Another 'family' member has come out. Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts has publicly come out as gayvia a Facebook post thanking co-workers, fans and friends for their support during her and after her bone marrow transplant.
The end-of-year message read in part "I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together." Though Roberts didn't mention her girlfriend's last name, People magazine identified her as Amber Laign, a San Francsico-based massage therapist she met through friends a decade ago.
Michelle Obama gave a shout out to the happy couple, saying "I am so happy for you and Amber! You continue to make us all proud. -mo"
Roberts' Facebook post came on the 100th day of her recovery from the transplant.
A Southern California Church has included a bleeding Trayvon Martin in its nativity scene as a commentary on violence.
The scene was created by artist John Zachary, who felt the case needed further discussion. Zachary created the scene called "A Child Is Born, A Son Is Given," depicting the slain teen bleeding from his chest, surrounded by traditional Nativity images of the holy family and the three wise men.
Zachary cites the traditional Christmas narrative of King Herod slaughtering all babies in Bethlehem to kill the Messiah, as well as elements of the Easter story. Though Mary and Joseph celebrated Jesus' birth, Zachary brings up the point "other parents [are] in agony because their children had just been killed.”
The Trayvon Martin nativity scene is just the latest provocative spin Zachary has put on the Christmas staple. His previous work depicted the holy family as homeless, Iraqi refugees, an imprisoned black woman and a gay couple holding hands.
Gay couples in Israel are moving closer to tax equality. Under the current law, women who are parents receive greater tax breaks than men, leaving gay male couples at a disadvantage.
However, a bill passed by Wednesday by Israel's parliament equalizes taxes, but doesn't go far enough in giving gay couples full recognition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports the legislation, which will likely go through more revisions and negotiations before its final passage.
Unrelated side note: Isn't that rainbow yarmulke in the photo above fabulous?
Phil Robertson's infamous remarks in GQ's January issue continue to make waves. Now Rev. Fred Luter, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is speaking out about the TV star's comments on Jim Crow-era race relations--i.e. Phil saying he "never saw the mistreatment of any black person,” that black folks were “singing and happy” and "didn’t complain about white people."
Luter, being of sane mind, argues Robertson's recollection is off, saying there was nothing happy about segregation or “being hung in a tree because of your race.” He adds that blacks were definitely complaining, if not to Robertson.
But don't clap from the amen corner just yet. When it comes to Phil's comments on homosexuality--you know bestiality and lumping in the gays with terrorists--the good reverend doesn't consider those remarks hateful. Of course, this is the same man who declared same sex marriage is not a civil right, so it's not that much of a shock.
Apparently folks in Alabama didn't know they were in for a big ol' splash of rainbow when the dance group Prancing Elites performed at the Semmes Christmas Parade. The crew of J-Setters, who turned it out in tightly choreographed moves while rocking short shorts, boots and faces beat for the gods, upset some parade goers, who felt their performance was inappropriate for the kids (actual kids, not the kids). Watch Fox 10's report below.
Head over to Butlerway.com to read my latest piece on Phil Robertson and the whole Duck Dynasty fiasco, which some *cough Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal* cough* have tried to make about free speech. An excerpt:
"....let’s talk about Miley Cyrus. At this point it’s safe to say her raunchy, twerktastic (and IMO awful) VMA performance will go down as one of the most talked about pop culture events of 2013. While Miley certainly got her fair share of praise—if only for the fact it put all eyes on her and increased her album sales—she also got just as many parents, feminists and fellow celebrities wringing their hands at both her and MTV. Though Cyrus, at least for now, has come out on top, the fact remains she exercised her freedom of expression and dealt with the consequences. So did Martin Bashir, who resigned from MSNBC after suggesting someone do a certain latrine act in Sarah Palin’s mouth (interesting she didn’t come to his defense, no?). Why should Phil Robertson be exempt from having to deal with the fallout of his comments? The reaction to Robertson is reminiscent to that of Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s remarks about the sanctity of marriage. A prominent person with conservative views voices their personal opinion, and plays First Amendment martyr when things hit the fan. This seems to happen often when the target is the LGBT community. No one seems to be debating whether Robertson’s remarks about pre-civil rights black people were offensive; but when it comes the gays, the issue suddenly becomes about freedom of speech and liberal intolerance."
