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Ryan Landry dishes on 'M' at the Huntington Theatre

Posted by Jim Lopata March 30, 2013 01:58 PM

landry_blog.jpg"Prestigious? What exactly is that supposed to mean?" Landry replied in response to a question about his new play 'M' being produced by the "prestigious" Huntington Theatre. "In my humble opinion, the word 'prestigious' should go the way of 'upscale' and 'High End.' All should be wiped away, flushed and left for the sanitation department to handle."

Ryan Landry tackles Fritz Lang’s masterwork M for the Huntington Theatre. He shares more of his vibrant mind in this exclusive interview with Boston Spirit magazine.

By Loren King

[Note: the following story first appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine. Ryan Landry's 'M' opens plays at the Huntington Theatre in Boston through April 27. For tickets and more information, visit The Huntington Theatre's website.]

Ryan Landry refuses to be compartmentalized as an artist.

Landry is the master of gay camp with his original, theatrical riffs on classic movies that have entertained audiences for years in both Boston and Provincetown.

His last show, Mildred Fierce, a lavish musical about the mother of all pie-baking mothers, starred Varla Jean Merman and played this Winter at the nightclub Machine, the Boston home of Landry’s longtime troupe, The Gold Dust Orphans.

Now, the hard-working, prolific Landry is debuting a bold new work, his adaptation of M, German director Fritz Lang’s 1931 film noir classic starring Peter Lorre about a child killer hunted down by the criminal underworld.

Ryan Landry's M is being staged from now through April 27 at the Huntington Theater Company where Landry has been a Playwriting Fellow since 2008. The Huntington’s Artistic Director Peter DuBois calls the production an “amazing collaboration between two Boston theatre legends.”

Boston Spirit recently had the following e-mail interview with Landry whose responses are characteristically opinionated, thoughtful and very funny as he prepares for his most challenging work to date.

[Boston Spirit] A German film from 1931 about a child killer ... what made you want to turn this into a play?

[Ryan Landry] Because it is a beautiful masterwork. A goal to which other artists should aspire.

I chose this film because I wanted to write a play based on the most unfunny thing in the world and still make it [the play] funny.

It is a sad play too. It is a human play.

People often say that I am a funny person but I also think of myself as somewhat sad at times. This is not because I am a depressed individual. It is because I am a human being.
I like to be sad, for brief periods anyway. Because I am human, I possess all the colors in the spectrum within my soul, as anyone who has the courage to let those colors in must have in order to live out a full existence.

I am not made up of just “happy” colors. By these I mean the obscenely bright Barbie pinks and putrid Easter Day purples so often used in today’s most offensive toys. These colors are also used (in the most violent manner imaginable) to decorate the bedrooms of innocent teenaged girls. Poor things. Their msothers should be arrested.

To me, these are simply put: ungodly colors.

They are the colors I see on my television. The colors I see within the eyes of our current “celebrity” zombies.

People like Justin Bieber, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian appear freakishly inhuman to me. Like cheap marshmallow chicks gone past their expiration date, I want them out of sight as soon as possible. They are plastic, they are phony and worse of all, they rot your teeth.

[Boston Spirit] Were you a fan of Fritz Lang or the film before taking this on?

FULL ENTRY

Gronk OK with gay teammate

Posted by David Zimmerman March 29, 2013 08:51 AM

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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski , in an interview with ESPN Radio on Wednesday, said he would accept a gay teammate saying “If that’s How they are, that’s how they are.”

In the interview with Stephen A. Smith and RyenRuocco, Gronkowski said, "You've got to accept the player. Everyone has their own ways to live their life and as long as he's respecting me, keeping distance, respecting myself, I'll respect him back.”

"If he's being a great teammate and he's a guy on the field doing a great job, well then you've got nothing to complain about. He's another teammate and another friend."

As a follow up Gronkowski was asked if he thought other players in the NFL feel the same way he does. "I'm not really sure," he replied. "I never went around asking players on my team or in the NFL, 'Hey, what would you think if someone on our team is gay? How would you take it?' I never thought of that, and never asked anyone that and never tried to find out if there is [a gay player] on the team.

"If someone is on my team and they are a great teammate and a great player on the field, helping the team win -- that's all you've got to ask for."

The interview comes on the heels of a report this week from Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com in which Freeman states that a current NFL player is “strongly considering” coming out publicly in the next few months. Freeman bases conclusion on a series of interviews that he has had with several current and former NFL players.

According to Freeman's report the player is not worried about the reaction from inside the locker room but is more concerned about the reaction from outside of the locker room…from the public.

From Freeman's article:

This player's true concern, I'm told, is not the reaction inside an NFL locker room but outside of it. The player fears he will suffer serious harm from homophobic fans, and that is the only thing preventing him from coming out. My sources will not say who this alleged player is.


Local newspaper turns to readers for funding

Posted by David Zimmerman March 28, 2013 07:55 PM

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Bay Windows, a weekly newspaper serving the area’s lgbt community, has launched a new, non-traditional, model for increasing its revenue. The 30 year old weekly is turning to its readers.

In an article in this week’s edition a letter written by co-publishers Sue O’Connell and Jeff Coakley points out that “the dynamic of how newspapers make money has changed. While community newspapers like ours fight for ad dollars, readers demand more from our publication. Bay Windows is exploring additional revenue models to meet this demand.”

The letter goes on to state, “We (Bay Windows) request your financial support. We believe a viable model to bring the revenue needed to improve Bay Windows is a mix of advertising revenue and voluntary financial contributions from you, our readers.”

Bay Windows is distributed every Thursday and is free of charge. It has been a pillar in the lgbt community since 1983 and received national attention in the recent Presidential election for its coverage on Mitt Romney when Mr. Romney served as the Governor of Massachusetts.

According to the donation page supporters can donate anywhere from $25 - $1,000.

Read the full letter below:

Bay Windows has been proud to serve the New England LGBT community since 1983. Bay Windows has always been a free publication, and our online website has always been free.

For the past thirty years, our newspaper and website have been advertiser supported. How much news we can cover, how many pages we can print or post, how many papers and how many locations we can deliver, has been determined by the revenue from the advertisements that appeared in our publications.

The dynamic of how newspapers make money has changed. While community newspapers like ours fight for ad dollars, readers demand more from our publication. Bay Windows is exploring additional revenue models to meet this demand.

