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Michigan Democrat Adam Zemke Introduces Bill To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy in the State

Adam zemke

New legislation has been introduced by Michigan Democrat Rep. Adam Zemke which aims to ban gay conversion therapy for minors in the state, reports mlive.com.

Zemke hopes Michigan can join California and New Jersey in banning “ex-gay” therapy for under-18s.  Efforts to introduce bans on conversion therapy in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state have been blocked or stalled.

Zemke said:

"The evidence shows you cannot change sexual orientation, so the legislation was kind of a no-brainer. We want to make sure children cannot be exposed to situations that are emotionally harmful to them because of their parents' beliefs or desires to try to change their orientation."

In 2009, the American Psychological Association said that attempts to change sexual orientation are ineffective and can have harmful side effects including depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety.

Zemke has had positive support from some Republicans. However, Republican Rep. Gail Haines, chair of the House Health Policy Committee, said that new laws intervening in the relationship between parents and their children "seems unnecessary."

The “ex-gay” movement has had a number of recent setbacks. Last week, Duane Youngblood was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenager. Yesterday, we reported that Yvette Cantu Schneider, one of the most vocal and best known representatives of the ex-gay movement, announced that she no longer wishes to identify with anti-gay groups.


Harlem Atlah Church Has New Message Of Anti-Gay Christian Hate

Harlem Altah Hate Church Sign

I really, really don't think that anyone at the Atlah Church in Harlem has actually read the Bible. The verse referenced above in their new marquee, 1 Corinthians 6:9, just states that bad people don't go to heaven.

While a great many people interpret the verse as a condemnation of gays and lesbians, it doesn't wish harm on them nor curse them with horrible debilitating diseases. It's particularly peculiar that they invoke the same ill will on those who love and support sinners given Jesus himself said the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself

So, either pastor James David Manning of the Harlem Hate Church has some self-esteem issues, or just simply isn't interested in the actual message of that long-haired socialist hippie he claims to worship.

(via jmg)


Oh Hell No!: David Mixner to Perform Benefit Stage Show in NYC

Mixner

LGBT and civil rights activist, author, storyteller, and Towleroad contributor David Mixner will debut a new one-night only one-man show on October 27 at 7 pm at New World Stages in New York City to benefit The Point Foundation, an organization which assists LGBTQ students in achieving their academic and leadership potential.

Mixner's new show, Oh Hell No!, will take as its starting point "personal and public details of his headline-grabbing and history-shaping life" and be accompanied musically by Chris Bolan, Megan Osterhaus, and Tim Jerome.

Event chairs for the evening include Alan Cumming, Robert Desiderio, Herb Hamsher, Judith Light, Ken Mehlman, Rob Smith, Jonathan Stoller, Jorge Valencia, and Edie Windsor. For information on tickets, including Premium Seating with special access to the post-performance VIP reception at Glass House Tavern, please contact Drew Rhodes at (212) 512-5785 or drew@pointfoundation.org.

Photo by Nigel Barker.


NewFest, NYC's Premier LGBT Film Festival, Opens: VIDEO

Thecircle

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and OutFest combine forces this week to bring you NewFest, New York City's largest LGBT film festival.

NewFestFrom July 24th thru July 29th, NewFest will screen a series of wonderfully-curated narrative, documentary, and short films from a diverse array of directors. Nathaniel Rogers recently reviewed Futuro Beach and Gerontophilia, the opening and closing night selections, but there are many others to see in between.

Sure bets (based on other film fest's awards, including LA's OutFest) include: The Circle, a documentary about the Swiss underground gay movement post-WWII, Lilting, about a boyfriend and mother grieving the same death on very different terms, and The Way He Looks, a coming-of-age narrative about a blind teenager's affections for a new friend. 

