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April 23, 2014

Is Georgia next to legaliser gay marriage? A lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal Tuesday in Atlanta seeks class action status to overturn a 2004 voter initiative banning same-sex marriage in Georgia. Lambda Legal filed the suit on behalf of seven couples, including Shelton Stroman and his partner Christopher Inniss of Snellville, Ga. They are suing the state registrar, a clerk of the Gwinnett County Probate Court and a Fulton County Probate Court judge in their official capacities as enforcers of the ban. This isn't the first challenge to Georgia's constitutional ban. A lawsuit filed in 2006 in state court challenged the wording of the 2004 ballot initiative which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. It was determined that the wording was legal and would stand. However, the current lawsuit opposes the ban itself as unconstitutional. A New Lawsuit Challenges Georgia's Gay Marriage Ban originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 08:15:41.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Are this year's audiences at Tribeca ready for a trans experience? Of course they are and filmmakers Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini deliver with 'Mala Mala', a feature length documentary about the struggles of the trans community in Puerto Rico. The documentary, which shows until the April 26, explores the every day lives of trans women which Sickles and Santini show is a witty, often boisterous and sometimes tumultuous experience. 'Mala Mala' is the debut documentary by director/producer Dan Sickles, who has worked on films, music videos, and commercials for clients from New York to Tokyo. In a sense, the themes addressed in the film are as expected. For instance, one of the main subjects Rebecca describes the painful experiences of undergoing hormone treatment on the black market and struggles with society's expectations of masculinity and femininity. Yet, however much we've come to associate these struggles with trans mean and women, it can not be stated enough how gender standards are thrust upon us. In this way, 'Mala Mala' is one of the most important entries at Tribeca, as film has the power to increase awareness of the both the victories and difficulties of living as we are and as we please.'Mala Mala' Celebrates Trans Community at Tribeca Film Festival originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 07:51:59.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Actor Daniel Franzese comes out as gay in a heartfelt letter posted to his former 'Mean Girls' character, Damian. "I was twenty-six; you were sixteen. You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I'd had you as a role model when I was younger. I might've been easier to be gay growing up. You WERE beautiful in every single way and words couldn't bring you down," Franzese wrote. In the letter, originally published on gay site /bent, Franzese goes on to explain what took him so long to come out. It's been 10 years since Franzese played the confident and openly gay Damian, which he says "ruined his life". Franzese also says he reached a "gay ceiling" and despite his desires to play straight characters, only received interest from agents for flamboyant roles similar to his Mean Girls appearance. This drove Franzese deeper into the closet, resulting in years of denial and cover ups from him and his agents. But all has changed now that Franzese has faced and accepted how significant playing Damian was to his life: "It wasn't until years later that grown men started to coming up to me on the street - some of them in tears - and thanking me for being a role model to them. Telling me I gave them comfort not only being young and gay but also being a big dude. It was then that I realized how much of an impact YOU had made on them." For Franzese, today marks a new chapter that started 10 years ago and has begun in grand style. This June he'll be the Celebrity Grand Marshall of the Portland Gay Pride Parade. Congratulations, Daniel!'Mean Girls' Actor Daniel Franzese Comes Out originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 07:26:35.Permalink | Comment | Email this

April 16, 2014

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat joined an estimated 1,000 people celebrating a new law that gives same-sex couples in Malta the same rights as marriage and the right to adopt. Although Malta's legal system follows closely with the United Kingdom, the former British colony gained its independence on September 21, 1964 and officially became the Republic of Malta in 1974. Although acts between same-sex parters have been legal since 1973, the new bill approved by the Labour government does not call the new legal unions "marriage" but extends the same rights.Malta's Prime Minister Celebrates New Gay Marriage Law originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 at 05:38:33.Permalink | Comment | Email this
This September, Finland mail users will have the option of a special edition Tom of Finland stamp that features gay bondage porn. In September-October 2014, Itella Posti will release seven new sets of stamps, containing a total of 33 new designs in honor of the artist behind Tom of Finland, Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991). The stamp sheets represent "strong and confident male figures typical of their designer." Timo Berry, the graphic artist who designed the stamps with Susanna Luoto, the Finnish representative of the foundation named after Tom of Finland, says the stamp sheets represent "a sensual life force and being proud of oneself. There is never too much of that in this northern country." The autumn's stamp series begins September 8 with Tom of Finland, who is considered one of the most well-known Finnish artists around the world.Finland Launches New Gay Tom of Finland Bondage Stamps originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 at 05:18:39.Permalink | Comment | Email this

