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ESPN analyst calls homosexuality an "open rebellion to God"

Posted by David Zimmerman April 30, 2013 08:39 AM

ESPN NBA analyst Chris Broussard, while appearing on the cable station’s show Outside The Lines, yesterday compared homosexuality and premarital sex to an “open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.”

Broussard who began his sports writing career for The Plain Dealer before moving to the Akron Beacon Journal where he started covering the NBA. He joined ESPN Magazine in 2004 and started appearing on ESPN shortly thereafter.

While on Outside The Lines (to discuss NBA player Jason Collins' announcement that he is gay) Broussard commented that he doesn’t "believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly ... like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says 'you know them by their fruits.' It says that, you know, that’s a sin."

He went on to say, “if you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality -- adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals -- whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian."

Shortly after the program aired ESPN released the following statement:

We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today’s news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins’ announcement.

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers on Jason Collins

Posted by David Zimmerman April 29, 2013 03:22 PM

The following statement is from Boston Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers on Jason Collins' announcement today:

“I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collins. He’s a pro’s pro. He is the consummate professional and he is one of my favorite “team” players I have ever coached. If you have learned anything from Jackie Robinson, it is that teammates are always the first to accept. It will be society who has to learn tolerance. One of my favorite sayings is, I am who I am, are whom we are, can be what I want to be its not up to you, it’s just me being me."

Collins, as you can read HERE has announced that he is gay in an article appearing in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated. He played for the Celtics this year until being traded to the Washington Wizards for Jordan Crawford

Current NBA player Jason Collins " I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

Posted by David Zimmerman April 29, 2013 11:38 AM


Jason Collins who played for the Boston Celtics this season, prior to being traded to the Washington Wizards for Jordan Crawford, has come out as a gay man in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated. Collins cited the recent NBA lockout, the Boston Marathon bombings and his old college roommate, Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy, as some of the reasons he decided to make the announcement now.

I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston's 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I'm seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn't even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I'd been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, "Me, too."

Collins also discussed wearing number 98 as a player. He wore the number in reference to 1998, the year Matthew Shepard was killed. Shepard’s murder is one of the best known acts of anti-gay violence in modern times.

Collins has played in the NBA since 2001. He has played for the New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, and Washington Wizards.

Collins twin brother Jarron also played in the NBA.

Barney Frank links American right-wing with al-Qaeda

Posted by Jim Lopata April 27, 2013 10:33 AM

"There is an irony that the most active anti-gay [groups] are al-Qaeda and the American right-wing," said Barney Frank, in an interview with Buzzfeed about the March 2013 issue of al-Qaeda's Inspire magazine, which features Frank and his husband.

The magazine spread claims that the U.S. has "no values." It cites statistics showing that half of Americans favor marriage equality and features a quote from President Obama where he supports same-sex marriage rights.

More from Buzzfeed:

FULL ENTRY

San Francisco Pride committee backtracks on WikiLeaks suspect Manning as Grand Marshal

Posted by David Zimmerman April 27, 2013 09:24 AM


Members of the board overseeing San Francisco Pride have backtracked on their earlier decision to name Bradley Manning, the military intelligence specialist accused of leaking classified information to the website Wikileaks, as a Pride parade Grand Marshal.

"That was an error, and that person has been disciplined. He does not now, nor did he at that time, speak for SF Pride," said SF Pride Board President Lisa Williams

A committee of former San Francisco Pride grand marshals did select the 25-year-old Manning, who is openly gay, for the honor, but the Pride Board decided his nomination would be a mistake, Williams said.

"In point of fact, less than 15 people actually cast votes for Bradley Manning," Williams said. "However, as an organization with a responsibility to serve the broader community, SF Pride repudiates this vote."

While the event's grand marshals are typically celebrated as they wave from convertibles during a downtown San Francisco parade, naming Manning as one was destined to be a symbolic gesture. He is in custody at a military prison in Kansas while he awaits court-martial and would have been unable to attend the June 30 parade.

Rainey Reitman, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, was excited when Manning was chosen as a Grand Marshal however that excitement proved to be short-lived. "I and many other LGBT Manning supporters are deeply disappointed by this sudden change in position on the part of the committee," Reitman said. "Bradley is a gay American hero who sacrificed a great deal so we could learn the truth about our government, and he was fairly elected to serve as grand marshal in the parade."

On the other hand, the Pride committee’s change of heart was applauded by others.

"Manning's blatant disregard for the safety of our service members and the security of our nation should not be praised," said Stephen Peters, president of American Military Partners Association. The group, which advocates for same-sex military families, had called on the Pride Committee to rescind the invitation.

"No community of such a strong and resilient people should be represented by the treacherous acts that define Bradley Manning," Peters said.

Congress asked to protect LGBT workers — again

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

Given that yet another state is on the verge of enacting marriage equality for same-sex couples (Rhode Island) you would think that something as basic as the right for people to work without fear of being fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, would be the law of the land. Right?

Nope.

Today, a bipartisan coalition of U.S. lawmakers introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which prohibits worker dismissal solely on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, for consideration — again.

Since as far back as 1974 some politicians in U.S. Congress have tried to outlaw employment discrimination for gay, lesbian and bisexual workers, when Bella Abzug introduced the Equality Act that year.

