Sia has released a new song.
The track, "One Million Bullets," is the latest from the bisexual singer's upcoming album, This Is Acting. She announced the song's release Friday on Twitter.
Similiar to Sia's most moving songs like "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart," "One Million Bullets" is a heartfelt ballad whose lyrics mix love and danger.
"Time after time, I drank from the poisoned wine. Yeah I picked the wrong kind, but baby you're alright," she sings in the opening verses.
Listen to "One Million Bullets" below.
Not everyone is singing Adam Lambert's praises in Singapore.
In fact, at the time of the time of this article's posting, 18,837 people have signed a petition seeking to remove the gay singer as headliner of a New Year's Eve performance in the Asian nation.
The "Ghost Town" singer was scheduled to perform at Countdown 2016, the city-state's largest New Year's Eve celebration, which is held in Marina Bay.
But in a letter to the event's media organizer, MediaCorp, protesters say the "performer fraught with controversy" represents values that do not align with those of Singapore, where it is still illegal for men to have sex with other men.
Petitioners point to a history of "sexualized acts," including Lambert 2009 performance at the American Music Awards, in which he kissed another man, as well as "acts of indecency" featured in his recent music video, "Another Lonely Night," as reasons why Lambert should be banned from performing.
These "lewd acts" and "active promotion of a highly sexual lifestyle and LGBT rights... are contrary to mainstream Singaporean values," the petition asserts.
"Countdown 2016 is our annual iconic, public event for Singaporeans to come together to celebrate New Year’s Eve, as one," the letter states. "Allowing Adam Lambert to perform as the star of Countdown 2016 shows disregard for the values of a majority of family-centric Singaporeans who have consistently resisted the promotion of western liberal ideas about family values and societal models."
It is signed by "concerned citizens,""concerned parents," and "concerned individuals."
In response, fans of Adam Lambert have launched a counter-petition that has accrued over 23,000 signatures. It begins: "We the moral majority of Singapore utterly denounce and condemn the obvious sexual orientation discrimination demonstrated by the other petition on this site that is against Adam Lambert performing in Countdown 2016."
MediaCorp assured the public that Lambert will perform as scheduled, and "the televised concert would be suitable for family audiences and conform with broadcast regulations," according to Reuters.
Miley Cyrus gave a call to arms for advocacy at the Los Angeles LGBT Center's Vanguard Awards.
The "Wrecking Ball" singer was honored earlier this month for her work with The Happy Hippie Foundation, a group she founded to help the homeless and LGBT youth.
But Cyrus wasn't very happy with the state of selflessness in the world. In her speech, she bemoaned how caring for others "is just way too rare in the world that we live in today." She also quoted fellow Vanguard Award nominee Jane Fonda, "To be a revolutionary, you have to be a human being. You have to care about people who have no power."
"We have been given this megaphone. And it is our responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect our fellow people, environment, and we cannot forget about the animals," Cyrus said.
Cyrus, 23, spoke passionately about how issues like the rise of HIV and homelessness among youth are linked, and underscored how dire the plight is within the LGBT community.
“There are more than 1.6 million runaway or homeless young people in the U.S. each year with 40 percent of homeless youth identifying as LGBTQ,” said the singer, who came out as pansexual earlier this year.
Cyrus founded The Happy Hippie Foundation in 2014, shortly after letting a homeless youth, Jesse, give an acceptance speech in her place at MTV's Video Music Awards. She often uses her social media influence to advocate for LGBT issues, most notably to decry Indiana's so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Earlier in the evening, she licked a grand piano at the behest of singer Linda Perry. It sold at auction for $50,000 to support the work of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which provides health and housing services for youth and seniors.
In addition to Cyrus and Fonda, Philadelphia and Freeheld screenwriter Ron Nyswaner was also honored, and he revealed one of his recent projects was 'de-gayed' by producers who were fearful its lesbian characters were too queer.
Cyrus concluded her own speech with a quotation from another female actress and role model, Audrey Hepburn:
"As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others."
Watch her remarks below.
Have you ever been bothered by an insensitive question from a straight person?
So has Gus Kenworthy. The out Olympian aired his list of grievances in a recent video alongside Teen Vogue's Phillip Picardi.
Titled "8 Things You Should Stop Saying to Your Gay Guy Friends," the clip dissects cringe-worthy classics like, "You don't really seem gay," "Are you sure you're gay?" and "You should meet my other gay friends."
