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NFL Free Agent Michael Sam Invited to Veteran Combine, Says He's 'Getting the Hang' of Dancing: VIDEO

3_sam

NFL free agent defensive end Michael Sam has been invited to the first-ever veteran combine, ESPN reports:

The veteran combine will be held March 22 in Tempe, Arizona, less than a week after Sam is set to start competing on the latest season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," which starts March 16.

Sam was chosen last year in the seventh round of the draft by the St. Louis Rams but the team released him before the season began. He was later signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad but then waived.

The Veteran Combine is similar to the one held for potential draftees but it is for current NFL free agents like Sam.

Following the announcement this week that Sam would compete on Dancing With The Stars, he released a statement on Twitter:

Very excited to be a part of @DancingABC. Football remains my unquestioned number 1 priority, however, while I continue to train and stay ready, I am ecstatic to participate in a fun, athletic competition like so many players before me have done. Filming this offseason is very flexible and allows me to be part of the veterans combine 3/22 if accepted or any other workouts. I’m looking forward to getting started with @PetaMurgatroyd and winning! Thanks for the support! #TeamSambatroyd

Paparazzi stationed outside Dancing With The Stars rehearsals caught up with Sam this week as he arrived to rehearsals with fiancé Vito Cammisano in tow, and asked him which was tougher, dancing or the combine.

"Both," he replied.

They also asked if he has nailed his first dance yet:

"I think it's a secret right now. It's different from football. Peta's (Murgatroyd, his partner) doing a great job. She's bearing with me. It's different than football, clearly. But I'm getting the hang of it. It's fun. Great workout."

And what kind of advice he had for gay kids nervous to come out.

"Be on your truth. On your truth."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Kentucky State Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Anti-trans Bathroom Bill for Students

Ky

Yesterday, the Kentucky Senate approved a bill that would require transgender students in the state to use the bathroom that matches their biological sex rather than their gender identification.

The vote was 27-9, with three Republicans joining Senate Democrats in opposing the bill. 

The Courier-Journal reports:

EmbryRepublican Sen. C.B. Embry (right), the bill's sponsor, calls it a "common sense" approach to guide school administrators and safeguard privacy in areas where students are in a state of undress. Supporters argue the rule also would help protect transgender students from bullying and harassment by providing separate accommodations.

But opponents charged Friday that lawmakers are yielding to fear and discrimination. They said the bill will strip flexibility from school districts and violate federal guidelines on civil rights for transgender students.

"We need to acknowledge that this is the civil rights issue of our current time, and today this Senate has failed the people of Kentucky," said Sen. Reginald Thomas, a Democrat who warned that the legislation would "cast a shroud of darkness" over the Senate.

Under the legislation, transgender students must either use the bathroom of their biological sex or seek special accommodations such as a faculty or unisex bathroom. 

The Lexington Herald-Leader has background on why the bill was introduced in the first place:

The bill stems from a controversy last year at Atherton, where a transgender student who was born male identified as a female and wanted to use the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms.

A controversy arose, and the school eventually adopted a policy of letting students use bathrooms based on their gender identity. The decision was backed by the school's site-based council and a Jefferson County Public Schools appeals committee. 

The bill now heads to the Democrat-controlled House, where Speaker Greg Stumbo has already indicated he isn't interested in taking up the bill and "deciding where kids can go to the bathroom."


Donatella Versace Reflects on the Death of Gianni 18 Years Later: VIDEO

Versace

The NYT pays a visit to the studio of Donatella Versace, to discuss how she keeps the brand relevant, and the loss of her brother, which she still feels deeply:

"When my brother died, and the way he died, I had to show strength. I had to show, 'we're going to do it. don't worry.' I was living my pain in public, and I couldn't show my pain, to anybody. This office, this space we're in now, reflects really me, and my emotions. The ones I don't show to anybody...Nobody believes me but I'm not a very secure person. You know, I question everything I am. My vulnerability was always hidden. I was going home and crying, but closing the room, because I didn't lose the king of fashion, which he was. In that moment, I lost my brother."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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News: SCOTUS, Uganda, Blogger, Blade Runner 2, Scarlett Johansson

Road Same-sex couples in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee have filed their briefs with the Supreme Court asking it to strike down bans on gay marriage. 

Road Scarlett Johansson defends John Travolta's awkward Oscar kiss.