ENDA was first introduced in 1994. Almost every Congress since then has had the bill presented to it for consideration. No Congress has passed it, yet.

This year may be different. According to the The Huffington Post:

... given the public discussion on gay rights over the past year, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), a co-sponsor, told HuffPost he thinks the bill has about as good a shot as ever in the Senate.

"There's a growing recognition that discrimination is wrong" against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Merkley said Thursday. "The same concept that's driving the marriage debate will help drive success on employment discrimination."

Gay marriage now has support from all but three Democratic senators -- Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) -- as well as Republican Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Rob Portman (Ohio). ...

For the ENDA bill, Merkley's co-sponsors include Democratic Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), as well as Kirk and fellow Republican Susan Collins (Maine). A companion bill has been introduced in the House by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a statement pushing for passage of the act, noting that, "it is perfectly legal to fire lesbian, gay and bisexual people under the laws of 29 states and transgender people are not protected by the laws of 34 states." More from the HRC release:

FULL ENTRY

Boston’s LGBT Film Festival sets high bar this year

Posted by Jim Lopata April 25, 2013 04:32 PM

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G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) (photo: courtesy Boston LGBT Film Festival)

NOTE: STORY UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE LATEST SCHEDULING AND IS ADAPTED FROM THE MARCH/APRIL 2013 ISSUE OF BOSTON SPIRIT MAGAZINE.

The 29th Annual Boston LGBT Film Festival holds its annual launch party this coming Sunday, April 28, at Post 360 (406 Stuart Street, Boston). The event is free and open to the public. Those interested can RSVP through the festival web site at www.bostonlgbtfilmfest.net.

By Loren King

That Boston marches to its own drummer is hardly news in the political or LGBT arenas. That this is also true in rarified atmosphere of film festivals, particularly in the niche world of LGBT film festivals, is one more reason to wear the badge of Bostonian with pride.

The Boston LGBT Film Festival, which runs May 2 through 12, has, at 29 years, earned the distinction as one of the oldest LGBT film fests in the nation. Through many changes in both the film and the LGBT scene, Boston has managed to annually deliver a celebration of international queer cinema that’s as diverse as the city itself.

“We’ve learned what works here. Our audience doesn’t mind subtitles; one of the biggest hits of recent years was the Tom Twyker film 3. Gay Hollywood movies don’t work for us. We program rom-coms for a date night film, but what sells out in Phoenix doesn’t do well in Boston. Women’s films do well here, sometimes better than men’s,” says James Nadeau, the festival’s executive director.

Among the more than 100 fiction features, documentaries and shorts that will screen at six local venues — the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Brattle Theatre, the Coolidge Corner Theatre, Theater 1 at the Revere Hotel and the Paramount Center — are several films that deal with LGBT history and others that offer transgender characters. Notable among these is Laurence Anyways (5/5, 7 p.m., MFA), from Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan who directed Heartbeats (2010) and I Killed My Mother (2009).

FULL ENTRY

Rhode Island Senate votes in favor of marriage equality

Posted by David Zimmerman April 24, 2013 05:58 PM

The Rhode Island state Senate voted late this afternoon in favor of a marriage equality bill putting Rhode Island on course to become the tenth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The full Senate voted 26-12 in favor of the bill, just one day after the Judiciary committee voted 7-4 to advance the measure to the Senate floor.

The Senate also voted 10-28 to defeat a proposed amendment to put the issue to popular vote on the 2014 ballot; that same amendment was rejected by the Judiciary committee on Tuesday.

The Senate had long been seen as the true test for same-sex marriage in Rhode Island, currently the only state in New England without marriage equality.

The bill now returns to the state House for a largely procedural vote on small changes made to the bill on the Senate side. The House previously voted 51-19 in January in favor of the bill.

House Speaker Gordon Fox (D-Providence), who is gay and a supporter of same-sex marriage, said a final vote could come as early as next week.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an Independent and supporter of same-sex marriage, has promised to sign the bill.

The first marriages could take place Aug. 1, when the legislation would take effect.

Tyler Seguin apologizes for tweet

Posted by David Zimmerman April 24, 2013 08:56 AM

Boston Bruin Tyler Seguin got in a bit of hot water last night after tweeting out a message some have called homophobic.

Seguin, to his credit, quickly realized his error and sent out a second message to apologize.

The original tweet was in reference to a song by Boston rapper Slaine. Seguin, who appears in the video for the song, wrote ““Just listened to the song in my bed. Gave me goosebumps no homo...”

That tweet was followed by,

myphoto (11).jpeg

Interestingly, The National Hockey announced, jus two weeks ago, that the league has entered into a formal partnership with the You Can Play Project which works with athletes and leagues to educate them on issues surrounding lgbt athletes and the lgbt community.

Rhode Island Senate committee approves marriage equality bill, sends it to full Senate for vote

Posted by David Zimmerman April 23, 2013 05:31 PM

Late this afternoon the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 to recommend S38, the marriage equality bill, to the full Senate. This move sets up Rhode Island to join the five other New England states in allowing for same-sex marriages.
positions Rhode Island, the final holdout in New England, to pass marriage equality. This.

The vote on the full floor of the Senate will be tomorrow (Wednesday).