Watch Kenworthy and Picardi discuss the full list below. And don't miss SNL's Thanksgiving Adele parody for inspiration on how to change the topic with well-meaning, but ill-informed family and friends.
For the first time in over two decades, a pope is visiting Uganda. And LGBT activists there are watching and hoping that he will address the African nation's deep-seated homophobia.
On Friday, Pope Francis begins his three-day tour of the African country. In the past, Francis has responded to gay issues with a more tolerant tone than his precedessors.
"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?" he said in 2013, which prompted The Advocate to name him Person of the Year.
Frank Mugisha, a prominent gay activist in Uganda and the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, hopes the pope will bring this message to his country, where homosexuality is a crime and 96 percent of the population believes society should not accept gay people.
The Catholic Church, he told Al Jazeera, has been complicit in creating these antigay attitudes.
"The Catholic Church in Uganda has been in alliance with all the other churches in condemning and discriminating against LGBTI persons. The language that preachers use and the anti-gay statements make people who are even in the closet feel discriminated against," Mugisha said.
"Church is a place for love, for refuge and for peace and support, but that support is not given to them. They feel they have been let down by the Church a lot," he added.
Mugisha, who is Catholic, said the words of one of the world's most influential religious leaders will carry much weight in a society that is 80 percent Christian with a rapidly growing Catholic population. He joins a chorus of other voices urging His Holiness to speak about LGBT rights.
"We hope the pope will talk about acceptance in the Catholic community, and an end to discrimination, hatred, and violence towards LGBTI persons in Uganda," said Mugisha, who is a past honoree of The Advocate's 40 Under 40.
"I feel that Pope Francis is liberal and has talked about many issues, but I still think he can say more - that LGBTI people should be welcome in the church, that they should not be discriminated against. Then the violence against us will reduce significantly. If he says something, the Catholic Church here will take that seriously," he added.
At present, no LGBT activists have been invited to meet with the pope during his visit. Mugisha said he was "disappointed" at a missed opportunity to begin a conversation about acceptance.
But he gave Al Jazeera his own message for the pope:
"I would have told the pope that Ugandans love him so much, and so do LGBTI Ugandans, and we - all Ugandans - want the same things: to live with each other in peace," he said. "So, the churches that discriminate against us the most should preach tolerance and acceptance."
"But I still hope that somehow we can go, or some of our representatives can meet the pope and we can tell him what we suffer."
Uganda has been at the center of anti-LGBT policies influenced by evangelical Christians. In 2013, Ugandan lawmakers passed a law that sentenced gay people to life in prison or death. After international outcry by human rights activists, the law was overturned on procedural grounds.
It has been 10 years since Jake Gyllenhaal climbed Brokeback Mountain with co-star Heath Ledger.
And since the release of the acclaimed film of two cowboys in love, Gyllenhaal said Hollywood has made its own strides toward allowing gay actors to be open about who they love.
"I think it is changing," he told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published online Wednesday. "And it's pretty amazing how it's changing. And one of the things that I'm so proud of [about] that movie, was to see, within the past basically 10 years, how much has changed."
The 34-year-old actor added that, in a small way, the film's ability to change hearts and minds may have extended to the nation's highest court.
"When the Supreme Court [issued a ruling] just a little while ago, I felt like we had been part, a little part and parcel of that movement," he said. "I was proud, you know? To me that's really a pretty incredible moment. We had to wait a little while for it."
"But when will it be OK for an actor to be gay? I mean, it's OK now."
The Southpaw actor reflected on his own decision to play Jack Twist in the 2005 film. The part that had been passed on by other high-profile actors, due to the character's sexual orientation as well as a sex scene between two men.
Gyllenhaal, however, said he was unfazed at the time.
"And when that opportunity came, I was a young actor. I was like, 'Yeah, I’m in.' I know a lot has been made of the choice to do it, but it just didn't seem like something that was scary to me," Gyllenhaal said.
"You know, it was binding, because sometimes a lot of that character is very specifically the more overtly gay character of the two," he added. "The one who's struggling with it less. And I didn’t really realize that. And that was an interesting journey for me, giving into that idea. Being the one who tries to push the relationship."
Read the full interview here. And watch it below.
Watch, read, help, go, and yaaaaas with the 7 things that are everything this week.
In the newest Rocky sequel, Creed, Sylvester Stallone has traded his boxing gloves for a coach’s corner seat. In the center ring this round is Adonis Johnson Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Rocky’s longtime rival, Apollo Creed, who travels to Philadelphia to seek the retired Rocky’s mentorship. The film, which has already garnered rave reviews, also reunites Jordan with his Fruitvale Station collaborator Ryan Coogler, Creed’s writer and director. See it in theaters this weekend.