Also, check out "Will You Be Home For Christmas?" which talks about the difficult choices we as LGBT folks often have to make it comes to the holidays.
Some good news for the comic book heads, as well as those who appreciate a man in costume. Paul Rudd will be starring as Ant-Man in an upcoming big-screen adaptation of the classic Marvel Comics character. The film has been kicking around Hollywood since the 80's, but has now been given the green light after the success of comic-book flicks like The Avengers and Iron Man.
The movie is slated to hit theaters in July 2015. Meanwhile Wonder Woman still waits in the shadows. I'm just sayin....
Seventeen down, 33 to go! The New Mexico Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that marriage rights must be extended to gay couples throughout the state. The court unanimously ruled denying same-sex couples the right to marry would be a violation of the Equal Protection clause of New Mexico's constitution.
"We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law," reads the ruling. The court rejected the argument presented by marriage equality opponents that the state had a legitimate governmental interest in "responsible procreation and childrearing," declaring that supposed interest "is not reflected in the history of the development of New Mexico's marriage laws. Procreation has never been a condition of marriage under New Mexico law, as evidenced by the fact that the aged, the infertile, and those who choose not to have children are not precluded from marrying. In addition, New Mexico law recognizes the right of same-gender couples to raise children."
The decision requires all county clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and makes all the unions of couples married prior to the decision legally valid.
Oop, shade! When the U.S. delegations roll into Sochi come February, a few folks who will not be present are President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, their wives or any current cabinet members. There will however, be some openly gay athletes. The announcement is being interpreted as a protest of Russia's anti-gay laws.
Along with former secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, deputy chief of staff for policy Rob Nabors and deputy secretary of State William J. Burns, the delegation to the opening ceremony will also include tennis star and former Olympic coach Billie Jean King, an out lesbian. Two-time Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow, who recently came out as a lesbian, will attend the closing ceremony.
While President Obama did not address Russian's laws directly in the delegation announcement, he has been vocal about in his disapproval about the country's draconian anti-gay legislation. France and Germany's presidents will also not attend the winter games.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a lawsuit against Mississippi Moss Point School District in an effort to stop the alleged anti-gay bullying by faculty and staff of a student. Seventeen-year-old Destin Holmes, a lesbian, has been repeatedly harassed and subjected to slurs since she attended Magnolia Junior High School.
At one point, the bullying got so bad Holmes was homeschooled for a year. Holmes left the junior high school last year after the then principal reportedly called her a "pathetic fool" and told her "I don't want a dyke in this school." When homeschool became too expensive for the family, Holmes transferred to Moss Point High School, where the harassment began again.
"I deserve to go to school where students, and especially the teachers, don’t always call me names," Holmes said in the SPLC release announcing the lawsuit. "The district should have protected me and made sure I was learning, like the rest of the kids. Instead, the students, teachers and even principal, called me names. It shouldn’t have happened to me, and it shouldn’t happen to anyone else."
India's Supreme Court has reversed a landmark 2009 decision to decriminalize gay sex, reinstating a law that prohibits "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman, or animal." The law's reinstatement means same-sex conduct is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
According to The Advocate, The court declared the earlier decision, which deemed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional, was an overreach. The Supreme Court determined that only Parliament had the power to repeal the anti-sodomy law, one that was enacted by the British back in 1861, when th country was a U.K. colony.
"No doubt about it, today’s ruling is a setback," said Sapna Pandya, president of Khush D.C., a support group based in Washington, D.C., for LGBT South Asians. "But it doesn’t take away from the fact that the recent past has seen promise for LGBTQ rights in not just India but also other South Asian countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. We stand in solidarity with the brave activists in South Asia and worldwide who have taken such huge leaps in recent years and know they will continue the fight for equality in spite of the disappointment we all feel today."
