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Gay Bathhouses Across America Threatened By Lowered Attendance, Outdated Public Opinion

70sBathhouseOriginally conceived as important bastions of sanitation in urban centers, American bathhouses became meccas for gay hook-up culture and entertainment in the 1960s and 70s. At that time, nearly 200 bathhouses were open around the country; now only 70 remain, and owners are scrambling to alter their image and attract youthful crowds of a new generation.

ABC News reports:

"Bathhouses were like dirty bookstores and parks: a venue to meet people," said Sykes, who still owns the smaller North Hollywood Spa. "Today, you can go to the supermarket..."

Privately run, gay-owned bathhouses proliferated in the 1970s, offering a haven for gay and bisexual men to meet. Clubs like New York City's Continental bathhouse and Los Angeles' 8709 Club saw a steady stream of patrons...

Amid the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, bathhouses were vilified for enabling promiscuity and helping spread the disease, and many either closed voluntarily or by legal pressure. Those that remained were stigmatized, and now many younger gays see them as anachronisms.

BathIn an effort to regain appeal, many bathhouses offer cheap admission prices for the younger set and amenities beyond the standard towel. Ohio's Cleveland-based Flex Spa, for example, contains luxury hotel rooms and nightclub venues; as such, it has become a fixture of gay culture beyond its sexual and social connotation, serving as the location for the Gay Games and the city's gay pride parade.

[Flex Spas CEO Todd] Saporito said more progressive views on homosexuality aren't evenly spread across the country, underscoring the need for modern bathhouses in some areas. Still, he takes nothing for granted, regardless of the location.

"Bathhouses at some level will go extinct if you don't offer something more than a towel," Saporito said.

And there is community, safe sex, and companionship to be found as well.

"You're either hooking up online or you are here, or you go to bars in West Hollywood, get drunk and hook up," said [22-year-old Brett] Sparks, acknowledging that although the bathhouse crowd skews older, it's not as risky as going home with a stranger. "Here it's a safer environment — there's condoms and other protection."

Here's hoping that bathhouses overcome the stigma and become important communal fixtures once more.


Michelangelo Signorile: Burger King's 'Proud Burger' Is A Tax Evasion Cover-Up

Proud

Writing on The Huffington Post, Michelangelo Signorile argues that companies, political donors and other entities are courting LGBT people in order to cover up criticism of unethical and questionable actions.

Signorile points out that corporate support for LGBT rights is easier for companies than it has been in the past and that many of these organizations need the support of LGBT people.

Arguing that Burger King’s recent actions hurt the economy and workers, he says that the Proud Whopper is an attempt to allow the company to remove attention from the fact that it is “fleeing to Canada, buying up Tim Hortons, following other American companies engaged in so-called tax inversions, all to avoid paying U.S. taxes."

SignorileSignorile continues that although Republican megadonor Paul Singer has given money to LGBT groups and GOP politicians who already support LGBT rights, the hedge fund billionaire is also giving millions to anti-gay candidates via right-wing groups and super PACs.

He goes on to points out that Democrats are as much to blame as Republicans, noting that although Governor Andrew Cuomo supported marriage equality in New York, his recent actions, including budget cuts, have diminished the rights of all workers, be they gay or straight.

Getting straight to the point, Signorile concludes:

“The fact that Burger King so publicly supports LGBT rights shouldn't matter. We should be past the point of being giddy over a nice wrapper. Corporations that dodge paying U.S. taxes while making billions from American consumers are wreaking havoc. We should all be sending a message to the fast-food giant that it is hurting America -- gay America, straight America, all of America.”


Lesbian 'Kiss' On 'Dr. Who' Stirs Complaints And Arouses Support

Dr who lesbian kiss

U.K. communications regulator Ofcom has received six complaints following a lesbian kiss on Doctor Who, reports Gay Star News. Dr who tweet 2

The complaints came after a scene in which Madame Vastra helps to keep her wife Jenny alive in response to a threat from droids that only move when they can sense breath.

One tweet suggested that “the BBC wants to become a porn channel,” while another said that “the Lizard/Lesbian kiss was ‘unnecessary.’”

However, while some viewers were upset at the thought of two women kissing before the 9pm watershed, the majority of tweets were overwhelmingly positive.