World AIDS Day
The HIV and AIDS crisis is not over. At least 34 million people across the globe are still living with the virus, and many are still dying. Stand in solidarity with those affected on World AIDS Day. On December 1, pin on a red ribbon, donate money to a charitable organization, and join in the many events, screenings, and demonstrations in order to help beat this plague once and for all. Learn more at WorldAIDSDay.org.
Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal
The life of one of America’s greatest gay cultural figures, Gore Vidal, is chronicled in a new biography, Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal. Jay Parini, one of the late writer’s longtime friends, discusses Vidal’s many adventures and associations in politics and Hollywood, including his relationships with the Kennedys, Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Newman, and more. He also includes personal anecdotes from their conversations across decades of friendship. Buy it now in bookstores and at Amazon.com.
TrevorLIVE Los Angeles
TrevorLIVE, the sem-annual fundraising event offering a celebratory evening of impact and awareness for the suicide prevention resources and crisis intervention services offered by The Trevor Project, kicks off its West Coast event Sunday, December 6, at 6 p.m. Hosted by actor-comedian Joel McHale and taking at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, the show will feature performances by comedy queen Sarah Silverman, Titus Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schidt), Jeremy Jordan (Smash, Supergirl), and many more. Tickets are selling fast, so get yours here before they’re all gone.
Bianca Del Rio’s Rolodex of Hate
Hate has never been more hysterical or looked more fierce! Drag Race winner (“Not today, Satan!) and comedy queen Bianca Del Rio’s stand-up show comes to home video Wednesday Deliciously offensive in the spirit of comedy legend Joan Rivers, the self-described “clown in a gown” delivers rapid-fire fun, cutthroat zingers, and steady stream of LOLs topped with lashes and a wig! What’s not to love — or hate?
The Wiz Live!
First there was Carrie Underwood as Maria in The Sound of Music. Next came Allison Williams as Peter Pan. And finally, Queen Latifah will be the Wiz in The Wiz Live!, a remake of the 1978 classic that will air Thursday on NBC. Don’t miss Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Common, Uzo Aduba, David Alan Grier, Stephanie Mills, Elijah Kelley, Amber Riley, and Shanice Williams skipping down the Yellow Brick Road in what has become a must-see tradition of live musical entertainment on network television.
The Danish Girl
Eddie Redmayne delivers an astounding performance as 20th-century transgender icon Lili Elbe in director Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. An adaptation of a book of the same name by David Ebershoff, the film follows the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener (played by Alicia Vikander) as their relationship evolves while the two navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey to discover her true self. “I hope others are as inspired by Lili’s story as I was and continue to be,” Redmayne recently told The Advocate. “At a time in which there were no predecessors that she knew of, she still had the absolute knowledge in herself of who she was and what she needed to do to liberate herself. The fact that she valued life and authenticity enough to give her everything and anything, I think that is extraordinary.” The film opens Friday.
A new law that could let Uganda shut down aide groups if it objects to their mission has passed through Parliament today, activists in the region report.
Activists warn that the "NGO bill" is aimed in part at LGBT-supportive groups that are often considered as non-governmental organizations while being vague about their work on behalf of LGBT people in HIV prevention and other areas.
The bill would first require NGOs to get a license, and would then revoke that license if the aide groups have engaged in "any act, which is prejudicial to the interests of Uganda and the dignity of the people of Uganda.”
"The vagueness of the bill gives the government the latitude to silence organizations it deems to be operating against the 'public interest' of Uganda, a term which is conveniently undefined," wrote journalist Karen Attiah in a Washington Post op-ed about the proposal in September. "NGOs often fill gaps left by government in delivering social services to citizens."
"NGOs are now in for a tougher ride as the usual last minute laws are being passed in Uganda," wrote Ugandan human rights lawyer Adrian Jjuuko on Twitter today, saying the bill reminds him of the Anti-Homosexuality Act that passed life sentences for gays and lesbians — only to be repealed after international outcry. "It can be an excuse to stop any NGO," said Jjuuko, who is executive director for an NGO called Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum — Uganda.
So far, there has been little international attention from the U.S. government or elsewhere to the NGO bill.
The United Kingdom will once again look at ending a ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood, its public health minister said today.
The BBC and others report that Jane Ellison told the House of Commons today that "it is time to look again at the question."
