Despite his earlier claim that he would not speak out against the Russian government during a concert in Moscow, Elton John did just that. During last night's show, John not only condemned the country's homophobic laws but also explained why he chose to perform in the country. He also took a moment to dedicate the concert to a young victim of anti-gay hate.
John posted a transcript of his statement on his Facebook account. It reads in part:r
"...I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. People have demanded that because of this legislation, I must not come here to Russia. But many, many more people asked me to come and I listened to them. I love coming here. I want to show them and the world that I care and that I don’t believe in isolating people....The spirit we share tonight is what builds a future of equality, love and compassion for my children and for your children. Please don’t leave it behind when you leave tonight. Each and every one of you please, keep this spirit in your life and in your heart. I wish you love and peace and health and happiness. And this show is dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi."r
Earlier this year, 23-year-old Tornovoi was brutally raped and murdered in southern Russia by two friends after they learned he was gay.r
Watch video of John speak from the stage of Moscow's Crocus City Hall, AFTER THE JUMP.r
Tom Daley’s announcement that he’s in a relationship with another man was greeted mostly with affirmations of support, but there were haters, of course. There was the usual round of homophobic tweets from people whose thought processes can be confined to 140 characters or less.
And the religious right had to live up to its reputation of parading its homophobia at any given opportunity. First and foremost, of course, is the Westboro Baptist Church. (Westboro says it’s going to picket Nelson Mandela’s funeral, so Daley is in impeccable company.) The Fred Phelps Family Tabernacle tweeted “Olympic diver Tom Daley announces he’s a fag (bi-pervert) u all lap it up in wake of #GlasgowHelicopter,” somehow linking Daley with the crash of a helicopter into a Scottish pub.
Westboro was not alone, of course. Antigay commentator Robert Oscar Lopez complained that Daley was being exploited by a sexually obsessed community led by, among others, Queerty.
Toying with a nineteen-year-old’s sexual identity, when the person is still at a tender age, still not secure enough in himself to piece together what homosexuality means, or even know why he’s embarking on such a risky erotic journey — that’s just wrong. And until I see gay writers in Queerty and Thinkprogress acknowledging that this is a problem with the gay male community, I can’t deny that I feel uncomfortable with this, almost at the same level as my friend. A community led by people like Dustin Lance Black, a community that thinks this is normal and acceptable, is simply not a community that is prepared to have custody over defenseless pubescent boys.
We’ll let Freud sort out all the language there.
What matters most is that the haters can’t compete with Daley in terms of impact. Westboro has fewer than 18,000 Twitter followers (many of them probably just to get a daily dose of nuttiness). Lopez has 423. Daley has 2,587,000.
Daley captures the spirit of his generation — accepting, intimate with social media, with a huge following that recognize him as a warm and genuine individual. How can the hectoring religious right ever compete with that? It can’t, of course. Daley’s openness is far stronger than the haters’ fulminations. It may not be obvious, but Tom Daley is another example that the religious right has lost its war. The landscape has changed so much that it can no longer recognize the battlefield.
THERE IS MORE, CLICK HERE TO SEE REST OF THE POST
A new "gay match-making" app has taken off in China, amassing a little over 2 million users in the least year according to Al Jazeera. Blued has already become more popular than Grindr, an app that is perhaps most prevalent in the United States. "I use Grindr, but people in China use it so little," said Clint Wang. Jack'd, a gay dating/hook-up app created in Belgium and popular in larger Chinese cities like Shanghai, is oft referred to by its "Chinese name jie ke di, which literally translates to a place where a sex worker finds his or her John." Still, Blued has outpaced Jack'd and Grindr, gaining preeminence in "China's second- and third-tier cities."r
However, the release of the figures estimating Blued's popularity comes on the heels of China's government controlled news agency expressing concern that apps such as Blued will increase China's rate of HIV infection. However, the CEO of Blued, Geng Le, does not agree with the government's characterization of the risk:r
[Le told Al Jazeera that he] feels his company is part of the solution, not the problem, to China's HIV/AIDS epidemic. "We have helped the government spread education to combat the HIV/AIDS information."r
"If HIV/AIDS is an issue, it's because of bad sexual practices," like unprotected sex, and misinformation, Geng said, not apps themselves.r
Tom Myers, spokesman and general counsel at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Washington, D.C., echoed Geng's opinion.r
"It sounds funky to me,” he said. “I'd have to see what evidence the (Xinhua) report is relying on."r
"What drives the epidemic in the U.S. and in most of the world is people who have HIV and don't know they have HIV," said Myers, adding that finding treatment allows people with HIV to become up to 96 percent non-infectious. "That's a better success rate than condoms."r
Geng estimates that there are 13 million gay men in China and Blued hopes to reach 10 million smartphones across the country.
Dayna Morales has apparently learned the meaning of “pay back.” After the now-notorious lesbian waitress (and former Marine and teller of tall tales) received thousands of dollars in donations from sympathetic supporters when she claimed to have received an antigay note on a receipt in lieu of a gratuity from a family she served at a restaurant in New Jersey, she vowed to donate the money to Wounded Warriors.
Yet, earlier this week it was reported that the nonprofit war veterans charity couldn’t verify it had received a single penny from Morales, who has been suspended from her waitress job pending an investigation into the incident. What a surprise from a woman who falsely claimed to have brain cancer and that she was a sole survivor of an explosion in Afghanistan!
But maybe the lady has finally begun to right her wrongdoings.
UK’s Daily Mail reveals that Morales, instead of donating to war vets, has started returning the money to some of the folks who sent her the sympathy tips. It’s unknown what will happen to the cash that anonymous donors dropped off or mailed to the waitress.
