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04/19/2007


Russian Anti-Gay Policies 'Could Kill Its Cities'

St-petersburg
Russia has undergone no shortage of bad press in recent months. Its newly adopted anti-gay propaganda hve prompted outrage the world over, and have already put a damper on events such as the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, months or even years in advance. 

Now, The Atlantic is reporting that Lansing, Michigan, is joining the growing list of global municipalities that are loooking to sever ties with their Russian "sister cities", which already includes the likes of Milan, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Reykjavik. Thus, as Russia inists on moving contrary to the global march toward human rights, the consequences could prove to have political and economic impact:

"St. Petersburg was, for hundreds of years, a city that took pride in its relative openness to global culture. When Peter the Great founded the city in 1703, he envisioned it as a "window on the West," a place where the values of the Enlightenment could be explored and celebrated. It was designed and built by the finest talents from around the world.

"Now, St. Petersburg is leading the way backward. Russia and its cities, by pursuing draconian anti-gay policies, are shutting themselves out of a global community where the benefits of an open society are ever more apparent."

Stolichnaya-1280x960It's no secret that international events such as the Olympics and the World Cup have the potential to generate a host of financial benefits for its host city and host nation. This is, of course, why so many cities vie for a chance to host such events. That said, should hosting a global event prove to be the potential source of controversy for the event's governing body, it would almost certainly deter them from coming back to that same city of country in the future. That's also not counting international boycotts of Russian products, which already have large companies such as SPI Group looking for ways to completely sever ties with the anti-gay nation. Let's also not forget the tourism dollars that Russia stands to lose in the future, from both gay tourists as well as those whom support human rights in general.

Finally, as The Atlantic illustrated by presenting the story of journalist and activist Masha Gessen, Russia's anti-gay laws have prompted an exodus of gay citizens, as well as their advocates. This only exacerbates the country's appartent desire "to shut down intellectually," and cost the country potentially vital intellectual capital. Thus, while the short term costs of losing "sister city" partnerships may be small, in the words of The Atlantic, "They are losing their future."


NEWS: Egypt, Google, Privacy, Lawsuits, Private Parts, Rape Culture

Road Clashes between protesters and police have turned deadly in Egypt as Security Forces invade Pro-Morsi sit-ins. 

Road That Russian TV host isn't done making homophobic remarks. Now he's taking victim-blaming to a whole new levelGoogle

 Road Google recently issued a brief in response to a class-action lawsuit brought against the company for invasion of privacy. In it, they argued that Gmail users cannot realistically expect for their emails not to be scanned. 

Road North Carolina's new oppressive voter registration law is facing another new lawsuit filed by a 92-Year-Old woman who was previously subjected to "literacy tests" before being allowed to vote. 

Road A hostage situation at a bank in rural Louisiana finally ended early this morning with the gunman dead and two hostages shot. 

Road San Diego mayor Bob Filner continues to face controversy as the national restaurant chain Hooters has announced that he is no longer welcome in any of their franchises. 

Road Those attending Aaron Carter's performance at Chicago's Market Days "got lucky" when the singer stripped his shirt off and began grabbing his crotch on stage. 

Road Until last week, it was the policy of authorities in Norfolk, Virginia to assume that all women who reported rapes were lying, until proven otherwise.  Aaron Carter

Road A Georgia teen was previously denied a heart transplant due to his prior run-ins with the law. Luckily, the hospital has announced that it has reversed its initial decision

Road A pair of brand new parents were forced to change their child's name from "Messiah" to "Martin" after a judge declared use of the name "unchristian".

Road Kanye West reportedly asked Anna Wintour to put Kim Kardashian on the cover of Vogue. Her response was less than supportive. 

Road Niall Horan flashed his bare butt all over British TV. It's okay, though, he was just showing off his new tattoo...

Road Nerd deity George Lucas recently welcomed a new baby girl with his newlywed wife. 

Road Kick-Ass himself, Aaron Taylor-Johnson recently appeared shirtless in an issue of Men's Health UK. Homeboy is looking pretty good...

Road Alachua County, best known as the home of the University of Florida, has announced new protections for its LGBT residents

Road Kristen Stewart is reportedly going to pursue a college degree. Let's hope she majors in something like public speaking...

Road Gwyneth Paltrow was reportedly at an Author's Night fundraiser in the Hamptons yesterday, and not everyone appreciated her attendance. 

Road "Ex-Gay" singer Donnie McClurkin was recently kicked off the performance list of an upcoming MLK memorial concert due to the "potential controversy" his attendance could bring. 


First Inductees of the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Honored in Chicago

21 individuals, three organizations, one sports team, and one corporation were among those honored Friday night in Chicago as the first inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. The events, according to CBS News, included "a dinner Friday night to honor the inductees at a ceremony at the Center on Halsted and an event on Saturday at Wrigley Field called 'Out at Wrigley,' which organizers says is the largest "Gay Day' at a major league sporting event."