Some publications, including The New York Times and The Boston Globe are moving to a reader-funded models for their online content. Jeff and I never want to put any of our content behind a paywall—there should be as few barriers as possible between those in need and the information about our LGBT community.

We request your financial support. We believe a viable model to bring the revenue needed to improve Bay Windows is a mix of advertising revenue and voluntary financial contributions from you, our readers.

Bay Windows turns 31 this year. Will you pledge your support for the upcoming year by contributing funds? Your contribution will help us keep the website and paper free and improve our coverage.

Please, if you are able, we welcome your support and ask you to spread the word.
Please note - your contribution is not tax deductible.


Is Bill O'Reilly pro marriage equality?

Posted by David Zimmerman March 28, 2013 01:08 PM

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Is Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly pro marriage equality?

Judging by his comments to fellow Fox anchor Megyn Kelly this week it would appear that he is. O’Reilly stated that he didn’t "feel that strongly one way or another" about gay marriage. "I want all Americans to be happy," he said, adding, "I live in New York. New York is fine with it." He also stated that he felt that decisions regarding marriage equality should be left to the states.

In response to Kelly’s statement that pro-marriage equality proponents have been very convincing as opposed to their opponents, O’Reilly agreed, stating, "I agree with you 100 percent. The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. That is where the compelling argument is. We're Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else. That's a compelling argument, and to deny that you've got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn't been able to do anything but thump the Bible." He finished by adding that the bible thumping approach was not a basis on which to enact public policy.

In the past O’Reilly has argues that legalized marriage equality would lead to polygamous marriage and has asked if people “should be allowed to marry turtles” if they want.

Lesbian Today Show anchor expecting a baby

Posted by David Zimmerman March 28, 2013 08:50 AM

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Jenna Wolfe, weekend anchor for the Today show, has announced that she and girlfriend Stephanie Gosk, a news correspondent for NBC, are expecting a baby.

“This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us,” Wolfe told PEOPLE exclusively in its new issue. “But I don’t want to bring my daughter into a world where I’m not comfortable telling everyone who I am and who her mother is.” Added Gosk, “The beauty is that we live in a time where there’s no need for secrecy. This is a spectacular moment for us.”

Wolfe made the announcement on NBC’s morning show Wednesday, saying, “I’m quite pregnant, actually.” The baby is due in August. Wolfe has also started a blog in which she will post stories related to the pregnancy and allow her fans to follow along in the process.

From the blog:

It's the month 5 B.C. (Before Childbirth, as in 5 months before I give beautiful birth), and I'm sitting down to share what's been brewing on my mind lately. I assume that by the time 5 A.D. comes around. (After Delivery, as in 5 months after this little kicker comes out) the following will be nothing more than a barrel of laughs. But for now, it's taking up a lot of real estate in my daily life.

Of all the jaw-dropping, head-turning and eye-popping things I've ever told my friends and family ("I swam with killer sharks," "I jet-packed 30 feet out of the water," "I scaled the tallest building in Canada"), nothing garnered more shock and awe (and, yes, some tears) than when I told people I was pregnant.

Just writing those words -- "I'm pregnant" -- is surreal to me. After all, I was never the kid that ran around playing house. I never had daydreams about being a mom and raising a family. I was the kid who jumped out of trees and skinned my knees and taunted bees. As a kid, I would have chosen raising my adrenaline over raising children any day of the week. But then a funny thing happened on my way to adulthood … I grew up. I ran smack into the old nursery rhyme: "First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes Jenna pushing a baby carriage." Granted, things aren't falling into that exact order. (And are they still called carriages? Aren't they strollers? Clearly I have a lot to learn.)

But while my life didn't quite unfold as rhymed, it's awfully close. How close? My girlfriend, Stephanie Gosk, and I are expecting a baby girl the end of August
Stephanie, a foreign correspondent here at NBC, spent years in war-torn countries, risking life and limb in the most dangerous places on earth to tell amazing stories. Ever since I can remember, I've been a thrill-seeking, dare deviling, adventure-hopping, fearless chick who enjoys the rush of life. Between the two of us, we've seen and we've done more than most will in a lifetime. And yet both of us agree that THIS little girl will be the biggest and best adventure of our lives.


Meme alert! Red equal signs storm Facebook …

Posted by Jim Lopata March 27, 2013 09:50 AM

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Red HRC logos imagined on the ramparts of Les Miserables. (image from Facebook)

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What is it with all the red equal symbols flooding Facebook and other social media?

The Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) popular logo, which features a yellow equals sign in a blue box, was redesigned in red. HRC Director of Marketing Anastasia Khoo explained the significance of the color choice in a press release. “By harnessing the passion that equality supporters feel for the freedom of loving and committed couples to marry, the internet is awash in a sea of red – the color of love,” said Khoo.

The symbol caught on quickly and has been spottedon many notables' Facebook pages. According to HRC, "U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., announced his support of marriage equality for the first time by changing his Facebook profile image to HRC’s red equal sign and many other public officials have followed suit."

Others featuring the symbol in their social media communications include U.S. Senators Chris Coons, Al Franken, Mazie Hirono, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Menendez, Chris Murphy, Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Jean Shaheen, Jon Tester, Mark Warner and Elizabeth Warren, as well as celebrities like Sophia Bush, George Takei, Tegan & Sara and Lance Bass, according to HRC.

HRC released a statement about the symbol that included information about its provenance and its rapid distribution:

As part of HRC’s robust social media efforts around the two cases before the Supreme Court, the red logo launched on the HRC Facebook page at 1:00pm ET Monday and the original image has been shared more than 100,000 times and created upwards of 10 million impressions in all 50 states – not including countless user-created versions. ...

Many variants have popped up as a meme all over the web, such as images of the symbol with the Statue of Liberty kissing Justice, Lantern, Ernie and Bert, the first landing on the moon, Mark Rothko, Fenway Health, Yoda, Peanuts, Les Miserables, and a thank you.

Below are a few.

FULL ENTRY

LGBT legal leaders voice optimism after Supreme Court's Prop 8, same-sex marriage hearing

Posted by Jim Lopata March 26, 2013 11:58 PM

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in Hollingsworth v. Perry, challenging California’s Proposition 8 that revoked same-sex couples’ ability to marry in the state.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defender’s (GLAD) Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto, who successfully argued for the right of same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts, had this to say in an e-mail to supporters:

Today I had the privilege to sit in the nation's highest court and hear the clearly articulated argument that there is no justification for a state to exclude gay and lesbian Americans from the respect and dignity of marriage. ...