The United Kingdom is already further ahead of the U.S., having revised its rules in 2011 when it went from a total ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood to a one-year waiting period. Earlier this month, France followed suit and officials say a four-month waiting period might be next.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration recommended new draft guidelines that also implement the one-year waiting period, meaning any man who has had sex with another man in the last 12 months is barred from donating — and that any sexually active gay or bisexual men are still banned for life.
And the FDA has no clear guidelines on how to treat transgender people, who it groups together and treats like gay men.
Earlier this month, Twitter took a stand against the U.S. policy and ended its company blood drive until all gay male employees could take part. The ban has existed since 1983.
“These are the only policies that the FDA has based on a person’s identification and not any type of risky behavior that they’re engaged in,” said Jim Halloran, president of TwitterOpen, in an interview with International Business Times.
In the U.K., Ellison claimed the one-year waiting period isn't discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“It is important to put it on the record that the blood service does not discriminate on sexual orientation," she said, according to The Guardian. "Lesbians are free to give blood and their blood donations are extremely appreciated. The deferral period is based on sexual activity, and it applies to a number of other groups other than just men who have sex with men.”
In trying to explain why he appeared with a pastor who supports executing gays and lesbians, Ted Cruz now regularly implies the U.S. shouldn't send money to countries that do just that.
Although Cruz has yet to explicitly distance himself from "kill the gays" pastor Kevin Swanson, who the presidential candidate made a joint appearance with this month in Iowa, his spokesman suggests that what Cruz told out actress Ellen Page in August should suffice.
"I'd invite you to look at Cruz's remarks to Ellen Page at the Iowa State Fair," spokesman Rick Tyler told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in an email on Wednesday, "where Cruz is speaking for himself about what he believes instead of trying to hold him accountable for something he did not say nor believes."
Maddow has pressed the Cruz campaign for an explanation of whether the Texas senator agrees with Swanson's remarks delivered before introducing Cruz to the crowd in Iowa at the "National Religious Liberties Conference," where Swanson extensively defended the need to one day execute all gays and lesbians.
Maddow has also asked whether the Republican candidate for president agrees with the views of radical social conservatives whose endorsements he's touted this month in a round of news releases — including those who support killing doctors who perform abortions.
In the exchange with Page back in August during the Iowa State Fair, Cruz conceded that, "Murder is murder is murder, and it is wrong, and it's wrong across the board."
In contrast with Swanson, who has defended Ugandan officials who once sought the death penalty for gays and lesbians, Cruz seemed to condemn Iran for hanging gay men as punishment. And he condemned ISIS for executing men accused of being gay by throwing them off of roofs or stoning them to death.
Many LGBT activists have supported ending foreign aid to countries that use the death penalty for gays and lesbians. While specifically criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, Cruz inadvertently invoked their argument.
"It is interesting right now. Do you know where gay people are being persecuted right now?" he asked Page. "ISIS is executing gay people. Iran is executing homosexuals. And on the left you hear complete silence about Iran hanging homosexuals. And yet the Obama administration is sending over $100 billion to a regime that murders homosexuals. That is fundamentally wrong."
For her part, Page obviously agreed with Cruz that it's wrong to execute gays, though she disagreed that liberals aren't upset about it, pointing out that LGBT people are being persecuted all over the world. She welcomed any chance to talk with Obama about ending all foreign aid to countries with harsh penalties for being LGBT.
But Cruz didn't seem to grasp the background on that issue, suddenly cutting off their conversation by saying they'd agreed. So it's curious that Tyler has decided to direct Maddow's attention to the video, and that Cruz is now regularly mentioning it in public appearances before social conservatives.
He brought up the interaction as recently as Friday during the "Presidential Family Forum" hosted by the National Organization for Marriage in Iowa. Once again, he implied it's wrong for the U.S. government to send money to countries that execute gays and lesbians.
"When I asked Ms. Page, you want to talk about protecting discrimination, tell me, why are you not distressed about the fact that Iran and ISIS are murdering homosexuals right now. Why are you not asking President Obama: Why are you sending $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei who murders homosexuals?" said Cruz. "If you want to talk about an assault on gay rights, how about not murdering the homosexuals?"
For Cruz's reference, the list of places where people can be killed for being gay or lesbian isn't limited to Iran. It includes Saudi Arabia, for example.
But it's unclear whether Cruz also believes foreign aid shouldn't be sent to countries that impose life sentences, or if his view only applies to countries that wield the death penalty, or if it only applies to Iran because he objects to the nuclear peace deal negotiated by the Obama administration.
