Beyonce Covers May Issue of OUT, Says ‘We Are All the Same’

April 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

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She may not be gay, but Beyonce’s music has a powerful grip on the LGBT community which is why she will be gracing the cover of the OUT Magazine in May.

Through an email interview with OUT Editor-in-Chief Aaron Hicklin, Beyonce said she works hard as a feminist to get through this male-focused society. By doing so, she speaks to all minorities.

“Being that I am a woman in a male-dominated society, the feminist mentality rang true to me and became a way to personalize that struggle…But what I am really referring to, and hoping for, is human rights and equality, not just that between a woman and a man,” Beyonce said. “So I’m very happy if my words can ever inspire or empower someone who considers themselves an oppressed minority…We are all the same and we all want the same things: the right to be happy, to be just who we want to be and to love who we want to love.”

Beyonce released her fifth album last December which OUT called her “most sexually liberated project.” She spoke about the double standard between men and women regarding sexuality.

“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality. There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists,” she said. “Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, and artist, and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

Whether her music speaks to men, women, gay or straight, Beyonce said she worked hard to make sure her album was honest.

“While I am definitely conscious of all the different types of people who listen to my music, I really set out to make the most personal, honest and best album I could make,” she said. “I needed to free myself from the pressures and expectations of what I thought I should say or be, and just speak from the heart.”

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Scotland: Queen Elizabeth II Signs Marriage Into Law

March 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

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March went in like a lion, but will be going out like a lamb now that marriage equality will be the law of the land in England and Wales beginning March 29, 2014. Additionally, Scotland’s Equal Marriage Act was passed in February 2014 and, one month later on March 13, 2014, Queen Elizabeth II has signed it into law.

The British government will also begin to recognize same-sex marriages as of Thursday, March 13, 2014.

Colin Macfarlane, Director, Stonewall Scotland said at the time: “This a truly historic moment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Scotland. We’re delighted that MSPs have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they’re committed to building a Scotland fit for the 21st century.

“We’re also hugely grateful to the thousands of Stonewall supporters who have played a big part by contacting their MSPs to show their support. We’ll now be lobbying the Scottish Government to ensure that the first marriages take place in Scotland within months of the Act receiving Royal Assent.

“During the Bill’s progress through Parliament, Stonewall Scotland and volunteers produced personalised briefings and speaking notes for MSPs. The charity gave evidence to the Equal Opportunities Committee and has attended and lobbied at every stage of the Bill’s progress.”

Gay Star News reported:

Under the bill religious organizations will need to “opt in” to perform same-sex marriages, and any individual celebrants will be able to refuse to carry out weddings for gay couples.

It will allow transgender people to stay married, rather than having to get divorced, when obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate.

On Top Magazine reported:

“It’s like being turned into a pumpkin on the stroke of midnight,” Celia Kitzinger, who married her wife Sue Wilkinson in Canada in 2003, told BuzzFeed. “We’ll be sitting there in bed with a bottle of champagne and at the stroke of midnight we’ll turn into a married couple. We’re going away to a hotel, having a nice meal and then at midnight we’ll be wife and wife again!”

A recent Scottish Centre for Social Research poll reported a large majority (61 percent) of Scots approved of same-sex marriage. The summary stated: “The biggest and most rapid change in discriminatory attitudes in the last decade has been in views of gay men and lesbians.  In 2000, 48 percent felt sexual relationships between two adults of the same sex were always or mostly wrong. By 2010 this figure had fallen to just over a quarter (27 percent).  At the same time, support for same sex marriage has increased from 41 percent in 2002 to 61 percent in 2010. While more people said a gay man or lesbian would be a suitable primary school teacher in 2010 compared with 2006 (56 percent compared with 48 percent).

“I am delighted that the Same Sex Marriage Bill has now received Royal Assent,” said Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing. ”We continue to work in close co-operation with Westminster on implementation of the Act so that the first same sex marriage can take place in Scotland as soon as is possible.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, 35, is gay and supported the bill on its initial passage. In her speech she said: “I speak on behalf only of myself, this will possibly be the most personal speech I ever make this chamber. I believe in marriage. While my own family had all the stresses and strains common to all there was never any doubt in my mind of the security. More than 40 years later my parents still love each other and I look at that now and I want it.”

Then added: “I want that right to extend not just to me but to the thousands of people across Scotland who can’t marry the love of their life. It matters the whole section of society they can have the facsimile of civil partnership but can’t have the real thing. I don’t want the next generation of young gay people growing up as I did believing marriage is not for them.”

