and 82 percent of lesbians claiming they were targets of homophobic slurs. Half of the gay men polled along with 32 percent of lesbians noted they hid their sexuality while playing sports in their youth because they feared rejection from their teammates. 

However, the survey is not a peer-reviewed paper published in an established journal; the head author behind the study is a former journalist turned member of Australia's first gay rugby team - the Sydney Convicts Rugby Union Club. A sports sociologist from Florida State University who examined the study's findings found that even though the sampling results ended up with significant over-representation of pro-LGBT respondents, the study clearly and accurately illustrates the pervasive homophobia that permeates sports.

Although homophobia may be pervasive on the field, it looks like attitudes are slowly beginning to change in sports stands.


Canadian Airbnb Renters Return Home to Find $60,000 in Damages From 'Drug-Induced Orgy' - VIDEO

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A nightmare story out of Calgary, Canada that might make you think twice before renting out your home to strangers.

The Daily Mail  reports:

Mark and Star King rented out their property in Calgary, Canada, on popular website Airbnb and believed the holidaymakers would be four adults who were in town for a wedding.

But when they returned to their home, following concerned calls from neighbours, they were greeted with destroyed furniture, smashed glasses, used condoms and underwear strewn across the floor, barbecue sauce on the walls and every surface covered in rubbish. 

A "huge luxury bus" with some 100 people had reportedly made the Star family home the site of what police called a "drug-induced orgy." Repair costs are estimated at around $60,000 but Airbnb has pledged to cover the cost of restoration under its Host Guarantee insurance, which covers damages up to $1 million. 

CBC reports:

Airb2b"They're going to send in crews in full masks, taped up in order to deal with the contents," said Star King's husband, Mark (pictured right).

He was also told that any garbage leaving the home must be treated for biohazardous material before it can be sent to the landfill.

The Kings have also met with a hazmat specialist, who be will tossing "everything soft" — couches, bedding, towels and sheets — because there is no way to identify the various bodily fluids the renters left behind. 

CBC adds police are still searching for the man who originally rented the house and may charge him with mischief to property over $5,000. 

See footage of the home's destruction, AFTER THE JUMP...

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WATCH: Toronto's LGBT Water Polo Team Strips Down And Gears Up For Stockholm Eurogames

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Toronto’s LGBT Triggerfish Water Polo team released a promo video featuring teammates in and out of their skivvies and in drag ahead of the 2015 Stockholm Eurogames on Aug. 5-9. The team, which is composed of both men and women, is set to play multiple daily matches throughout the competition, and the team intends on claiming victory.

The video, which centers around various teammates meeting up for practice, has everything you could ask for from teammates in campy drag to gratuitous shots of male players changing into speedos; the Triggerfish team has all their angles covered.

Watch the team in action, both in and out of the pool, AFTER THE JUMP...

Triggerfish

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What to Do on a Weekend in Montreal Outside the Gay Village: TRAVEL

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Montreal’s Gay Village has boys, booze, and clubs open past dawn. But if you want to start your mornings with legendary Montreal bagels and end your night at a lo-fi electro dance party before drifting home, spend a weekend in Montreal’s Mile End. It’s laid-back and welcoming to LGBT tourists and the tattooed, bike-riding, book-toting, locally-sourced goodness might have you wanting to stick around just a little longer.

Friday night:

Dine at Sparrow (5322 St-Laurent) for high-end pub fare by way of India and Morocco. The space feels like a British living room owned by a family of adventuring rugby player explorers circa 1930. If the weather isn’t cooperating, curl up on the windowside sofas and linger with a drink from a menu that repeatedly tops Montreal’s best cocktail lists. IMG_2362

Afterward, head to the Musée d’Art Contemporain (MAC). It’s not in Mile End, but the museum’s Les Nocturnes du MAC, on select Fridays throughout the year, are worth the trip. Check out French artist Sophie Calle’s Voir la mer, a short film capturing people’s first time seeing the sea, take a guided tour of the museum’s collection, hit the bar, and enjoy the DJs and video installations. This year’s Nocturnes are scheduled for April 10, June 16, and November 6.

Saturday:

Hit up one of Mile End’s two Montreal-style bagel shops, St-Viateur or Fairmount (263 St-Viateur and 74 Fairmount—both have their rabid acolytes), or grab a bag of croissants at Boulangerie Guillaume (5132 St-Laurent). Get your carb fix during an easy hike to the top of Mont Royal, the city’s namesake peak and Mile End’s neighbor, for perfect views out over the city and the St. Lawrence River.

7651417566_974f545ee0_zIf you went too hard Friday night (the Gay Village is, after all, a short walk from MAC) or don’t feel like hiking, spend the day gallery hopping. Galerie Yves Laroche (6355 St. Laurent), Occurrence (527 Av. Du Parc), Galerie d’Avignon (88 Laurier O), Articule (262 Fairmount O), and Centre Clark (5455 Av. de Gaspé) feature installation, performance and traditional work. At Monastiraki (5478 St-Laurent) you can pick up antiques and knick-knacks, or grab super-affordable limited edition prints and works on paper.

More on Saturday, and Sunday, and an extra tip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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