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Singapore Bans Two Children's Books With Gay Characters

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Singapore libraries have withdrawn two children's books with gay characters, reports NPR.

In a Facebook statement, The National Library Board suggests that the subject matter of the banned books is incompatible with a “pro-family” stance:

"Young children are among our libraries’ most frequent visitors. Many of them browse books in our children’s sections on their own. As such, NLB takes a pro-family and cautious approach in identifying titles for our young visitors. In selecting children’s books, we sieve through the contents and exercise our best judgement. Parents can be assured that NLB is sensitive to their concerns and views, and their feedback."

The two banned books are And Tango Makes Three, inspired by two real male penguins who hatched an egg together, and The White Swan Express, about three straight couples and one lesbian couple who travel to China to adopt baby girls.

Homosexuality in Singapore is criminalized with two years in prison

Singapore library books banned1


Advertisers Actively Courting Gay Consumers: VIDEO

Ads aimed at LGBT community

The last 12 months has seen an increase in gay representation in mainstream advertising, according to NPR.

Ads such as a recent spot for Chevrolet which includes both same-sex and single parent families with the voice-over "while what it means to be family hasn't changed, what a family looks like has,” are representative of this shift.

According to Rich Ferraro, vice president of communications at GLAAD, “within the last year we've seen advertising come out of the closet, and now use LGBT families or LGBT individuals in campaigns that reach mainstream audiences.”

Speaking to NPR, Robert Klara, a staff writer for Adweek, said that the increase in advertising aimed at the LGBT community is representative of how competitive the marketplace is now:

"If you're not appealing to every minority community, be that racial or in terms of sexual orientation, you're missing out on market share."

Read NPR's report and watch the Chevrolet ad and a banned 1995 Guinness ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Advertisers Actively Courting Gay Consumers: VIDEO" »


Ugandan President ‘Ridiculed’ Hillary Clinton When Challenged on Anti-Homosexuality Act

Hillary Clinton has revealed in her memoir Hard Choices that she unsuccessfully urged Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to halt the passage of his country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Hillary Clinton Hard ChoicesSaid Clinton: "He [President Museveni] ridiculed my concerns."

The Act, which was given presidential assent by Mr Museveni in February, calls for offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and makes it a criminal offence to not report someone for being gay.

Last week, the U.S. announced that it had cut aid to Uganda, cancelled a planned military exercise with the country and banned Ugandan citizens involved in human rights abuses from entering the United States.

In her book, Clinton also writes about her anger at the murder of Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato in 2011.

“David was killed in what police said was a robbery but it was more likely an execution. I was appalled that the police and government had done little to protect David after public calls for his murder. But this was about more than police incompetence. It was the result of a nationwide campaign to suppress LGBT people by any means necessary, and the government was part of it."

 


HRC President Chad Griffin Talks to NPR About Growing Up Gay in Arkansas: VIDEO

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NPR follows HRC President Chad Griffin back to his home state of Arkansas and talks to Griffin and his childhood friends about what it was like to grow up gay there, and his high school job at Walmart!

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Political Donations Raise Chicken And Egg Question

PinkdollarsignWe all know the modern gay rights movement is a rather young endeavor. It's only been 43-years since the Stonewall Rebellion. But a key element to the movement's relatively rapid success, the open giving of political donations, is even younger.

It wasn't until 1989 that Human Rights Campaign started distributing the pink dollar, but even then most lawmakers turned them down.

From NPR's Ari Shapiro:

When gays and lesbians started the Human Rights Campaign in the 1980s, they knew that the path to influence in Washington is paved with cash. Write a politician a check, and he's more likely to listen to you. The problem was that back then most politicians didn't want anything to do with gay people or their money.

"It was almost an embarrassment to be supported by the gay community," says Winnie Stachelberg, who used to work for HRC and is now with the liberal Center for American Progress.

Clearly times changed and soon politicians, mostly Democrats, realized the gay dollar was just as good as any other, and the dialogue began. So too did the progress.

Money flow and political action go hand-in-hand. If you need proof, look at President Obama's fundraising haul after announcing his support for marriage equality: "He took in nearly $9 million over three days, compared to $3.4 million in the three previous days, according to an NPR analysis of campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission."