Attorney Ted Olson keenly made the case for equality on behalf of the California plaintiffs and gay and lesbian people everywhere - and the Justices engaged the question fairly and respectfully.

We know, and the Court has heard, that momentum - and the basic fairness and commitment to equality of the American people - are on our side. Poll after poll shows that a growing majority of Americans support the right of everyone to marry the person they love.

It is not a question of if, but when, this right will be extended to all gay and lesbian people across the country.

Tomorrow [Wednesday], the Court will hear about thousands of already married loving, committed same-sex couples - couples whose marriages are respected and celebrated by their families, friends, faith communities and the states they call home. Couples like those I'm so proud to represent in our two cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Gill v. OPM and Pedersen v. OPM.

My friend and colleague Robbie Kaplan will show the Court - on behalf of her client Edie Windsor, and all of us - that there is no justifiable reason for the federal government to discriminate against these marriages as it now does with DOMA.

I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts after yet another historic day.

We truly have much to celebrate, and much work to continue.

GLAD's Executive Director Lee Swislow released this statement:

FULL ENTRY

Massachusetts rallies as Supreme Court takes up gay marriage

Posted by Jim Lopata March 25, 2013 06:14 PM

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Rally for marriage equality at the Massachusetts State House on June 14, 2007 (photo: James Lopata)

The United States Supreme Court begins hearing arguments concerning marriage rights for same-sex couples tomorrow, Tuesday, morning.

Massachusetts, the birthplace of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in the U.S., is rising to the occasion with rallies and other activities.

Tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, a rally in favor of marriage equality is scheduled at 3 p.m. near the Government Center T stop at City Hall Plaza. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is scheduled to speak along with Kara Suffredini, executive director of MassEquality; Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD); Tim Coco, a Haverhill businessman who cannot sponsor his Brazilian spouse for residency under DOMA; State Rep. Carl Sciortino; and others. Already, several hundred have indicated on the rally's Facebook page that they will attend.

FULL ENTRY

Starbucks CEO to anti marriage equality investors, "buy shares in another company"

Posted by David Zimmerman March 22, 2013 09:45 AM


On Wednesday this week Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, told investors that if they had a problem with the company’s decision to publicly support marriage equality they could sell their stock and go elsewhere.

The exchange took place at Starbucks’ annual meeting when a shareholder named Tom Strobar described Starbucks’ first-quarter performance as disappointing, and suggested the results were due, in part, to a boycott by the National Organization for Marriage.

“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earrings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” Strobhar said.

This prompted Schultz to reply that the company’s stance on marriage equality had nothing to do with earnings but were about “respecting diversity.” He went on to state, “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.” Schultz’s statement was met by loud applause from those in attendance.

For 2012, Starbucks delivered a 14 percent increase in net revenues over the prior year, reaching a record $13.3 billion. The company returned approximately $1.1 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividend payments.

In February, Starbucks joined nearly 300 other companies in filing a brief calling on theU.S. Supreme Court to overturn a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits and recognition to same-sex couples.

Singer Michelle Shocked issues an apology for anti-gay rant

Posted by David Zimmerman March 21, 2013 08:27 AM

Folk singer Michelle Shocked, who made headlines earlier this week for her spontaneous anti-gay rant during a show in San Francisco, and the subsequent fall out from the rant, has issued an apology...of sorts.

During the show, at club Yoshi, Shocked stated “If someone would be so gracious as to please tweet out, ‘Michelle Shocked just said from stage, God hates faggots.’ Would you do it now?” among other anti-gay sentiments (the audio can be heard HERE).

In a statement distributed by her publicist yesterday the singer has attempted to distance herself from the rant.

I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else). I said that some of His followers believe that. I believe intolerance comes from fear, and these folks are genuinely scared. When I said “Twitter that Michelle Shocked says “God hates faggots,” I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted. The show was all music, and the audience tweets said they enjoyed it. The commentary came about ten minutes later, in the encore. And to those fans who are disappointed by what they’ve heard or think I said, I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should. But don’t believe everything you read on facebook or twitter. My view of homosexuality has changed not one iota. I judge not. And my statement equating repeal of Prop 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: it was a description of how some folks – not me – feel about gay marriage.

The show, and the rant, was spontaneous. As for those applauding my so-called stance that “God Hates Faggots,” I say they should be met with mercy, not hate. And I hope that what remains of my audience will meet that intolerance with understanding, even of those who might hate them.

Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband. My sexuality is not at issue. What is being questioned is my support for the LGBT community, and that has never wavered. Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue. I’d like to say this was a publicity stunt, but I’m really not that clever, and I’m definitely not that cynical.
But I am damn sorry. If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor, and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them. I say this not because I want to look better. I have no wish to hide my faults, and – clearly – I couldn’t if I tried.

With love,
Michelle


That statement was followed by a second:

I believe in a God who loves everyone, and my faith tells me to do my best to also love everyone. Everyone: gay or straight, stridently gay, self-righteously faithful; left or right, far left, far right; good, bad, or indifferent. That’s the law: everyone.

I may disagree with someone’s most fervently held belief, but I will not hate them. And in this controversy, that means speaking for Christians with opinions I in no way share about homosexuality. Will I endorse them? Never. Will I disavow them? Never.

I stand accused of forsaking the LGBT community for a Christianity which is – hear me now – anathema to my understanding of faith. I will no doubt take future flack for saying so. I’m accused of believing that “God hates fags” and that the repeal of Prop 8 will usher in the End Times. Well, if I caused such an absurdity, I am damn sorry. To be clear: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of any so-called faith preaching intolerance of anyone. Again, anyone: straight or gay, believers or not: that’s the law.

That means upholding my punk rock values in the most evangelical enclaves and, in this case, speaking up for the most fearful of fundamentalists in, well, a San Francisco music hall full of Michelle Shocked fans.

As an artist in this time of unbearable culture wars, I understand: this means trouble, and this is neither the first nor last time trouble has come my way. And that’s fine by me.
I know the fear many in the evangelical community feel about homosexual marriage, as I understand the fear many in the gay community feel toward the self-appointed faithful. I have and will continue speaking to both. Everything else – facebook, twitter, whatever – is commentary.

After news broke of the singers rant all 11 of her remaining scheduled shows were cancelled...10 by the clubs where she was to play, and 1 by Shocked herself.