@toddlerlex pointed out that “some parents are okay with their kids watching Dr Who's organ stealing robots & impaled body…Lesbian kiss? Complain to Ofcom! Ridic.”

It has also been noted by various commenters that the “lesbian kiss” was essentially CPR and was actually an inter-species kiss.

Dr who tweet


Billy Eichner Joins Forces With Seth Meyers For Emmy-Themed 'Billy On The Street': VIDEO

Eichner&Meyers

Gay funny man Billy Eichner teamed up with Emmy host Seth Meyers for a television-themed version of his hilarious show, "Billy on the Street." The erratic tenacity of Eichner's questioning and some truly hilarious responses from unsuspecting New Yorkers make this a must-see.

The best moments? Eichner's assumptive pairing of lesbians and "Orange is the New Black," and one woman's unintelligible response when asked "What is this?" about an Emmy statuette.

Bring on the hilarity, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Billy Eichner Joins Forces With Seth Meyers For Emmy-Themed 'Billy On The Street': VIDEO" »


Student Fired From University Job Last Year After Coming Out Says Things Have Changed: 'Life Is Absolutely Fantastic'

StephenlovegroveLast year, Stephen Lovegrove was fired from his position as a resident assistant at Charleston Southern University after coming out. He had been inspired by Macklemore's performance of "Same Love" at the 2013 VMA's to spread a message of acceptance as someone both gay and Christian; when the school found out about a series of videos he had created about the subject, he was subject to immediate discrimination. 

One year later and Stephen's quality of life is on the mend. 

GLAAD reports:

Earlier this week, Stephen sent GLAAD a one-year update, noting how much his life has changed for the better after leaving Charleston Southern University. He writes:

One year later, I am happy to report that my life is in a very different place. I am at a new university that is truly diverse, and absolutely loving it. Actually, I’m the director of Safe Zones, a program we have to create a more inclusive school for LGBTQ students. I also host a YouTube talk show and have spoken with lots of different guests about issues of sexuality and spirituality. Best of all, I get to volunteer with Human Rights Campaign in a program with a youth center helping homeless LGBTQ youth in my city. And I’m in talks for a new independent reality show portraying characters who are young queer individuals grappling with love and spirituality in their college years.

Life is absolutely fantastic. :D I am still speaking out about employment discrimination and other issues faced by the queer community. My story always gets people attention and helps them understand all the work that still needs to be done. We are all in this movement together.

MTV also did a follow-up interview with Stephen about his life now, the initiatives he feels passionately about, and his initial inspiration, "Same Love."

That song helped me believe that I could love another human being, that my love was good and real and equal to every other human being.

Here's to a bright future!


UK's Channel 4 Aims To Shock With New Gay Drama 'Cucumber' - VIDEO

Cucumber

The UK’s Channel 4 hopes to “outrage” tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail with it’s new “channel-defining” gay drama Cucumber, reports The Independent.

DaviesFifteen years after screening Russell T Davies’ ground-breaking drama Queer As Folk, Channel 4 has boasted that new series Cucumber - also produced by Davies [pictured right] - is so risqué that it "wouldn't get past an American network".

Set to be aired next year, Cucumber looks at gay life across different generations and stars Vincent Franklin [above left] as a 46-year old man going through a relationship break-up, and Freddie Fox [above right] as a young object of his desires.

Cucumber will be broadcast alongside a sister show, Banana and a related web series called Tofu. According to Davies, the titles for the three shows came from a scientific study on the erection:

"It divided the hard-on into four categories, from soft to hard. One, tofu. Two, peeled banana. Three, banana. And four, cucumber. Right there and then, I knew I had my drama."

Channel 4’s Head of Drama Piers Wenger said that although the new series is "amazingly warm, incredibly funny and beautifully written", viewers might be "challenged" by the explicit content.

Named Channel of the Year on Friday at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Channel 4 recently ran a campaign challenging homophobia in Russia, to coincide with the Sochi Winter Olympics. New projects from the broadcaster include Carol, which examines a lesbian affair between a female department-store assistant and an older married woman; My Million View Sex Change, a project showing young women recording the progress of their gender reassignments; and Gay Love: Sex and Apps, which will follow a young man looking for a partner on apps such as Grindr and Manhunt.

Watch a deleted scene from the original UK version of Queer As Folk, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "UK's Channel 4 Aims To Shock With New Gay Drama 'Cucumber' - VIDEO" »


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