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Activists Plan 'Big Consensual Kiss-In' At UK Supermarket Following Harassment Of Kissing Lesbian Couple

Sainsburys_lewes_road1_sAnnabelle Paige, a university student in Brighton, UK, was told to stop kissing her girlfriend by a security guard at a Sainsbury's supermarket recently. Though the supermarket has since issued an apology, activists are incensed about the threatening "stop-or-leave" words of the guard. They are now planning a "Big Consensual Kiss-In" to support the couple, to be held this Wednesday at 6pm.

Pink News reports:

University of Sussex student Annabelle Paige said she gave her girlfriend a light kiss while in a Brighton branch of the superstore recently when a security guard approached and told them to either stop kissing or leave.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson has since apologised, saying: “This should never have happened – it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way.”

Sainsbury's is also donating £100 to charity, but the kiss-in planners think this a meager sum given the store's earnings and a less-than-great history with LGBT issues. In April the store was criticized for covering up Attitude and GT magazines while leaving the bared skin on the cover of FHM exposed. The kiss-in Facebook event notes:

“Their profits for the year to March 15 were £898m. Doesn’t sound like they are serious about tackling homophobia, does it?

"[We want ]to show Sainsbury’s we won’t accept homophobia in our society, and that we demand they do more!”

“If you have nobody to kiss we’ll find you someone or something,” the group notes.

Sounds fun (and for a good cause); best of luck to the 1,200 confirmed Brighton kissers on a successful and fruitful kiss-in!


Gay North Carolina Couple Weds After First Being Denied Based On Magistrate's Religious Beliefs

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On Monday, Randy Jackson and Eddie Locklear of Elizabeth City, North Carolina attempted to make their partnership official after thirty-one years. The state's same-sex marriage ban, Amendment One, had been struck down and their request should have been respected. However, once at the courthouse they were turned away by a magistrate who claimed he could (or would) not marry them based on his religious beliefs. It was a disheartening turn of events, to be sure, and one that will likely have to be negotiated a great deal in certain states. Jackson and Locklear's story, at least, has a happy ending.

The Virginian Pilot reports:

Today, the couple finally tied the knot at the Pasquotank County courthouse.

A different magistrate, Lee Custis, presided over their civil wedding today, saying he was religious, but he had to follow the law.

He improvised slightly when he asked them if they would take each other's hand in marriage.

"Do you take this man to be your partner?" Custis asked.

After the short ceremony, both men were left emotional and amazed.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to put it in words. I didn’t think I’d live to see this.”

Congratulations to Randy and Eddie!

In related news, Joe Jervis over at Joe. My. God. has called out the Virginian Pilot on a shoddy poll asking, "Should magistrates be allowed to refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on religious grounds?" The poll, according to Joe, was up, then deleted, then back again with the "no" votes erased; the current standings are 94% yes, 6% no, and the paper tweeted at Joe saying that "All votes were deleted" when the poll malfunctioned. Poorly designed polling system, or a purposeful skew of data? What do you think?

Photo credit: Jeff Hampton of The Virginian Pilot.


Take A Look Inside 'Wonderkid,' A Short Film Aimed At Tackling Homophobia In Sport: VIDEO

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"Wonderkid," a short film in the works from director Rhys Chapman and co-writers Chapman and Terence Corless aims to tackle a substantial and pressing global issue: homophobia in professional sports. The focus of their film is football (as in soccer) and one unnamed player struggling with his sexual identity and other issues, on and off the field. Chapman has already received a great deal of support in the U.K., and Ian McKellen even did the voice-over work for the film's Kickstarter campaign video, but they need more help in order to produce a worthwhile film product.

Their Kickstarter page reads:

We want to challenge the way people think about homophobia, not only in football, but in their everyday lives. Director Rhys Chapman co-wrote the script with writer Terence Corless, producing a story tackling a subject matter that has sorely lacked widespread attention. WONDERKID provides an insight into the trauma caused by homophobia, and challenges preconceptions about what it is to be ‘masculine’. 

At the heart of this project is the desire to change people’s minds about what is and what is not acceptable behaviour towards fellow human beings. It is about the basic human right for everyone to love and pursue a relationship, regardless of gender, race, creed or anything else. Most importantly, it is a story about wanting to be happy with who you are, which is something we can all relate to.

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In his director's video, Chapman expresses an interest in tackling the issue of homophobia through film: "I feel that film is the ultimate artistic expression. You can create an entire reality that, for all intents and purposes, is real to anyone watching." Although film does offer this advantage, anyone would be hard-pressed to deny the reality of homophobia as a rampant issue in sports. Chapman is dealing with that reality by partnering with Galop, an anti-violence and hate crime charity, to spread the word on the film and its importance.

Football is an institution in British society, and as such as it is imperative to challenge the anti-LGBT attitudes prevalent in this sport and its fanbase. Together, Galop and WONDERKID will work towards stamping out homophobia in football.” Galop Press Release

This is a film with great aspirations and, working with Galop, we intend to use it as an educational tool; holding screenings of the film to start the conversation with young people who have, or may come to, experience the issues dealt with in WONDERKID.