Head over to the Film Society of Lincoln Center site to purchase tickets, and check out a trailer for the festival, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NewFest, NYC's Premier LGBT Film Festival, Opens: VIDEO" »


New Musical ‘Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story’ Opens Off Broadway: REVIEW

Piece

BY NAVEEN KUMAR

No one can claim a shortage of Broadway musicals about Brill Building artists who became household names—between them, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys) and Carole King (Beautiful) have the Baby Boomer market cornered—so it seems fitting that Piece of My Heart, an engaging and surprisingly sexy new musical about lesser-known chart-topping songwriter Bert Berns, opened on a more modest scale Off Broadway Monday, at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

Piece2Writer of ubiquitous ‘60s hits like “Twist and Shout” and “Cry Baby,” Berns didn’t attain the notoriety of some of his peers, perhaps due to his early death from a heart condition at age 38. With two of his children as lead producers, the new musical tells the story of Berns’ career and his surviving family’s conflict over promoting his legacy.

Berns’ daughter Jessie (Leslie Kritzer) is called to New York City by her dad’s old friend and manager Wazzel (Joseph Siravo), warning her that Berns’ catalogue is in danger of being sold off for a lump sum by her mother (Linda Hart). Predictably, in dad’s Brill Building office, Jessie discovers who her father really was, herself by extension, and finally confronts her mother.

Piece4While its underlying plot is only slightly more original than the E! True Hollywood Story blueprint of its Broadway predecessors, Daniel Goldfarb’s book steers the show, rather than taking a backseat to showcasing the songwriter's hits. Instead of a litany of studio sessions or live performances, Berns’ songs are, for the most part, integrated into the musical’s several love stories. And because much of his music is about different stages of love, the formula works quite well.

Playing a relatively unknown, behind-the-scenes artist is a different kind of challenge from playing an icon, and Zak Resnick’s pitch perfect performance proves he has the makings of a star himself. His voice is both sweet and strong, and he manages to bring a modern sort of sex appeal to Berns that’s rare and refreshing to see in a jukebox musical.

Piece3Director-choreographer Denis Jones hints toward the decade of sexual excitement the songs portend, rather than their author’s achy-breaky heart—to fine affect. While dance numbers pay homage to the decade’s musical mix of styles, Jones forgoes nostalgia for originality and brings a carnal energy to songs otherwise known for being saccharine, if not exactly chaste.

Unlike most artists who die young, Berns knows his heart condition will lead to an early death, fueling his drive to succeed. His story (despite being true) is a potential minefield of clichés that the production for the most part successfully avoids. Maybe because its producers have their father’s legacy as their primary concern, Piece of My Heart stays focused on telling Berns’ story and making his songs sound their best, rather than pleasing the crowd—though it does that, too.  

Recent theatre features...
Tupac Musical ‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’ Opens on Broadway: REVIEW
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David Byrne and Fatboy Slim Musical ‘Here Lies Love’ Returns Off Broadway: REVIEW
Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams Open On Broadway in ‘Cabaret:’ REVIEW

Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos:jenny anderson)


New York Young Republican Club Writer Rants About Gay Flags, Suddenly Resigns

William Palumbo

The New York Young Republican Club has a problem with the gay flag. Specifically, the site's head of "Blog" William Palumbo took severe offense at the "gay/LGBTQ(RSTUVWXYZ)" pride flag being flown at U.S. embassies in London and Tel Aviv, so much so that he wondered if it were an impeachable offense. Yes, really.

Can I pose a serious question?  At what point does replacing the American flag with the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay/LGBTQ(RSTUVWXYZ) pride from embassies abroad become an impeachable offense in itself?

Concerned that the U.S. is becoming "the United States of Gaymerica", Palumbo went on to condemn gay ambassadors that have been sent abroad in the past.

This administration has a record of placing gay ambassadors in countries where they are not welcome. The Dominican Republic last November, for example, was pretty well outraged.

Naturally, none of this was accompanied by plans of action, proposals for solutions to the "problem" (such as it were), or anything else potentially productive. Just ranting and implications that Obama himself is having a queer relationship with the Emir of Qatar. The President of NYYRC Brian Morgenstern did take productive actions, however, and Palumbo has now resigned and Morgenstern issued an apology stating that Palumbo's views do not reflect the views of the club.


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