April 15, 2014

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag announced at the weekend that plans are in process to build separate gay-only prisons in Turkey to "protect" inmates who identify as gay. "Convicts who stated that they are gay will not mix with other convicts in the communal area or during social activities in the new prison facilities," Bozdag wrote in a response to parliament. While homosexuality isn't illegal in Turkey, gay activists worry that the segregating gay prisoners will only deepen existing homophobia. Murat Koylu, a gay rights activist with the Ankara-based gay rights group Kaos GL, tells Huffington Post that this form of segregation is the government's latest attempt at ostracizing gays. Koylu and others are concerned that gay-only prison will single out openly gay convicts and their families as well as provide less protections for gay men and women who are not out. Officials estimate that there are 79 LGBT identified prisoners currently in the system, but activists say the number is much higher and does not account for the prisoners who hide their sexuality. Turkey Plans Gay-Only Prisons originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 at 04:59:41.Permalink | Comment | Email this

April 9, 2014

Part of the myth that a gay mafia looms in the corners of all aspects of our lives is fueled by media's need to "track" the progress of gay rights as if it's a planned strategy. This is of course heightened by the latest "attack" on Mozilla that forced CEO Brendan Eich to resign. Take Slate's article on the dangers of the "gay mafia" and this quote from USNews: "For the last decade, debates over the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual Americans have been waged in courtrooms, congressional halls and at the ballot box. Now the boardroom is becoming the next battleground as two major - but very different - private institutions." It would seem that Eich's Godzilla-like fall was a planned attack in a natural progression of gay activists to rid the ranks of Capital Hill, our suburban and city hills and now the peak of corporate offices of homophobia and discrimination. But the fact is, Eich's self-dismissal was not a planned attack. If it were strategic, it was only in the sense that our every day lives as LGBT has always been strategic. We have always demanded and fought for equality in our lives. This has been an organic progression in the way that every human rights movement evolves into an increased intolerance for discrimination and disadvantage. What Eich-gate demonstrated (and perhaps this is what scares the rainbow out of the conservative right) is that gay rights movements today are adventitious. They appear spontaneously in response to any form of anti-gay sentiment, whether they be in the political, social or corporate office. Increased acceptance and support for LGBT causes from allies has emerged into a collective voice of response against actions, like Eich's, that would have otherwise been treated without penalty. What this signals is the fundamental right we have all adopted in this country, the right to freedom and a right to respond. In most instances, this far outreaches a formal plan. Brendan Eich and the Myth of the Gay Mafia originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at 06:37:20.Permalink | Comment | Email this

