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Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 85 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014

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UPDATED!!!

Due to four notable December announcements - from a Spanish television host, an 'ex-gay' survivor of Michele and Marcus Bachmann's conversion therapy clinic, a national champion swimmer, and a high school all-state soccer goalie, we've updated this list to provide a more complete look back at those who decided to come out in 2014. We've also added a professional strongman that we unfortunately overlooked in our first post. Enjoy these new additions to the list.

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"I think coming out...is really about coming out as your authentic self, coming out as the person you always knew you were but no one else may have known, and now you're sharing that honestly with people for the first time."

2014faces2Such is how Rodrigo Lehtinen, the trans son of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, explained to CBS Miami last month what it meant for him to now be open about who he is.

It's as simple as that, whether you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or some fluid combination of any of them. But it's certainly an act of courage in a world where LGBTQ people face obstacles in marriage, employment, and even basic acceptance. In many places, the status of being 'out' about one's sexual orientation or gender identity is dangerous, even life-threatening.

In 2014 thousands, perhaps millions of people came out all over the world. They all made a difference. The folks featured here are just a few who happened to make a big difference and caught our eye on Towleroad this year. Some are well-known, some are little-known: the CEO of the largest corporation in the world, an NFL player, a Kenyan literary figure, fashion models, the foreign minister of a Baltic state, country singers, Mormon pop stars, a few of the stars of your favorite television shows, and unknowns from the world of YouTube.

When it comes to coming out, 2014 was certainly the year of the athlete.

Of the 80 people on our list this year, more than 1/3 come from the sports world — football, baseball, boxing, tennis, long distance running, hurling, basketball, rowing, and diving. Many of these athletes are making a name for themselves in college sports, many in conservative places. Twenty-one come from the entertainment world. And they are from all over the world — Japan, Peru, Ireland, Uruguay, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Finland, Canada, Spain, Chile, and more... Also, the leader of a company worth more than all the world's airlines combined, worth more than the entire Russian stock market.

It's quite an impressive group of folks. We're proud of all of you. By choosing to come out as L, G, B, T, queer, or whatever label your sexual orientation or gender identity is telling you is yours, you've made life easier for all those who haven't come out yet, and all those who are currently struggling for their civil and human rights.

Please enjoy reading their stories. And share this post with your friends, family, and anyone in the closet to whom you'd like to offer a bit of courage or support.

 

Read on, AFTER THE JUMP...

Contributions to this post were made earlier this year by Kyler Geoffroy, Sean Mandell, Joseph Ehrman-Dupre, Steve Pep, Brian Sloan, Daniel Villareal, Anthony Costello, Jim Redmond, Charles Pulliam-Moore, Christian Walters, John Wright, and Jake Folsom.

Make sure not to miss a Towleroad headline by following @TLRD on Twitter.

Continue reading "Gay, Bi, Transgender: The 85 Most Powerful Comings Out of 2014" »


Michele Bachmann's 'Ex-Gay' Client Comes Out As Gay: 'In the End, My Sexuality is a Beautiful Gift from God'

The bad news keeps on coming for the ailing, harmful “ex-gay” movement.  

SchizzelFollowing a number of recent high profile announcements from former “ex-gay” activists attacking “conversion therapy” and a ban on the practice in Washington, D.C., Religion News Service is carrying an interview with “conversion therapy” survivor Christian Schizzel who lays bare his experiences with Janet Boynes Ministries and GOP nuts Michele and Marcus Bachmann’s “counselling” services.

Christian “spent seven years being trotted around the country on media outlets as a poster boy for the ex-gay movement. Now, after reclaiming his gay identity, Christian says he won’t be a weapon anymore.”

To those still promoting the use of a harmful, hateful practice, Christian has this to say:

“I hope they realize this path leads to a horrid dead end. It’s harmful and excruciatingly painful. There’s no academic or spiritual basis for its promotion.

"I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone, not even the ones who harmed me the most in this life.

"In the end, my sexuality is a beautiful gift from God,  and every day, I have found, I have to make a choice to honor it in the straight man’s world.”

Read the full interview here

Previously, "Dan Savage: Marcus Bachmann Is a 'Tormented Closet Case'" [tlrd]


Dan Savage: Marcus Bachmann Is A 'Tormented Closet Case' - VIDEO

In an interview with Playboy, Dan Savage has attacked “tormented closet case” Marcus Bachmann for promoting “ex-gay” therapy.