In Gambia, for example, the country's leaders have stuck by a "jail the gays" law the issues life sentences for LGBT people despite the risk of losing millions in foreign aid from Europe.
Activists called for penalties on Kyrgyzstan earlier this year after it passed an anti-LGBT "propaganda" law. The Human Rights Campaign suggested penalties akin to those threatened in Uganda, where the U.S. withheld some foreign aid, after it passed a "kill the gays" law. The law was later undone by a technicality in the courts.
Watch the original interaction between Cruz and Page:
Watch Maddow's report on the Cruz spokesman's comment:
How to remember a beloved transgender activist in Jerusalem who died by suicide on the same night as the Paris attacks is now being fought over by her attorney and family members that never accepted her.
The well known nightclub entrepreneur, May Peleg Friedman, died by suicide on November 13 in Israel, reports The Keshet blog. The 31-year-old parent of three children and a former member of a religiously observant Jewish faith community, Peleg Friedman was the cofounder and former owner of Jerusalem’s only queer nightclub, Mikveh, and the first transgender chairperson of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, a prominent local advocacy organization for Israeli LGBTQ equality.
Peleg Friedman’s pioneering work came despite hardship. After she embraced her true self as a trans woman, her religious family shunned her, reportedly cutting off ties with her children, according to Keshet. She lived on the streets of Jerusalem, built up her life, started the nightclub, and fought to make Mikveh an affirming, welcoming space for those who shared her commitment to honest, open living.
In the wake of Peleg Friedman’s passing, her family continues to resist her rights to self-determination. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency notes that Peleg Friedman’s mother is a proponent of Haredi Judaism, a form of strictly observant Judaism that rejects core elements of modern secular culture.
Peleg Friedman’s mother has fought efforts to cremate her daughter despite the fact that Peleg Friedman “filed a will with attorney Yossi Wolfson the day before her suicide stating her desire to be cremated,” as the JTA says, relying on reports from Haaretz.
Peleg Friedman's will asks that a memorial be held among her friends and that her ashes be scattered at sea and under a tree that is to be planted in her memory. But her mother filed an injunction in a Jerusalem court, according to the JTA — an injunction that misgendered her daughter, accused Peleg Friedman of suffering from a “mental crisis,” and contested Peleg Friedman’s will.
“Since I have no contact with my biological family and since I fear that after my death there will be those who [will] try to obstruct my final wish to be cremated, using various arguments, I ask you to represent me in court and be my voice,” Peleg Friedman said in a letter to her attorney, as both JTA and Haartez report. She also paid the Aley Shalechet funeral home in advance for her cremation.
JTA reports that her attorney continues to fight for her rights, releasing a public statement that says the following: “Everyone in Israel has rights over their body. Just as her family could not request the court to prohibit May from tattooing her body, cutting her hair the way she wanted to or changing her sex, the family cannot interfere with her wishes regarding the disposal of her body. May acted with consideration and detailed logic. She knew who would object and what their reasons would be and she preempted this with her stated objections.”
Peleg Friedman was known for her sharp mind, her caring disposition, and her nurturing demeanor among the many individuals for whom she created a safe social space. She studied sociology and communications at the Open University in Israel and, as her photographs on Facebook attest, she adored animals, teddy bears, and her children.
If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.
Each year the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade features guest appearances and performances by Hollywood actors, musicians, sports figures, and Broadway stars.
Over the years, plenty of famous LGBT folks have taken part in the holiday fun. Just as often, some of the parade's performances hit campy or queer notes. In that spirit, here are 10 of the gayest moments from the parade's history.
1. The Village People Perform "Y.M.C.A." (1978)
During the disco '70s, the parade invited the super-gay, cosplaying sextet to strut atop a giant jukebox float while performing their homoerotic mega-hit "Y.M.C.A."
2. The Marvel Comics Dance Squad (1989)
Comic book superheroes always seem a little gay, but never more than they did on top of the Marvel Comics float in 1989. Captain America, Spider-Man and the gang do a bit of interpretive dance as R&B star Melba Moore sings "Holding Out For A Hero." Best dancer? Hands down, it's gyrating Doctor Doom!
3. Chita Rivera Performs "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (1993)
Every Thanksgiving should start with a Broadway legend performing a torch song from a Tony Award-winning show about two male prisoners who fall in love.
Pink Panther, I'm sorry, my dear, but you are up for elimination.