Road KellyKelly Clarkson reveals she will never ever ever show her daughter the American Idol atrocity From Justin to Kelly

Road West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael says there's "no way" he'll consider an Arkansas-style bill that would nullify local LGBT protections

Road New human rights report documents numerous cases of Ugandan gay men being abused by police.

Road A ban on "ex-gay" conversion therapy has been introduced in the Minnesota Senate. 

Road Jason Collins defends Michael Sam's decision to join the cast of Dancing with the Stars

Road Google is backtracking on its initial plan to ban sexually explicit content from Blogger. 

Road Love Cards Against Humanity but want some variety in your adult board game nights? Check out the Kickstarter for OdiousLists - an R-rated spin on the classic Scattergories from openly gay gamemaker Ken Goff. 

Road Madonna reveals she suffered whiplash from her BRIT Awards tumble.

Road Neil Patrick Harris treats himself to some post-Oscars Tiffany's.

Road More celebrities react to Leonard Nimoy's passing. 

OliverRoad How John Oliver saved the internet. "And while the three-to-two partisan vote handed a stunning victory to the advocates of net neutrality, Wheeler’s about-face in some ways reveals how comedic takes on the news by the Jon Stewarts of the world can be more influential than the Brian Williamses and more “serious” coverage of wonky subjects that nevertheless have profound social effect. 'John Oliver absolutely helped turn the tide in the net-neutrality debate,' says Aram Sinnreich, professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information in New Brunswick, New Jersey."

Road 15 people who could host the Oscars next year

Road The Washington Post examines the days leading up to Missouri GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Schweich's suicide. 

Road In honor of #theDress, here are 12 optical illusions that show you how color can trick the eye

Road Harrison Ford will return for Blade Runner 2


San Francisco Archbishop's 'Purity Test' Would Punish Teachers for Posting Photos of Their Gay Son's Wedding

Cordileone

Earlier this month, we reported on San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's new "purity test" for Catholic schools that threatens termination for teachers who give any statement that contradicts church doctrine, including holding a position that homosexuality is anything other than "gravely evil."

Drunk driver Cordileone's anti-gay crusade goes even further, however, as The New York Times reports:

Part of the focus here and elsewhere appears to be online sharing of photos and personal opinions. A number of morality clauses in other dioceses express such concerns, specifying that teachers may not post anything on Facebook or Twitter that contradicts church teachings.

Archbishop Cordileone said that teachers who crossed doctrinal lines would be dealt with “on a case-by-case basis.” Asked if a teacher could post photos on Facebook of her gay son’s wedding, he said that “if someone was upset and reported it,” then “the person with the Facebook page would have to be talked to.”

A protest vigil against the new "purity test" was held outside St. Mary's Cathedral earlier this month. 


Russian Government Takes Revenge on Lesbians Who Kiss-Trolled Anti-Gay Politician

Milonov

In early February we reported on a pair of lesbians who found themselves on a plane with Russia's leading anti-gay politician Vitaly Milonov, and decided to troll him by capturing him in a photo in which they were kissing. They then posted the photo to social media where it went viral.

The couple owns Infinity, a lesbian nightclub in St. Petersburg.

MilonovNow, the action has cost them in a big way, Global Voices reports:

Milonov didn’t find the stunt very amusing, however. He called the girls “crazy little morons” and said he was “ashamed for their parents, who raised such idiots.”

Two days later, on February 3, an anti-gay online community based in Moscow and St. Petersburg published a call to get Infinity closed down. The group posted instructions and a scripted complaint to be sent to the district attorney, demanding that police shut down the lesbian nightclub. Community members were also encouraged to appeal to Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state-run media watchdog, and federal anti-drug agents, based on claims that Infinity opens its doors to minors and operates as a center for illegal drug use.

The anti-gay group, called Moscow Isn’t Sodom and Petersburg Isn’t Gomorrah, claims that at least 524 of the club’s 30,000 VKontakte community members are underage, making the “propagation of homosexuality” a federal crime. Access to Infinity’s VKontakte group is restricted to members, making it difficult to verify accusations that it caters to minors.

Those who want the nightclub shut down are instructed to convey their concerns to police. “I have every reason to believe,” the scripted complaint reads, “that the promotional activities carried out at the lesbian club Infinity pose a serious threat to the physical and mental health of minors who manage to enter the establishment.”

Infinity was raided as a direct result of the kissing selfie. Whether or not the club will be shut for good is not clear.


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