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Magnum's 'Be True To Your Pleasure' Campaign Features Willam And Gender Nonconformists: WATCH

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Magnum’s new #BeTrueToYourPleasure campaign is less about high-end, European ice cream bars and more about acknowledging ways that gender nonconforming people subvert our ideas about the gender binary.

In a series of brief interviews James, Blake, and Gregory, three genderqueer people, describe the events that led to the formation of their identities.

“My mom made me into this world,” Gregory recounts. “She taught me about not coloring inside the lines. She empowered me to be whatever the hell I wanted to be.”

“I don’t see things as black and white. I see things on a spectrum. I see beauty in many different forms--if we’re talking about gender, I don’t see ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ I see different degrees of male and female and I know I fall somewhere maybe a little left of the middle.”

The ad campaign also features Willam Belli alongside James, Blake and Gregory in a stylized music video to an alternate version of Rihanna's "Umbrella."

While the presence of LGB-identified people in mainstream advertising is on the rise, Magnum’s campaign is one of the few to actually feature trans and/or queer people of color in a significant way. They’re a fantastic set of spots that you can watch for yourself AFTER THE JUMP...


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A Trip to Vienna For The Glamorous and Gargantuan Life Ball AIDS Benefit: Towleroad Abroad


It’s one thing to hear about Life Ball, the enormous charity extravaganza that takes over Vienna annually to raise support for HIV/AIDS charities, but it’s quite another to experience it first hand. The over-the-top affair, including palatial parties and star-studded spectacles, attracts all sorts of guests, from the fabulous to the fringe.

Above all, Life Ball, organized by AIDS LIFE, is dedicated to supporting organizations that work with people who are HIV-positive or have AIDS. The annual event is the largest AIDS charity event in Europe. Its massive impact is fueled by the scale, grandeur and, yes, at times, rowdiness of the party that draws in the big names, big crowds and, most importantly, big dollars. In 2014, for example, Life Ball raised 2.3 million euros from tickets, drink sales, an auction and other events. (For more on Life Ball’s charitable impact, see our post here.)

We joined a small army of media, celebrities and drag queens venturing to Vienna last weekend to witness all of the Life Ball Austrian adventure for ourselves. Although we’re still recovering from a fab 48 hours in the capital city, we’ve got plenty of highlights to share.

The hills are alive with the sound of YAS GAWD, AFTER THE JUMP

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Tops and Bottoms: Power Ranking 'RuPaul's Drag Race' 07x12 — RECAP


And then there were three. Well, first there were four. Then there were three. Last night's episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race ru-vealed the top trio, but it also left me feeling a little underwhelmed with the gals we got left.

I don’t blame the queens. I don’t think this season featured less talented performers or otherwise inferior contestants. However, I do think it’s time, seven seasons deep, to revisit the show’s format. The simplest solution is making sure the challenges aren’t so team heavy in the beginning. I understand it’s an effort to maximize time while the contestant pool is still large, but it totally makes it difficult to let folks break away from the pack. We won’t get tons of screentime with everyone, but the cream, as they say, will rise to the top. The other thing to consider is making sure there is a healthy mix of challenges (acting, comedy, singing, sewing, dancing, etc.) from the get-go. This season felt heavy on the scripted acting challenges, and, sorry writers, but punny scripts aren’t nearly as entertaining as you think they are. Plus, they keep us from seeing what the girls are really like.

A more complicated approach would be to take inspiration from other aging reality shows and introduce a few gimmicks. We’ve already got All Stars, but what if next season was “Comedy Queens vs. Pageant” or “Mother Daughter Pairs” or “Queens of the World.” Things like that have kept Survivor, the granddaddy of contemporary reality competition, feeling fresh. (Counterpoint: Top Model: British Invasion.)

But enough about the future, let’s talk about what happened last night, AFTER THE JUMP

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Tops and Bottoms: Power Ranking 'RuPaul's Drag Race' 07x11 — RECAP


Ranking the queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race is neither a science nor an art. This season especially there hasn’t been a single queen that’s been able to consistently dominate across a variety of challenges the way that Bianca del Rio was able to crush comedy, create custom couture and conform to a variety of scripted challenges. It’s as if this season’s batch of contestants has multiple leads depending on the day.

I certainly didn’t see tonight’s elimination coming, which says just as much about this season’s roller coaster ride as it does my own terrible guessing ability.

Let’s have a kiki and discuss the episode, AFTER THE JUMP

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NYC and SF Pride Urged to Ban Facebook as Sponsor Over Company's Continued Freezing of Drag Queen Profiles


Despite promising that it would no longer antagonize its LGBT users, Facebook is still freezing the accounts of people who aren’t using their legal names. Last fall Sister Roma and other vocal members of the San Francisco queer community rallied together in protest of Facebook’s policy, demanding that people be allowed to use whichever personae they chose.

Many queer-identified people, Roma and others have asserted, use social media as a means of maintaining identities separate from the ones embody with their friends and family. For many drag performers and those yet to come out, being able to have LGBT-centric digital identities not tied directly to their legal names can prove to be a powerful and necessary.

After initially asserting that the social networking giant would stand by the policy, Facebook executives eventually backtracked, apologized, and promised that the company would actively work to “fix” it problems. Apparently, however people who’re being reported for using stage and performance names are still being frozen out of their accounts.

Roma"We've met with Facebook four times, and we kept trying to stress to them the importance of identity and that their real name policy is being used to discriminate and bully our community," Sister Roma intoned. "When you can report a profile as using a fake name, anybody can be one click away from being suspended."

To its credit, Facebook has made some headway with the way that it handles accounts that have been flagged. The social network no longer demands that people provide government-issued identification to verify people’s identities. People are now able to submit other forms of identification that align with the names they assert online, but Facebook still insists that people stick to their birth names.

"We are committed to ensuring that all members of the Facebook community can use the names that they use in real life,” Facebook reps explained to the San Jose Mercury News. “Having people use their authentic names makes them more accountable, and also helps us root out accounts created for malicious purposes, like harassment, fraud, impersonation and hate speech."

For Sister Roma, though, requiring any form of identification whether it be governmental or informal is too much of a burden to place on people. A petition urging Facebook to further change its policy is currently circulating with nearly 2,000 signatures, and a protest outside of the company's HQ is scheduled for June 1st. The petition calls for Facebook to change its policy or be banned from marching in upcoming LGBT Pride parades in San Francisco and New York. 

"What we've been saying until we're blue in the face to Facebook is there are many people, especially LGBT and in the transgender community specifically, who don't have a piece of paper or a government issued ID that proves authentic identity," she insisted.

Tops and Bottoms: Power Ranking 'RuPaul's Drag Race' 07x09 — RECAP

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It's getting down to the wire, and so we've got to be prepared to mourn the loss of any of the remaining queens on RuPaul's Drag Race. Tonight's challenge put the queens to werk, hunny. It was one of only a few challenges that I feel like really pushed everyone. The dance challenge was not easy, and even the runway look demanded a degree of creativity. 

Let's untuck some of the details of tonight's episode, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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