The Rhode Island House of Representatives passed the marriage equality bill earlier this year after a unanimous committee vote and strong bipartisan support. And, earlier this week the Senate Republican Caucus announced that they are unanimous in their support for the bill.

Governor Lincoln Chaffee, a strong supporter of marriage equality in Rhode Island, has already indicated that he will sign the measure once it reaches his desk.

France approves gay marriages

Posted by Jim Lopata April 23, 2013 12:09 PM

After a months of debate and tempestuous demonstrations on both sides of the issue, French legislators approved civil marriage for same-sex couples, according to the Associated Press. From the report:

France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate and protests that flooded the streets of Paris. Legions of officers and water cannon stood ready near France's National Assembly ahead of the final vote, bracing for possible violence on an issue that galvanized the country's faltering conservative movement. ...

France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage.

R.I. Senate Republicans unanimously support marriage equality, according to AP

Posted by Jim Lopata April 23, 2013 11:51 AM

All five of Rhode Island's Senate Republicans say that they unanimously support marriage equality, according to the Associated Press.

The Rhode Island Senate is scheduled to determine whether or not to advance legislation that would legalize civil marriage for same-sex couples today, Tuesday, April 23. According to AP:

The Senate Republican Caucus announced Tuesday that its members will support legislation allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. The senators cite their support for liberty and limited government and say same-sex couples deserve the same marriage rights as anyone.

While the GOP caucus only holds five of the Senate's 38 seats, its support is another indication of the growing support for gay marriage in Rhode Island, now the only New England state that doesn't allow gay marriage.

The bill has already passed the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee will decide Tuesday whether to forward the measure to the full Senate for a debate.

Clinton accepts GLAAD award

Posted by David Zimmerman April 22, 2013 11:22 AM

CLINTON2.jpg
(Photo: GLAAD)


GLAAD held its 24th annual Media Awards in Los Angeles this past week and among the winners was former President Bill Clinton. Clinton, a somewhat controversial choice as he is the President who signed DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell into law, has since committed himself to "keep working on this until not only DOMA is no longer the law of the land, but until all people, no matter where they live, can marry the people they love."

Clinton went on to state, "I believe you will win the DOMA fight and I think you will win the constitutional right to marry, if not tomorrow, then the next day and the next day."

Clinton also touched on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) -- "We still need to pass that. From what you've seen tonight we still need to fight bullying and the right kind of immigration reform that doesn't discriminate against anybody," and on the recent proposal by the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay scouts -- "We're about halfway home on that."

Clinton also took time to thank his daughter, Chelsea, citing that she has a "profound impact on the way I see the world... Chelsea and her gay friends and her wonderful husband have modeled to me the way we ought to all treat each other without regard to our sexual orientation or any other artificial difference that divides us."

More from Clinton’s speech:

"People who oppose equal rights for gays in the marriage sphere are basically acting out of concerns for their own identity not out of respect for anyone else. We are less racist, less sexist, for all the problems, we're far less homophobic than we used to be, but we have a new bigotry in America. Apparently, we don't want to be around anyone who disagrees with us about anything...Whenever we turn away from treating someone with the dignity and honor and respect we would want accorded to ourselves, we have to face the fact that it's about to us and we're afraid we wouldn't be us if we couldn't hold on to this, that, and the other little box that doesn't make any sense in a world we're all crashing together in."

"The whole story of the life of our country, of a more perfect union, is to widen the circle of opportunity, to strengthen and enhance the reach of freedom and cement the bonds of community as it gets ever more diverse. Don't you let anyone tell you otherwise. You have made this a better, a more interesting, and a more well-prepared country for the future. We need you fully-armed for the continued struggle for equality. You are the agents of change."


‘Looped’ reunites Stefanie Powers and Tallulah Bankhead

Posted by Jim Lopata April 21, 2013 01:36 PM

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Stefanie Powers as Tallulah Bankhead in Looped (photo: courtesy Looped)

Boston’s Cutler Majestic Theater hosts 'Looped' through May 5.

NOTE: The following story is adapted from an article in the May/June 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Loren King

When the curtain went up on the current tour of Looped, Matthew Lombardo’s comedy about Tallulah Bankhead, it was a bittersweet moment for all.

Valerie Harper, who earned a Tony nomination when she starred in Looped on Broadway in 2010, was in the middle of a rehearsal for the current tour when Lombardo and the play’s director, Rob Ruggiero, who had also directed Harper in the Broadway production, realized something was wrong.

“She just wasn’t herself. She was forgetting lines, and this was a role she’d played hundreds of times,” recalls Lombardo. “She went to the hospital the following day and three days later we all found out it was brain cancer. It’s always difficult to see someone you love go through this, but Val is handling it with grace and courage.”

Tickets had been sold and theaters booked — Boston’s Cutler Majestic Theater hosts Looped April 30 to May 5 — so, with Harper’s unequivocal blessing, the show went on. Stefanie Powers, who had co-starred with Bankhead in the movie at the center of the play — 1965 camp classic Die! Die! My Darling! — stepped in to play Bankhead.