The gay Fierstein, who donned drag in the Broadway adaptation of Hairspray, appeared all dolled up as Mrs. Claus sitting in the North Pole sleigh.
Gay visual artist Haring died of complications from AIDS in 1990, so it was bittersweet seeing one of his best-loved images displayed high above the sky -- that is, until it crashed into the NBC broadcast booth and knocked Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer, and Al Roker right off the air. Whoops!
7. The Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Cast Performs in Drag (2011)
The cast of the Tony Award-wining Broadway musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert kicked off the holiday season by sashaying in drag to a disco medley including "I Love the Nightlife" and "I Will Survive."
8. Johnny Weir In All His Bejeweled Splendor (2011)
Competitive ice skating met eleganza when out national champion and Olympic medalist Johnny Weir rode in on an oversize rocking horse wearing a bejeweled top hat and mint ascot.
It's true what people say. Once you find a spot along the route, you basically just kill time before the parade starts.
10. The Kinky Boots Cast Performs (And Conservatives Freak Out) (2013)
You'd think with the parade's long history of queer high jinks, the shock would be gone. But conservatives flipped out when yet another bunch of Broadway stars in drag, this time the cast of Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots, did their thing.
LGBT groups are reacting to the release of video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting to death a young black man, making calls for further investigation and a renewed effort for racial justice.
Laquan McDonald, 17, was shot 13 months ago by Officer Jason Van Dyke on a city street. Van Dyke was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, and shortly after he appeared in court, Chicago officials released dashcam video of the confrontation between McDonald and Van Dyke. Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Van Dyke had been on the scene less than 30 seconds and out of his police car just six seconds when he began firing, CNN reports. McDonald, who reportedly had been acting oddly, was carrying a three-inch knife, and toxicology reports indicate he had the drug PCP in his system.
“Yet he wasn’t within 10 feet of anyone at the time the shots rang out,” CNN notes. “Several other officers were at the scene with Van Dyke, and none of them fired any shots.” Alvarez said the video “will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans.”
However, Daniel Q. Herbert, Van Dyke’s lawyer, told CNN Wednesday that the officer “truly was in fear for his life as well as the lives of his fellow officers.” Video, he said, “is two-dimensional and it distorts images.”
The release of the video led to protests, largely peaceful, in Chicago last night. Many activists questioned why it took the state’s attorney’s office so long to release it and to bring charges.
If convicted, Van Dyke faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
National LGBTQ Task Force deputy executive director Russell Roybal Wednesday issued a statement calling for a federal investigation into McDonald’s killing as well as an attack on Black Lives Matter activists in Minneapolis in which five people were wounded.
“Last night, authorities in Chicago released a videotape showing Laquan McDonald being shot sixteen times by police. A white police officer has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of McDonald. On Monday, five activists calling for racial justice were shot while taking part in a demonstration near a Minneapolis police station — where protests have been staged since November 15. Three white men have been arrested in connection to the allegedly racially motived attack.
“We our outraged by this senseless violence against Black Lives Matter activists in Minneapolis and the recently released video showing the callous murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police. These are appalling acts of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Laquan McDonald and of the activists who were attacked in Minneapolis. We urge the Justice Department to swiftly investigate both shootings as hate crimes and to use every tool in their power to bring justice to Laquan McDonald and the Black Lives Matter activists in Minneapolis.
“While some might think these shootings are isolated incidents, the reality is that these malicious attacks are part of an epidemic of violence—the targeting and killing of Black people—that is taking place all across America. The Minneapolis attack on Black Lives Matter activists and the murder of Laquan McDonald show that our nation has yet to eliminate racism. We call on everyone to join us in our work to end violence, to end the excessive use of force by police, and to increase accountability and transparency at local police departments. We can and must continue to do more to end all forms of racism and discrimination.”
Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, a statewide LGBT rights group, also issued a statement:
“We at Equality Illinois are outraged and saddened by the killing of Laquan McDonald. We offer our condolences and support to his family and friends.
“As the advocacy voice for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Illinoisans, we stand in solidarity with those in Chicago and Illinois who fight for racial, economic, and social justice. We will continue to engage in focused advocacy, dialogue, and education to end violence against marginalized communities and to ensure lived equality for all people.”
The First Metropolitan Community Church of Wichita, Kan., has had a difficult year, with threats to its pastor by phone and mail, plus vandalism that has seen windows knocked out 84 times.
