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Rose Of Tralee Maria Walsh Reveals She's Gay - VIDEO

Rose

Philadelphia Rose Maria Walsh, the 2014 winner of Irish international beauty pageant The Rose of Tralee, has revealed that she is gay, reports The Independent.

Now in its 55th year, the Rose of Tralee includes young women of Irish descent from Ireland and around the world. 

In an interview with the Irish Sun, Walsh, who was crowned the new Rose in County Kerry on Saturday night, said:

"I'm confident in who I am as a person. The Rose of Tralee is about celebrating women's intelligence, careers, their volunteer work. The question of sexuality never came up. To me, being gay is normal. It's natural."

Walsh is a Boston native who moved to County Mayo with her family 20 years ago. Following her graduation, she moved to New York and later to Philadelphia.

Last week, reigning Miss Spain Patricia Yurena became the first openly gay national pageant queen.

Watch an interview with Walsh, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rose Of Tralee Maria Walsh Reveals She's Gay - VIDEO" »


Thomas Roberts Says He Understands 'Tremendous Hypocrisy' of His Trip to Moscow: VIDEO

T_roberts

Thomas Roberts appeared on Morning Joe this morning to elaborate on a statement he made yesterday on MSNBC explaining why he is going to Moscow to host the Miss Universe pageant despite calls for a boycott of the country over Russia's anti-gay laws.

Says Roberts:

"Patrick (his husband) and I have discussed this. We understand that we go on a different privilege than a lot of other people are that live in Russia right now. We live here in the s ates under a different set of privileges. Right now marriage equality is still a big battle. ENDA continues to be a battle in Washington DC. We understand what the home turf is like. I want to go and educate myself on what Russia's turf is like. I want to be able to carve out how I can cover and do stories for our network that way and show first hand what it's like to be there. But I know that I'm going to be treated completely differently. So there is a bit of hypocrisy that goes along with that - a tremendous amount of hypocrisy that goes along with that - so I hope to shine a bright light on that."

No doubt many will be watching to see what form that light takes.

Roberts also responds to some of the reactions he has received. Roberts also tweeted that he'll address it on his show this morning and Donald Trump, who sponsors the pageant, will appear, along with his co-host Melanie Brown.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Thomas Roberts Says He Understands 'Tremendous Hypocrisy' of His Trip to Moscow: VIDEO" »


Gay MSNBC Anchor Thomas Roberts to Host 'Miss Universe' in Moscow: 'Let People See I am No Different...'

MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts is going to host the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in November, and explains why he "aggressively went after" the job when it came up, in an op-ed on the MSNBC website: "because it is a huge, visible opportunity for LGBT people.  Everywhere."

Writes Roberts, in part: Roberts

Over the last several months Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved new homophobic laws for his country. Yes, laws that criminalize and stigmatize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies in Russia.

These actions attracted worldwide news coverage with some critics labeling it: Russia’s dark chapter in the history of gay rights. World leaders have expressed their contempt for these discriminatory laws with President Barack Obama declaring that “nobody’s more offended than me.”

In August, the Miss Universe Organization issued its own statement that Russian laws are “diametrically opposed to the core values” of Miss Universe.

I too am diametrically opposed to these laws and share in the President’s outrage. I am unafraid to say I am proud of my husband and my family—I’m proud of their love for me. I’m proud of the incredible steps forward equality has taken this year.

I’m proud of our nation, which still aspires to live up to the promise of its founding fathers. I am unafraid to tell you how traditional my husband and I are. After thirteen years, we continue to foster and grow our life together, with highs and lows, the folly and the fights. The same things many long term couples experience. Simple things: Trash night, dog walks, the remote control. Tough things: Homophobia, job loss, death.

You can’t get more traditional than that and, above all, we love each other.

So people may wonder: “Thomas, how can you accept this assignment? Shouldn’t you boycott Russia?” I am not going to boycott. Boycotting and vilifying from the outside is too easy. Rather, I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay. Let people see I am no different than anyone else.

Read Roberts' entire post HERE.

ADDENDUM:

As Towleroad reported in August, Bravo executive and Watch What Happens Live! host Andy Cohen turned down the hosting gig because '[Russia's] discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and gays coming to work or visit...The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested'...adding that he 'didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia.'"