FULL ENTRY

Boy Scouts of America propose end to ban on gay Scouts, keep ban on gay Scout leaders

Posted by David Zimmerman April 19, 2013 03:37 PM


The Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee has proposed a resolution that would establish a nondiscrimination policy ending the longstanding discriminatory ban on gay Scouts, but has kept a policy that discriminates against gay and lesbian parents and Scout leaders. The resolution, which proposes a policy that, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” is national in scope, as opposed to a previous approach that would have allowed local sponsoring organizations to make their own decisions.

The resolution will face a vote by 1,400 leaders of the Boy Scouts of America during the National Council Meeting, May 22-24.

“It is good news that BSA leadership is open to ending the ban on gay Scouts, but this resolution must go further,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Parents and adults of good moral character, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to volunteer their time to mentor the next generation of Americans. What message does this resolution send to the gay Eagle Scout who, as an adult, wants to continue a lifetime of scouting by becoming a troop leader?”

Unanswered in the resolution is the issue of employment discrimination by BSA. Currently, the BSA job application for “professional commission” explicitly says gays need not apply. The application, which comes from the BSA’s national office and appears to be in use across the country, reads: "The Boy Scouts of America will not employ atheists, agnostics, known or avowed homosexuals.”

New Zealand legalizes gay marriage, according to AP

Posted by Jim Lopata April 17, 2013 06:11 AM

New Zealand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to allow same-sex couples the right to civil marriage, according to the Associated Press via NYTimes.com. From the report:

Hundreds of jubilant gay-rights advocates celebrated at New Zealand's Parliament as the country become the thirteenth in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 Wednesday night in favor of the gay-marriage bill.

Gay Boston cop in iconic Marathon photo, Sports Illustrated cover

Posted by Jim Lopata April 16, 2013 06:43 PM

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Out, gay Boston police officer and LGBT Boston Police Department Liaison Javier Pagan on the cover of Sports Ilustrated, on the right. (photo: from Sports Illustrated Facebook page)

Out, gay Boston police officer and LGBT Boston Police Department Liaison Javier Pagan is on the cover of the current issue of Sports Illustrated.

The cover photograph captures Pagan and two fellow police officers racing into action to help a fallen marathon runner after the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

Pagan joined the Boston police force in 1995 and is a long-time member of the Gay Officer's Action League (GOAL), according to his Facebook page. The Greater Boston Business Council (GBBC), Boston's LGBT chamber of commerce, gave him an Award for Excellence for outstanding service in 2005.

The already iconic photo is making the rounds on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Westboro Baptist Church tweets marriage equality to blame for Boston Marathon bombing

Posted by David Zimmerman April 16, 2013 09:56 AM

The Westboro Baptist Church, known for picketing funerals of military veterans, victims of terrorist attacks, and the victims of the Newtown school shooting has weighed in on yesterday’s marathon bombings.

Westboro, based in Kansas, tweeted: “BREAKING: Westboro Baptist Church to picket funerals of those dead by Boston Bombs! GOD SENT THE BOMBS IN FURY OVER FAG MARRIAGE! #PraiseGod.”

Another tweet, referring to the Ellen DeGeneres Show, said:

“Everyone can give a big thanks to the likes of ‪@TheEllenShow in supporting same-sex marriage – THAT is the reason GOD SENT BOSTON BOMBS!”

The group came into the spotlight in 1998, for picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a gay man who was killed in a homophobic attack in Wyoming.

In 2005, Westboro began its campaign of picketing the funerals of fallen US troops.

The church also blamed homosexuality for the Newton massacre in Connecticut where 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook elementary school in December.


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Ireland's Constitutional Convention votes for marriage equality

Posted by David Zimmerman April 16, 2013 09:31 AM

Ireland’s constitutional convention has voted to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Members of the convention (which is comprised of one third politicians and two thirds citizens) were overwhelmingly in favor of allowing same-sex marriage with 79 percent recommending that the constitution be amended to allow for marriage equality. The convention's recommendation will now be sent to the Government, which has pledged to hold a debate and respond within four months.

As for what form the constitutional change will take, there are two options, a directive amendment ("the State shall enact laws providing for same-sex marriage") or a permissive amendment ("the State may enact laws providing for same-sex marriage").
78 percent of the convention’s members voted for a directive amendment.

Asked what form the constitutional change should take 78 percent of members voted for a directive amendment while 17 percent opted for a permissive amendment

The members also voted in favor of recommending that the State pass laws "incorporating changed arrangements in regard to the parentage, guardianship and the upbringing of children".

"It is a major milestone on the remarkable journey to full constitutional protection for lesbian and gay people and families in Ireland," said Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) director Brian Sheehan. "It builds on the extraordinary progress we have achieved over the last 20 years, and clearly demonstrates that Ireland is ready to take the next step to complete that remarkable journey."

A spokesman for the Catholic Communications Office said: "While the result of the constitutional convention is disappointing, only the people of Ireland can amend the constitution. The Catholic church will continue to promote and seek protection for the uniqueness of marriage between a woman and a man, the nature of which best serves children and our society."

DC Comics introduces first ever transgender superhero

Posted by David Zimmerman April 12, 2013 01:54 PM

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(Photo: DC Comics)

DC Comics, who introduced openly gay and lesbian superheroes last year, has taken lgbt inclusion a step further with their first ever transgender character.