1959 gay TV show discovered, possibly first

Posted by Jim Lopata March 20, 2013 11:36 AM

The British Film Institute (BFI) announced the discovery of a 1959 made-for-television gay drama, called South, which it says may be the first of its kind.

According to The Guardian:

South, adapted by Gerald Savory from an original play by Julien Green and screened on 24 November 1959, "is a milestone" in gay cultural history, said the BFI curator Simon McCallum.

The Guardian's arts correspondent Mark Brown describes the drama as follows:

It involves a dashing Polish army lieutenant exiled in the US deep south as civil war approaches and the question of who he really loves: the plantation owner's angry niece, Miss Regina, or the tall, blond, rugged officer who arrives suddenly – a handsome man called Eric MacClure.

The television play is heady, emotional stuff tackling issues of race as well as sexuality and that it was broadcast by ITV on a winter's night 54 years ago is nothing short of remarkable.

South, will be screened on March 23 and 24 as part of the BFI London Lesbian and Gay FIlm Festival this year.

Singer Michelle Shocked stuns audience with anti-gay rant

Posted by David Zimmerman March 18, 2013 09:44 PM

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UPDATE: All 11 remaining shows on Michelle Shocked’s current tour have been cancelled. The singer was scheduled to appear at HopMonk’s Tavern in Novato, Calif., SPACE in Evanston, Ill., eTown in Boulder, Colo., the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, Ore., Meander’s Kitchen in Seattle, Cozmic in Eugene, Ore., the Palms Playhouse in Winter, Calif., Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz, Calif., and McCabe’s in Santa Monica, Calif. and at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Harmony Bar in Madison, Wisc., announced that Shocked’s May 5 appearance has been canceled “by the artist.”


Folk singer Michelle Shocked stunned the audience at her Sunday night show at San Francisco club Yoshi when she broke into a hate filled anti-gay rant complete with the statement, “God hates fags and you can tweet that I said so.”

“I live in fear,” said Shocked, “that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle approximately two thirds of the audience walked out of the concert after the singer’s rant. The manager, assistant club manager, and sound production engineer who were on duty shut down the show immediately, turning off the lights and cutting off the microphone, said Yoshi’s representative Lisa Bautista.

The club also apologized to the audience and offered refunds to anyone interested.

Shocked, who had been rumored to be a lesbian earlier in her career, is a born again Christian and has, in the past, stated that she feels homosexuality is a sin.

Shocked followed up her performance on Sunday with a tweet that read, “Truth is leading to painful confrontation.”

As of late Monday afternoon, at least four venues (in California, Illinois, Colorado and Oregon) have cancelled upcoming performances by Shocked.

Support for marriage equality hits all time high

Posted by David Zimmerman March 18, 2013 02:39 PM

According to a new poll by the Washington Post and ABC News support for legalizing same-sex marriage is at an all time high.

According to the poll 58 percent of Americans now believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married; 36 percent say it should be illegal. These results are almost exactly opposite of what they were a decade ago when, 37 percent favored same-sex marriage and 55 percent opposed it.

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Among young adults age 18 to 29, support for gay marriage hit a record high of 81 percent in the poll. As for their elders, those aged 65 years old and up remain opposed with 44 percent say same-sex marriage should be legal; 50 percent say illegal.

Also of note, according to the poll the majority of respondents in across the political spectrum now support marriage equality.

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Hillary Clinton voices support for gay marriage

Posted by Jim Lopata March 18, 2013 12:28 PM

Hillary Clinton came out today in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples in a video posted to the Human Rights Campaign website.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released the following statement concerning Clinton's video:

Hillary Clinton Joins Human Rights Campaign’s Americans for Marriage Equality Series

WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today joined the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Americans for Marriage Equality series, a public engagement campaign featuring prominent Americans who support committed gay and lesbian couples getting married.

Her full statement can be viewed at: www.hrc.org/Clinton

A hallmark of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement is the fight to have our relationships recognized as equal under the law. Full marriage equality is an important measure of our success in this area.

The Americans for Marriage Equality series has included political and civil rights leaders, professional athletes, film and music celebrities, and business leaders: www.hrc.org/americansformarriageequality

Chick-fil-A increases donations to anti-gay groups

Posted by David Zimmerman March 18, 2013 12:19 PM


According to a new report, fast food chain Chick-fil-A, who caused a stir in Boston last year when Mayor Menino took issue with the companys policy of donating to anti-gay groups, has not only continued to donate to these groups but in 2011 increased it’s donations over previous years.

Last summer Menino had threatened to stop the restaurant from opening a location in downtown Boston. In a letter to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy Menino wrote, “I was angry to learn on the heels of your prejudiced statements about your search for a site to locate in Boston,” Menino wrote. “There is no place for discrimination on Boston’s Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it. I urge you to back out of your plans to locate in Boston.”

Menino later backed off that claim stating that he was simply using the “bully pulpit" of his office to call attention to Chik-fil-A policies.

According to a report by Think Progress, the restaurant chain nearly doubled its contributions to anti-gay groups from 2009 to 2011. According to Think Progress, the Winshape Foundation (the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A) gave $2,896,438 to the Marriage and Family Foundation in 2011, a massive increase over the $1,188,380 donated in 2010.

The Marriage and Family Foundation was founded in 2007 Dan Cathy and originally called the “Marriage and Family Legacy Fund.” Its purpose was to serve as the “implementation and funding” arm of Marriage CoMission, a group which promotes the “traditional family structure.”

Although a few reports came out last year stating that Chick-Fil-A would cease its policy of donating to anti-gay groups, those reports have proven to be erroneous. When asked about the company’s policy in an interview with the Baptist Press, Cathy said that Chick-fil-A was “guilty as charged” regarding its millions of dollars in contributions to established anti-gay organizations.

NY Attorney General warns NFL regarding 'sexual orientation' questions

Posted by David Zimmerman March 14, 2013 03:06 PM


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has released a letter sent by his office to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding an investigation on whether possible draft picks were asked about their sexual orientation during the league's combine, which is illegal in New York.

In the letter, Schneiderman requests that the league:

Issue a public statement clarifying its position "that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation by league teams or their employees or agents against potential recruits or players is a violation of state, local, and in some cases, contractual law, and will not be tolerated."

"Memorialize this commitment in a written policy" and distribute the policy throughout the League.