She poignantly expressed: “That apartheid message, that same but different, is reflected in every hurtful comment. We will wipe away the last legal barrier which says they are not equal to their peers. I want everybody in Scotland to know marriage is open to them.”

Davidson was named one of Scotland’s 50 Most Influential LGBT People by The Scotsman newspaper on February 16, 2014. The article, titled: “The Pink Scotland List,” also included Leader of Glasgow City Council Gordon Matheson, fashion designer Christopher Kane, actor Alan Cumming, Co-convener of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie, and General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party Ian Price. The full list of influential Scots is available here.

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‘Game of Thrones’ Actor Comes Out As Gay

March 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

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Beloved Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn has an extensive gay following – and he’s okay with that. In fact, he plays for the same team, according to a new interview with Winter Is Coming, an online news source for the Game of Thrones fan community.

When propositioned to respond to the rumor mill that he was seen as a “bear of a treat” by gay fans of the franchise, Nairn opened up the glass closet and walked right through.

“Well, in all honesty, when you talk about ‘the gay community,’ you are talking about MY community,” the actor stated. “I AM aware of it yeah, and I think it’s really lovely. There’s not a day that I don’t get a few messages, but 99 percent or more are super sweet and nothing smutty at all! Again, it’s a privilege, and I really mean that.”

In fact, Nairn told the reporter: “I’ve never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact, and I’ve been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, [because] it’s not something you just blurt out. I’ve tried to lead the questions a few times, to no avail!”

Reactions from the cast and crew of Game of Thrones meant little to Nairn – not because he didn’t care, but because he felt it was none of their business anyway.

“I had an upbringing to respect other people’s privacy, and their right to be and choose what they want, and I expect, no, demand no less for myself. It’s a very small part of who I am on the whole, but nonetheless, in this day and age, it’s important to stand up and be counted. I have and always will stand my ground. So, yeah, people have been great, on the show, but I don’t see why it would be an issue,” he said.

Welcome to the club, Nairn! Here’s your toaster! [Insert proverbial toaster here…]

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Judy Shepard: WY ‘Has Taken Two Steps Back’

October 16, 2013 by  
Filed under News

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LGBT rights may be making progress, but it’s not going quick enough for Judy Shepard whose son Matthew was the victim of a brutal anti-gay hate crime 15 years ago in Laramie, Wyoming.

Matthew died October 12, 1998 at age 21, six days after he was beaten and left on a fence by two men he met at a bar while he was attending the University of Wyoming.

“Matthew’s death gave Wyoming a perfect opportunity to take the first step toward equality,” Shepard said. “Instead, it has taken two steps back.”

Shepard is shocked the state still has no hate-crime laws, let alone one based on crimes against sexual orientation or gender identity. Because of this, she said a lot of LGBT people in Wyoming choose to stay in the closet.

During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Shepard also talked about the play The Laramie Project that addressed the town’s reactions to Matthew’s death. The play showed at the University of Mississippi, and some of the audience members shouted antigay slurs at the actors.

“It’s disappointing the nation as a whole isn’t embracing the movement to accept people like Matthew,” she told the Times. “We’ve still got a long way to go. That’s why an incident in Mississippi can still happen.”

Shepard set up the Matthew Shepard Foundation and was described as a “tireless advocate for gay rights.” The foundation’s executive director, Jason Marsden, thinks progress has been made for the LGBT community, pointing out the openly gay state legislator from Laramie that was elected in 2009, Cathy Connolly.

Marsden did, however, dismiss the book The Book of Matt, which claims that his murder was not a hate crime, but instead over drugs. His mother had no statements concerning the book.

Shepard has never been to the spot where Matthew died. She does, however, keep her sons watch, which was rescued from the police evidence room as he was wearing it when attacked.  She had given it to him as a graduation gift and now keeps the watch on her dresser “as a reminder of Matthew’s life – and that time goes on.”

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An Open Letter to My Heterosexual Family and Friends on National Coming Out Day

October 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Rob Watson, Same Sex Parent

By Rob Watson
open letter to heterosexuals on NCOD

October 11 is National Coming Out Day. I know this does not mean a lot to most of you, nor should it.

You have been able to take for granted that you could be who you are, and you have been able to take that for granted your entire life. Sure, you have had secrets and have revealed or kept them, some of them big harsh secrets. The majority of you have not had the world tell you to take the core of your dreams, your hopes, your every truly romantic feeling and your real vision of family and hide it away. You have been allowed, and more than that – encouraged, to be yourself and be the best of you that you can be. That is how it should be

That is not how it has been for almost any of the gay people you know.

