Friday, August 29, 2014

St. Louis Rams announce 17 players cut - Michael Sam still in the mix


The St. Louis Rams cut 17 players today, and Michael Sam remains in the mix so far.

The roster is now down to 58 players. NFL rules state teams must cut to 53 players by 4pmET on Saturday.

USA Today's TomPelissero tweeted:



NFL.com's Michael Silver sent this to his followers:



Today's cuts leave 11 defensive lineman still on the team. Conventional wisdom says the Rams will keep nine or 10 DL players.

According to Jim Buzinski, these are the possible scenarios facing Sam:

• The Rams go with nine defensive lineman, keep Sam and cut Westbrooks.
• The Rams go with nine defensive lineman, keep Westbrooks and cut Sam.
• Rams go with nine defensive lineman, keep both Sam and Westbrooks, and trade a veteran for a need elsewhere.
• Rams go with 10 defensive lineman, keep both Sam and Westbrooks.

If cut, Sam will be available to the other 31 teams for 24 hours. If he gets claimed, he will have a spot on the roster of that team. If he is not claimed, he can be added to the Rams' 10-man practice squad. This means he can practice with the team but not play, and his salary would be much less than the $440,000 he would get for making the roster; practice players are guaranteed a minimum salary of $6,300 per week for the 17-week season.

Interesting to note: the Rams have already cut the 214th and 226th picks made in the 2014 NFL Draft. As we all know, Michael Sam was famously selected with the 249th pick.

A press conference has been scheduled by the Rams for 4:30pmET on Saturday.

(via OutSports)

Florida: Charlie Crist asks Gov. Rick Scott to drop appeals against same-sex marriage


Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist wrote an open op-ed letter to GOP Gov. Rick Scott on Friday asking him to drop any appeals to the recent court rulings that found Florida's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

Via the Miami Herald:

"Dear Governor Scott: Four years ago, a district court of appeals ruled Florida’s ban on gay and lesbian adoption unconstitutional. When the ruling came down, I believed it was my job as Governor to exercise the authority vested in me by the people and our Constitution. The day the judge ruled, I declared Florida’s adoption ban over. Gay and lesbian parents began adopting the children they loved immediately. It is one of my proudest moments as an elected official.

"Last Thursday Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle gave you the same chance to speak out for what is right when, in a ruling that would apply statewide, he struck down Florida’s ban on same sex marriage. By declaring the marriage ban finished you could discourage any future appeals and end the nightmare that loving same sex couples all across our state endure every single day, ending court battles that could drag on for months or years.

[snip]

"You have the power to end the suffering of people like Arlene Goldberg. Last March, Arlene lost her wife and partner of 47 years, Carol Goldwasser. At a moment of enormous and understandable grief, Arlene had to suffer the humiliation of not being listed as Carol’s wife on the death certificate. Even worse, she lost her home because she was denied the social security benefits they had earned.

"When faced with a very similar decision four years ago I did what I believed was best for Florida and best for the thousands of children waiting to be adopted by loving parents. Today, I urge you to do what’s best for Floridians and declare the state will not be challenging Judge Hinkle’s Order or any other orders supporting the rights of all Floridians to marry." - Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who supported his state's ban on same-sex marriage while in office."

It should be noted that when Crist previously served as the governor of Florida (as a Republican), he supported the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

President Obama's tan suit throws Twitter-verse into turmoil


Apparently, the world was rocked by the fact that President Obama appeared at a press conference in a tan suit.  In fact, the tan suit gained it's own hashtag (#tansuit) and Twitter handle.

Summer sartorial decisions are now dominating the news cycle?

SRSLY?

Just a sample of tweets below:









California man sues Little Caesars for denying health benefits for his legal spouse


A California man is suing pizza company Little Caesars (crappy pizza anyway) because he was denied health benefits for his husband - a benefit that every other legally married employee receives.

The Advocate has the details:

Frank Bernard started working as a manager for the pizza chain in March and became eligible for benefits after 90 days, reports Courthouse News Service. However, the company declined to insure his husband, Carl.

He complained multiple times to Little Caesars Enterprises and its parent company, Ilitch Holdings, both based in Michigan, and he was told company policy is not to offer benefits to same-sex spouses. He received a letter from human resources explaining the company’s definition of spouse for benefits purposes: “Spouse means the one person to whom you are legally married under the laws of the state in which you reside, including a common law spouse, and who is the opposite gender from you.”

In a marriage equality state like California, if employers offer benefits to opposite-sex spouses, they generally have to offer them to legally married same-sex spouses as well, noted Bernard and his attorney, Gloria Allred. But Ilitch Holdings officials told Bernard that since the company is based in Michigan, where same-sex couples do not have marriage rights, it did not have to offer the benefits.