Advise NFL prospects to contact League officials if they have ever been asked questions about their sexual orientation.

Schneiderman asked Commissioner Goodell to contact him by Wednesday to schedule a meeting on the matter.

In a statement by NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, the league revealed that it is already looking into the matter. "Like all employers, our teams are expected to follow applicable federal, state and local employment laws," the NFL said in its recent statement. "It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process. In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation. Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline."

Undocumented LGBTs to meet with Sen. Elizabeth Warren aide on Friday

Posted by Jim Lopata March 14, 2013 09:13 AM

Local LGBT and immigration advocates are planning to at Sen. Elizabeth Warren's office on Friday.

Members of the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP) plan to gather at 2 p.m. on March 14 at the JFK Federal Building before a meeting at Sen. Warren's Boston office. At the meeting, undocumented LGBT people are expected to disclose their status to the senator's staff in order to raise awareness about the connection between LGBT and immigration issues.

“We’re fighting for inclusive immigration reform that doesn’t leave anyone out—especially our LGBTQ community and immigrant detainees," said Alan Pelaez, grassroots organizer for QUIP in Massachusetts and Connecticut and self-identified undocumented and queer immigrant, in a statement. "As Massachusetts residents, we will give voice to the pain our communities are feeling, as thousands of moms, dads, brothers, and sisters are deported every day to meet an artificial quota of 400,000 deportations per year. Queer rights and immigrant rights are directly intertwined.”

Here's from the press release:

FULL ENTRY

LGBT Catholic coalition on Pope Francis: 'inspired' and 'discouraging'

Posted by Jim Lopata March 13, 2013 09:25 PM

A coalition of groups working on behalf LGBT Catholics and their allies offered prayers and hope that the new pope's oft-cited humility will make him amenable to hearing the voices of those who they say have been "denigrated" by the Church in the past.

Noting that, as a cardinal, the current Pope Francis once characterized equal marriage for same-sex couples as "a machination of the Father of Lies,” Equally Blessed, which includes participation from DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry, Call To Action, and Fortunate Families, stated that many of the comments he once made "are not statements worthy of a pope, or, for that matter, anyone in pastoral ministry."

The groups say they pray that "God will grant him the courage to listen to the voices of all of God’s children, especially those who have been oppressed, marginalized and denigrated by the church in the past."

Here's from the complete press release statement:

FULL ENTRY

Gay Catholics can expect much of the same from new Pope

Posted by David Zimmerman March 13, 2013 04:31 PM


Now that a new pope has emerged from the conclave, gay Catholics around the world are wondering, will Pope Francis attempt to move the church in a new, more progressive, direction? Or will he continue the path set by his predecessor?

If Cardinal Bergoglio’s own words are any indication it looks as though there will be no shift in the church’s position on homosexuality. While serving in Argentina Bergoglio strongly opposed legislation on same-sex marriage and claimed that gay couples adopting was a form of discrimination against children, a stance Argentina president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said reminded her of “medieval times and the Inquisition.”

Regarding the marriage equality legislation he wrote, “At stake are the lives of many children who are discriminated against in advance by depriving them of human growth that God wanted to given with a father and a mother. At stake is a total rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts as well.” He added, “we are not naive: it is not just a political struggle is a destructive attempt to God’s plan. It is not just a bill (this is only the instrument) but a ‘move’ from the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Below is a statement released by the Human Rights Campaign:

“We congratulate Pope Francis in his new position as leader for the Roman Catholic Church. As Pope, he has enormous power to be a source of spiritual healing for millions around the world. But for him to be the best kind of spiritual leader, he must acknowledge the signs of the times and embrace LGBT people as worthy of dignity and respect. American lay Catholics are fully supportive of equality, even more so than the broader population. The new Pope should follow the virtuous lead of his flock.

“We hope the new Pope understands the time for religious-based bigotry is not only over, but must be denounced. Demonizing LGBT people and their families from this powerful platform not only fails to keep faith with the most charitable principles of Catholic teachings and the Jesuit tradition of caring for the marginalized, but it does real psychological damage to millions of LGBT people around the world.”


Boston Spirit magazine's 2013 LGBT Executive Networking Night originally scheduled for March 7th has been rescheduled for Wednesday night March 20th. For more information and to RSVP visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com

Gay hookup app Grindr is reshaping social media industry

Posted by Jim Lopata March 12, 2013 10:18 AM

Grindr is an app that helps gay men connect with each other. But, because of its success, it is reshaping the way social media leaders think about how people meet up, according to a New York Times article about a new book that explores the popular application's implications.

"It is easy to write off Grindr — a location-based dating application for gay men — as a hookup application because, well, that is what it is," writes Jenna Wortham for the New York Times, but, she says:

… the company, which is approaching its fourth anniversary, has amassed more than five million users who spend on average 90 minutes each day using the application. Billions of messages fly across the service every year, and 76 percent of the company’s revenue comes from money generated by Grindr users who fork over cash for the service’s premium features.

The implications of that success are explored in a new book by Jaime Woo, called Meet Grindr: How One App Changed the Way We Connect. Woo spoke recently at a South By Southwest conference. According to the New York Times:

FULL ENTRY

Anderson Cooper on being gay, "It's a blessing"

Posted by David Zimmerman March 12, 2013 09:25 AM

cooper.anderson.b.jpg
(CNN)


"I've always known I was gay from the time I was a little kid. I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware of it, even before I knew what it was or the name of it."

- Anderson Cooper

CNN Anchor/Reporter Anderson Cooper, winner of the 2013 GLAAD Vito Russo Award, has opened up to Sirius XM radio host Michelangelo Signorile about winning the GLAAD award, being gay, and Madonna.

Cooper, currently in Rome covering the Vatican conclave for CNN, called in to Signorile’s OutQ radio program and said that being gay “is a blessing.” On the award, Cooper stated, "It has tremendous meaning, I wish I knew him (Vito Russo). The work he did founding GLAAD and producing The Celluloid Closet, to get more people to know who Vito Russo was … I certainly don't think I'm worthy of it, but if it helps GLAAD and if it helps have more people know who Vito Russo is, then I think it is certainly worthwhile."

Past winners of the award include Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen Degeneres.

Cooper talked about coming out to his closest friends in high school and to his family in college. He remained closeted professionally until just last year (Cooper stated that reporting from war zones around the globe was a major factor in not addressing his sexuality publicly). On finally coming out he said, “over time I started to realize that by not saying something I was sending a message or giving some people the mistaken impression that I was uncomfortable or ashamed and that made me really sad because I really didn’t want to give that impression. I think that being gay is a blessing. I couldn’t be more proud of being gay.”

Further discussing his coming out, and whether others should follow his lead, Cooper stated that “as a community I think we are all better off, gay people and straight people, when we are all visible.”

Cooper also said it was “amazing and crazy” to learn that Madonna would be presenting the award to him, and said he is a “huge fan” of her music.

In a particularly touching part of the interview Cooper also discussed his bother’s suicide and the effect that it has had on his life.

You can listen to the entire interview HERE.

Boston Spirit magazine's 2013 LGBT Executive Networking Night originally scheduled for March 7th has been rescheduled for Wednesday night March 20th. For more information and to RSVP visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com

Queen 'fights for gay rights,' trumpets UK headline; Not quite, say underwhelmed LGBT activists and Buckingham Palace

Posted by Jim Lopata March 11, 2013 12:52 PM

Is Queen Elizabeth now a full-fledged gay rights activist? You might think so from the blaring headline in the UK Mail newspaper this past Sunday: "Queen fights for gay rights."

The story behind the provocative headline is not nearly so bold. The queen is signing a new Commonwealth Charter that includes the following language:

‘We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.’

Guardian columnist Patrick Strudwick is underwhelmed. He writes:

Fighting for gay rights? The Queen won't even mention them. She dare not speak our name – that is, if you believe she is even referring to gay people; if you buy the newspaper's inference that "other grounds" denotes an "implicit support of gay rights".

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson provided a bit of clarification on the queen's position, as quoted from the UK Mail:

‘In this charter, the Queen is endorsing a decision taken by the Commonwealth.’ But he added: ‘The Queen does not take a personal view on these issues. The Queen’s position is apolitical, as it is on all matters of this sort.’

Massachusetts Charter School takes heat for staging gay play about Biblical 'Adam and Steve'

Posted by Jim Lopata March 9, 2013 12:07 PM

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Public Charter School in South Hadley, Massachusetts, is taking heat for staging a play that imagines Adam's partner in the Garden of Eden as Steve rather than Eve.

According to CBN News, the school has received e-mails and calls from people who oppose the selection and who say they may protest the production during its run, which begins March 15. But the school is defending its decision. According to CBN News:

In a letter to parents, administrators at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Public Charter School said the play is consistent with the school's philosophy and appropriate for a high school audience.

But they did admit to receiving email petitions and phone calls describing the production as "blasphemous and hateful."

Some of the messages from opponents also say they plan to organize protests through local churches.

The school's website announces performance dates and times and provides a description of the play:

What if Adam’s partner in the Garden of Eden wasn’t Eve, but … Steve? In The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, two First Couples—not only Adam and Steve but also Jane and Mabel—experience life’s joys and perils from the biblical world to the modern day. This satirical comedy by Paul Rudnick (author of I Hate Hamlet and Jeffrey) is cheeky, raucously funny, surprisingly tender and ultimately wise as it dissects history, relationships, gay politics and the mystery of faith.

How about a lapsed Catholic for pope?

Posted by Jim Lopata March 9, 2013 10:48 AM

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Dressed as Pope John Paul II for Halloween, 1978.

By James Lopata

I have a photo of me dressed as Pope John Paul II from 1978. 

Sometimes I laugh when see it. Other times, not so much.

It was a great time to be Catholic then. In the vibrant post-Vatican II parish where I was raised, we sang, we danced, we waved daffodils and launched multi-colored balloons at Easter. There was a spirit moving all over. 

It strikes me as funny that, as a baptized Catholic male, I am technically eligible for the position of pontiff, even though I haven’t attended Mass in several years.

Funny, yes, but even more, sad.

The desire to have much of anything to do with the Catholic Church that I loved so much has departed. I know I am not alone. According to the Holy See's own statistics, there are millions of lapsed Catholics all over the world.

Using the Vatican's Statistical Yearbook of the Church, Catholic News Service noted that although the total Catholic population is up 29 percent from 1990 to 2010, confirmations are up only 10 percent, and first communions are actually down 5 percent. These figures demonstrate that the faith is in global retreat.

FULL ENTRY

Clinton urges Supreme Court to overturn DOMA

Posted by David Zimmerman March 8, 2013 11:07 AM


Former President Bill Clinton has joined the ever growing group of current and former politicians urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) when the justices take on the case later this spring. Clinton, in a op-ed piece he wrote for the Washington Post, states that the country was in a very different time when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act. “In no state in the union was same-sex marriage recognized, much less available as a legal right, but some were moving in that direction. Washington, as a result, was swirling with all manner of possible responses, some quite draconian” he states.

He goes on to write that he now believes that “DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.”

More from the op-ed piece:

Because Section 3 of the act defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, same-sex couples who are legally married in nine states and the District of Columbia are denied the benefits of more than a thousand federal statutes and programs available to other married couples. Among other things, these couples cannot file their taxes jointly, take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse or receive equal family health and pension benefits as federal civilian employees. Yet they pay taxes, contribute to their communities and, like all couples, aspire to live in committed, loving relationships, recognized and respected by our laws.

When I signed the bill, I included a statement with the admonition that “enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination.” Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory. It should be overturned.

One hundred fifty years ago, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln concluded a message to Congress by posing the very question we face today: “It is not ‘Can any of us imagine better?’ but ‘Can we all do better?’”

The answer is of course and always yes. In that spirit, I join with the Obama administration, the petitioner Edith Windsor, and the many other dedicated men and women who have engaged in this struggle for decades in urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.


Dahill circulates petition to allow lesbian and gay groups to march in Southie St. Patrick's parade

Posted by David Zimmerman March 7, 2013 11:52 AM

cahill.jpg
(Bay Windows)

(This article is appears in the current issue of Bay Windows and is being re-printed with permission)

Maureen Dahill, a candidate for State Senate in the 1st Suffolk District, today circulated an online petition to urge South Boston’s elected officials to fight for an inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade that allows gay and lesbian groups to march.

“I am proud to be from South Boston. I am proud of the deep roots and the amazing people who have ultimately shaped who I am today. South Boston is a vibrant community. It is a diverse community and it is a welcoming and inclusive community,” said Dahill.