Alysia Yeoh is the roommate of Batgirl Barbara Gordon in DC’s relaunched Batgirl series. In the newly-released Batgirl #19, Alysia – who is also bisexual – comes out to Barbara as a transgender woman.

Over the past year DC has presented several gay and lesbian characters including
Batwoman, Northstar and Green Lantern Alan Scott.

“I looked out into the audience (at the Wondercon Convention), saw dozens of faces I knew well — LGBTQ folks, mostly — all avid comics readers and superhero fans and DC supporters,” writer Gail Simone told Wired magazine. “And it just hit me: Why was this so impossible? Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?”

She went on to state, “Look, we have a problem most media don’t have, which is that almost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago… at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cis-gendered, straight, on and on. It’s fine — it’s great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode ofThe Andy Griffith Show for all eternity.”

Simone wanted to have “trans characters who aren’t fantasy-based,” noting that Alysia will be a “a character, not a public service announcement… being trans is just part of her story.”

Simone hints that she’s working on a transgender character for another comic and would like to see a trans character take center stage. “It’s time for a trans hero in a mainstream comic.”

The National Hockey League announces partnership with the You Can Play Project

Posted by David Zimmerman April 11, 2013 06:45 PM

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(photo: GLAAD)

The National Hockey League, and the NHL players association, has announced a partnership with the You Can Play Project.

You Can Play, launched in Boston by Patrick Burke, is an advocacy group that fights homophobia in sports. Burke, son of former NHL executive Brian Burke, started the You Can Play Project after his brother Brendan was killed in a car accident several years ago. Brendan was an athlete and student manager at Miami University for the men's ice hockey team and made international headlines for coming out, advocating for tolerance and speaking out against homophobia in professional sports.

Speaking on the partnership Burke stated, "The NHL sets the standard for professional sports when it comes to LGBT outreach and we are incredibly grateful for their help and support. We will work with League and NHLPA officials, teams and players to ensure that we create a more inclusive hockey community at all levels."

Said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: "Our motto is 'Hockey Is For Everyone,' and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way. While we believe that our actions in the past have shown our support for the LGBT community, we are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players' Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands."

"NHL players have supported the You Can Play Project since its inception, which we are pleased to formalize and expand upon with today's announcement," said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. "The players believe our partnership with the NHL and You Can Play will foster an inclusive hockey environment from the grassroots level to the professional ranks."

The partnership includes a significant commitment to education and training for teams, players, media and fans plus the production and broadcast of more public service announcements.

"As NHL players, we all strive to contribute towards helping our teams achieve success on the ice. Any player who can help in those efforts should be welcomed as a teammate," said Ron Hainsey, Winnipeg Jets defenseman and NHLPA Executive Board member. "This partnership solidifies the message that the hockey community believes in fairness and equality for everyone."

You Can Play will conduct seminars at the NHL's rookie symposium to educate young prospects on LGBT issues. In addition, You Can Play will make its resources and personnel available to each individual team as desired.

The NHLPA and NHL also will work with You Can Play to integrate the project into their Behavioral Health Program, enabling players to confidentially seek counseling or simply ask questions regarding matters of sexual orientation.

Apple CEO Tim Cook tops OUT Magazine's 2013 Power List

Posted by David Zimmerman April 11, 2013 01:14 PM

Out Magazine has released its annual Power List of the Top 50 most powerful “gay men and women whose power and prestige is instrumental in influencing the way Americans think about, and engage with, the world.”

The list is cross-section of personalities from the worlds of business (Megan Smith from Google, Robert Hanson from American Eagle Outfitters, Tom Cook from Apple), politics (Congressman David Cicilline, Senator Tammy Baldwin, New York City Councilor Christine Quinn) and entertainment (Neil Patrick Harris, Andrew Cohen, Jane Lynch).

New comers to the top 10 include the darling on the 2012 presidential election “statistics guru” Nate Silver and musician Frank Ocean who came out last summer. You can see the entire list HERE. The Top 10 are below.


10 Frank Ocean
9. Tammy Baldwin
8. Shepard Smith
7. Peter Thiel
6. Nate Silver
5. Anderson Cooper
4. Rachel Maddow
3. Ryan Murphy
2. Ellen DeGeneres
1. Tim Cook

Army e-mail warns soldiers of anti-gay, 'domestic hate groups,' like 'The Family Research Council'

Posted by Jim Lopata April 10, 2013 07:43 PM

An e-mail from a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel warns officers to be on guard for soldiers affiliated "Domestic 'hate groups'," according to Fox News.

In the communication, the Family Research Council, Westboro Baptist Church, and American Family Association are listed as "Associated Anti-Gay Groups."

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes writes:

A group of Army officers were advised to monitor soldiers who belong to what they considered to be anti-gay, anti-Muslim and anti-immigration organizations, according to a military email obtained by Fox News. ...

The email was sent by a lieutenant colonel at Fort Campbell in Kentucky to three dozen subordinates – warning them to be on the lookout for any soldiers who might be members of “domestic hate groups.”

FULL ENTRY

Massachusetts LGBT Elder Commission called for on Beacon Hill

Posted by Jim Lopata April 9, 2013 11:05 AM

At 1 p.m. today, a hearing will be held on Beacon Hill to discuss the possibility of creating an LGBT Elder Commission in Massachusetts.