Watch the report from Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC:


Georgia: Young man who experienced physical abuse in coming out to family shares with Dr. Drew


Daniel Ashley Pierce, whose coming out to his family turned into physical abuse resulting in his being "disowned" and thrown out of his home, was interviewed via phone by Dr. Drew Pinsky on HLN today.

Pierce was asked about his outlook at life having experienced both the ugliness of his family's reaction and the widespread positive support he's received, in part through a GoFundMe campaign set up by his boyfriend to help him get on his feet.

Via the Advocate:

"I am so overwhelmed with joy," Pierce told the panelists of the massive outpouring of support sparked by the video's viral fame. "I am very blessed to have all of the comments and the messages and everything that everyone has done — the donations, all of that — has been a big surprise. It's helping me get through the day."

"I want to give a portion of it back to the cause," Pierce said. "I'm going to get actively involved with as many organizations as I can. My main focus with the video was … I want to bring awareness that this is still happening. If it saves one kid the misery of what I went through, I will be satisfied."

At this writing, the GoFundMe campaign - originally set up with a goal of $2,000 has raised more than $80,000. Pierce says he plans to use part of the funds to help other LGBT youth.

Another flight diverted over "recline rage"


I'm sure everyone heard about the big "Knee Defender" story on a United Airlines flight from Newerk, New Jersey to Denver which had to divert to Chicago when two passengers got into such a heated argument about "reclining rights" that one threw a cup of water in the other's face.

Well - a flight has been diverted AGAIN due to "recline rage" and this time someone was arrested.

The flight was going from Miami to Paris. A man on the flight grew very cross with the woman reclining in front of her, and reportedly blew a gasket over it. He got so angry that when a crew member tried to calm him down, he followed him and grabbed his arm.

Two air marshals ended up handcuffing the rowdy man and the flight diverted to Boston. State police arrested him, and he was brought to the hospital immediately for a health evaluation.

I haven't weighed in on the big "reclining rights" debate but I do solidly land in the "if your seat CAN recline, you have the right to do so." I feel like the reclining aspect of the seat I purchase is part of my contract with the airline.

Certainly, if the flight is short and the person behind me is seriously long-legged, I'm not such an ass that I can't deal with being "recline-free" for an hour perhaps.

But, I specifically book only aisle seats, and only seats that recline. I purposefully do not book a seat in the row directly in front of the exit row because experience shows those do not recline (mainly because if there was an emergency a reclining seat would block the exit).

I know there are tall people who are crowded for space. I know there are folks who don't want someone's head in their nose. I know, I know.

But given the odd curve of an airline seat, I can't sit with my back "rounded" for three, four or five hours. Just can't do it.

I do find that by consolidating the majority of my travel on one airline, I at least gain some "status" in a frequent flier program so that when I book travel I can choose the slightly roomier "Economy Plus" seats when I'm traveling in Coach (ugh). I encourage everyone to do the same.

Valium is also a very useful additive to any travel day I find.

And, of course, more wine :)

California Assembly passes ban on so-called "gay panic" defense


According to the Fresno Bee, California may soon become the first state in the country to ban the use of "gay panic" defense in murder cases.

The California Assembly approved AB2501 by a vote of 50-10 this past Wednesday. The legislation would bar defendants from using a victims' sexual orientation or gender as a basis for a so-called "panic defense."

Currently, California allows for murder charges to be reduced to lesser crimes like manslaughter if the killer claims they "panicked" upon discovering someone was gay or transgender.

The American Bar Association has previously announced it's support for reducing the use of panic defenses.

The bill is now on it's way to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.

Trailer: Transparent


Amazon  will release a full 10-episode season of it's latest original series programming, Transparent on September 26th.

Created by award-winning director Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, United States of Tara), the half-hour dark comedy, family-centric series starring Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light (a major favorite of mine), Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass.

Quirks, neuroses and family dynamics are front and center including father figure Tambor's embrace of his cross-dressing self.  Gay, straight, lesbian, trans - it's all in here.

Check out the trailer below:






(h/t JMG)

Las Vegas: Cast of "Michael Jackson ONE" gives sexy Vegas treatment to "A Place With No Name"


Dancers from the cast of  Michael Jackson ONE in Las Vegas celebrate the release of single number two - "A Place With No Name" - from Michael’s album XSCAPE.

With a nod to America's "A Horse With No Name" and the official video for "A Place With No Name," the gorgeous and creative cast takes you on a journey through the Nevada desert to the oasis that is Michael Jackson ONE.

