Tuesday, October 6, 2015

White House Not Ready To Endorse The Equality Act

White House press secretary Josh Earnest
The Obama Administration is not yet ready to endorse The Equality Act, which would expand civil rights protections to the LGBT community.

Chris Johnson from The Washington Blade reports:

“I’m not prepared to say that yet,” Earnest said. “This is a piece of legislation that the White House does continue to review. There’s significant consequences to this bill going into effect. It has an impact on housing law and a variety of other policies in the federal government, so it’s something that’s still being carefully reviewed by the administration.”

But Earnest said even without explicit support for the bill, Obama believes “we must ensure all Americans are treated equally under federal law” and is still behind the idea of enshrining comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

“The president believes the passage of comprehensive legislation that protects LGBT Americans from discrimination would mark an important step toward that outcome,” Earnest added. “So, we would applaud the efforts of members of Congress to try to advance that goal, but when it comes to this specific piece of legislation, it’s something that is still under review by the administration.”

Both Hillary Clinton and Vice-President Joe Biden have signaled they support the legislation.

That being said, I would put the idea that the bill would move substantially in the current GOP controlled Congress pretty close to zero.

News Round-Up: October 6, 2015

Some news stories you may have missed:

• Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis offered $500,000 to do interracial lesbian porn scene.

• What do you do when Tinder matches you with "the most hated man in America?"

• Tennessee's Blount County commissioners hold a real hearing to vote on formally asking God to spare them from His wrath because of gay marriage. Seriously.

• Showtime's The Affair has no qualms about male full-frontal nudity.

• Dr. Ben Carson told Fox and Friends today that he would have encouraged those present to charge at the Oregon shooter -"Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can’t get us all."

• Happy belated birthday to MSNBC's Thomas Roberts who turned 43 yesterday! Roberts made history a few months ago when he became the first openly gay man to anchor a network newscast.

A shirtless 43 year old Thomas Roberts is quite the view to behold

Video: The Gay Age Gap 2

We get a second installment of the web series The Gay Age Gap today where Sam decides to help educate young Brian about all those things gays really should know about, like, Madonna.

"Madonna? She's really old..."

And we go from there. Pretty funny stuff.

Stonewall Inn Named Historical Landmark By NY City Council

New York City's Stonewall Inn, where a police raid in 1969 ignited what many feel as the beginning of the LGBT civil right movement has been named an official historical landmark by the NY City Council.

The City Council voted Wednesday to make the Greenwich Village bar a city historical landmark, barring it from being torn down or having its exterior altered.

Stonewall became famous in 1969, when a police raid sparked a melee between cops and gay patrons. The confrontation helped spark the movement to secure rights for gays and lesbians.

“It is a tremendous part of our history,” said Councilman Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), who represents the district and is gay. “Because of the real estate boom and pressures we’ve seen in the Village and all across Manhattan, we needed this further level of protection.”

In June, Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the status, but the City Council's vote was necessary to finalize the deal.

Just A Little Gymnastic Workout

Wow !!! Amazing Body Strength !!!

Posted by David Lengauer on Sunday, July 26, 2015

Former "Who's The Boss?" Star Danny Pintauro: I Contracted HIV Through Oral Sex

"Who's The Boss?" star Danny Pintauro

Last week, former Who's The Boss? star Danny Pintauro shared with Oprah Winfrey that he has been HIV+ for twelve years.

Now, in an interview with US Weekly, Pintauro reveals that he contracted HIV via oral sex.

“Believe it or not, with this guy I was actually safe. We did use condoms,” Pintauro, who played Jonathan on Who’s the Boss? from 1984 to 1992, tells Us in his exclusive interview. “I got it another way, which was through oral sex. When you put all of these nasty things together, like a compromised immune system, having been up for a long time, drugs, rough sex, all of that combined with lesions in your mouth, bodily fluids, it’s that easy.”

During his same interview with Oprah, Pintauro revealed he was previously addicted to crystal meth. He contracted HIV around the same time he was struggling with substance abuse.

Although there are very few documented cases of contracting HIV through oral sex, according to the CDC it is possible: “The risk of HIV transmission through oral sex is much less than that from anal or vaginal sex — but it is not zero.”

Pintauro is currently on his "Beacon of Light" Tour whose message is to spread awareness about HIV and the dangers of crystal meth use

He is also participating in the HIV Equal Campaign, which aims to eliminate HIV stigma.

17 Years Ago Today: Matt Shepard

Seventeen years ago today, October 6, 1998, Matt Shepard was found beaten and left to die tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming.

The 21 year old, openly gay student at the University of Wyoming died six days later at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12, from severe head injuries received during his brutal attack.

Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, both 21 at the time, were charged with Shepard's murder. Both cut deals to avoid the death penalty; both men are serving double life sentences in prison.

In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly the "Matthew Shepard Act" or "Shepard/Byrd Act" for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law.

Following her son's murder, Matthew's mother Judy Shepard became a prominent LGBT rights activist and established the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Shepard's death inspired notable films, novels, plays, songs, and other works.


ABC Family Channel Is Becoming "Freeform"

ABC Family is changing it's name in an attempt to woo younger viewers.

The network will be known as FREEFORM come January 2016.

