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Surprising Study Finds Gay, Bi Teens More Likely To Get Pregnant Than Straight Peers


A study survey of 10,000 New York City teens over the course of three years revealed that gay and bisexual teens are twice as likely to get pregnant over their heterosexual peers reports The survey study conducted through the Center for Disease Control measured sexual orientation in two different ways: how an individual behaves sexually and how an individual labels their sexuality. 

The study found that women who identify as bisexual or lesbian, along with women who chose not to label their sexuality but admitted to sleeping with men and women, were more likely to experience a pregnancy than the 14.3 percent of heterosexual female students and 10.8 percent of heterosexual male students who experience one. The same results apply to men who identify as gay, bisexual or admit to sleeping with both men and women. 

It's unclear why the rates are higher among LGB youth however, the possibility of LGB youth hiding their true orientations through entering heterosexual relationships combined with a lack of proper sexual education is listed as a possible reason for the higher LGB youth pregnancy rate.

NYPD Identifies Suspect in Dallas BBQ Assault on Gay Couple


The NYPD says it has identified the suspect involved in an assault on a gay couple in the Dallas BBQ restaurant in Chelsea as Bayna El-Amin, ABC 7 reports:

Detectives have been tracking him for about a week, but have not been able to take him into custody. They will put out his picture later Tuesday.

"I have him identified, we are seeking him now. He's been identified for about a week. We will see if we can get him in," said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. "He is a career criminal. We believe he has fled the state."

DNAInfo adds:

Bayna shouted anti-gay slurs at the men before hitting them with the chair, according to police.

El-Amin has 18 prior arrests spanning back to 1993, police said. All but two of those incidents took place out of state.

He has arrests on record in Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Alabama and New Jersey for assault, shop lifting, drug possession, credit card fraud, forgery and possession of stolen property. El-Amin's two most recent arrests took place in New York state in April 2012 and October 2013, but both cases were sealed, police said.

Animal New York adds:

Bayna El-Amin’s Facebook appears to have been deleted, but Google’s cache for the page shows that he says he works in “Personal Security for Sketchie ENTertainment,” a nightclub promotion company. Both people who answered the phones at the phone numbers listed on Sketchie’s Facebook page said it was the wrong number. An email to Sketchie has not received a response.

Police released surveillance video of the suspect on May 7, one day after disturbing video emerged of a brawl inside the restaurant during which Jonathan Snipes was cracked over the head with a wooden chair.

Congress Moves to Extend Credit Non-Discrimination Protections to LGBT People


U.S. Senate and House lawmakers introduced new legislation on Wednesday that would prevent discrimination against LGBT people who are seeking credit reports the Washington Blade. The bill, dubbed the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act, would amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

MurrayRep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives while Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) reintroduced the bill in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Murray stated that everyone should be afforded these protections:

"It is unacceptable that someone can be denied credit, simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I am proud that my home state of Washington has these protections, but it is time to ensure all LGBT Americans are protected from this discriminatory practice." 

Only 14 other states guarantee credit protections, including Sen. Murray's state of Washington. The credit bill's introduction comes ahead of a larger, anticipated bill that would guarantee LGBT protections in employment housing, education, federal programs and public accommodations. 

(Top photo via Flickr)

Theatre News: ‘The King and I,’ ‘Curious Incident,’ Second Stage on Broadway, Ed Harris at The New Group and More

K5-312_King_OHaraWatanabe caption

> Lincoln Center Theatre’s acclaimed revival of The King and I will play an open-ended run at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the company announced last week. In addition, a national tour is slated to kick off in November 2016 from Providence, R.I. The production was nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, as well as nods for performances from Kelli O’Hara, Ken Wantanabe, and Ruthie Ann Miles.

Curious2> Simon Stephen’s hit play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, will launch a national tour in October 2016, producers Stuart Thompson and Tim Levy announced last week. Originally produced at London’s National Theatre, the Broadway run has been nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Play and a nod for its young star Alex Sharp.

> Second Stage Theatre has completed its purchase of Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre, where the company plans to exclusively present new works by living American playwrights. The deal, which has been in the works for several years, makes Second Stage the fourth not-for-profit theatre company with its own Broadway venue. Renovations are set to begin in 2016, with the first productions expected for the 2017-18 season. Meanwhile, the company announced two productions for its Off-Broadway season in 2016: Invisible Thread, a new musical by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews that explores the challenges faced by American aid workers in Africa, directed by Diane Paulus (Finding Neverland), and Smart People, a new play by Lydia R. Diamond to be directed by Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun).

Ed-Harris> Oscar nominees Ed Harris and Amy Madigan will star in Sam Shepard’s Buried Child Off Broadway as part of The New Group’s 2015-16 season, the company announced this week. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about the dissolving of the American dream will return for its first major New York production in 20 years under the direction of artistic director Scott Elliott. The company’s season will also include a production helmed by Cynthia Nixon of playwright Mark Gerrard’s Steve, and Mercury Fur by Philip Ridley, also directed by Elliott.

> The Broadway engagement of Doctor Zhivago became the quickest flop of the season this week, closing at the Broadway Theatre on Sunday, May 10 after just over three weeks of regular performances. Based on the novel by Boris Pasternak (also the basis for the 1965 film), with book by Michael Weller, music by Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden), and lyrics by Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Amy Powers, the musical was largely dismissed by critics and struggled at the box office, particularly as it was passed over by the Tony nominations announced just a week after it opened.

Mark Merlis’ ‘JD’: Book Review


Merlis-JD-A-Novel-cAt the beginning of Mark Merlis’ engrossing, ambitious new novel, we meet Martha, a 75-year-old illustrator. For decades she has lived alone in her New York City apartment, bearing the double loss of her son, killed in Vietnam, and her husband, Jonathan, who died of a stroke just a few months later.