The threats began after court rulings brought marriage equality to parts of Kansas in November 2014, Pastor Jackie Carter told Wichita TV station KAKE. “At the beginning they were personal toward me because I stood on the courthouse steps and married people a year ago,” she said.
Of the vandalism, she said, “In the past year there have been two weeks where I haven’t had to replace windows in this church,” at a cost of $20 to $70 each. There have been also attempts to steal church property, Carter told the station.
The church is part of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a denomination established to provide an affirming place of worship for LGBT Christians. More than half the members of Carter’s congregation identify as LGBT. Her congregants and staff are now on edge, she told the station, and she appealed for the public’s help in identifying those targeting the church.
First Metropolitan put up security cameras, she said, but that hasn’t helped so far. “As police look at the video, they often are faced with a hidden person or someone who is dressed in such a way that there’s no way to identify them,” she said.
She asked that anyone with information call Wichita Crime Stoppers at (316) 267-2111.
Below, watch the KAKE report (which slightly mangles the church’s name).
While U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was campaigning in Iowa this week he made a stop in Cedar Rapids to join pastors in prayer.
Christian Broadcasting Network reporter David Brody captured images of Rubio’s solemn session as the preachers laid hands on the Republican candidate, whom he wrote “could be the next President of the United States.”
Brody posted the photos on Facebook Tuesday as well as clips from a revealing sit-down interview with Rubio, in which he declared marriage equality "is current law, it is not settled law."
When asked about antigay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, Rubio told Brody she did the right thing in refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though it meant going to jail.
According to Brody, Rubio also compared the landmark Supreme Court marriage equality decision issued June 26 to the historic Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing a woman’s right to abortion, which right-wing Christians have been mobilizing to overturn since it was handed down in 1973.
"We are clearly called to adhere to our civil authorities," he told Brody. But when they are in conflict with biblical teachings, “God's rules always win."
The full interview will air on CBN next week, Brody posted.
Watch the advance clip from Brody below.
I’m in Iowa -- the heartland of America. Earlier today, I sat down with Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio. I asked him about same-sex marriage being so-called "settled law.” He had some interesting things to say about the moral conflict many Christians face when the Bible commands to obey civil authorities but also the overlying mandate to follow God’s law. What do you think of what Rubio had to say? Watch below. We'll have much more on this next week AFTER THANKSGIVING on The 700 Club. This is just a little taste of what's to come.
Posted by David Brody on Tuesday, November 24, 2015
The spirit of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy lives on in Reddit.
The online bulletin board has added a new thread, in which straight men are asking gay men for tips about life.
Titled "Gay Men of Reddit, what advice do you have for Straight Men of Reddit?" the thread has tackled topics raging from love, to style, to personal hygeine, to friendship.
Here are eight pearls of wisdom from the discussion. And feel free to leave your own advice for straight men in the comments.
1. Keep your ears open.
2. Invest in underwear.
3. Check your ego.
4. Be a gentleman.
5. Be respectful of gay friends.
6. Be frugal.
7. Be hygenic.
8. It's the size of the heart that matters.
San Francisco police have arrested a couple accused of attacking Samantha Hulsey, a 25-year-old transgender woman, while shouting transphobic slurs November 16 in the city's South of Market neighborhood, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Bay City News notes that police have arrested Dewayne Edward Kemp, 36, and Rebecca Louise Westover, 42, a man and woman who share a residence in San Francisco. Police also suspect Kemp of violating his parole and being in possession of drug paraphernalia.
Hulsey and her fiancée, Daira Hopwood, were wrapping up a date night of dinner and a movie when the women encountered Kemp and Westover, who allegedly threw hot coffee in Hulsey’s face before escalating the assault in a provocation that was purportedly based solely on Hulsey and Hopwood's assumed gender identity and expression.
The Chronicle reports that Hulsey suffered injuries to her face, which became swollen, a black eye, and trauma to her upper body and neck. Witnesses flagged down police, who then apprehended the suspects.
Hulsey described being “very frightened” to the Chronicle and falling into “fight-or-flight mode,” fearing for her life.
Hopwood, a 40-year-old computer scientist who is also a transgender woman, was with Hulsey on the evening of the assault. She told the Chronicle the attackers seemed to be looking for a fight. “It was almost as if they were going to beat up the next trans person they saw,” she said.
This isn't the first time Hulsey and her partner have been the victims of allegedly transphobic hate crimes in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. Hulsey still arranges her long, coffee-colored hair to conceal the scars left by a January attack on a city bus, reports the Chronicle.
