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May 28, 2014

Win Butler of Arcade Fire is feeling the heat after being criticized for using a straight instead of Trans* actor in their video 'We Exist'. He says it was better for exposure, but the decision has opened deeper questions about whether Trans* characters should be played by real Trans* people. Read more...Arcade Fire: Sorry No Trans* Actors Allowed originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 12:11:14.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Discrimination isn't just experienced in person. Trans* people face a tremendous amount of discrimination both on and offline. Often, the services they need is trapped behind content filters that assume the information is explicit or 'inappropriate'. These filters are meant to protect, but instead restrict information that can increase the health and well-being of Trans*folks. That's why a group of Trans* hactivists are taking matters into their own hands by helping Trans* people get the resources they need. Here are 4 ways you can help Trans* people hack the Web.Trans*Hacks: 4 Ways To Help Trans*folk Get Around Content Filters originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 08:21:07.Permalink | Comment | Email this

May 21, 2014

What's it like living as an openly gay couple in a country where homosexuality is illegal? In this heartfelt video and social media interview, Newlyweds Ricardo Amunjera and Marc Themba talk about how they met, their religion, hanging out with family and, of course, love. The Guardian held a Q&A with Amunjera, 31, and Themba, 30, who are thought to be Namibia's first gay married couple. Although same sex marriage is illegal in Namibia, Amunjera -- Mr Gay Namibia 2013 -- told The Guardian that he believes "the best way you can help somebody is by telling them your story." So, the couple went to neighboring South Africa in April 2013, married and returned to Namibia to advocate for LGBT rights. Homophobia and transphobia are common throughout Namibia, which is why Amunjera says he is planning to set up a local support group in his home town. "Acceptance begins at home," Amunjera says. "It's all about love, at the end of the day." The Guardian Features Namibia's First Gay Married Couple originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 08:11:06.Permalink | Comment | Email this
This has been an extraordinary week for same sex marriage in America. With Monday's federal court ruling, same sex marriage is now legal in Oregon. According to the Oregonian, unlike other states with court ruled legalization, no one has legal standing to appeal U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's ruling, although anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has made a failed attempt to halt the decision with an emergency stay. Some of the plaintiffs in the case were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which also played an integral role in a federal judge's decision that struck down Pennsylvania's gay marriage ban Tuesday.Why Same Sex Marriage in Oregon Will Stand originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 07:13:01.Permalink | Comment | Email this
A federal court has overturned Pennsylvania's same sex marriage ban, ruling it unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in Harrisburg struck down Pennsylvania's 1996 law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and also required the state to recognize the unions of those who wed elsewhere. The suit was brought forward by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of 25 plaintiffs. Jones referenced Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision to end segregation sixty years ago. "In the sixty years since Brown was decided, 'separate' has thankfully faded into history, and only 'equal' remains. Similarly in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned and replaced simply by marriage," he wrote. With Jones' decision, Pennsylvania is the 14th consecutive win for same sex marriage in states across the country following the Supreme Court's ruling against a federal law banning gay marriage last year.Another Gay Marriage Victory, This Time in Pennsylvania originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 06:55:27.Permalink | Comment | Email this

May 7, 2014

It would seem so, at least according to a kiss they shared on the red carpet at last weekend's GLAAD Awards. The smooch (check it out here), TMZ says, was shared just moments after the couple arrived to the annual awards show. "Gordon -- who only went public about his sexuality last month -- was honored at the event ... and afterward wrote, "22 years old now...4 years ago I wouldnt have never imagine my life changing so much and being at the GLAAD AWARDS...IM TRULY BLESSED!!!!" TMZ reported. Comments on the internet are full of speculation about whether the two are actually a couple, how they met and whether Gordon already has a partner or not. Gordon, a sophomore starter on the UMass basketball team, came out of the closet as gay in April. Derrick is now the first openly gay and active NCAA Division 1 basketball player. Is Derrick Gordon Dating CSI's Gerald McCullouch? originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 09:26:38.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Clay Aiken is no stranger to competition, neither is he intimidated by a close race. It's a good thing, because so far he's keeping a clear head in the race for North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District. Tuesday's Democratic congressional primary between frontrunners Aiken and textile entrepreneur Keith Crisco is still too early to call. According to LGBTNation, each candidate holds 40 percent of the vote and Aiken leads by a slim 372 votes. The winner will face off with incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers in November. Clay Is Close, But It's Too Early To Get Excited originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 09:05:15.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Missouri defensive end and NFL draft hopeful Michael Sam is the winner of this year's Arthur Ashe Courage Award. ESPN says the coveted prize will go to Sam for "his courage and honesty that resonates beyond sports." Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, will become the first active openly gay NFL player once the draft is complete. Sam says he's honored to receive the award, particularly since it is about courage.The award is named after Arthur Ashe who died in 1993 after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion. Ashe then went on to become one of the most important advocates for AIDS awareness. As an Ashe Award winner, Sam will join an impressive list of courageous people, like Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Cathy Freeman, Nelson Mandela and Pat Summitt.Michael Sam Awarded Ashe Courage Prize originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 08:49:19.Permalink | Comment | Email this
There isn't always a welcoming space for LGBT Arabs among the estimated 3.5 million Arab-identified Americans. They are pushed into silence from cultures that often feel sexuality is a private matter. However, a new party and resource in New York City called Tarab hopes to give a voice and community to LGBT Arabs seeking more than traditional home. Tarab says it is a safe social space for queer people from Southwest Asia and North Africa (aka Middle East) of all sexual orientations and gender identities. They seek to create a place where entertainment can intersect with both old and new cultural traditions. It is estimated that each Tarab event is attended by around 100 people. Why does this matter? Ultimately, what Tarab provides is an escape from a double life that many LGBT Arab-Americans find themselves living within. Not only does Tarab's new social atmosphere throw a good party; it allows LGBT Arab-Americans an opportunity to bring together multiple cultural identities into one safe space. "I was craving community because there was this idea that I could only be one identity at a time," said Tarab creator Bashar Makhay. Many of us can relate to the tense feelings that arise when cultural traditions clash with other senses of belonging. What is Tarab NYC? And Why You Should Care originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 08:37:01.Permalink | Comment | Email this

April 30, 2014

In a series of reflections on what it means to be 'queer', film critic and guest author Carlos Lopes contemplates gay life through what's missing in both the eyes of a film about S & M gay sex and a straight actor's fascination with gay film. More...Concerning Queer: Reflections on James Franco originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 17:59:06.Permalink | Comment | Email this
Concerning Queer: Reflecting on HBO's 'Looking', by film critic and guest author Carlos Lopes, is a reflection on the meaning of the word 'queer' and what it means to be both normal and gay. More...Concerning Queer: Reflections on HBO's 'Looking' originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 17:57:37.Permalink | Comment | Email this
A New York man, who was arrested in 2008 outside of a sex shop for allegedly agreeing t sex with an undercover cop, has received a $450,000 out-of-court settlement. 58-year-old Robert Pinter was arrested outside of Blue Door Video for prostitution. His case, however, was thrown out as part of 40 cases dismissed as 'nuisance arrests'. Pinter was handcuffed after leaving with a younger man he met in the bookstore. The younger guy, who was an undercover cop, asked Pinter for money but arrested him before he could even answer. Gay City News reports that Pinter's arrest was one of many that were made in an attempt by the city to shut down porn shops. Man Gets $450k Settlement From New York Over ‘Gay Entrapment’ originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 07:45:52.Permalink | Comment | Email this
A survey issued to the LDS Church to Mormon "millennials", or those born between 1980 and 2000, on their attitudes about marriage and same-sex attraction does not mention the word 'gay' -- anywhere. Instead, the survey question asked young adults if they struggled with same-sex attraction. The original survey question asked: "What is your sexual orientation?" Possible choices were: • "I am heterosexual, but I struggle with same-sex attraction." • "I am heterosexual and do not struggle with same-sex attraction." • "Other, please specify." Under scrutiny, LDS Church spokeswoman Jessica Moody says the text was reworded "to better convey the intent of the question" yet still avoids mention of the word "gay". The question now reads: "Do you experience same-sex attraction?" with possible answers of "yes", "no" or "please specify". The survey, even in its new draft, raises additional concerns about the framing of homosexuality within the LDS Church, which believes same-sex attraction is a 'struggle' that heterosexuals face. In this way, "gay" is not only reduced to an illness or behavior, but in many cases simply does not exist. The exclusion is of no surprise given LDS's strong support for anti-gay marriage initiatives, but the survey explicitly highlights just how strategically it disseminates its ideas about same-sex attraction.For Mormons, 'Gay' Just Doesn't Exist originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 07:37:22.Permalink | Comment | Email this
With troubles in the economy on a fierce mission traditional business models, some small business owners are finding it increasingly difficult to keep above financial waters. This has long been a strain not handled so well by traditional bookshop owners. Gay book stores are no exception. The owner of America's oldest gay book and speciality shop says he will close his doors next month. Owner Ed Hermance says Giovanni's Room has been losing money for a long time due to competition from online book retailers. According to reports, Hermance has been trying since August to find a buyer for the store and the building it occupies with no success. Giovanni's Room is named after the 1956 James Baldwin novel about a young man in postwar Paris struggling with his sexuality. Since its opening in 1973, Hermance says it's been a safe haven and gathering place for the community. Giovanni's Room once had two locations in Philadelphia until moving to their current location in Philly's gay neighbourhood. Hermance says the store was an important part of the community particularly in the 1980s at the outbreak of the AIDS crisis. Many positive gay men frequented the shop for information and emotional support after being diagnosed. An email from Hermance to customers says May 15 will be the final day, but he says it could stay open until the end of the month. New York's Oscar Wilde bookstore had previously been the nations oldest LGBT bookstore until it closed in 2009.America's Oldest Gay Bookstore Says Goodbye originally appeared on Gay Life on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 07:10:46.Permalink | Comment | Email this

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

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