April 1, 2014

James Franco loves a good gay role and famed filmmaker Gus Van Sant is delivering with a new project about ex-gay activist Michael Glatze. Since his role as the warm-hearted Scott Smith, longtime partner of Harvey, in the film "Milk", and as Allen Ginsberg in "Howl", Franco says he can't stay away from playing gay characters. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Franco talked about his attraction to gay heroes: "It's not like it's my mission to tell the stories of as many gay men as possible, although in some cases, I think it is the point. In "Milk," the point is to show one of the great fighters for equal rights for the gay community, so I was happy to do that. With characters like Allen Ginsberg [in "Howl"], my love for him started with his work when I was a teenager. So his sexuality is secondary to me. It's an important aspect of who he was and his character, but it wasn't like, 'Yes, I want to play another gay role,' it was more, 'Yes, I'd love to play another one of my heroes.'" Franco's aspirations have come true. Page Six reports that Franco will star in the forthcoming film about "ex-gay" activist Michael Glatze. The yet unnamed film follows the story of Michael Glatze, who founded Young Gay America (or Y.G.A.) and toured America promoting a documentary about gay teens, before becoming a fundamentalist Christian and renouncing his homosexuality. Shooting is scheduled to start in New York this summer. Gus Van Sant, who directed Franco in "Milk", is producing the film.James Franco Tapped to Play 'Ex-Gay' Activist Michael Glatze in New Gus Van Sant Film originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 at 04:17:40.Permalink | Comment | Email this
It was clear as mud what would happen after the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) voted last year to open their youth ranks to openly gay kids yet ban gay adult scout leaders. But it was hoped that the organization had tired of lengthy legal battles and nasty public relations campaigns, and would do the right thing by reversing their policies for adults. The call was a little too optimistic. The BSA is in the news again, this time with front man Geoffrey McGrath, who news outlets are reporting is the first adult ousted from the ranks since last year's landmark decision. McGrath, a prized leader by all means, founded two United Methodist Church-sponsored scouting units in Seattle, but is deemed insufficient for service due to his sexuality. While McGrath is out teaching youth about bonding and survival in the wild, the BSA can't see the forest for the trees. "It's extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership," McGrath told NBC News. "They are complaining that the problem [his status as an openly gay man] is a distraction to Scouting and they don't seem to understand that the distraction is self-inflicted." LGBT scout advocacy group Scouts for Equality and LGBT rights group GLAAD have come to McGrath's defence. Zach Wahls, Scouts for Equality co-founder points out the BSA's shortsightedness to TIME: "If this unit had not been inclusive, it would not have existed. By effectively shuttering this unit, the BSA is depriving these youth of the opportunity to be a Scout and they are telling all their youth that discrimination is okay." The BSA responded in a statement by blaming McGrath for coming out. They wrote: "As a part of our longstanding leadership standards policy, the Boy Scouts of America does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of our members. We don't believe the topic of sexual orientation has a role in Scouting and it is not discussed unless it is deliberately injected into Scouting. Recently, this individual provided both Scouting national leadership and the media with information that led to his removal as a leader. The BSA does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation; we remain focused on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training." Apparently being gay is ethically viable to the BSA, as long as they don't know about it. So much for the 'protection of youth' argument.Just When We Were Starting to Like The Boy Scouts, They've Gone and Done This originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 at 03:58:35.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Apologies are a necessary element of our human relations, and they aren't only appropriate when you've done something wrong. They help clear the air of confusion over an offence, and if done correctly and with accepted levels of compassion the offended are more likely to at least consider vindicating the offending. However, an apology or transparent admission is not the route Mozilla's Brendan Eich wants to take. Should We Boycott Firefox? In fact, as anti-Firefox sentiment rises, Eich hasn't said much of anything about his $1,000 donation to the Prop 8 efforts in 2008. His principle strategy is to deflect questions over his dodgy donation to Mozilla's standard diversity and inclusiveness policies. Eich prefers to water down a direct line to his homophobia by re-iterating that Mozilla has always been inclusive of gay marriage supporters as well as an array of other human rights causes. What Eich does not realise-- or maybe he does-- is that Mozilla's policies of inclusiveness aren't on spotlight here. What's at issue is again what Eich will not answer to or even apologize for: his personal donation to a very specific anti-gay voter campaign. It would seem that Eich is so arrogant in his stance that he's willing to tank one of the best browsers around to protect what he sees as his rights, and his employee's rights, to be homophobic. Since Eich was outed, nearly 72,000 people have signed a petition for him to step down. Online couple matching giant OKCupid had a few strong words for both Firefox and Eich: "Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure." Rudder hasn't stopped with a letter. The company now redirects any of its users on Firefox to the letter which encourages them to choose another browser. Mozilla's response? Still no specifics on Eich: "Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally," a spokesperson said. I don't mean to suggest here that an official apology would silence this issue or that freedom of speech should be limited only to certain causes. What is particularly disturbing about this situation is Eich, Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, and Mozilla's insistence that employees (who are people) can simply check their personal beliefs at the door. Even as a person that carries more faith in the human spirit than a measurable bunch, I find it difficult to assume that the representation of Eich as a 'homophobic' CEO won't poke holes in Mozilla's prized policy of inclusiveness. It is highly unlikely that the visibility of an open homophobe does not or will not have a direct impact on potential hiring and termination policies, benefits packages, harassment and discrimination protections or even the workplace culture. If Eich is allowed to be openly homophobic, why not anyone else? Eich and Mozilla are parading their policy around as if it is impermeable. Mozilla's policies are not a constitution. And even if they were Eich, of all people, knows how effectively they can be altered given enough time, energy, and money. OK Cupid Snubs Firefox, CEO Still Refuses To Apologize originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 at 03:39:19.Permalink | Comment | Email this

March 31, 2014

Continuing in our same sex marriage series is a step by step to getting married in Minnesota. Gay and lesbian couples wanting to marry in Minnesota, the 12th American state to legalise same sex marriage, must first apply for a license then complete the application at a local service center. More information is available here.How To Marry in Minnesota originally appeared on Gay Life on Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 13:49:30.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Same gender (also known as same sex or 'gay') marriage has been legal in the state of Delaware since summer of 2013. These simple steps to marriage in Delaware can help gay and lesbian couples tie the knot.Same Sex Marriage in Delaware: A How To Guide originally appeared on Gay Life on Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 13:47:55.Permalink | Comment | Email this