Fortunately activists aren't taking this lying down, taking to the streets and the media to protest the decision.
It's that time again darlings. RuPaul's Drag Race, in which queens battle it out in a blitzkreig of sequins, shade and eye shadow to become the next drag superstar, is back! Watch the trailer below to meet the contestants for season six. And may the best woman win!
All I have to say is Mama Pope is a smooth operator, Cyrus and James are a mess and Huck is a man that loves his job. Head over to Bulterway.com to read of my recap of this week's episode "YOLO." An excerpt:
"Papa Pope’s not the enemy, “she” is. The ‘she’ in question being none other than Mama Pope, a.k.a. Maya, a.k.a Marie Wallace. Marie was and is a terrorist, one who apparently was on her way out to do some more dirt the morning she said goodbye to Liv. That is, until Eli snatched her up and locked her away in the bowels of the justice system for the next two decades. Now, with the unwitting help of her trusting daughter, Maya/Marie has escaped to Hong Kong (Edward Snowden anyone?). ....whereas Eli is all blustering rage, threats and intimidation, emotional manipulation and deception are Marie’s calling cards. Finding out the truth about Marie flips Olivia’s as well as our perception of Papa Pope. Despite his flaws—his arm’s length style of parenting and the whole killing and training assassins bit—Eli is who he says he is: a man willing to go to extremes to protect the republic, and in his own perverse way, his daughter. Marie, whatever her reasons, has not been honest about who she is, which makes her all the more dangerous and unpredictable. Neither Marie or Eli would ever win parent of the year, but in this case it seems father knows best. For now at least."
Studio Fawn, a small L.A.-based development company is working to create more diversity in the video game world by introducing a transgender character in Bloom: Memories, based on an unreleased graphic novel by Dani Landers (pictured above), a transgender woman and one of Studio Fawn's chief creative minds. Among the many characters populating Bloom is Ilana, the first transgender character in a RPG. Players will be introduced to Ilana after she has transitioned and struggling to find her identity.
“The idea for Bloom actually started shortly before I began transitioning,” says Landers. “As my life was changing and I was dealing with transition, I guess I naturally started to express those experiences through the character and game designs of Bloom. Since I was transitioning, Ilana was one of the first characters and stories I had created in the Bloom world.” “When I found out that trans women have never really existed in a mainstream game outside of a casual footnote, I realized Ilana's story was more important than I had thought,” Landers says. “She went from being just a cool character I could relate to, to a character that needed her story to be told.”
Landers isn't lying. While I'm not as much of gamer as I used to be, coming across LGBT characters in video games was like jumping down a hole and expecting to get an extra man (if you caught that reference then we're here *makes I'm watching you motion with fingers*). But seriously, if any video game genre is going to open the floodgates for LGBT inclusion, it'll likely be RPGs, since most create vast fantasy worlds filled with a wide cast of characters and have elaborate, adventure-based story lines.
This parody by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles of Kmart's Joe Boxer Christmas ad may not tickle your jingle bells in the same way as the original, but the pink tutus and Christmas stockings will certainly give you your jollies. Watch below.
The You Can Play project, a non-profit group focused on LGBT equality and inclusion in sports, has teamed up with the NFL for its 'High Five' initiative.
An effort to start a dialogue between LGBT youth and prominent sports figures, the initiative will begin with former NFL players and executives visiting the Hetrick Martin Institute in New York City. One of the country's oldest and largest LGBT organizations, the Institute provides LGBT youth an array of social support and resources, including arts and culture, academic enrichment and job readiness.
“We believe that the power of storytelling is a transformative experience that helps to broaden and foster our understanding of one another," said former professional player and You Can Play executive director Wade Davis in a press release. "We hope through these one-on-one interactions youth will see they are welcomed in sports.”
Davis, who came out as gay after his professional career, has worked with Institute for more than two years. The 'High Five' initiative is reportedly one of many projects professional sports leagues are undertaking to reach out to the LGBT community.