Tuesday, May 31, 2016

2016 Pride Month Proclamation From President Obama: "LGBT Individuals Deserve To Know Their Country Stands Beside Them"

The White House has just released the text of President Obama's presidential proclamation acknowledging June 2016 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month:

Since our founding, America has advanced on an unending path toward becoming a more perfect Union. This journey, led by forward-thinking individuals who have set their sights on reaching for a brighter tomorrow, has never been easy or smooth. The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society. They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment — under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics. This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines. For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.

LGBT individuals deserve to know their country stands beside them. That is why my Administration is striving to better understand the needs of LGBT adults and to provide affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to aging LGBT Americans. It is also why we oppose subjecting minors to the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and why we are continuing to promote equality and foster safe and supportive learning environments for all students. We remain committed to addressing health disparities in the LGBT community — gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk for HIV, and we have worked to strengthen our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are. I signed an Executive Order in 2014 that prohibits discrimination against Federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation that builds upon the progress we have made, because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love. And our commitment to combatting discrimination against the LGBT community does not stop at our borders: Advancing the fair treatment of all people has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and we have made defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals a priority in our engagement across the globe. In line with America’s commitment to the notion that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, champions of this cause at home and abroad are upholding the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.

There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, as Americans wave their flags of pride high and march boldly forward in parades and demonstrations, let us celebrate how far we have come and reaffirm our steadfast belief in the equal dignity of all Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

Lead Singer Of Christian Band EVERYDAY SUNDAY Comes Out As Gay

Trey Pearson, front man for Christian rock band Everyday Sunday, has come out in a heartbreaking open letter to his fans.

Via the Washington Post:

To my fans and friends:

Most of us reach at least one pivotal moment in our lives that better defines who we are.

These last several months have been the hardest — but have also ended up being the most freeing months — of my life.

To make an extremely long story short, I have come to be able to admit to myself, and to my family, that I am gay.

I grew up in a very conservative Christian home where I was taught that my sexual orientation was a matter of choice, and had put all my faith into that. I had never before admitted to myself that I was gay, let alone to anyone else. I never wanted to be gay. I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it never was an option for me. I have been suppressing these attractions and feelings since adolescence. I’ve tried my whole life to be straight. I married a girl, and I even have two beautiful little kids. My daughter, Liv, is six and my son, Beckham, is two.

I had always romanticized the idea of falling in love with a woman; and having a family had always been my dream. In many ways, that dream has come true. But I have also come to realize a lot of time has passed in my life pushing away, blocking out and not dealing with real feelings going on inside of me. I have tried not to be gay for more than 20 years of my life. I found so much comfort as a teen in 1 Samuel 18-20 and the intimacy of Jonathan and David. I thought and hoped that such male intimacy could fulfill that void I felt in my desire for male companionship. I always thought if I could find these intimate friendships, then that would be enough.

Then I thought everything would come naturally on my wedding night. I honestly had never even made out with a girl before I got married. Of course, it felt anything but natural for me. Trying not to be gay, has only led to a desire for intimacy in friendships which pushed friends away, and it has resulted in a marriage where I couldn’t love or satisfy my wife in a way that she needed. Still, I tried to convince myself that this was what God wanted and that this would work. I thought all of those other feelings would stay away if I could just do this right.

When Lauren and I got married, I committed to loving her to the best of my ability, and I had the full intention of spending the rest of my life with her. Despite our best efforts, however, I have come to accept that there is nothing that is going to change who I am.

I have intensely mixed feelings about the changes that have resulted in my life. While I regret the way I was taught to handle this growing up, how much it has hurt me and the unintentional pain I have brought Lauren, I wouldn’t have the friendship I now have with her, and we wouldn’t have our two amazing, beautiful children. But if I keep trying to push this down it will end up hurting her even more.

I am never going to be able to change how I am, and no matter how healthy our relationship becomes, it’s never going to change what I know deep down: that I am gay. Lauren has been the most supportive, understanding, loving and gracious person I could ever ask for, as I have come to face this. And now I am trying to figure out how to co-parent while being her friend, and how to raise our children.

I have progressed so much in my faith over these last several years. I think I needed to be able to affirm other gay people before I could ever accept it for myself. Likewise, I couldn’t expect others to accept me how I am until I could come to terms with it first.

I know I have a long way to go. But if this honesty with myself about who I am, and who I was made by God to be, doesn’t constitute as the peace that passes all understanding, then I don’t know what does. It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me, and I have never felt such freedom.

In sharing this publicly I’m taking another step into health and wholeness by accepting myself, and every part of me. It’s not only an idea for me that I’m gay; It’s my life. This is me being authentic and real with myself and other people. This is a part of who I am.

I hope people will hear my heart, and that I will still be loved. I’m still the same guy, with the same heart, who wants to love God and love people with everything I have. This is a part of me I have come to be able to accept, and now it is a part of me that you know as well. I trust God to help love do the rest.