Hulsey was stabbed twice just below the neck on the bus January 3, while her attacker allegedly used slurs toward the young woman and her partner. Police arrested Brodus Wayne Joynes at the scene, then later charged the 54-year-old man with hate crime–enhanced offenses of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and false imprisonment.
These two attacks against Hulsey in a single year occurred against the backdrop of a changing San Francisco for LGBT people, a city once hailed as a haven for marginalized sexual minorities and gender-variant people. As the trans and gender-nonconforming advocate Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore notes in her book The End of San Francisco, the city is gradually gentrifying in the wake of a tech boom.
Some LGBT people are being pushed out of the so-called gayborhoods, or historic queer neighborhoods like the Castro. Despite the neighborhood’s continuing existence as an LGBT enclave, unforeseen clashes between rising numbers of low-to-no-income people and wealthier neighbors have arisen in recent years.
One side-effect of those rising tensions was laid bare in a groundbreaking study published in February by the San Francisco LGBT Center, in partnership with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and Learning for Action. The study, called the "LGBTQI Violence Prevention Needs Assessment," examined violence among San Francisco’s LGBT people, finding that a staggering 79 percent of transgender residents reported being victims of violence. Meanwhile, 88 percent of respondents reported being harassed in San Francisco, validating claims made by trans advocates that violence against gender-variant people in the city has become far worse than previously imagined.
“The numbers will come as a shock to anyone who thinks we’ve somehow ‘moved beyond’ the need for services and action dedicated to keeping LGBT people safe in their own neighborhoods,” said Rebecca Rolfe, executive director of the San Francisco LGBT Center, in a statement to the press. “San Francisco still has this reputation as a welcoming, safe enclave for LGBT people, but what we’ve found in our study is that that is far from true for all LGBT residents.”
Two weeks after Hulsey’s first attack this year, Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, a 36-year-old trans woman of color, was found dead the morning of February 1, stabbed multiple times in a stairwell in San Francisco's Bayview District. A week after DeJesus's death, her alleged murderer, 49-year-old James Hayes, was found dead in an apparent suicide behind a warehouse a half-mile from where DeJesus's body was discovered.
Has the "violent anger of many on the left" been unmasked by Scream Queens?
In a recent episode of the campy Fox horror show from out cocreator Ryan Murphy, a murderous attacker dressed as Antonin Scalia got beaten up by Jamie Lee Curtis. Today, in a new column for conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, the Supreme Court justice's son says the episode demonstrates "the violent anger of many on the left."
"She takes particular delight in knocking the Scalia-guised assailant to the ground," writes Christopher Scalia, "punching him like Ronda Rousey Holly Holm and talking to him like Linda Greenhouse. Between every punch to the face, she makes a claim that, presumably, is meant to rebut something Justice Scalia has said."
The younger Scalia argues that not only is the violence a clue into his dad's role as the "bogeyman of the liberal imagination," but also that the show's claims about the justice's views are inaccurate.
Scream Queens isn't exactly 60 Minutes. In the scene in question, three masked attackers show up wielding knives and corner Curtis's character. She explains in a fairly silly monologue how she secretly learned to fight by having an affair with a martial arts master.
With one punch to the masked Scalia's head, Curtis says, “The homosexual lifestyle is not destructive to the fabric of American society!”
She unloads a series of one-liners on same-sex marriage, the Voting Rights Act, and Obamacare before each smack. Watch the whole scene for yourself below.
While Christopher Scalia doesn't appear to argue that his dad actually supports marriage equality, he thinks the writers took his dad out of context.
"She’s making rejoinders to claims that Justice Scalia never made," he writes. "'The homosexual lifestyle is not destructive to the fabric of American society!' is probably a reference to his dissent in this summer’s Obergefell decision, which begins: 'I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.' His point was that the Court threatened democracy by usurping the role of the legislature. But that’s not as good a reason to punch him."
It's hard to argue that Scalia sees being gay as anything less than destructive if looking back on his numerous rulings. Take Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, for example, in which Scalia wrote:
"Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive. The Court views it as ‘discrimination’ which it is the function of our judgments to deter. So imbued is the Court with the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously ‘mainstream.’”
The Advocate has previously aggregated some of "Justice Antonin Scalia's Greatest Fits" about LGBT equality. They span from Romer v. Evans in 1996 all the way to present day, with many options for Scream Queens writers to pick from if they want to demonstrate that Scalia isn't merely arguing over technicalities.
Watch the Scream Queens scene below: