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Tim Gunn Denounces Homophobic Drivers, Carriage Trade in Letter to NYC Mayor De Blasio: VIDEO

Biyikoglu

Towleroad has obtained a letter sent by Project Runway fashion guru and animal rights activist Tim Gunn to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urging him to crack down on hate speech by NYC carriage drivers and citing a May 23 incident captured on video in which a driver called a passerby concerned about horse welfare a "faggot" several times. Gunn notes that it's not the first time a driver has been recorded using homophobic behavior. You can watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

GunnGunn uses the letter to also urge de Blasio to get the horses off the streets.

The letter below was also copied to the City Council's gay caucus and also references a July 2012 incident in which one of the drivers verbally assaulted a group of women leafleting near the carriages, calling them a "f--king dyke convention":

The Honorable Bill de Blasio Mayor of New York City

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

I'm among the 30,000 New York City PETA members who applaud your plan to retire the carriage horses. However, as we await a City Council bill, I urge you to address the relentless, hateful bigotry that's thriving in the city's tiny horse-drawn carriage trade. Carriage drivers have been filmed spewing all kinds of racist, sexist, and homophobic taunts at caring tourists and local citizens who dare to express concern for the 200 horses who are forced to lug carriages on our city's dangerous streets.

As NYC Pride approaches, I ask you to watch this video, taken just last month, showing the latest anti-gay tirade from a carriage driver. It happened on May 23, when driver Omer Biyikoglu called a concerned passerby a "faggot," among other antagonistic slurs, when questioned about whether it was legal to tie his horse to a light post in the midst of midtown traffic. Instead of answering the question, the smirking driver declared, "I don't f-ck guys," and walked away.

This isn't the first time such a disgraceful exchange has taken place on our streets. During 2012 Pride, another carriage driver called a concerned, elderly, mixed-race lesbian couple "ni**er" and "dyke." (You can view the video footage here.) And it's not just the drivers: Stable owner Frank Rodden was caught on tape calling a Latina woman a "whore" in Spanish and joking to his cronies—in front of the public—that she "probably has six or seven kids." The woman had simply asked if his horse was OK.

Mayor de Blasio, it would be unacceptable for any worker representing the city to taunt the public with hate speech—but these individuals are on the frontlines of the city's hospitality industry! Are these the type of people we want greeting families and tourists from around the world? I'm proud to live in Manhattan, it can be a haven of tolerance, but the carriage drivers are warping it into a hotbed of hate. Bullies such as the drivers in these videos disregard not only the suffering of animals but also the basic rights of New Yorkers.

You have spoken so lucidly on this issue since before your election, but since you took office, there have been accidents causing continued animal suffering and threatening public safety. One driver falsified department of health records in order to force an old asthmatic horse to work, and another was arrested for making a horse pound the pavement despite a painful hoof infection. As the steamy summer months set in, when can we expect you to get these abused horses off the streets?

I eagerly await your reply.

Kind regards, Tim Gunn

Watch the clip of the carriage driver using homophobic slurs, AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which represents workers in the horse carriage industry, released a statement in response to the video:

“The comments made by a carriage driver in the video circulated by PETA today are insensitive and wrong. They do not represent the views of the people who work in the industry.

“The Teamsters celebrate the diversity of our union and of our city. We are proud that many of our members are part of the LGBTQ community, including carriage drivers. The union is there to fight discrimination at work and in society.

“The Teamsters do not tolerate racist, sexist, or homophobic language from members. We also will not tolerate the continued harassment from protesters. Carriage drivers work in public and have been subject to a relentless barrage of harassment from protesters at their workplace. And despite these constant provocations, inappropriate responses are rare.”

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Tim Gunn Talks To Jon Stewart About New Show, and 'Project Runway' Woes: VIDEO

Timandjon

The incomparably-dressed-and-mannered Tim Gunn dropped by Jon Stewart's Daily Show last night and gave a warm interview about his new reality competition show, Under the Gunn. Along the way, Stewart and Gunn discussed their allegiance to Heidi Klum (though in humorously different regards) and revealed some of Project Runway's filming mysteries.