Michael Jackson ONE, currently in long-term residence at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is easily one of my favorite shows to hit the Strip.  With stunning choreography and lighting, the show utilizes Jackson's music perfectly.

Be sure and catch a performance of the show on your next visit to Las Vegas; and pick up your copy of XSCAPE on iTunes or Amazon.




Las Vegas Mens Chorus tonight - "United In Song"


Tonight, at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center, the Las Vegas Mens Chorus will present ONE VOICE - United In Song, a concert to kick off Las Vegas Pride Week.  So, get out tonight and get your pride on!

Details below:

Friday, August 29 - 7:30 p.m.

At The Gay & Lesbian Community Center
401 S. Maryland Parkway - (between Charleston & Fremont)
Las Vegas, Nevada

$10 at the door - (16 and under - FREE)
OPEN TO ALL - doors open at 7 p.m.

20 year old Georgia man finds physical abuse in coming out to family, but kindness from strangers


I'm updating this post from yesterday when I reported on a 20 year-old man in Georgia who found verbal and physical abuse in coming out to his family.

The good news appears to be that good-hearted strangers are opening their wallets to help young Daniel Ashley Pierce avoid being homeless with a GoFundMe campaign that, at this writing, has raised over $63K.

The story began with the posting of a video made by Daniel as he tried to address coming out to his family.

On Facebook, Daniel Ashley Pierce posted this yesterday:

“What a day…. i thought that waking up at 9:48 and being 15 mins late to work was going to be the biggest problem today. but i didn’t know that my biggest problem was going to be getting disowned and kicked out of my home of almost twenty years. to add insult to injury my step mother punched me in the face repeatedly with my grandmother cheering her along. i am still in complete shock and disbelief….”

Daniel added to the original Facebook video thread "Physically i am okay my step mother did a number on my face and lip but its not worth me worrying about."

Daniel's family has not contacted the media, but Daniel does share that his family asked that he take down the video that captures their repugnant behavior.  I hope the video stays on the internet forever to remind folks of the dangers and hideous behavior that can be inflicted on youth as they deal with who they are.

I'm glad to see that Daniel is now in safe quarters with supportive family and friends.

There are thousands of "at-risk" homeless LGBT youth who are out in the cold without support because of similar experiences in coming out.  As I celebrate the internet's fantastic support of Daniel, I do ask that if you are moved by this story, to remember shelters like the fantastic Ali Forney Center in NYC which helps over 1,000 young people a year if and when you have a few dollars to donate.

2014 Bingham Cup begins in Australia


Did someone say "Rugby?"

The Bingham Cup is held every two years, inviting rugby players from all over the world - regardless of their sexual orientation - to come enjoy the sport they love without fear of judgement or discrimination.

Called the "World Cup of Gay Rugby," the event is named after Mark Bingham who died standing up to terrorists on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Bingham was a sports enthusiast who played rugby for the San Francisco Fog.

Thirty rugby teams from 15 countries will take part in this year's event, which runs through August 31.



Brad Thorson - San Francisco Fog Centre

Chris Buckmaster - Kings Cross Steelers Captain

Joan Rivers in medically induced coma, resting comfortably


According to reports, Joan Rivers is resting comfortably in a medically induced coma after a near-fatal incident at an Upper East Side clinic where the comic superstar suffered respiratory failure.

Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where her daughter Melissa is by her side:

Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, dashed from LA to New York and arrived at the hospital at around 8pm and was ushered to the 11th floor luxury room in which her mother is now said by doctors to be in a stable condition.

She released a statement thanking everyone for their messages of support and gave a brief update on her mother's condition.

'I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming love and support for my mother,' Melissa Rivers said in a statement.

'She is resting comfortably and is with our family. We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.'

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's National Bow Tie Day!

Chippendales celebrates National Bow Tie Day with instructions on how to  put that bow tie on - before you take it off...

And when I think of bow ties, you know who crosses my mind :)

Chippendales celebrates National Bow Tie Day with instructions on how to  put that bow tie on - before you take it off.

So You Think You Can Dance - Final 4 "Wind Beneath My Wings"


Well, I really like this.

This dance, choreographed by Travis Wall, opened last night's show and is apparently one of the few times, SYTYCD has utilized same-sex partners actually dancing with each other in a some-what romantic scenario.

Clearly the theme of the dance references LGBT equality and same-sex marriage. On top of the excellent execution by the final four dancers (Valerie Rockey, Ricky Ubeda, Jessica Richens, and Zack Everhart Jr.), the choreography is creative, current and thoughtful.

By the way, the recording of "Wind Beneath My Wings" was by Canadian twins RyanDan. You can find the recording here on iTunes.




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