BachmannBachmann, the husband of Republican supreme wingnut Michele Bachmann, is probably Minnesota’s best-known practitioner of the harmful practice. An attempt earlier this year to ban conversion therapy in the state failed. In one of her viler outbursts of the year, Mrs Bachmann said that gay people want laws changed "so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually."

In the interview, Savage says “anybody who has gaydar—anybody who has eyes” looks at Bachmann and “sees a tormented closet case who has externalized his internal conflict and is abusing other people, doing his reparative-therapy bullshit.”

He continues:

“It’s so sad and pathetic. A lot of the self-destructive behaviors gay people are prone to drifting into are directed inward, and then you have these shitbags like Marcus Bachmann for whom it’s all directed outward.

"Marcus Bachmann is the photo negative of the guy on the last bar stool in the gay bar, drinking and smoking himself to death, except instead of destroying himself, he’s destroying other vulnerable queer people in an effort to destroy the queer inside himself.”

Savage also opens up about coming out to his mother when he was 18 and the It Gets Better project.

On the issue of bullying faced by LGBT youth, Savage says:

“It hasn’t quite sunk into the thick skulls of high school administrators and teachers that they can’t abuse queer kids with impunity anymore, because the families are likely to be on the kids’ side. We’ve got lawyers now and we will come after you. We’re winning and we’re not going to sit idly by anymore. You can’t just beat up a queer kid at a high school in Mississippi and have it be a local story. We will jump down your fucking throat.”

Read Savage's full interview with Playboy here

There is some hope for Marucs - last month John Smid, a former "ex-gay"activist and Exodus International board member, married his same-sex partner.

Watch a video in support "the gay husband of ghastly gay-bashing anti-american religio-psychotic kook and incompetent Michele Bachmann, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Dan Savage: Marcus Bachmann Is A 'Tormented Closet Case' - VIDEO" »


Minnesota Bill Banning ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy for Minors Fails to Pass

A bill that would have banned ‘ex-gay’ therapy for minors in Minnesota failed to pass the state legislature, The Colu.mn reports:

Alec fisher“The bill is officially dead for this session as it has missed committee deadlines,” Gabe Aderhold told TheColu.mn. Aderhold and fellow University of Minnesota student Alec Fischer [pictured] have been pushing for the bill. Late last year, the two created a petition with more than 114,000 signatures urging lawmakers to ban “ex-gay” therapy with minors. Aderhold and Fischer were successful in getting the bills introduced this session. California and New Jersey have enacted similar laws, and a half dozen other states are considering similar legislation.

“The votes were there in the Senate committee, but Tina Liebling, chair of the Health and Human Service Policy Committee in the House would not hear the bill. She cited lack of time and not wanting to regulate the industry — leave it up to the licensing boards, etc — as her reasoning,” Aderhold told TheColu.mn.

“With further investigation, Alec and I found that dozens of emails were being sent to lawmakers from folks around the country asking lawmakers to kill the bill before committee,” he said. “We do not know what organization or group sent out these emails, but there were many and they had a generic response.”

Marcus Bachmann perhaps?

Aderhold said the next step is to build a broader base of support, raise greater awareness, and reintroduce the bill next year. 


Minnesota Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors: VIDEO

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Minnesota Representative Susan Allen (DFL-Minneapolis) has introduced legislation to ban gay conversion therapy for minors, Patch reports:

“If you look at over the period of the last five years, they’ve sort of changed the way they advertise their services,” Allen told Capitol Report host Julie Bartkey. “It’s not as obvious anymore that some of the Christian, sort of, based mental health services that offer this type of therapy. It’s just sort of given that it’s part of their family therapy. So it is prevalent, and it is a nationwide problem.”

Minnesota’s best known conversion therapy practitioner is Marcus Bachmann, the husband of 6th District Congresswoman Rep. Michele Bachmann. In 2011, Marcus Bachmann acknowledged that therapists in his Christian counseling business will offer conversion therapy to those who want it—although he said the practice, which was renamed Counseling Care in December, is not focused on converting gays to heterosexuality.

Said Allen: “It’s a practice that’s been discredited. There’s 40 years of research.”

Watch Allen talk about it on Capitol Report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Similar bills have been introduced in New York and Maryland, and passed in New Jersey and California.

Continue reading "Minnesota Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors: VIDEO" »


Michele and Marcus Bachmann Discuss Her Decision to Quit: VIDEO

Bachmanns

Michele and Marcus Bachmann have returned in a new video to talk about Bachmann's retirement and what she plans to do in her spare time — continue to try to repeal Obamacare and help Marchs with his one man stage show.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Michele and Marcus Bachmann Discuss Her Decision to Quit: VIDEO" »


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