From Deadline:

ABC Family’s decision to go for a new name was triggered by a gap in perception, said ABC Family President Tom Ascheim, noting that, according to research, core viewers understand the younger, social-media active brand while non-viewers associate it with wholesome and family-friendly programming. “We wanted to harmonize our content and out brand,” he said. “By achieving that harmony, we would be much better positioned to keep our core viewers and add new viewers.”

Despite dropping the ABC moniker which ties it to the Disney universe, “the freeformFreeform brand will be very much nestled in the Disney ethos — full of optimism and imagination, said Nigel Cox-Hagan, ABCF’s SVP Marketing, Creative and Branding.

ABC Family plans to use some of its top franchises, including flagship drama Pretty Little Liars and the popular 25 Days of Christmas holiday event, to promote the new branding. Additionally, there will be a big campaign around new drama Showdowhunters, which will be “ambassador for the new brand,” Cox-Hagan said.

Michele Bachmann: God Is Flooding South Carolina Because U.S. Turned On Israel

(h/t JMG)

What Is The Trans-Pacific Partnership And What Does It Mean For The U.S.?

I think a lot of folks may not know much in terms of actual details regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership - the new trade agreement President Obama has been working on with 11 countries to remove barriers for American businesses to sell their products abroad without paying taxes other countries are exempt from.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is meant to help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class.

However, not everyone is onboard for the agreement. From the Advocate:

Opponents of the agreement include labor unions, environmental groups and liberal Democrats, who have vowed to block the accord from passage by Congress, notes The Washington Post. Critics say the TPP protects the interests of large multinational corporations but does far too little to protect worker's rights and the environment.

Earlier this year, Jerame Davis and Cleve Jones wrote in The Advocate that “the TPP will do nothing to promote LGBT equality in signatory countries. In fact, it is our fear that if the TPP is enacted, we will see further slippage of human rights for LGBT people around the globe.” Davis is the Executive Director of Pride At Work, the LGBT labor organization which has led the LGBT response against the TPP; Jones is the founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, and works as a community organizer for UNITE HERE, the hospitality workers' union.

The countries involved are Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, United States, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore and New Zealand.

Watch the journey of an American cherry on it's journey to other countries as an example of what TPP is meant to achieve. And find more info here.

UK Man Trolls Anti-Gay Trolls At Chester Pride Festival

In a video posted to Vimeo Sunday, Dean Paton from Chester-based ‘heritage and education’ company Big Heritage decided on his own plan to handle anti-gay trolls who held signs protesting the Pride Festival in Chester, England.

He calmly took his place next to the haters holding sign with hate speech, then unrolled his own sign which read: "Homophobes are statistically more likely to be gay."

Bravo, Dean!

(h/t Attitude)

Pennsylvania: State Rep. Brian Sims Announces Run For Congress

The very smart (and let's face - seriously woofy) Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims has announced he will seek run for Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District.

The 37 year old currently represents Philadelphia’s City Center.

From his announcement today:

When I was 16, I decided I wanted to be a civil rights lawyer. I saw injustice and discrimination around me, and I wanted to stop it.

I’ve spent my life fighting for equality. Whether tackling gender and pay equity as a civil rights attorney, or standing up for justice reform in Harrisburg, I’ve never backed down from the big fights. And I never will.

And that’s why—I wanted you to be one of the first to know—today I’m announcing my candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District.

Now I’ve just got one question: Are you with me?

Working side by side, I know we can create real economic fairness and opportunity. I will fight to strengthen education so all of our kids can get a fair shot. And I will stand up to the NRA to get the guns off our streets.

The Congressional seat Sims is running for is currently occupied by Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), who was indicted in July as a result of alleged roles in a racketeering conspiracy.

He was the first openly gay person elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sen. Lindsey Graham Opposed Aid After Hurricane Sandy - Now Wants Money For South Carolina

Norway's Richest Man Comes Out At The Age Of 59

Even though he is one of Norway's richest men, Stein Erik Hagen has just come out of the closet at the age of 59.

His career began as a supermarket owner, but now is chairman of Orkla, a Norwegian conglomerate with 30,000 employees in more than 40 countries.

He has four children from two former marriages.

Via Instinct

Coming out to NRK, he said: ‘I realized that I was gay in adulthood. When I was in my 20s we did not know what it was. We had heard about it, but it was not something we associated ourselves with.’

He was born in July 1956 and the law decriminalizing homosexuality in Norway didn’t come in until he was 16-years-old, he said.

But while he has never been open about his sexuality, Hagen has been a gay rights campaigner for years.

He campaigned for acceptance in the church, investing hundreds of thousands of krone into the fight.

Gay Star News speculates that Hagen, said to worth between $2.4-$3.6 billion dollars, could be the richest single gay man in the world.

I'll admit I'm a bit surprised that a country that I consider fairly "liberal" socially led Hagen to be so uncomfortable with being open about sexuality until his late 50s.

Jeb Bush Promises Middle Class Families $2K Under His Tax Plan

In his new campaign ad, current 5th ranked Republican White House hopeful Jeb Bush promises that "the average middle-class family would save $2,000 a year" under his tax plan.

And gee, how much would millionaires and billionaires save?

What also doesn't get mentioned is "what services will Americans lose?"

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