Her petition is collecting signatures from voters asking Congressman Stephen Lynch, Representative Nick Collins and Councilor Bill Linehan to urge the Allied War Veteran’s Council to allow gay and lesbian groups to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Last year over one million people visited South Boston to watch the St Patrick’s Day Parade. With this year’s parade falling on the St Patrick’s Day holiday, there will be likely even more people. It’s time we showed our neighborhood in its true light and allowed gays and lesbian groups to march in the parade’, added Dahill.

State Representative Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Boston) has already signed on to Dahill’s proposal, according to Dahill’s campaign.

“This is an opportunity to put our past behind us and to begin a new and positive chapter for all of us in South Boston. It's a simple, yet powerful gesture that could heal deep wounds,” said Dahill.

The petition can be viewed at http://www.maureendahill.com/petition

Dahill is a candidate for the special election for the 1st Suffolk State Senate seat. The primary election is April 30th.


Tonight's Boston Spirit magazine LGBT Executive Networking Night has been postponed due to inclement weather. The event will take place on Wednesday, March 20th. For more information visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com

Anti-gay group president touts honorary degree from defunct university, according to HRC

Posted by Jim Lopata March 6, 2013 07:03 PM

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), is claiming that he received an honorary degree from a university that is no longer incorporated, according to the The Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Brown, leader of NOM, a group that opposes equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, tweeted on Monday that he received an honorary degree from "American Urban U. & Church of God in Christ" in Memphis. HRC verified that the American Urban University's corporate status has been suspended.

Here's from HRC's press release:

NOM President Brian Brown Touts Honorary Degree – From Non-Existent University

Records show the American Urban University’s corporation status has been suspended

Washington – National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown is touting an honorary degree he’s received from a non-existent university. On Monday, Brown – fresh off a jaunt to Paris in an attempt to take NOM’s anti-LGBT message abroad - tweeted that he was “honored to receive honorary doctorate this weekend in Memphis from American Urban U. & Church of God in Christ!” Brown also tweeted a picture of himself receiving the “honorary degree.”

Unfortunately for Brown, American Urban University does not exist. HRC has independently confirmed that the school is not in operation as a postsecondary institution.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, there is no American Urban University accredited postsecondary institution anywhere in the country. The Tennessee Higher Education Committee lists no such school on its database of authorized institutions.

“NOM just continues to remove itself further and further from reality,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “Brian Brown has made it a habit of denying the growing support for marriage equality despite the historic victories we achieved in 2012 and a wide array of polling that shows support growing across virtually all demographics. He has conveniently ignored the fact that his membership base is rapidly deteriorating and that his organization relies on the deep coffers of just two donors. And now apparently he thinks it’s perfectly normal to receive a degree from a non-existent university.”

In fact, public records indicate that the “university” was incorporated in California – not Tennessee - and has had its corporate status suspended. According to the California Secretary of State, some of the reasons an entity can have its status revoked include a failure to pay taxes or other fees, or a failure to file all required information with the state.

“This is just more bizarre, head-scratching behavior from NOM and Brian Brown,” added Sainz. “Congratulations to Mr. Brown on his well-deserved recognition from the non-existent American Urban University.

Carly Rae Jepsen to Boy Scouts…Don’t Call Me Maybe!

Posted by David Zimmerman March 5, 2013 01:11 PM

Carly Rae Jepsen, whose song ‘Call Me Maybe’ took the world by storm last year, has backed out of a scheduled performance at the Boy Scouts of America 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

Jepsen tweeted that “as an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer”

myphoto (3).jpeg

Another major headliner for the Jamboree, the band Train, has also stated that they will not perform at the Jamboree unless the BSA changes its anti-gay policies before the summer.

GLAAD, who orginally asked Jepsen and Train to reconsider performing at the event has commended their decisions to back out of the Jamboree. “No fair-minded media outlet, corporation or celebrity will want to partner with the BSA as long as the organization puts discrimination and anti-gay bias before the needs of young people,” Rich Ferraro, GLAAD's vice president of communications, said in a statement. "GLAAD will continue to call for partners of the BSA to speak out against the anti-gay ban until the BSA puts Scouting first and adopts a national non-discrimination policy. Carly Rae Jepsen and Train's decisions not only send the right message to the BSA, but remind LGBT young people that they are supported and accepted."


Please join Boston Spirit magazine this Thursday night, March 7th, for our annual LGBT EXECUTIVE Networking Night. This is the largest LGBT business networking night in New England with more than 1,000 attendees and 50 exhibitors. Also, this year's Keynote speaker is Gautam Raghavan, the LGBT liaison in the White House. This promises to be an amazing night. To RSVP visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com.

'The ultimate anti-gay marriage ad'

Posted by Jim Lopata March 5, 2013 09:37 AM

Are you worried about that gay marriage may destroy straight marriage?

In a YouTube video, comic Brandon Muller imaginations what scary conversations may be occurring in the homes of straight couples everywhere.

Check out his video, The Ultimate Anti-gay Marriage Ad, which says it is "Paid for by the coalition of people whose lives are ruined whenever other people are treated equally."

FULL ENTRY

USA ranks #38 in Gay Travel Index

Posted by Jim Lopata March 4, 2013 10:27 AM

One of the most popular international gay travel publications, Spartacus, ranks the United States of America at 38 when it comes to best gay tourist destinations.

Sweden takes first place in the publication's Gay Travel Index.

The USA racks up points for anti-discrimination, marriage/partnership, and equal age of consent, but loses points for religious influence and hostility from locals.

The USA shares 38th place with eight other countries, including Aruba, Cambodia, and Italy.

The full report can be accessed in PDF form at www.spartacusworld.com/gaytravelindex.pd.

FULL ENTRY

White House LGBT liaison to speak in Boston

Posted by David Zimmerman March 4, 2013 09:29 AM

Gautam.bmp
(White House)

Gautam Raghavan, the Associate Director of Public Engagement and LGBT liaison in the White House, will serve as the Keynote Speaker at Boston Spirit magazine’s annual LGBT Executive Networking Night this Thursday night.

The networking night, now in its sixth year, is the largest business related lgbt event in New England. In March 2012 more than 1,300 attended the event. Past speakers include Patriots owner Robert Kraft and television personality Chaz Bono.

Raghavan, a Washington veteran, has also served as the Deputy White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense and as the Outreach Lead for DoD’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group. In addition he worked for the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and Progressive Majority.