MassEquality and the LGBT Aging Project are the leaders in this discussion. Here's from their joint press release:

FULL ENTRY

Santorum: Political "suicide" for Republicans to support marriage equality

Posted by David Zimmerman April 9, 2013 08:50 AM


Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, in an interview with the Des Moines Register, has predicted that the Supreme Court won’t “make the same mistake in the (current marriage equality) cases as they did in Roe v. Wade. I’m hopeful the Supreme Court learned its lesson about trying to predict where the American public is going on issues and trying to find rights in the Constitution that sit with the fancy of the day.”

Santorum went on to say that there is “an increasing mood” on supporting gay marriage, but “it is not a well thought-out position by the American public.”

When asked about the current surge of politicians who support marriage equality, including several Republicans, Santorum likened the situation to the abortion debate that took place in the 70s as Roe v. Wade came before the court. “I’m sure you could go back and read stories, oh, you know, ‘The Republican party’s going to change. This is the future.’ Obviously that didn’t happen,” Santorum said. “I think you’re going to see the same stories written now and it’s not going to happen. The Republican party’s not going to change on this issue. In my opinion it would be suicidal if it did.”

Homophobic rant from local website 'Barstool Sports'

Posted by David Zimmerman April 5, 2013 10:51 AM

Local website Barstool Sports, long known for its sophomoric brand of humor, exploitation of women, and anti-lgbt rants is at it again.

In a post on the site, a writer known as elpresidente has posted a piece in which he comments on the opening of Boston Chops, a new steakhouse located in the South End.

Among other things, the writer claims that "everybody knows gays don’t eat meat. Like aren’t 80% of gayballs vegetarians?" And goes on to state, "Bottomline is men eat steak. Big burly men like me. Powerful men. Not gayballs."

Finishing the post with, "Steak is for heteros."

As homophobic rants go, this one is pretty weak and not particularly original. And judging by the crowds at Boston Chops recently it looks like the restaurant is doing just fine without elpresidente and his big burly friends.


Former Balitmore Raven says a "handful" of current NFL players will come out soon

Posted by David Zimmerman April 5, 2013 10:26 AM

According to Brendon Ayanbadejo, who was recently cut by the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League, a “handful of players” currently in the league are discussing coming out as gay. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Ayanbadejo said it will happen “sooner than you think,’” stating, "We're in talks with a handful of players who are considering it. There are up to four players being talked to right now and they're trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together. It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy. It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out.”

"Of course, there would be backlash. If they could share the backlash, it would be more positive. It's cool. It's exciting. We're in talks with a few guys who are considering it. The NFL and organizations are already being proactive and open if a player does it and if something negative happens. We'll see what happens."

Ayanbadejo ,along with Minnesota Viking punter Chris Kluwe, has been an outspoken leader within the NFL for lgbt rights including marriage equality. Although he is no longer playing he plans on continuing his activism and working with the NFL to make the league a more inclusive place. "The NFL wants to be proactive about what's going on with players and some of the remarks and incidents that have been happening with the LGBT community,” he said. “The NFL wants me to talk to the rookie class and they are talking about potentially having talks with all the guys about LGBT sensitivity. I think all the major sports groups need to be productive and take a stance.”

"Everyone has a relative or friend that's in the LGBT community, whether it's (former NFL commissioner) Paul Tagliabue's son or people in the Ravens organization who have relatives in the LGBT community. There are a lot of opportunities opening up, but I had nothing scheduled because I had been anticipating playing. I knew there was a possibility that I could be released. I have no regrets. I wouldn't change a single thing. It's been a good ride. If the Ravens call me in training camp, so be it. If not, I'll still be busy with a lot of great things."

Finally, Ayanbadejo thanked his fans in Baltimore and across the country.

"The Ravens have a ton of gay and lesbian fans nationwide and in the city of Baltimore," Ayanbadejo said. "I get a ton of supportive emails and letters. It's pretty cool. We have blue-collar fans, a diverse set of blue-collar fans, a diaspora of great people.”

How can HRC rank Albuquerque as better for LGBTs than P’town?

Posted by Jim Lopata April 5, 2013 09:44 AM

Accused of ‘comical’ methodology, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group is taking heat from cities for its new Municipal Equality Index’s narrow focus on laws and policy and ‘one size fits all scoring’

Note: This article first appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Scott Kearnan

HRC MEI top-ranked New England towns
Connecticut Hartford 95
Maine Augusta 67
Massachusetts Boston 100
Massachusetts Cambridge 100
Massachusetts Northampton 64
Massachusetts Provincetown 59
New Hampshire Concord 53
Rhode Island Providence 76
Vermont Montpelier 88
  If there’s something the gay community knows well, it’s that you shouldn’t put too much stock in stereotypes. But if asked to guess which American cities are considered most inclusive of LGBT people, one could be forgiven for making some assumptions. For instance: when it comes to having more pro-gay policies, would you bet your money on Provincetown, Massachusetts or Charleston, West Virginia? Would you choose Northampton, Massachusetts or Kansas City, Missouri? What about Montpelier, Vermont versus Tucson, Arizona?In each case, it’s the New England community that comes up short on LGBT protections. At least, that’s according to the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), a report released at the end of 2012.

