Helem, a Lebanese LGBTQI organization, has released the following warning, which succinctly explains the situation:
Helem has learned that the Hobeich police station has been arresting individuals in Beirut and going through their WhatsApp contacts. They are summoning contacts from detainees based on their WhatsApp conversations to go down to the police station for questioning. If you receive a phone call DO NOT GO, call 71 916 146 and Helem representatives will instruct you on what to do. DO NOT answer unknown numbers and save the Hobeich police station numbers on your phone so you can recognize them.
This is very important, please share with all of your friends and contacts either publicly or privately.
The news is the latest in a series of extreme behavior of Lebanese police toward gay men. In the wake of yesterday's news about the flaw in Grindr, it's also a stark reminder of how apps are changing our notion of privacy.Sphere: Related Content
Fashion designer Donatella Versace is the latest celebrity to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, challenging Pedro Almodovar, Pharrell, and Prince to do the same. Two blinged-out shirtless Versace models did the honors.
Donations raised for the ALS Association charity, which benefits care and research to fight the progressive neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, have reached an astonishing $88.5 million.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Yesterday, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard two cases challenging same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. There was a lot of speculation as to who would be on the three judge panel that would hear the case. Not long before the hearing began, we found out: Judges Ann Claire Williams, David Hamilton and Richard Posner. Williams and Hamilton were Clinton and Obama nominees respectively and were widely thought to be favorable to pro-equality arguments. Judge Posner, a Reagan nominee, was something of a wild-card. Though as our own Ari Ezra Waldman pointed out in his pre-hearing analysis, Judge Posner does not always “toe a socially conservative line,” having “been sympathetic to the pro-choice movement.” However, few could have imagined how incredible Judge Posner’s performance during the hearing would be. And while the 7th Circuit still has to deliver its decision, it is safe to say that Judge Posner has won his way into many a gay’s heart.
Check out Posner’s 7 best quips that defined yesterday’s hearing, AFTER THE JUMP…
Originally 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.
In 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.Sphere: Related Content
She's baaack! HBO has released a teaser trailer for the upcoming second season of The Comeback that sees Valerie Cherish up to her old antics.
Get teased, AFTER THE JUMP...
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a request by the state of Utah to extend its deadline for filing an appeal in a case challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban, according to KSL Utah. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes filed the request to extend the deadline to October 22, arguing the state needed the additional time because "the case is 'factually and legally complex' and that the attorneys on the case already have a busy workload." The ACLU, which represents the couples who sued the state for the right to marry, has said that the state had plenty of time to prepare its appeal, arguing further that delays "cause the plaintiffs financial and emotional stress." Meanwhile, the state claims "it has never disputed that the couples 'genuinely feel subjected to hardship' but that their attorneys haven't acknowledged the "equally true proposition" that Utah is harmed by not being able to enforce its laws."
Gay couples in Utah began to marry after Federal Judge Dale Kimball ruled in December of last year that Utah's gay marriage ban "[denied] its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean[ed] the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason." The 10th Circuit then upheld Kimball's ruling but the decision was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court until Utah could appeal the circuit court's ruling.
Watch a news report on the 10th Circuit's latest decision, AFTER THE JUMP...