Interview Hub




Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO

  Michelle Kosilek

The full First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must provide an incarcerated transgender woman with medically-necessary gender reassignment surgery, reports Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

The Court of Appeals issued an initial ruling in January upholding an earlier finding that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) engaged in a pattern of “pretense, pretext and prevarication” to deny Michelle Kosilek (above) treatment against the recommendations of multiple doctors, including those hired by the DOC itself. Born Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife Cheryl (below, right) in 1990.

Cheryl KosilekThe latest decision was divided with a 3-2 majority and two sharply worded dissents.

Predicting that the case will not stand the test of time, Judge Thompson wrote:

“I am confident that I would not need to pen this dissent, over twenty years after Kosilek’s quest for constitutionally adequate medical care began, were she not seeking a treatment that many see as strange or immoral. Prejudice and fear of the unfamiliar have undoubtedly played a role in this matter’s protraction.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD, said:

“I am appalled by this decision, which means that Michelle Kosilek will continue to be denied the life-saving medical care she needs and has been seeking for years.  

"It is difficult or impossible to imagine a decision like this one – that second-guesses every factual determination made by the trial court – in the context of any other prisoner health care case.  

"This decision is a testament to how much work remains to be done to get transgender people’s health care needs on par with others in the general public.

“There is no scientific or medical basis for denying transgender people their health care needs. The consensus position of the medical community is that surgery may sometimes be essential treatment.”

Watch a report on a television interview with Kosilek, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Interview: Cheyenne Jackson 'Gets On With It' in Two Memorable Gay Films

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Cheyenne with his legendary co-star at a recent Academy screening of "Six Dance Lessons..."

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Cheyenne Jackson's gone Hollywood. Though the 39 year old actor and self proclaimed "Broadway Baby" came to fame via musicals like "All Shook Up" (Theater World Award, 2005) and "Xanadu" (Drama Desk nomination 2008) and promises to return, TV and film came calling soon thereafter and appear to have stuck. His most notable early filmed roles were as a heroic passenger in the Oscar-nominated true story United 93 (2006) and a recurring gig on Emmy favorite 30 Rock as Danny Baker, a singing actor with a voice so beautiful he gave Jenna Maroney "rage strokes."

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That first flush of mainstream success seemed to have been briefly eclipsed in the media by upheavals in his personal life, a divorce from his first husband and sobering up. But Cheyenne is eager to move on from that topic which he feels was overblown by the media. "Definitely with the gay press, it was rough there for a bit. Things were never not together; I think that's the misconception," he explains. Was it a rough patch? "I guess other people can think of it that way but to me it was just the next chapter. Time to clean up." 

And the next chapter is moving along well. After his brief note-perfect cameo in the Liberace movie Behind the Candelabra (2013) he's filmed several more roles including a small part as half of a gay cop couple affectionately referred to as 'The Policewomen' in one of this year's very best films LOVE IS STRANGE (2014, reviewed here). Ira Sachs moving drama recently won a handful of Spirit Award nominations.

As a longtime fan of Cheyenne Jackson, I confess to an atypical case of the nerves during our phone interview from separate coasts. Cheyenne helpfully tells me to imagine him in his underwear, and we both laugh immediately realizing that is not going to help. 'No wait. Maybe not. Maybe not'.

 

NR: Things seems to be on a real uptick in terms of your movie career!

CHEYENNE JACKSON: I’ve really kind of thrown myself into film and it’s been great. Some make their way to theaters, some go video on demand, some get nominated for things. I live out here now so it’s easier.

NR: Your new film SIX DANCES IN SIX WEEKS just opened this weekend. We don't see Gena Rowlands in lead roles much these days but she's one of the most influential actors of all time. How did your casting happen and how nerve wracking was is to work with her?

   Sixdance-tango

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

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Robbie Rogers Talks New Book, Coming Out, MLS Cup Win - VIDEO

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Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay man to compete in a major North American sports league, has opened up about his journey to becoming an out-and-proud pro soccer player.

Speaking with Blaine Stewart for News Channel 3, Rogers discusses his candid memoir “Coming Out To Play”, coming out in his 20s, his big win in the MLS Cup and becoming a role model for LGBT youth.

In October, it was announced ABC closed a deal for a new sitcom called "Men In Shorts," based on Robbie's life.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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John Cameron Mitchell on Returning to 'Hedwig': INTERVIEW

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As we revealed earlier today, John Cameron Mitchell will debut in the Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on January 21, returning to the role he created Off-Broadway 15 years ago and immortalized in the cult-hit 2001 film. I spoke to Mitchell about stepping back into the show he penned with Stephen Trask, reuniting with fans and the rock-and-roll influences that shaped everyone's favorite trans glam rocker.

Naveen Kumar: What made you decide to do go into the show?

John Cameron Mitchell: Well you know, come on! The production is sitting there and I’ve certainly been thinking about it. I didn’t want to open the show, because it was just way too much pressure and time, and I could barely imagine doing it as long as the superman called Neil Patrick Harris. So, this manageable run, at a time when box office usually dips in January and before my film starts shooting next year, it was sort of a perfect slot. Certainly, it’s been in my mind that’ I’d do once more before I collapse into old age. [Laughs]

NK: So, it’s something you’ve thought about since the planning stages?

John Cameron Mitchell jcm344BW(med) by Nick VogelsonJCM: Years ago when we were thinking about Broadway, I didn’t really want to do a full run and thought maybe I could share it with someone—as they did with Fela!, because it was just so much singing and dancing. We reduced it to seven performances a week—I think Andrew Rannells did one week of eight—but no Hedwig has ever done eight and lived to tell the tale, because it’s way too hard. So, it was the enormity of it that gave me pause.

To be honest, it’s a great excuse to get in shape! [Laughs]

NK: How do you think it will be different for you this time?

JCM: Physically it will be much harder. But, the show is about finding a wholeness, and after 15 years, moving into middle age—you think about wholeness in a different way. In some ways, you are more whole, in other ways you’re more realistic about romance. The myth of ‘The Origin of Love,’ of finding a way to complete yourself—the young version of that is, ‘One person is going to complete me forever and heal the primal rift.’

And then you become a little wiser, even at the end of Hedwig, she’s alone in one way but there’s a kind of wholeness implied, because she’s been through these experiences. She’s the sum of everyone she’s met. You understand that more when you’re older, for better or worse. And, hopefully you’ve made the right choices as to who those people are. Everyone makes mistakes, and they make loving mistakes, which is really the best you can do. You make decisions based on whether you love or hate yourself.

A lot of queer people grew up feeling inferior, hating themselves from a young age, and have to heal themselves. And queer people include straight people who didn’t fit in in terms of gender, trans people, anyone. Your butch mom: She’s queer too, even if she’s straight. So, that’s the Hedwig community and it’s been built up from nothing. Of course there are Rocky Horror fans and rock fans mixed in, but we’re really different.

The people who love Hedwig love it forever, so there’s a responsibility to doing this right and being honest on stage. I’m excited about reuniting with those people—the last 15 years of their lives will inform the show as much as the last 15 years of my own, which has been very peripatetic, exciting and tragic and full. It’s going to be wiser, it’s going to be frayed. It’s not going to be as nervous as when I was a kid. I’m actually nervous about it now—but that ‘s more about how strenuous it is and keeping it together vocally and physically. It’s exciting; I need a kick in the ass right now, and there’s no bigger kick in the ass than Hedwig.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Homophobe Cardinal Raymond Burke Stirs Up Anti-Gay Hate In Ireland - VIDEO

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Speaking at a conference on "the Catholic family" in Limerick, Ireland last month, anti-gay conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke said he would refuse holy communion to any politician who has been supportive of same-sex marriage, reports RTE.

Burke, who in the past has said that anti-gay discrimination is "perfectly good and just," was last month demoted as head of the Vatican's "supreme court" by Pope Francis.  

Unsurprisingly, Burke was not willing to discuss his demotion but he was more than happy to call on the pope to clarify his position of same-sex marriage and on divorced people.

Burke's comments follow a recent meeting of Catholic bishops that broached the subject of homosexuality but failed to reach consensus following a backlash from conservatives.

At the conference, Burke declined to comment on an Irish referendum on same-sex marriage expected in early 2015.

Watch a short report followed by a longer interview with the grumpy Burke here.


Interview: Daniel Ribeiro on His International Hit Film 'The Way He Looks'

  Wayhelooks-dance
New student Gabriel (Fabio Audi) and his blind classmate Leo (Ghilherme Lobo) in "The Way He Looks"

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Nine months after its debut at the Berlinale festival, the gay Brazilian hit THE WAY HE LOOKS (reviewed earlier at Towleroad) is still collecting the hearts of audiences everywhere it shows. And that's a lot of places now. After theatrical runs in France and Brazil it's currently playing in multiple US cities, in the UK and Hong Kong and soon expands to Taiwan and Sweden. This super charming coming-of-age movie charts the slow blooming romance between Leo, a blind student, and Gabriel, the new kid in town. Leo's best girl friend Giovana (Tess Amorim) doesn't react well. If you haven't seen it yet, seek it out. You'll have a new favorite to add to your Best Gay Movies list.

Daniel+Ribeiro+Film+Maker+Afternoon+Tea+bbFC0__pR3ClThose who've already fallen for its assured storytelling and sensitive acting might be surprised to hear that it's the debut feature of not only its young writer/director but also its principle trio of actors. 

I spoke with the 32 year old director Daniel Ribeiro this week about his breakout film which has been selected by Brazil to represent them at the Oscars. 

NR: You’ve been getting great reviews, awards, and audience response since the premiere. Is this the best year of your life or what?

DANIEL RIBEIRO: Probably, yeah! [Laughter] It’s been really exciting.

How did you feel when your film was selected to compete for the Foreign Language Film Oscar?

It was surprising. It's a very political choice for our country. Even if we don’t get selected, it is the film that is talked about now.  

Brazil -- we’re in an interesting place. We have a lot of visibility. People are talking about the issues. Young kids are more comfortable about being out. But we have a lot of problems with LGBT rights. We have a very conservative congress and we have a lot of homophobe congressmen staying stupid things.

That sounds familiar! 

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

  Wayhelooks-bike

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