PalloneAmong those inducted was Dave Pallone, who umpired the first night game at Wrigley Field.

Said Pallone, via the AP:

"It is a tremendous honor and ... I hope it gives young people and adults alike who happen to be LGBT and want to be in professional sports another example of why they should continue to strive for their dreams," Pallone said.

Pallone also spoke out about the situation in Russia: "The Olympic Games are for the athletes, not for political or religious figures. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes, colors and orientations," said David Pallone, a former umpire in Major League Baseball. "I truly believe that the IOC should really start thinking about the athletes before they select the host cities."

The complete list of the organization's first inductees:

Gay Games, Outsports.com, Chicago Cubs, International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA), Anheuser Busch, Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Ben Cohen, Dave Pallone, Justin Fashanu, LZ Granderson, Christina Kahrl, Dr. Tom Waddell, Chuck Dima, Jerry Pritikin, Dave Kopay, Glenn Burke, Renee Richards, Billie, Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, Patty Sheehan, Andrew Goldstein, Jason Collins, Orlando Cruz and Johnny Weir.


LA, Chicago Urged to Dump Their Russian 'Sister-Cities' Over Russia's Criminalization of Gay Rights

In response to Russia's new anti-gay propaganda law, both Los Angeles and Chicago have been urged by LGBT supporters to drop their sister cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow respectively.

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 3.51.34 PMEfforts to sever LA's ties to St. Petersburg have been ongoing for quite some time. Back in February, Los Angeles City Council introduced a resolution that would have severed the city's symbolic relationship with Russia, Frontiers LA reports:

"The passing of this resolution sends a strong message that the city will not tolerate discrimination against our LGBT brothers and sisters in a sister city relationship,' openly gay City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl said in introducing his resolution on Feb. 12. 'We must stand together and continue to fight for our basic civil and human rights for all human beings on this earth."

Left unsaid in City Hall that day was the possibility - albeit perhaps a remote possibility - that the severing or even suspension of ties to St. Petersburg by the City of Los Angeles would send a resounding message of support for LGBT human rights from the ninth most economically powerful city in the world that other cities could use as cover to also sever ties.

St-petersburg-russiaWhile the resolution unfortunately failed to move out of committee in April, activists hope the new media attention being brought to the issue will help reignite the campaign. Additionally, a Change.org petition asking L.A. to sever ties with St. Petersburg has gathered over 2,000 signatures.    

Meanwhile, Equality Illinois has called on Chicago to end its relationship with Moscow.

From the statement:

"As the state's oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans, we believe that it cannot be business as usual in Illinois' relations with Russia until that country's oppressive laws are reversed and gays are not targeted for oppression," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

"From many small but meaningful steps, a national and then an international consensus will grow and ultimately, we believe, force Russia to change its behavior toward its gay citizens and visitors," Cherkasov said.

Previously, "Reykjavik Mayor Wants to Cut City's Ties with Moscow Over Russian Capital's Stance on Gay Rights" [tlrd]


Steve Grand's Slow Rendition of "All-American Boy" Will Melt Your Heart: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 2.08.24 PM

Gay country music heartthrob Steve Grand stopped by Windy City Live in his hometown of Chicago to discuss his sudden career success, the inspiration behind his hit song, and debut his first ever television performance: a poignant keyboard rendition of "All-American Boy." I don't know about you, but I certainly enjoy watching this smouldering star's rise to fame. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Steve Grand's Slow Rendition of "All-American Boy" Will Melt Your Heart: VIDEO" »


Lesbian Couple Attacked by Gang of Up to 10 Men in Hate Crime on Chicago's West Side: VIDEO

Chicago

A woman and her girlfriend were attacked by a group of as many as 10 men in the South Austin neighborhood on Chicago's west side. The attack began after a man was harassing the couple, the Chicago Tribune reports:

The woman said she did her best to ignore him but he kept following. Her girlfriend tried to reason with the man, asking him to leave the couple alone, the woman said.

But then a second man came up, cursing both of the women, and the first man took a swing and punched the woman, she said. The couple said they fought back and other men quickly joined in, dragging the women apart.

The couple struggled to get back together, pressed against a car as the beating continued and no one came by to help, the woman said. “I didn’t think we were going to make it out,” she said.

Finally, one of the men said the police were coming. The attackers, laughing, fled in one direction and the women went the other way. Both women had lost their shoes in the scramble, and someone had ripped one of the victim’s shirt off. The men stole their phones and cash.

The women were attended to by parademics after one of them was beaten unconscious. One man is being held on $1 million bail, charged with two counts of felony hate crime and two counts of felony robbery. The other suspects are still at large.

Watch one of the women, who says she has left the neighborhood, describe the ordeal (warning: autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Lesbian Couple Attacked by Gang of Up to 10 Men in Hate Crime on Chicago's West Side: VIDEO" »


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