March 26, 2014

Firefox, the lead product parent Mozilla lauds for its mission of "openness, innovation, and opportunity", is under fire for a leadership choice that opens questions about the company's commitment to gay rights. The issue comes in the form of a $1000 check now CEO Brendan Eich wrote in 2008 in support of Prop 8 campaign. Prop 8 was a voter initiate to ban same sex marriage in California. Soon after the announcement of the hiring of Eich, longtime company CTO, as its new leading person, Mozilla employees, specifically its developers voiced their concerns with what Ars Technica calls "a mix of boycotts and reluctant acceptance." Ars also reports that App developer Rarebit also pulled its app from Firefox, noting that Rarebit CEO Hampton Catlin married his partner and co-founder Michael Catlin in California. Mozilla representatives insist that Eich's personal decision in 2008 does not reflect the company's mission or commitment to diversity. "Many Mozillians are themselves advocates for human rights, animal rights, prison abolition, marriage equality, racial equality, etc," Education Lead Christie Koehler wrote. "Some of those causes might overlap with the cause of a free and open Internet, but they are separate causes, and none of them are the focus of Mozilla the organisation." The claim is dubious, however, given that as CEO Eich has direct influence over the company's present and future direction. And although it is commonly accepted that a leader has the ability to separate personal beliefs from the responsibilities of leadership, the two cannot be completely separated. Mozilla has entrusted its platform of inclusiveness to a CEO with a personal history of exclusion and discrimination. To assume these ideal are impenetrable is perhaps as naive as assuming Eich cannot and will not, as he says, put his "personal beliefs in others' way in all matters Mozilla, JS, and Web."Should Gays Boycott Firefox? originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 05:07:11.Permalink | Comment | Email this

March 25, 2014

Tuesday, an appeals court put an indefinite hold on gay marriages in Michigan while the state prepares its appeal. Clerks in Ingham, Muskegon, Oakland and Washtenaw counties issued 321 marriage licenses since U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman declared Michigan's gay-marriage ban unconstitutional Friday. Of those couples, 299 marriage ceremonies have already taken place. Michigan's Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down However, these marriages are now in a legal limbo as same sex marriages were suspended until the issue can be resolved in a higher court. Michigan voters amended the state constitution in 2004 to define marriage as between one man and one woman. On Tuesday, lawyers for the couple (April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse) that challenged the state's ban asked the court to lift the immediate stay and allow marriages to proceed.Michigan Couples in Limbo as State Appeals originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 04:35:35.Permalink | Comment | Email this
"I've always felt like I'm an open book, and yet obviously I haven't been completely," Tyler Green tells Rolling Stone in an interview. Green, lead singer of New Wave-pop quartet Neon Trees, came out in a personal account of his relationship with his bandmates and his struggles with being gay in the Mormon religion. Green says he's known he was gay since being a little child but kept it a secret because of his religion. He says the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a stance of "tolerance" for homosexuality, yet he was conflicted during the organization's massive funding for anti-gay campaigns during Prop 8. Green started coming out to family and friends in 2013 as he was wrapping up songs for Neon Trees' upcoming album "Pop Psychology." You can read the full interview on Rolling Stone here.Tyler Green of Neon Trees Comes Out originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 04:24:37.Permalink | Comment | Email this

March 19, 2014

The wide circulation of Bitcoins and other alternative forms of currency have challenged out thoughts about forms of payment. But while Bitcoin is handled in a different way than traditional metal and paper, some currencies like Canada's gay pride bills, are solely about aesthetics. While it doesn't really print a currency just for gays, Canada is now considered the "first nation with openly gay currency." In case you have haven't noticed, the Canadian Dollar comes in a variety of colors that resemble the pride flag when placed together. There's a photo of them here on Huffington Post. One user commented that yellow was missing, but I'm sure that can be rectified. In the meantime, Canada is sure to increase its gay tourist dollars, if only for visitors to collect the bills for display. HuffPo says that although the original focus on Canada's currency came with a viral image of a 4th grader's homework assignment, the rainbow colored Canadian Dollar has been around for some time. Move Over Bitcoin, Canada Has a Currency for Gay People originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 at 07:23:28.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Few can be certain what impact Russia's controversial vote on Crimea will have on the future of international relations, both locally and abroad. What also remains unclear is how these actions will affect the gay population. NBC is reporting that some gay men in Crimea are divided on a future with Russia. According to reports, while some are concerned about Russia's anti-law laws, they feel they are closer in heritage to the Russian people. The two are not necessarily equivalent. By sharing a cultural heritage with many Russians does not make one immune to the tensions and anxieties of being gay in a militarized environment. And by militarized, I mean the state sanctioned 'protection' of one people from another. Sadly in Russia, LGBT people are on the wrong side of the barrel. Read: Gays in Crimea Split on Referendum (NBC) However, Crimea is already a conservative area that is not friendly towards gays in the first place. What it lacks, at the moment, are the laws that sanction the abuse and persecution of gays. This will change, should Russia annex the region, which is the most likely scenario. So what impact will this have on gays in Crimea? Further uncertainty, unfortunately. If we are to take NBC's report at face value, gays in Crimea are already pushed into silence and denial of their existence. For instance, gay couple Vladimir Rudyuk, 27, and Pavel Afanasyev, 29, who were interviews by NBC, talk about their experiences with abuse and a split between hope for a future with or without Russia--neither of which comes with increased recognition or even sentiment for LGBT people. The future isn't entirely bleak. The sheer willingness of Rudyuk, Afanasyev and the others NBC interviewed to speak out and be visible in crisis is and always has been the first steps of struggle toward equality.Gays in Crimea Consider a Future With Russia originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 at 07:03:50.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday that as part of the State Department's new "tailored approach" he plans to send gay "experts" to Uganda to enter into a dialogue with Pres. Museveni about anti-gay legislation. Kerry hopes that the delegation can successfully present facts that counter what Pres. Museveni claims he has received as proof that there is genetic proof of homosexuality. Pres. Museveni's comments to Kerry suggest he is open to the a discussion and that it could impact his current position on the subject. Kerry stated: " He welcomed that and said that he was happy to receive them and we can engage in that kind of conversation... maybe we can reach a point of reconsideration." Uganda's anti-gay laws criminalize homosexuality by punishing any individual convicted of gay sex acts or gay advocacy with a sentence of up to life in prison. The controversial law has received a considerable amount of state and individual outcry, little of which has altered Pres. Museveni's support for the bill.John Kerry Takes 'Tailored Approach' To Uganda's Anti-Gay Laws originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 at 06:14:19.Permalink | Comment | Email this

March 11, 2014

'Game of Thrones' actor Kristian Nairn (Hodor) has come out publicly as gay, but according to Nairn he was never in the closet. "No one asked!" he tweeted. Now that everyone is paying attention, Nairn says it's important to stand up and be counted. In an interview with 'Game of Thrones' fan site Winter Is Coming Nairn confirmed his sexuality. "When you talk about 'the gay community,' you are talking about MY community," Nairn said when questioned about his gay fan base. "I've never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact, and I've been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, (because) it's not something you just blurt out. I've tried to lead the questions a few times, to no avail!" On his character Hodor, Kristian Nairn said: "I constantly have to check myself and think 'Really? Is this real?' I knew Hodor would be a popular character ... but I didn't think to the level he has so far! I love the guy, I can see why people like him." Nairn also commented that the cast of GoT has been great is supportive of the gay community. 'Game of Thrones' returns with its forth season on April 6.Game of Thrones Actor, Kristian Nairn, Comes Out originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 04:24:06.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Either Michele Bachmann doesn't get it, or she gets it all too well. LGBT activists and Michele Bachmann share one thing in common: Both are fighting for dear life to stay visible in national politics. Fortunately, they are going about it in two different ways. While gay activist demand their voices be heard with dialogue about an equal place in society, Bachmann is determined not to fade from the national conversation by making use of a conservative strategy with a long history of success: The idiotic statement. Want proof of its effectiveness? You're reading it. As with her predecessors, Palin, McCain, Bush, Limbaugh, all the way pre-Anita Bryant, Bachmann has laid another egg too salacious to resist. What's it this time? I thought you'd never ask: According to Bachmann, the Republican Representative from Minnesota, she is no longer a victim of her own bigotry, she as well as America are being "bullied" by the gay community into adopting their beliefs. While speaking on a radio program at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference, Bachmann said gay rights activists "intimidated politicians" and "bullied the American people". Bachmann was referring specifically to the "religious freedom restoration act" (SB 1062) that was vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Bachmann's claim is one in an emerging trend of straight victim defences that argue it is the straight, conservative, and religious people that are being victimized by gay rights laws. Bachmann said: "There's nothing about gays in [SB 1062], but the gay community decided to make this their measure... And the thing that I think is getting a little tiresome is the gay community have so bullied the American people and they have so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them and they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere. Well, not with the Constitution you don't." Given the seriousness of bullying across American schools, Bachmann's statements demonstrate an overriding callousness and ignorance to equal protections. If Bachmann is right about anything it's that her loosely considered rhetoric is "getting a little tiresome". Gays Have 'Bullied the American People" Says Michele Bachmann originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 04:15:06.Permalink | Comment | Email this

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