The inaugural edition of this now-annual study examined municipal policies in 137 cities nationwide, and awarded points for criteria that ranged from employment non-discrimination laws to school anti-bullying initiatives. Based on its findings, the MEI ranked the LGBT-inclusiveness of each municipality on a point scale of 0 (that’s bad) to 100 (that’s good). Overall, New England fared fairly well: Boston and Cambridge were two of only 11 cities that scored a full 100 points. Hartford, Connecticut scored a solid 95, and Providence, Rhode Island received a so-so 76.

But other New England locales rated by the MEI, including several spots widely considered gay enclaves, received poor rankings. Provincetown scored just 59, Northampton 64, and Montpelier 68. Augusta, Maine received a 67, and Concord, New Hampshire received the region’s lowest score at 53. Yikes. New England prides itself as being a progressive region for LGBT people — yet if these were class grades, some of our prized pupils would have flunked the test.

That has many New Englanders steaming mad. They say the HRC study fails to accurately reflect LGBT life. Its methodology, they argue, applies cookie-cutter criteria without regard to the unique infrastructural realities of certain communities.

One critic is Provincetown’s Val Marmillion. Marmillion runs a national PR firm that works with the town’s tourism office, but he also has a personal connection to P’town; he has a home there, co-owns retail store The Little Red with his partner Juan Pisani, and is highly active in the local community. He takes exception with a study that would rank the LGBT-inclusiveness of Provincetown below that of, say, Albuquerque.

‘Comical’ Methodology

“This study did not apply key research or logic to its methodology to arrive at this outcome,” says Marmillion, who has extensive experience analyzing data for local government organizations; his firm has done strategic planning work for the National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities. He says many pro-gay policies rewarded by the MEI are moot in Provincetown, where LGBT life is simply an established part of the social fabric. “I give credit to the HRC for stimulating conversation,” says Marmillion of the report. “But there is an almost comical lack of understanding of the threshold question: Where did these communities begin?”

FULL ENTRY

Vikings Punter to gay players, "You are not a distraction"

Posted by David Zimmerman April 4, 2013 09:38 AM

kluwe.jpg
(Photo: Minnesota Vikings)


Minnesota Vikings Punter, and staunch lgbt ally, Chris Kluwe has penned a brilliant Op-Ed for CNN regarding the prospect of an NFL player coming out as gay. Kluwe say, among other things that “There are millions of people across America who work with gay co-workers every day, and they handle their business without riotous orgies consuming the work environment. In the extremely unlikely event that a gay player harasses you? We have an HR department. File a complaint, just the way a female employee would if you harassed her.”

He discusses the many reasons that he felt compelled to write the column in the first place, including , “so that coaches, managers, players, owners and fans realize that the first gay player who comes out won't spontaneously cause rainbows to erupt out of everyone's rear.” And because he feels that “it's not right that professional sports, and especially the professional sports media, have created an environment where gay players are willing to hide essential components of themselves as human beings in order to pursue their dreams, in order to not be a distraction.”

Kluwe, along with former Baltimore Ravens player Brendon Ayanbadejo, have been outspoken in their support of the lgbt community and their support for any professional athlete who is gay and is thinking of coming out of the closet.

Kluwe closes his piece with some supportive words of advice for any athlete struggling with hiding his/her sexuality stating, “You are a teammate, a friend, and you do not have to sacrifice who you are for the team to win, no matter what anyone else says.”

See Kluwe’s full column below:

"Don't be a distraction." These words are pounded into every single NFL player's head from the day he enters the league until the day he leaves (and I would imagine it holds true for just about every professional sport).

The same message, over and over and over -- "The team comes first," "Sacrifice your personal goals to win," "Only be judged by what goes on between the lines" -- which is why I find it unsurprising that there are no openly gay athletes in any of the big four professional sports leagues in the U.S.: the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB.

The message is pushed on us so hard, in fact, that players run the very real risk of losing their jobs if the team deems them too much of a distraction, and unfortunately it seems gay players feel that being comfortable with who they are has to take second place to keeping their jobs.

This isn't right.

It's not right that professional sports, and especially the professional sports media, have created an environment where gay players are willing to hide essential components of themselves as human beings in order to pursue their dreams, in order to not be a distraction. It's not right that our insatiable lust for sports coverage creates an atmosphere where someone would willingly subordinate his life to a backward and bigoted worldview in order to stay employed.
It's not right that we can't just accept someone for who he is.

Why?

Why do people care so much about someone else's sexuality? Why do people give two s***s how someone else lives his life? Why do people have this absolutely idiotic notion that being gay has any sort of effect on how well a player can play football, or basketball, or baseball? Why the f*** do I even have to write this column for a major news organization to talk about something that shouldn't even remotely be a factor in sports?

Well, the reason is simple. I'm writing this because no gay player is currently out, and the first gay player who eventually does come out needs to know that -- despite all the indoctrination from the league about not being a distraction -- if he's the one to take the first step, he will have allies. He will have support. He will have those of us who realize that people's sexuality doesn't define who they are, just as their jobs don't define who they are, and that guys who bring our wives and children to games and team events are no different than those who would bring their husbands and children.

Most importantly, I'm writing this so that coaches, managers, players, owners and fans realize that the first gay player who comes out won't spontaneously cause rainbows to erupt out of everyone's rear.