It's unclear what kind of statement Roberts will make at the pageant to assert the statements he has made in his op-ed, though as a news anchor on MSNBC he has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights.

Elton John recently announced he would play two concerts in Russia  because, "As a gay man, I can't leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go."

He later said that he would not speak out against the government from the stage but preferred to meet with Russian leaders.


Miss Universe Pageant Won't Exit Russia Despite Anti-Gay Laws, 27,000-Signature Petition

Miss Universe

Every day, the pressure for organizations and corporations to distance themselves from Russia and its draconian, anti-gay regime seems to grow. Earlier this month, a change.org petition was created to urge the Miss Universe Organization to move their 2013 pageant competition away from Moscow due to safety concerns for LGBT contestants and fans. Today, that petition has gathered over 27,000 signatures.

MissuniverseFrom the petition:

"When the Miss Universe Organization allowed transgender beauty Jenna Talackova to enter the Miss Universe Canada pageant in 2012, reversing its previous policies on the matter, it sent a strong and unequivocal message in favor of equality and of the LGBTQ community. Choosing Russia as a host country undermines this progress.

Many Miss Universe fans, myself included, identify as LGBTQ - and surely many employees of the organization are, as well. How are any of these people, who might want or will have to attend the event, supposed to travel to Russia under these new laws and feel safe, when they could (and likely will) be beaten, arrested and/or detained on the spot for being who they are? Clearly, there is more at stake here than the organization's reputation.

With this petition, we are asking the Miss Universe Organization to send a strong message in favor of equality and human rights by pulling out from hosting the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow."

Meanwhile, the Miss Universe Organization has issued a statement of its own condemning Russia's ban on "gay propaganda", stating the anti-gay law is "diametrically opposed to the core values of our company."

From the statement:

The Miss Universe Organization believes in equality for all individuals and is deeply concerned by the laws recently enacted in Russia and currently in place in several other countries. Both the law, as well as the violence experienced by the LGBT community in Russia, are diametrically opposed to the core values of our company. Our organization has always embodied a spirit of inclusion and is a celebration of people from all countries and walks of life.

It is our hope this year's Miss Universe contest in Moscow will help foster a common understanding and appreciation of the rights of all individuals, regardless of their nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation.

The best way to advocate for the 'rights of all individuals,' however, would be to move the pageant, regardless of any financial or logistical setbacks. No one ever said advocating for social change or human rights was easy...

To add your name to the growing petition, head over to the change.org page HERE.


New Zealand Man Crowned 'Mr. Gay World' in Belgium: VIDEO

Olwage

Christopher Olwage of New Zealand has been crowned Mr. Gay World 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium, Flanders News reports:

25 winners of Mister Gay contests from 5 different continents took part in the big contest to become Mister Gay World. The participants had the opportunity to convince the jury members in different areas: sports, modelling, leadership qualities and background knowledge of LGBT-related issues (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender).

The event took place in the Elckerlyc Theatre in Antwerp, the city that is hosting the World Outgames for lesbians and gays until 11 August. The aim is to highlight equal rights for LGBT's and to give them some positive attention. Christopher Olwage was praised by the jury as a strong all-round candidate with excellent dance skills.

Photos of the competition here.

Olwage entered New Zealand's Got Talent last year and his take on the "Black Swan" earned him plaudits.

Check it out as well as the Mr. Gay World coronation, AFTER THE JUMP...

Blackswan

Continue reading "New Zealand Man Crowned 'Mr. Gay World' in Belgium: VIDEO" »


First Out Gay Contestant to Compete in Miss South Carolina Pageant: VIDEO

Valencia

Analouisa Valencia is breaking down barriers in South Carolina as the first out gay contestant to compete for Miss South Carolina, WISTV reports:

"Last year, I did compete at state, but I wasn't as comfortable because of the fact I was hiding who I was," said Valencia. "This is my first year coming out and saying, 'This is me, girls. Sorry, I'm going to be changing in the same dressing room as you. This is what's going to happen.'"

Valencia's appearance in the pageant is not just history-making in South Carolina.

"I'm the first openly lesbian contestant in the Miss America system, the first bilingual contestant we've had, so that's good," said Valencia.

With three titles already under her belt, Valencia's family says her success helps represent the changing face of the south.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "First Out Gay Contestant to Compete in Miss South Carolina Pageant: VIDEO" »


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