Shapiro notes that the relationship between money and legislation raises that eternal "chicken or egg" scenario: "Does money flow to politicians because the lawmakers take pro-gay positions? Or do the lawmakers take those positions because they hope that will bring a flood of gay donors?"

We may find the answer soon. Christian Berle from the Log Cabin Republicans told Shapiro that a few senior GOP leaders are inching their way toward backing some LGBT rights. "We have been in conversations with a number of members who are looking to move in that direction," he said. "There's one [for whom] it's most likely a matter of months, not years."

If New York State is any indication, that person will reap the rewards: the four Republican lawmakers who voted for marriage equality in the Empire State soon saw a fundraising boom.


NEWS: 'The Guardian' Explains Our Poverty, Michael Moore Hates Barack Obama, Rick Santorum Has A Blank Wall In His Head, Jimmy Fallon Is The Lizard King

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Road The Guardian crunches the numbers: It's really more like 99.99%.

Road John Waters talks Christmas:

“I liked Santa but I would get confused as a child whether I was supposed to pray to him or William Castle [the B-movie director], or Jesus,” he says, before skipping to another thought about “living crèches” – Christmas cribs re-created with real people. “They’re begging for Diane Arbus to come back from the grave to take a picture of them. What parent would give their child to be baby Jesus, with straw and candles and mules that kick … ? I’m telling you, I think living crèches are some of the most horrifying things.”

Road A gay marriage in Zucotti Park!

Road Margot Adler reports on the homeless queer youth of New York:

"The day after my 18th birthday this year, my adopted parent kicked me out," says [Jeremiah Beaverly, late of Illinois]. "At the time, I was really infatuated with this guy, and she was listening to my phone calls. She started telling my family, 'He is this, he is that, he is gay,' and talking about me as if I wasn't part of the family."

Road Christopher Walken opened up about Natalie Wood's death way back in '97, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery – I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat."

Road How do you know what you know?

Road Should a candidate's religion matter?

But suppose Santorum replies — as he has — that he would seek to ban gay marriage (in fact, he also supports anti-sodomy laws). The question then is why he thinks this is the right thing to do.  If his only reply is that his Catholic religion condemns homosexuality, then we’ve hit a blank wall. Debate is the life-blood of a democracy, and this means that leaders must offer discussable reasons for what they propose to do.  To say, “My religion says so” may explain why you believe something, but it has no function in a discussion with people who do not accept your religion.  Such an appeal to religion is, as Richard Rorty once put it, merely a "conversation stopper."

Road That's light! Scientists invent metal material that's 1/100th as heavy as styrofoam. 

Road Faith2Action believes it can disprove evolution in less than 300 words.

Road Michael Moore is as ridiculous when discussing President Obama as he is the rest of the time. Hunstmawkward

Road He's reasonable! He's sane! But dammit, Jon Hunstman just never looks relaxed.

Road A powerful letter demanding the resignation of UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi. (Whose walk of shame you may witness here.) Excerpt:

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

This is what happened. You are responsible for it.

You are responsible for it because this is what happens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Faculty get hurt. One of the most inspiring things (inspiring for those of us who care about students who assert their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly) about the demonstration in Berkeley on November 9 is that UC Berkeley faculty stood together with students, their arms linked together. Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground, and arrested. Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien was injured by baton blows. Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also struck with a baton. These faculty stood together with students in solidarity, and they too were beaten and arrested by the police. In writing this letter, I stand together with those faculty and with the students they supported.

One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way—linking arms and holding their ground—police also responded in the same way: with violent force. The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.

You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds.

Road The story of "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic."

Road "A jar of change on a dresser is sadly factoring into a number of financial decisions."

Road Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison, singing the Reading Rainbow theme. Incredibly bizarre, shockingly good. Watch it AFTER THE JUMP ... (HT: Shakesville)

Continue reading "NEWS: 'The Guardian' Explains Our Poverty, Michael Moore Hates Barack Obama, Rick Santorum Has A Blank Wall In His Head, Jimmy Fallon Is The Lizard King" »


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