So today is National Coming Out Day. Here is my suggestion, and request. Take fifteen minutes and think on your marriages, your relationships, your most tender romance, your social life, the looks on your friends and families faces when you announced your engagement. Think of that moment when you realized you were in love and the person loved you back. Now ponder what it would feel like to be asked to make all of that a deathly secret, hide it away, and cloak it in shame. If you do, you may have a sense of what the closet is like, and how it is less “a closet” and more a “dungeon” that some do not survive.

A few months ago, I wrote a public letter to my sons. The point of that letter was the wish that they would never have to “come out” about who they are. I want for those who still have to come out in order to be who they are fully the safety to do so, and to have the potential for the best life possible when they do.

What can you do today? Be open. Be open, so closet doors of others can open and you can lend an outstretched hand to those within. If you live in Maine, Washington, Maryland or Minnesota, you can be even more open and support Marriage Equality in those states so that others can achieve the same level of family responsibility that you can.

Those who vote against Marriage Equality are afraid. I get that. They are afraid that by letting others live fully, they will somehow be threatened, be less valued or be diminished. That is not true. Heterosexual people are not limited resources with finite compassion to share in doled out amounts. You are a spiritual force. The principle of Love is that the more you give away, the more of it you have.

Give. On this day, give. Your acceptance is a boom-a-rang that will not only touch someone else’s world, it will make yours even better.

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Two-Time Olympian Dedicates His Medal To Gay Friends

August 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

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Two-time U.S. Olympian Nick Symmonds not only won a silver medal in the 800 meter race last week at the IAFF World Athletics Championships in Moscow, but he decided todedicate his medal to his gay and lesbian friends.

The Olympian became the first to “to openly criticize Russia’s controversial anti-gay law on the country’s soil.”

Russia’s anti-gay laws, prohibiting “homosexual propaganda,” have been causing a lot of controversy considering the country is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Even president Obama is upset with Russia’s laws, but thinks it’s unfair to boycott the Olympics.

“We’ve got a bunch of Americans that are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed,” he said. “Nobody’s more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and -lesbian legislation that we’ve been seeing in Russia

Symmonds said he would do all he could for the LGBT community short of getting arrested.

“As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them,” Symmonds said. “Whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there’s anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested.”

Symmonds seems to be true to his word. While he wanted to wear a rainbow flag during his race, the Russian government made it clear they would throw him in jail.

“I’m trying to tread that fine line of being respectful as a guest in this country and also speaking against some serious injustices that I see,” he said. “As adamant as I am about this issue, I don’t know what me sitting in jail is good for.”

Symmonds will stay civil during his races, but as he explained in a column for Runner’s World, his gay and lesbian friends will stay in his heart.

“I will say now what I said before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, when people asked me how I felt competing in a foreign country with questionable human rights standards: The playing field is not a place for politics. In a world rife with never-ending political battles, let the playing field be where we set aside our differences and compete for national pride and the love of sport.

“If I am placed in a race with a Russian athlete, I will shake his hand, thank him for his country’s generous hospitality, and then, after kicking his ass in the race, silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home. Upon my return, I will then continue to fight for their rights in my beloved democratic union.”

 

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Catie Curtis Becomes Brand Ambassador for TomboyX

June 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

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After a successful Kickstarter campaign and gaining a strong consumer presence, TomboyX has launched their online curated store, but also recently partnered with Boston singer-songwriterCatie Curtis.

“We are incredibly excited to have Catie Curtis as the first brand ambassador for TomboyX,” said Fran Dunaway, CEO of Tomboy Exchange. “She’s a creative, talented woman who has never been afraid to stand up for what she believes in.”

The New Yorker dubbed her a folk-rock goddess and according to TomboyX she’s strong, smart and awesome – the perfect TomboyX woman.

“Sometimes I feel like an impostor in the women’s department, with its frills, flowers and bows–while men’s clothes don’t fit me either,” said Catie.” I’m so grateful to have discovered TomboyX where the clothing is made for women like me!”

Along with being a talented musician she is a role model. Catie started the “Aspire to Inspire” initiative to provide funding to the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). The Foundation helps raise funds to purchase instruments for young musicians who can’t afford to buy their own.

As her music progresses to inspire, so does her Philanthropy. After benefit concerts for Americans United for Separation of Church and State in 2012, Catie and a group of well known comedians took on a music video for Voices United 2– including Jane Lynch from Glee.

Look for Catie’s collaboration with TomboyX when the TomboyX Original Collection launches in July.

 

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Hilarie Burton Receives Death Threats for Coming Between Lesbian Power Couple

May 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

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Dr. Lauren Boswell (Hilarie Burton) is certainly stirring up a storm with Grey’s Anatomy’s power couple, Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), affectionately known as “Calzona.”

