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HRC Awards ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Star Samira Wiley With Visibility Award: VIDEO

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The Human Rights Campaign awarded openly gay Orange is the New Black actress Samira Wiley with its Visibility Award last weekend during HRC’s 2015 North Carolina Gala. Known for her role as inmate Poussey Washington, Wiley reflected on her public image and coming out experience at the gala.

Said Wiley:

"I believe that our self worth and how we are taught to think about ourselves and the world around us almost always begins at home. I have two parents that not only tolerated who I am, but accepted me and embraced me. They embraced me before I came out, and they embraced me after. They told me everyday that I am enough. I am enough just of being who I am and that that alone makes me whole. 

"It’s interesting to me that tonight I am here receiving the visibility award…Over the past few years since my own public image has increased tenfold, I have been overwhelmed to witness the profound ways that I am able to make a difference simply by living my life openly and with love."

Wiley is a Juilliard School graduate and played the role of Maria in Love’s Labour’s Lost by The Public Theater in 2011. The actress is currently in a relationship with Orange is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli. You can watch the rest of Wiley’s gala speech, AFTER THE JUMP

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Sneak Peek of UK Gay Dramas 'Cucumber' and 'Banana' To Air Following Premiere of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' - VIDEO

Cucumber

Stateside fans of Russel T Davies who've been itching to see his new interconnected UK gay dramas Cucumber and Banana are set to get a a surprise sneak peak following the season premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race this Monday on Logo.

Via press release:

The two interwoven drama series will explore 21st century gay life in all its powerful, witty, dark and uplifting guises through the lens of two disparate generations. The hour-long Cucumber will explore the lives and misadventures of Henry Best (Vincent Franklin) and his long-suffering boyfriend of nine years, Lance Sullivan (Cyril Nri). The half-hour Banana will follow the individual lives of younger characters orbiting around Henry’s world, telling stories of modern love – the romantic, the obsessed, the hopeful, the lonely, the lost, and the lucky – in an urban Manchester, England setting. 

Watch a brand new Banana clip of the show's heartbreaking opening scene, AFTER THE JUMP...

The first episodes of Cucumber and Banana will air after RuPaul's Drag Race next Monday, March 2 at 10pm ET/PT. The two shows will then return for their official season premieres on April 13. 

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First Look at Eddie Redmayne as 1930s Trans Pioneer Lili Elbe in 'The Danish Girl' - PHOTO

Redmayne

The first photo of Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne as 1930s sex reassignment surgery pioneer Lili Elbe has been released, The Guardian reports:

The Danish Girl, adapted from David Ebershoff’s novel and directed by Tom Hooper, is the story of Elbe, who became one of the world’s first known recipients of this type of surgery. She was born in Denmark as Einar Mogens Wegener and underwent a series of then experimental operations in Berlin in 1930-31. Organ rejection following an attempt to transplant a uterus resulted in her death in 1931.

No release date for the film has been announced. Last Sunday Redmayne won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in the film The Theory of Everything


Finland Enacts Citizen-Supported Same-Sex Marriage Law: VIDEO

President Sauli Niinistö

Finland has become the last Nordic country to provide for same-sex marriage after President Sauli Niinistö (above) signed a bill into law last Friday, reports The Advocate.

The Finnish parliament passed the legislation last November.

The signing is the first piece of legislation brought to Finland’s Parliament as a citizens' initiative.

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07ba1bf1970d-300wiAija Salo of Finnish LGBT group National Seta, said:

"This was a very large and unique campaign, it was the first citizen's movement. The public spoke. It is very important to a lot of people personally and also symbolically, and people are very happy."

The law will allow for same-sex marriages by March 2017.

Last December, almost 7,800 Finnish citizens resigned from the Lutheran church after Archbishop Kari Mäkinen (right) supported the vote in favor of gay marriage.

Watch a Finnish comedy sketch (with English subtitles) which suggests anti-marriage equality arguments are stupid all over the world, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Rapper Common Includes Sexual Orientation In Oscar Acceptance Speech on the Legacy of Selma: VIDEO

Common

Musician John Legend and rapper Common gave a moving award acceptance speech at the Oscars, with Common saying that the bridge Martin Luther King Jr. crossed on his march from Selma to Montgomery is no longer just a symbol for the Civil Rights Movement, but is now a symbol for any discrimination based on "race, gender, sexual orientation and social status," reports Billboard.

The duo’s song Glory, featured in Selma, won the Oscar for best original song. Common went on to say the symbol of the bridge connects people around the world, from those fighting for freedom of expression in France to those fighting for Democracy in China. Legend also took the opportunity to touch on incarceration rates among black men in his speech.

Said Legend:

"Nina Simone said it's an artist’s duty to reflect the times we're in. Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were in slavery in 1850."

Cameras panned to David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, during Common's acceptance speech with visible tears in his eyes. Fellow co-star and Selma producer Oprah Winfrey, seated next to Oyelowo, was also shown filled with emotion. Watch Common give his touching speech AFTER THE JUMP

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WATCH: Lady Gaga Gives A Stunning ‘The Sound Of Music’ Tribute Performance At The Oscars

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Lady Gaga once again proved her vocal chops when she took to the stage at the Oscars to deliver an impeccable tribute performance to The Sound Of Music. Gaga performed a selection of songs from the classic including the title song, My Favorite Things, Edelweiss and Climb Ev’ry Mountain. 

Gaga received a standing ovation, and a heartfelt hug onstage from the legendary Dame Julie Andrews herself. Watch the genre-versatile singer give one of her best, career defining performances, AFTER THE JUMP

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