In his current role as LGBT liaison Ragahvan’s duties include advocating gay issues within the White House, letting the public know where the President stands on LGBT issues, and explaining the work progress of equality legislation. This for a President that is widely known as the most lgbt friendly President in history.

The event, sponsored by Eastern Bank, Fidelity Investments and Mintz Levin, among others, will offer a unique opportunity to hear, first hand, about the inner workings of the Obama White House as it relates to LGBT policy decisions…particularly timely on the heels of the historic amicas brief that the President filed last week calling on the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8, California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Boston Spirit’s LGBT Executive Networking Night takes place on Thursday night, March 7th, at 6:00 p.m. at the Copley Marriott Hotel. For more information and to RSVP visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com.

Pope Benedict's 'intense relationship' with 'handsome male companion' scrutinized by Andrew Sullivan

Posted by Jim Lopata March 2, 2013 11:49 AM

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Pope Benedict XVI with his secretary Georg Ganswein, May 10, 2007, in São Paulo, Brazil. (photo: Agência Brasil/Wikipedia Commons)

An unusual relationship Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has with his secretary Georg Ganswein is under scrutiny by blogger Andrew Sullivan.

Calling the former pope's connection with the "handsome" secretary "intense," Sullivan wonders why Ganswein is expected to continue assisting the former pope even while maintaining his role as prefect of the household for the next pope.

Writes Sullivan:

Are we supposed to think that’s, well, a normal arrangement? …

This man – clearly in some kind of love with Ratzinger (and vice-versa) will now be working for the new Pope as secretary in the day and spending the nights with the Pope Emeritus. This is not the Vatican. It’s Melrose Place.

More from The Dish at dish.andrewsullivan.com.

ACLU defends anti-gay t-shirt

Posted by Jim Lopata March 2, 2013 10:53 AM

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) successfully fought to allow a high school student in Connecticut to wear a shirt that included anti-gay imagery.

Wolcott High School initially banned student Seth Groody from sporting a t-shirt with an illustration of a rainbow with a slash through it and a man and a woman holding hands with the words "Excessive Speech Day" on it. The school changed its position after ACLU intervention.

"The First Amendment was written to protect unpopular speech, which is naturally the kind of speech that will always need protection," Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut, told WFSB of CBS. "The ACLU has fought hard for same-sex marriage and we couldn't agree with Seth less on that issue, but he is absolutely correct about his right to express his opinion."

More at here www.cbsnews.com.


Ellen Degeneres files Supreme Court brief....on Facebook

Posted by David Zimmerman March 2, 2013 08:33 AM

TV (and lesbian) icon Ellen DeGeneres has weighed in on the Proposition 8 issue headed to the Supreme Court. Degeneres has filed a brief with the Court....via Facebook.

In the brief, which appears on the Facebook page for the Ellen Degeneres show, she quotes Benjamin Franklin as saying "We're here, we're queer, get over it." (Yes, it was a joke)

Ellen's letter:

California’s Proposition 8 is headed to the Supreme Court. Hundreds of companies and families as well as Republicans are submitting briefs urging the 9 judges to allow gay people to marry. I thought that was ridiculous. Why would judges want all of that underwear? Then, after a quick talk with some people, I found out what a brief was.

I’ve never filed a brief to the Supreme Court, so I thought I would post mine here. I’m sure someone will tweet it to them.

Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine.

But even though Portia and I got married in the short period of time when it was legal in California, there are 1,138 federal rights for married couples that we don’t have, including some that protect married people from losing their homes, or their savings or custody of their children.

The truth is, Portia and I aren’t as different from you as you might think. We’re just trying to find happiness in the bodies and minds we were given, like everyone else.

Coming out was one of the hardest things I ever did. I didn’t intend to be on the cover of Time magazine saying, “Yep, I’m gay.” The truth is, I don’t even remember saying that. I mean, I definitely said the “I’m gay” part. It’s the “yep” I don’t remember. I’m not really a “yep” person. “Yes siree Bob” maybe. But not “yep."
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “We’re here, we’re queer, get over it.” And there’s another famous quote that says “A society is judged by how it treats its weakest members.” I couldn’t agree with that more. No one’s really sure who said it first, so if anyone asks, tell them I said it.

I hope the Supreme Court will do the right thing, and let everyone enjoy the same rights. It’s going to help keep families together. It’s going to make kids feel better about who they are. And it is time.

*I was just told Benjamin Franklin did not say that first quote. I apologize and see that I have a lot to learn about stuff.

Please join Boston Spirit magazine this Thursday night, March 7th, for our annual LGBT EXECUTIVE Networking Night. This is the largest lgbt business networking night in New England with more than 1,000 attendees and 50 exhibitors. Also, this year's Keynote speaker is Gautam Raghavan, the lgbt liaison in the White House. This promises to be an amazing night. To RSVP visit www.bostonspiritmagazine.com

Local 'pro-family' organization leader compares Massachusetts school administrators to "Nazi concentration camp guards"

Posted by David Zimmerman March 1, 2013 01:44 PM

In a recent radio interview with VCY America Brian Camenker of the anti-gay, ‘pro-family’ group MassResistance, compared Massachusetts school administrators to “Nazi concentration camp guards” in response to the Mass Department of Education’s directive regarding the use of bathrooms and participation on sports teams for transgender students.

Camenker, while on the talk show Crosstalk, said "These school administrators, you know I mean you think of them as what the Nazi concentration camp guards must have been like where they are doing this horrible evil and they are just taking orders or something, they believe in it. People need to rise up because it is only going to get worse."

The directive in question states that ‘‘the student may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity.” It goes on to state that “whether a student identifies as a boy or girl is up to the student or, in the case of younger students, the parents.”

Not to be outdone, FOX news host Bill O’Reilly also jumper on the anti-LGBT bandwagon earlier this week calling the Massachusetts Department of Education’s decision “insane” and “madness.”

"Here’s how insane you are and this whole thing is, and this is truly madness, ladies and gentlemen. You’re telling me that a kid can go to a public school in Massachusetts, immediately upon entering the school take off the kid’s shirt and put on a dress, go to the girls’ room when he’s a boy, and then change his name from John to Tiffany. And then after school, put the shirt back on, go home, and he’s still John," said O’Reilly.

Equality Blog has written an excellent piece explaining, in clear and factual terms, the many reasons why O’Reilly’s rant was misleading, incorrect, and factually inaccurate.


About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!
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