– Trey

It remains to be seen if this will damage, or possibly end, his music career in the Christian music realm.

(h/t Boy Culture)

Mother Of Little Boy Who Fell Into Gorilla Habitat Defends Her Parenting Skills

The mother of the 4-year-old boy who fell into the gorilla habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo, which led to the death of 17 year old gorilla Harambe on Saturday, took to Facebook to defend herself.

As most folks now know, the little boy crawled through a barrier and fell into a moat, where he was picked up and dragged around by the 400-pound, male gorilla. Deciding a tranquilizer dart could make the gorilla more agitated, the decision was made to shoot and kill the animal.

As the story went out via the media, lots of folks expressed the idea that the mother bears some responsibility for not watching her four year old more closely. If she had, the gorilla would not be dead.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, the mom, Michelle Gregg, slapped back at those she felt judged her parenting skills.

“I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers today,” she wrote. “What started off as a wonderful day turned into a scary one. For those of you that have seen the news or been on social media that was my son that fell in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo. God protected my child until the authorities were able to get him. My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes...no broken bones or internal injuries.”

“As a society we are quick to judge how a parent could take their eyes off of their child and if anyone knows me I keep a tight watch on my kids. Accidents happen but I am thankful that the right people were in the right place today. Thank you to everyone that helped me and my son today and most importantly God for being the awsome [sic] God that He is.”

Witnesses have been quoted as saying they overheard the boy tell his mother he wanted to go into the enclosure with the gorillas. So the idea that he wanted to get closer must not have been a surprise to the mother.

You'll note Ms. Gregg takes no personal responsibility at all for the fact the boy crawled into the habitat. None.

Cute Straight Guy Explains Why He Goes To Gay Bars

I've posted videos by popular YouTuber (and LGBT ally) Chris Thompson before, and always like his point of view.

Apparently, I missed a recent video he shared where he mentioned going to a gay bar (did I mention he's openly heterosexual?)

It seems he got some backlash from some folks who didn't like the idea of a straight guy in a gay bar.

So, Thompson is back with this explanation as to why he hangs at a gay bars occasionally.

For the record, I have NO problem with straight dudes in gay dude bars. None.

Happy 40th Birthday Colin Farrell

Uber-talented actor and marriage equality ally Colin Farrell turns a very sexy 40 years old today.

Let's just take a moment and enjoy the view, shall we?

Donald Trump Rails Against "Sleaze" Media

In what was supposed to be a press conference about his fund-raising for veterans, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump went on an angry rant against the press, calling out reporters as "sleaze" for not giving him enough credit for raising money for veterans.

“Instead of being like, ‘Thank you very much, Mr. Trump,’ or ‘Trump did a good job,’ everyone said: ‘Who got it? Who got it? Who got it?’” Trump said. “And you make me look very bad. I have never received such bad publicity for doing a good job.”

ABC News' Tom Llama earned the badge of "sleaze" for asking how much money Trump raised for veterans.

"What I don’t want is when I raise millions of dollars, have people say this sleazy guy right over here from ABC, he's a sleaze in my book — you're a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well," said Trump pointing to Llama.

Llama took the attack in stride on Twitter:

From Talking Points Memo:

During the Trump Tower press conference, Trump announced that he raised $5.6 million for veterans groups, down from the $6 million he originally said that he raised for veterans group at the January fundraiser he held in lieu of attending a Fox News debate.

But since his initial claim, it's been unclear just how much Trump raised, how much he personally donated to veterans groups, and which groups received donations as a result of the fundraiser. Trump on Tuesday characterized the number as "almost $6 million."

Throughout the press conference, Trump railed against the press for looking into the details of his fundraiser.

"The press should be ashamed of themselves," he said, telling reporters, "You make me look very bad."

Trump said that he wanted the donations to veterans groups to be "private" and that he didn't want "credit" for the money he raised, and said he was forced to reveal details about the fundraiser because of the press. He also said that it took time for him to send donations to veterans groups because he had to vet the groups.

"The press is so dishonest and so unfair," he lamented.

Viral Video: Giant Gator Strolls A Florida Golf Course


Comic book fans have no problem with many of their favorite heroes being gay. But when their stories get translated to the silver screen, their sexuality gets a make-over. Why exactly is that?

This trailer calls for studios such as Marvel and DC to include diverse characters in their films and give LGBT kids a hero they can look up to.

Via press release:
Why are LGBT Superheroes missing or desexualised in hollywood blockbusters?

Iceman, Mystique, Catwoman and many other well known superheroes are written as LGBT in the comic books, only to then appear as straight when they hit the big screen.

Launching in partnership with MCM Comic Con today and following #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend trending last week, this trailer gives fans the first opportunity to see LGBT superheroes accurately brought to life.

“This project has been been completed created by volunteers,” said Director Mike Buonaiuto. “We hope that we can demonstrate to the studios that there is a huge audience for accurate LGBT portrayal on the big screen, and it won’t deter cinema­goers to buy tickets.”

Adele To Filming Fan: "You Can Enjoy It In Real Life"

California Gov. Brown Endorses Hillary Clinton Ahead Of CA Primary

California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an open letter announcing his endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president in advance of the California primary which will be held one week from today.

On Tuesday, June 7, I have decided to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton because I believe this is the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump.

I have closely watched the primaries and am deeply impressed with how well Bernie Sanders has done. He has driven home the message that the top one percent has unfairly captured way too much of America’s wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind. In 1992, I attempted a similar campaign.

For her part, Hillary Clinton has convincingly made the case that she knows how to get things done and has the tenacity and skill to advance the Democratic agenda. Voters have responded by giving her approximately 3 million more votes – and hundreds more delegates – than Sanders. If Clinton were to win only 10 percent of the remaining delegates – wildly improbable – she would still exceed the number needed for the nomination. In other words, Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee.

But there is more at stake than mere numbers. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has called climate change a “hoax” and said he will tear up the Paris Climate Agreement. He has promised to deport millions of immigrants and ominously suggested that other countries may need the nuclear bomb. He has also pledged to pack the Supreme Court with only those who please the extreme right.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Our country faces an existential threat from climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons. A new cold war is on the horizon. This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun. Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as Secretary of State, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.

Next January, I want to be sure that it is Hillary Clinton who takes the oath of office, not Donald Trump.

It's worth noting that Brown is also a Superdelegate, so that's one more delegate in her column, no?

Monday, May 30, 2016

North Carolina: Crowd Goes Wild As Gay Couple Renew Marriage Vows At Edward Sharpe Concert

Rather than cancel their scheduled concert in North Carolina, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros took a different approach to protesting North Carolina’s HB 2,

Frontman Alex Ebert told the crowd of 2,500 that although he had to miss his friends’ wedding, wouldn't it be a good idea if he could help them renew those vows in front of the audience?

He then invited those friends, Dan Mathews and Jack Ryan, on stage to do just that.

And the crowd goes wild!

Ebert told Rolling Stone,  “HB2 was passed by an immoral minority – North Carolina has many thriving, creative, modern communities. We were tempted to cancel the show, but decided at the last minute to rally the crowd instead by renewing the vows of our good friends onstage.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders Sidesteps Question Whether He Would Consider VP Spot

Sen. Bernie Sanders talks to Meet The Press host Chuck Todd about his path to the Democratic nomination, and whether he would consider being Hillary Clinton's running-mate if she were to ask.

“I’m knocking my brains out to win the Democratic nomination,” Sanders said. “That’s where I am right now. What happens afterwards, we will see. But right now, my focus is on winning the nomination.”

Folks are calling that a "side-step," but in truth, what other answer could he really give at this point?

This Is An Ad For Sunglasses

(via Ray Bans Tumblr page)
Those are some niiiiiiice sunglasses.

What If We Abolished The Practice Of SuperDelegates?

Depending on the day, I can't tell if Sen. Bernie Sanders doesn't like the concept of Superdelegates or if he does.

Throughout the campaign he and his surrogates complained how having Superdelegates "rigs" the system. He did this mainly because he didn't have many, and Hillary Clinton did.

He called for abolishing the idea.

NOW, however, his only possible path to the Democratic nomination is to somehow convince those  Superdelegates that have declared their support for front-runner Hillary Clinton to switch their allegiance to him.

Because folks always jump off the winning team?

The fact is, even if we didn't have Superdelegates, Hillary would still be ahead of Bernie by 250-300 delegates depending on how you changed the rules.

The system isn't "rigged" in Hillary's favor. Sanders knew and competed with the same rules she did.

She just showed more class when faced with the inevitable math in 2008 when she found herself in a similar situation running against then-Senator Obama.

I hope, once we get past June 7th, Sanders doesn't choose to drag the drama out all the way to the Democratic convention. It will only hurt the party and help Donald Trump.

Memorial Day 2016

Today is Memorial Day here in the USA. I urge everyone to take a moment and reflect on who and what we are remembering today.

The last Monday in May has been observed nationwide as a day to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in our military since 1868.

Originally called "Decoration Day" (as flowers were used to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers), the date of observance was chosen not as the anniversary of a particular battle, but because it would be the optimal date for flowers to be in bloom.

The name "Memorial Day" was adopted in 1882, but not officially declared by Federal law until 1967.

As he has for the past 7 Memorial Day observances, President Obama laid a wreath today at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor members of the military who died serving their country.

Speaking to a large crowd, Obama called for Americans to honor the fallen by caring for those they leave behind - their families and their battle buddies who come home.

"We need to be there not just when we need them, but when they need us," Obama said of the nation's veterans.

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