In professional sports, the players on a team are a team. We eat together. We practice together. We watch film together, and we succeed or fail together. We see each other more than our own families during the season. To think that a gay player is suddenly going to destroy all that because he's out is asinine.

The idea that a gay player will be a distraction needs to change.

Coaches, administrative personnel -- will an openly gay player bring extra attention? Maybe, but guess what -- there's a whole bunch of other crap that happens during the season every year, anything from sexting to arrests to profane letters, and somehow we've managed to find a way through it each time without the entire edifice of football collapsing into ruin.

Instead of looking at an openly gay player as a distraction, ask yourselves -- how much better would that player play if he didn't have to worry about hiding a core part of who he is? How many more sacks would he have, free of that pressure? How many more receptions? How many more rushing yards?

Fans, media -- will an openly gay player be a distraction? Only if you make it one. Only if you insist on denying someone the freedom to live his own life on his own terms, instead of under someone else's control. Stop worrying about who a player dates; worry about his completion percentage, or tackles for loss, or return average. I can promise you, on Sundays the only thing he's worried about is lining up and doing his job to the best of his ability, or else he's going to be cut (just like any of us).
Players -- Those of you worried about a gay teammate checking out your ass in the shower, or hitting on you in the steam room, or bringing too much attention to the team -- I have four simple words for you. Grow the f*** up. This is our job, we are adults, so would you kindly act like one?

There are millions of people across America who work with gay co-workers every day, and they handle their business without riotous orgies consuming the work environment. In the extremely unlikely event that a gay player harasses you? We have an HR department. File a complaint, just the way a female employee would if you harassed her. If the media want to ask you about a gay teammate? He's a teammate, and you're focused on winning -- together. As a team.

And finally, to the gay player who does eventually come out, whoever that brave individual happens to be -- will you have to deal with media attention, with heightened scrutiny? Yes. Despite everything Brendon, Scott, myself, and all your other allies do, despite all the articles we write and interviews we give, despite the growing acceptance across this entire country, there are going to be people who insist on looking at you through the lens of your sexuality, and not at your skills as a football player. But you know what? All of us understand the truth.

You are a teammate, a friend, and you do not have to sacrifice who you are for the team to win, no matter what anyone else says.

You are not a distraction.


Actor Jeremy Irons on marriage equality, 'Could a father marry his son?'

Posted by David Zimmerman April 4, 2013 08:38 AM

jeremy-irons.jpg

In a recent interview with Huffington Post Jeremy Irons, who won an academy award for his role in Reversal of Fortune, opined that legalized marriage equality could lead to a father and son getting married.

"Could a father not marry his son?" Irons asked Huffington Post’s Josh Zepps. “It’s not incest between men" because "incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don't breed," he continued.

Irons went on to state, "It seems to me that now they're fighting for the name. I worry that it means somehow we debase, or we change, what marriage is. I just worry about that." He also discussed whether same-sex marriage might allow fathers to pass on their estates to their sons without being taxed.

Despite all of this, Irons stated several times that he "[doesn't] have a strong feeling either way" on same-sex marriage, and said that he "[wishes] everybody who's living with one other person the best of luck in the world, because it's fantastic."

"Living with another animal, whether it be a husband or a dog, is great," he said. "It's lovely to have someone to love. I don't think sex matters at all. What it's called doesn't matter at all."

It's official, half of the current Senate now supports marriage equality

Posted by David Zimmerman April 2, 2013 02:31 PM


Republican Senator Mark Kirk, Illinois, has announced his support for marriage equality today. Kirk joins fellow Senator Tom Carper (Democrat, Delaware) who made a similar announcement today.

The addition of these two Senators to the ‘pro-marriage equality’ group in the Senate means that, for the first time, half of the United States Senate supports marriage equality. Both Kirk and Carper represent states where legislatures are currently considering marriage equality bills.

In a message posted to his blog, Kirk explained how he came to his decision to support marriage equality, "When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others. Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage," he wrote. "Our time on this earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back -- government has no place in the middle."

Kirk joins Senator Rob Portman of Ohio as the only two Republican Senators who publicly support marriage equality.

Carper used his Facebook page to announce his support of marriage equality:

As our society has changed and evolved, so too has the public's opinion on gay marriage – and so has mine. I pray every day for God to grant me the wisdom to do what is right. Through my prayers and conversations with my family and countless friends and Delawareans, I've been reminded of the power of one of my core values: the Golden Rule. It calls on us to treat others as we want to be treated. That means, to me, that all Americans ultimately should be free to marry the people they love and intend to share their lives with, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that's why today, after a great deal of soul searching, I'm endorsing marriage equality.

Cardinal Dolan states that gays are "entitled to friendship"

Posted by David Zimmerman April 2, 2013 11:32 AM


dolan.jpg
(Photo: Catholic News Agency)


Cardinal Timothy Dolan, appearing on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, said that gays are “entitled to friendship,” but not sexual love or marriage.

Dolan also said that the church “is not anti-anybody,” and that it needs to do a better job conveying that message.

When asked by Stephanopoulos to respond to gays and lesbians looking to get married in church, Dolan said, "Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, 'I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And – and we – we want your happiness. But – and you’re entitled to friendship.' But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally. We gotta be – we gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that."

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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