Check out the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Under the Gunn, premieres on Lifetime on January 16th (9pm EST).

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ACLU Paying for 5 Gay Couples to Have Outrageous Weddings Across State Lines: VIDEO

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Today, the ACLU is launching a campaign and contest fronted by Project Runway's Tim Gunn meant to draw attention to the patchwork of unequal state laws regarding same-sex marriage. They're giving $5,000 to couples with the best ideas for how they'll cross state lines to get married.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

The ACLU writes: 2_aclu

Friends, family, and supporters can vote for their favorite couple to win the Big, Gay (Il)legal Wedding of their dreams. The ACLU will help five, same-sex couples go the extra mile down the aisle—whether it’s kayaking across a river or riding a hot air balloon—into a state where it is legal to marry. The campaign will capture the stories and struggles each couple faces, highlighting the current inequalities that exist between neighboring states.

"This campaign is about basic fairness and ensuring that same-sex couples can protect their families and care for one another like other married couples," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "The ACLU will not rest until all 50 states allow everyone to marry the person they love."

StatesAfter the winning couples are announced, allies and proponents of this freedom to marry initiative can also enter the "Wedding Crashers Sweepstakes" for the chance to win a VIP trip to "crash" the marquee "My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding” reception in New York City in the Spring of 2014.  Participants enter the sweepstakes by signing the winning couples’ wedding “guestbook," which will then be delivered to the governor of the couples’ home state as a petition calling for the freedom to marry.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

And find out more about the campaign HERE.

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HRC Launches 'Love Conquers Hate' Campaign in Support of Russia's LGBT Community: PHOTOS

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 2.41.11 PM

The Human Rights Campaign is looking to give Russia's LGBT Community a big boost of support leading up to the Sochi Olympic Games with the launch of its "Love Conquers Hate" solidarity campaign today.

Via press release:

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 3.07.37 PMParticipants will share a photo of themselves wearing the Russian-language version of HRC's iconic Love Conquers Hate t-shirt on their social media platforms with the hashtag #LoveConquersHate, encouraging their followers from around the world to do the same. Each photo that is shared with the campaign hashtag will be aggregated at www.loveconquershate.org. 100% of the net proceeds from the sale of the t-shirts will go to a fund that supports LGBT advocates in Russia.

The campaign site also features a diverse group of prominent celebrities, athletes, and politicians who are speaking out in support of the LGBT community in Russia and against the country's homophobic laws. Participants include: Jonah Hill, Kristen Bell, Fergie, Kelly Osbourne, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, America Ferrera, Ricky Martin, Perez Hilton, Anthony Bourdain, Wentworth Miller, Tim Gunn, Jason Collins, and many others. 

Said HRC President Chad Griffin:

"Love and equality are universal values that aren't limited by language or national borders. We stand with Russia's LGBT community and their allies, and we are committed to doing as much as we possibly can to support their efforts to repeal this heinous law."

For more information on how you can join the cause, visit www.loveconquershate.org

And you can check out more celebrity photos of the campaign, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Tim Gunn Tells Larry King He Spared His Family the 'Disappointment' of Telling Them He Was Gay: VIDEO

Gunn

Project Runway's Tim Gunn tells Larry King on Larry King Now that he never came out to his parents:

"It was a very different time. It was a very different era. And I had a lot of fears about being gay, about what that actually meant. And I had already presented my family with a lot of disappointments and I didn't feel that I wanted to present them with yet this. It's very funny, though. My mother died two years ago. And I think she eventually figured out my sexuality, but we never talked about it. And my father was gone long before. We never once talked about it.”

Gunn expressed relief that it's a different time now and said he respects kids for being able to come out at an early age.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via ontop)

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Tim Gunn and The Ladies of 'The View' Dish 'Golden Globes' Fashion: VIDEO

Gunn

Tim Gunn, who has a new makeover show coming out this week, joins the ladies of The View to discuss what worked on the red carpet.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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