Gay Seniors Hub




Russia Ends U.S. Student Exchange Program, Blames Elderly Michigan Gay Couple

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov

Russia has canceled a foreign exchange program with the U.S., alleging that a gay couple persuaded a man to stay with them and apply for asylum, reports The Guardian.

FlexSince 1992, the state department-financed Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) has brought 23,000 students aged 15 to 17 from Russia and former Soviet countries to study in U.S. schools and live with local families for one academic year.

Human rights organisations have accused the Russian government of promoting discrimination following the introduction of a "gay propaganda" law last year.

Announcing the end of the country’s participation in FLEX, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov [pictured above] said the couple became the legal guardians of the Russian student, after the student left his host family and stayed in the U.S. when the school year ended in May.

According to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass, the student met the couple - elderly veterans who had previously adopted two American boys - in church and the men offered to become his immigration sponsors and pay for him to study at Harvard University.

Astakhov explained on Twitter that the cancellation came about because of a “gross violation by the host country, the United States, of the obligation to unconditionally return students from Russia who travel there to study.”

In an interview with the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, he added that the student moved in with the two men in Michigan, “and they gradually developed – how can I say this carefully – close friendly relations.”

Anton Meshkov, a former FLEX student, said the fact that 15 young people are thought to have stayed in the U.S. after the program ended was not a “serious reason to take away the chance to travel from hundreds of kids”.

“It’s absurd to suppose that the program could facilitate the seduction of young Russians. As a participant in this program myself, I know what a serious selection process host families go through.”

Last year, Astakhov vowed he would do everything possible to ensure that Russian orphans were only adopted by heterosexual couples. 


NewFest Films: 'Futuro Beach' and 'Gerontophilia'

  Gerontophilia
Bruce LaBruce's newest provocation is intergenerational romance

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opens the annual LGBT film festival tomorrow, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.

MORE ON BOTH FILMS AFTER THE JUMP...

FUTURO-arms

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Two Must-See LGBT Sundance Films: 'Love is Strange' and 'Appropriate Behavior'

  Lithgow
John Lithgow & Alfred Molina just got married in "Love is Strange"

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

I'm popping into this space from the snowy mountains of Park City, Utah, where I've been attending the 30th annual Sundance Film Festival. It kicked off the day of the Oscar nominations a week ago and in my golden-statue-mania I keep imagining it would have felt more festive had it coincided with Robert Redford's first Oscar nomination in 19 years for All is Lost. But it was not meant to be. Still Redford's legacy lives on in the most celebrated American film festival. Coincidentally, but happily given our purposes here at Towleroad, two of the best films at Sundance 2014 are LGBT films. Hopefully they'll both hit theaters or on demand or however we're watching movies next, and very soon.

APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR is the perfect Iranian bisexual hipster coming-out comedy that you didn't know you needed or even wanted. But it's really good and really funny. The absurdly talented Desiree Akhavan (who some of you may know from the lesbian web series The Slope) wrote, directed and stars in the film as Shirin. She's a sharp-tongued bisexual twentysomething who is reeling from a breakup with Maxine (Rebecca Henderson) her activist vanilla girlfriend, and acting out sexually in Brooklyn.

MORE ON THESE TWO MUST-SEES AFTER THE JUMP...

Approp-threesome

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Gay Marine Vet's 'Other Than Honorable' Discharge Revised

Halfaulkner2In a New York Times op-ed published this Saturday, writer Frank Bruni detailed the story of Marine veteran Hal Faulkner and his "other than honorable" discharge from the United States military. In 1956, Faulkner's commanding officer found out that the sergeant, who had risen in the ranks over several successful years, was gay; he was asked to leave despite his otherwise perfect record, and until 2013 those words, "other than honorable," kept Faulkner's great service in the dark. The story, intensified by the former Marine's limited time--given an unfortunate and untimely cancer diagnosis--truly serves as a reminder of the military's intensely homophobic past.

The New York Times reports:

“They gave up on me,” he said, referring to the Marines. “I never forget it.” He was haunted in particular by those three words — “other than honorable” — and wanted more than anything to have them excised from his epitaph. That became his dying wish: that those words not outlive him.

Before federal law was changed in 2011, more than 110,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people were discharged from the United States military over time because of their sexual orientation. And until the 1990s, when the policy tweak known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” vaguely softened the prohibition against gays in the armed services, it was common for such discharges to be dishonorable ones that barred gay veterans from receiving any benefits and sometimes disqualified them from civilian jobs they later sought.

But now that the military accepts gays, there is also a process that permits those who were dishonorably discharged to appeal for reclassifications of those dismissals as honorable. A military spokesman said last week that he didn’t know how many veterans had sought to take advantage of it, or with what success. But Hal caught wind of it, and knew that he had to try.

HalfaulknerFaulkner's desire to have his discharge appealed was seemingly an extension of not only the anguish of that singular act but also a lifetime of closeted service in various industries, from the 1950's to the 1970's. Still, despite his dwindling time, Hal Faulkner (seated in wheelchair in photo at right) was able to see the fruit of all those difficult years, as his revision appeal was accepted. 

John read from the letter, including its assurance that Hal’s military record would “be corrected to show that he received an honorable discharge.” When Hal took the letter from him, he didn’t hold it so much as knead it, pressing tighter and tighter, maybe because he was visibly fighting tears.

“I don’t have much longer to live,” he said, “but I shall always remember it.” He thanked Anne. He thanked his nieces. He thanked the Marines. He even thanked people in the room whom he had no reason to thank.

Someone went off to mix him a Scotch-and-soda, and he finally gave in. He sobbed.

“It’s often said that a man doesn’t cry,” he said. “I am a Marine and I am a man. So please forgive me.”

His remarks hung there, because he’d used the present tense. Am a Marine. And because he was saying he was sorry, this veteran whose country owed him an apology for too long.

Good luck to all LGBT military service members seeking an appeal for similar discharges--they are much deserved. 

Read Bruni's full post HERE.

Photos via NYT.


New Documentary 'Before You Know It' Takes A Look At The Senior Gay Community: VIDEO

Nowyou

Before You Know It, opening this weekend in New York City, peeks in on the everyday interactions of three individuals who are enjoying the third trimester of their lives. It just so happens that these men are gay, and leading fabulous lives of their own. Love, marriage, drag, dancing, music, and community color shapes these men's lives.  

Joe.My.God. has the full synopsis:

The subjects of BEFORE YOU KNOW IT are no ordinary senior citizens. They are go-go booted bar-hoppers, love struck activists, troublemaking baton twirlers, late night Internet cruisers, seasoned renegades and bold adventurers. They are also among the estimated 2.4 million lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans over the age of 55 in the United States, many of whom face heightened levels of discrimination, neglect and exclusion. But BEFORE is not a film about cold statistics and gloomy realities, it’s a film about generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and defied expectation to form communities of strength, renewal and camaraderie – whether these communities be affable senior living facilities, lively activist enclaves or wacky queer bars brimming with glittered trinkets and colorful drag queens.

Enjoy the trailer (and catch the doc in a theater near you) AFTER THE JUMP...

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What Seniors Think About Gay Sex: VIDEO

Senior

"Wanna know what the 'F' stands for? Flexibility."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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