Chapman, Corless, and crew are seeking £25,000 in funding to cover equipment, production, editing, and distribution costs, and many more details can be found at their Kickstarter campaign page. This is an important project that has the potential to impact people in a big way. Congratulations to the whole team for the support they have received, and good luck in taking the film even further!

Watch the "Wonderkid" promo video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Take A Look Inside 'Wonderkid,' A Short Film Aimed At Tackling Homophobia In Sport: VIDEO" »


MPAA Accused Of Homophobia Over 'Pride' R Rating - VIDEO

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US censors have been accused of homophobia over the rating of new British movie Pride, a culture-clash comedy-drama that tells the true story of lesbian and gay activists who supported workers during the 1984 National Union of Mineworkers strike, reports Digital Spy.

The movie - which contains one scene in which two men kiss at a Bronksi Beat concert - has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America, judging it unsuitable for 17-year-olds unless accompanied by an adult.

Activist Peter Thatchell said that the decision is “outrageous, knee-jerk homophobia”:

"There's no significant sex or violence in Pride to justify strong ratings. The American classification board seems to automatically view any film with even the mildest gay content as unfit for people under 17."

This isn't the first time the MPAA has faced backlash for slapping an adult rating on a film with LGBT content either. This year's Love is Strange starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow was also given an R-rating despite its lack of explicit sex scenes or violence. 

Read Towleroad’s review of Pride and watch a trailer, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "MPAA Accused Of Homophobia Over 'Pride' R Rating - VIDEO" »


North Carolina Pastor's Pro-Gay Blog, 'If I Have Gay Children', Goes Viral

JohnPavlovitzJohn Pavlovitz, a North Carolina pastor, recently wrote a blog post titled, "If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Parent/Pastor." Since hitting the web, the blog has blown up, taking over Facebook newsfeeds and receiving over 2,500 comments. The reason for its popularity? Probably because Pastor Pavlovitz approaches LGBTQ identity with a warm, open-minded message of love and support.

WBTV reports:

In the blog, Pavlovitz writes that "sometimes I wonder if I'll have gay children" and says he thinks about it often.

"Maybe it's because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It's in my genes and in my tribe," he wrote. "Maybe it's because, as a pastor of students, I've seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church."

Pavlovitz says there are four simple steps he will take if his own child(ren) are gay, steps that distance him and his family from the often negative message put across by the Christian right.

1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.

My children won’t be our family’s best kept secret...

2) If I have gay children, I’ll pray for them.

I won’t pray for them to be made “normal”. I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that is their normal...

I won’t pray that God will heal or change or fix them. I will pray for God to protect them...

3) If I have gay children, I’ll love them.

I don’t mean some token, distant, tolerant love that stays at a safe arm’s length. It will be an extravagant, open-hearted, unapologetic, lavish, embarrassing-them-in-the-school cafeteria, kind of love...

4) If I have gay children, most likely; I have gay children.

If my kids are going to be gay, well they pretty much already are.

God has already created them and wired them, and placed the seed of who they are within them.

Not only is the message almost overwhelmingly touching, Pavlovitz is also a beautiful writer whose passion and concern for the topic at hand is evident throughout the entire blog post.

Since the blog was posted, Pavlovitz says he's spent several hours a day pastoring to people who have reached out to him saying they were touched by his blog...

"I was prepared for some people to applaud it, and for others to condemn it. That's what happens whenever you put an opinion out there," he said. "I was fully prepared for the waves of both support and hostility that accompany any vantage point, especially on a controversial topic like this."

"What I was not prepared for in any way, were the literally hundreds and hundreds of people who have reached out to me personally to thank me for bringing some healing and hope to their families; for giving them a message they rarely get from Christian leaders," he continued.

"People who haven't ever before, or in many years, are telling me the piece has moved them to engage with God and with the Church, which is the most any pastor can hope for."

Congratulations, Pastor John, for crafting an elegant and moving piece! Read the entire post here.


St. Petersburg Queerfest Hit With Additional Closures and Attacks from Anti-gay Activists & Police: VIDEO

Queerfest

As we reported earlier, the International Queer Culture Festival in St. Petersberg had a rough opening week - with a series of disruptions by numerous anti-gay activists - including lawmaker (and leading sponsor of Russia's anti-gay propaganda ban) Vitaly Milonov. Now, however, it has become clear that the roadblocks being placed on the festival are coming from more than just anti-gay activists, but from Russian police as well. 

In an updated post, GLAAD reports that QueerFest has faced additional venue closures and harassment - with police attempting on Wednesday to shut down a press conference ironically titled "Who is Shutting Down QueerFest?" Festival organizers have stopped openly publishing festival venues and have begun streaming events through an online video feed. 

Organizers have shared a video of the opening ceremony attack, which you can watch AFTER THE JUMP...

You can also head over to GLAAD to see the timeline of anti-gay incidents at Queerfest. 

Continue reading "St. Petersburg Queerfest Hit With Additional Closures and Attacks from Anti-gay Activists & Police: VIDEO" »


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