On the show’s season finale, Lauren shamelessly flirted with Arizona, causing even more tension between her already rocky marriage, and fans were not happy about it. In fact, Burton told Huffington Post she was receiving death threats.

“I don’t engage in social media, which has its good and bad sides, I guess – but the good side is when people hate my guts, I’m kind of oblivious to it. I’m just worried about my kid and my dog here at the house,” she said.

Lauren is a complex character because she is both good at her job and engaging, but also the “other woman,” which was something Burton found tricky to portray.

“I don’t flirt [with] married people but Lauren does,” Burton said. “So that’s what I had to do for a couple days. You just buck up and get your flirt on.”

And get their flirt on they did. Grey’s Anatomy is now on hiatus until the fall. Will Calzona still be intact when we see them next?

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Murray and Ayotte Introduce Military Sexual Assault Bill

May 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

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Tuesday, as the Pentagon’s annual report on sexual assault showed an alarming increase in cases, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced the Combating Military Sexual Assault (MSA) Act of 2013. In an effort to reduce sexual assaults within the military and help the victims of this crime, the Combating MSA Act would address a number of gaps within current law and policy and build upon the positive steps the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has taken in recent years. According to DoD estimates, there were about 19,000 cases of military sexual assault in 2011 alone. Of these, 3,192 were reported, leaving thousands of victims to face the aftermath alone as their assailants escape justice. That number rose to 26,000 cases in 2012 with less than 3,400 of those cases being reported.

“When our best and our brightest put on a uniform and join the United States Armed Forces, they do so with the understanding that they will sacrifice much in the name of defending our country and its people. However, it’s unconscionable to think that entertaining unwanted sexual contact from within the ranks is now part of that equation,” said Murray.

“Not only are we subjecting our men and women to this disgusting epidemic, but we’re also failing to provide the victims with any meaningful support system once they have fallen victim to these attacks. And while I applaud recent efforts by the Department of Defense to turn the tide on this mounting crisis, we must do more to root out the culture that fosters this behavior and provide substantive assistance to those who face these tragedies alone,” Murray said, adding: “I am proud to join Senator Ayotte in introducing the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act, to reverse this trend and establish the necessary means for victims to take action against their attackers. It’s inexcusable for us to wait any longer to address this issue and I’m glad this bipartisan legislation is taking meaningful steps to do right by our nation’s heroes.”

Ayotte said, “The United States continues to have the best military in the world—primarily because of the character, quality, and courage of our men and women in uniform.  But when a service member fails to live up to our values and commits sexual assault, we must ensure the victims have the support they need and the perpetrators face justice.”

“Sexual assault presents a serious threat to the morale, discipline, and readiness of our armed forces. I look forward to working with DoD, Senator Murray, and my Senate colleagues to strengthen existing laws and policies so that all victims can come forward without fear of retribution and with confidence that they will receive the support, care, and justice they deserve,” Ayotte added.

The Combating MSA Act would:

  • Provide victims of sexual assault with Special Victims’ Counsel (SVC) – a military lawyer who will assist sexual assault victims throughout the process.
  • Enhance the responsibilities and authority of DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Office so that it can better oversee efforts to combat MSA across the Armed Forces and regularly track and report on a range of MSA statistics, including assault rate, number of cases brought to trial, and compliance with appropriate laws and regulations within each of the individual services.
  • Refer cases to the general court martial level when sexual assault charges are filed or to the next superior competent authority when there is a conflict of interest in the immediate chain of command.
  • Bar sexual contact between instructors and trainees during and within 30 days of completion of basic training or its equivalent.
  • Ensure that Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) are available to members of the National Guard and Reserve at all times and regardless of whether they are operating under Title 10 or Title 32 authority.

Last month, Murray questioned the Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, and General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, about the alarming rate of reported sexual assaults within the Marine Corps. In the coming weeks, Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) will introduce companion legislation to the Combating MSA Act in the House of Representatives.

During a Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee hearing in March, Ayotte questioned DoD officials about a January report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that identified problems in ensuring proper care for service members who are victims of sexual assault.

Ayotte is a former prosecutor who has worked extensively with victims. During her time as New Hampshire’s Attorney General, she chaired the Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

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Jason Collins: Gay in the NBA

April 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

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Jason Collins took a huge step in major American sports by coming out today.  “If I had my way, somebody would have already done this…I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport but since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.”

The support has been pouring in.

Kobe Bryant “Don’t suffocate who you are because of the ignorance of others”

Bill Clinton “I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend”

Nick Swisher “I will always support people for being who they are”

The Rock “Being real and authentic is very powerful”

 

             

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