Now her routines—painting, walks, solitude—are interrupted when a young academic approaches her about writing a biography of her husband, an obscure writer who flared briefly into fame before being forgotten again after his death.

We quickly learn that her marriage was anything but idyllic. She married Jonathan after becoming unexpectedly pregnant; she refers to him early in the novel as “the-man-who-got-me-in-trouble.” Early in their marriage they come to a tacit agreement that each can seek intimacy outside of their marriage: Martha in the summers she spends outside of New York, Jonathan in the bars and alleyways he trawls for sex—often anonymous, sometimes purchased—with young men.

Their relationship is further strained when Jonathan begins writing openly about his erotic life, in what Martha calls a “ghastly little volume of poems” and in his single great novel. It’s the erotic aspect of his work that—to Martha’s dismay—attracts the interest of his would-be biographer, Philip, who tells Martha what it was like to discover Jonathan’s poetry: “I opened this little book and there was a man telling in such a plain voice…the truth. I mean, my truth, a guy who could say outright what was beautiful in the world, which was the same as what I thought was beautiful.”

Martha’s first impulse is to deny Philip access to Jonathan’s papers, not least because she worries about how the book he’s writing will treat her. “I am not a career widow,” she says, “I have made a life of my own. But it will end on the same page as Jonathan’s.” Even so, she knows that a biography of Jonathan is the best chance she has of being remembered—and, more importantly, of preserving the memory of her son, Mickey.

And so Martha finds herself going through Jonathan’s papers, which she hasn’t seen for years, and reading for the first time the journals he kept. Merlis gives us these entries as Martha reads them, a formal conceit that allows us to share in Martha’s discoveries. It also lets us hear Jonathan’s voice and gives us access to the world that’s changing so quickly around him.

The voice in the journals is thrilling: by turns angry, needy, lyrical, and longing. In the first entries, from 1964, Jonathan writes about the pre-Stonewall gay world in New York City, where he moves between salons full of urbane, literary men he envies and bars full of working-class men he desires. As years pass and gay men become more visible and politically organized, Jonathan feels ambivalence, even disgust: “Fairies are just the too richly feathered canaries in the mine,” he writes, “warbling the truth about all of us: that we don’t believe in tomorrow.” At the end of his journal, in the early seventies, he’s bewildered to find himself surrounded at the bars by men who are open about their identity; he tries “to just relax and practice not scowling at the gay people.” 

Jonathan begins keeping a journal because he feels stymied as a novelist, and we follow him as he realizes that the subject of his next book will be the young men he longs for. The passages where Jonathan writes about his desire and his encounters are some of the best in the novel, lit with an electric longing, “an ecstatic hopelessness that was more like longing for God than longing for dick.” “I look at the emergent body of a boy stretching into a young man and see into the heart of the cosmos,” he says, though he will come to question his facility for turning sexual desire into metaphysics.

Merlis-Mark-2014-cThe title of Jonathan’s great book, JD, stands both for “juvenile delinquent” and for James Dean. Martha calls it “a love song to baby-faced hoodlums”; for Jonathan, it’s at once a hymn to “boys as they are now” and a dissection of “The tension between their…animal yearning” and “the monochrome, valueless world we expect them to grow into.”

It’s also, more than he realizes as he’s writing it, a book for his son. Merlis’ novel is deeply moving in its portrayal of Jonathan and Martha as they try to care for their child. They watch helplessly as he seems to slip through their grasp, failing out of school and spending his few waking hours smoking pot, until finally he’s called up for the draft. “Some time in his teens,” Martha remembers of Mickey, “when he should have been white-hot with lust for the world, he forgot how to speak in the future tense.” 

Reading Jonathan’s journal, Martha will be shocked and acidic about what she sees as Jonathan’s hypocrisy. “He railed against the society that drained the boys’ manhood,” she says when she reads of his paying an underage hustler for sex, “and then knelt to catch the last drop.”

She will also learn a great deal about the years when her son withdrew from her, and about the possible causes for that withdrawal. She will be devastated by a shocking, heartbreaking act of trespass Jonathan commits, and she will also come to question her own role in her son’s turning away from the future.

Both strands of Merlis’ novel—Jonathan writing from the past, Martha speaking to us in the present—are vibrant, tense and alive. Merlis has written a profound book about sex and identity and family, about the perils of artistic ambition, about radical longing and the changing social fabric of America. JD is a beautiful novel.

Previous reviews...
Helen Humphreys’ ‘The Evening Chorus’
Kim Fu’s ‘For Today I Am A Boy’
Joyce Brabner’s ‘Second Avenue Caper
Shelly Oria’s ‘New York 1, Tel Aviv 0’

Garth Greenwell’s debut novel, What Belongs to You, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in early 2016. His short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review and A Public Space. He lives in Iowa City, where he is an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

NYPD Releases Video of Suspect in Dallas BBQ Assault on Gay Couple in Manhattan's Chelsea District: VIDEO


The NYPD has released a video of the suspect in the assault of a gay couple in a Dallas BBQ restaurant in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood of NYC Tuesday night in hopes that someone can identify him.

2_suspectWatch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

The suspect was captured on film violently beating a gay couple over the head with a chair inside the restaurant on 8th Avenue and 23rd Street after an altercation in which homophobic slurs were allegedly used.

The incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Continue reading "NYPD Releases Video of Suspect in Dallas BBQ Assault on Gay Couple in Manhattan's Chelsea District: VIDEO" »


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