Yesterday we brought you up to speed on a court case out of Colorado that was essentially asking whether a cake-making shop can refuse service to same-sex couples because of the shop owner's religious beliefs. The answer, according to a Colorado judge, was a resounding "no."r
The judge ruled that the Lakewood bakery in question "unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake."r
David Mullins and Charlie Craig who in July 2012 went to Denver's Masterpiece Cake Shop, owned by Jack Phillips, looking for a cake to celebrate the couple's upcoming nuptials.r
From the ACLU:r
"Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration," said Mullins. "No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are. We are grateful to have the support of our community and our state, and we hope that today's decision will help ensure that no one else will experience this kind of discrimination again in Colorado."r
"While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one's religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers," said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "No one is asking Masterpiece's owner to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple."
Phillips admitted he had turned away other same-sex couples as a matter of policy. The Colorado Civil Rights Division's [CCRD's] decision noted evidence in the record that Phillips had expressed willingness to take a cake order for the "marriage" of two dogs, but not for the commitment ceremony of two women, and that he would not make a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding celebration "just as he would not be willing to make a pedophile cake."
No word on whether Phillips will keep his pledge to close his cake shop if forced to bake a gay wedding cake.
The time for ending any lingering stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and HIV testing is now, and HIV Equal, a social media anti-stigma campaign, is taking unique, fashionable steps to achieve this goal.
Many other fabulous faces have been filing into the L.A. studio over the last couple of days. After photographing celebs such as Broadway stars Nick Adams and Billy Porter and professional boy toy Nick Gruber earlier this fall, the HIV Equal team was particularly excited to be supported by NOH8 founder Adam Bouska (right), who has effectively illustrated what a social media campaign like this can do to change public opinion. Child star-turned go go dancer-turned singer Blake McIver and model/activist duo (and Queerty faves) Colby Melvin and Brandon Brown clearly appeal to the younger generation that HIV Equal needs to reach. And who doesn’t love an Andrew Christian model?
Other City of Angels luminaries such as Bruce Vilanch, Greg Louganis, Mario Diaz, Selene Luna, Jackie Beat and many of the queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race are also scheduled to lend their faces to the campaign. And so can you. If you live in L.A. or will be there before December 10 and want to schedule an appointment for photo shoot, email founder Jack Mackenroth at email@example.com.
See a few exclusive photos from this week’s shoot below.
I've already twisted your ear about how hard I fell for the gay rom-com G.B.F., but now here's our opportunity to fall for its adorable male lead, actor/singer Michael J. Willett. He's the G.B.F. (and the B.F.) many of us wish we'd had in high school...
Boy Culture: How did you hear about G.B.F., and was "Tanner" the role you always wanted?
Michael J. Willett: The writer George Northy saw me in United States of Tara and thought I would be good for the role. I did several readings for the scripts for L.A. Outfest, and once I read the script, I felt like the character was mine from the beginning.
G.B.F.is avaiable now on DIRECTV in advance of a theatrical release in early 2014.
Many of you may be familiar with Drew Droege's series of shorts that feature the comedian as Chloe Sevigny, dishing about her most recent obsessions.r
However, it's recently come to my attention that Droege has another web series out there on the interwebs, "Hollywood Acting Studio." The series follows Droege as Professor Lafrange, a washed-up Hollywood hopeful now giving acting lessons at a California community college. His syllabus? "Students learn the pillars of the craft, such as auditioning, green-screen acting, crying, and more."r
The full series is available online.r
The series also features the dishy Daniel Vincent Gordh (pictured right).r
Watch episode six, "How to film a sex scene," and catch one more shot of Gordh AFTER THE JUMP...rrr
Last November, Washington's Referendum 74 passed in a "clear win" for marriage equality, making the Evergreen State the first in the Pacific Northwest to legalize gay marriage. According to the AP, more than 7,000 same-sex couples were married in Washington State in the last year, the first year in which it was legal for same-sex couples to legally do so:r
So far, most of the state's same sex marriages, 62 percent, were between two women.r
The top five counties where same sex marriages took place are King, Clark, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties. Garfield County is the only county where no same sex marriages were performed.r
As previously reported, the state's LGBT friendly marriage laws have also helped to drive tourism as many people from nearby Oregon as well as other parts of the county are coming to Washington to make it official. Roughly 25% of the gay couples who were married in Washington this past year came from out of state. Of those, the largest contingent was comprised of Oregonians.
We can be cute sometimes
We have an update on the story about the Maryland frat that rejected an applicant for being gay, and it’s good news … kind of. The frat’s been placed on probation. So, that’s justice, we suppose.
Brian Stewart filed a complaint with the school back in October, after they used some colorful slurs to reject his application. The exact nature of the “derogatory social media messages” have not been made public, which is a real shame because we would love to see exactly how vitriolic they are. But that’s really not the point: the point is that the frat acted like a bunch of douches; the victim stood up to them; the school investigated; and now the perpetrators have been held responsible, to some extent.
This took no small amount of courage on Stewart’s part. Standing up publicly to denounce intolerance and discrimination at a powerful institution can’t have been any easy decision, particularly when it was an institution for which he previously had a lot of respect and reverence.
The probation lasts until 2015, and means that the frat won’t be able to participate in official college activities. Boo hoo.
More importantly, the college has held two campus-wide meetings about the incident, prompting lots of discussion and dialogue and healing. Overall, that seems like a pretty productive outcome for what was an entirely ugly incident.
So far there’s been no comment from the Alpha Iota chapter, nor from the national Kappa Alpha Psi organization. But what could they say at this point? “Whoops?”
Actually, there is plenty they could say. “We reject all forms of discrimination, etc. etc. etc.,” or “the members responsible for this reprehensible act have been excommunicated,” or “we pledge a year of fundraising and awareness campaigns to make up for the harm for which we must now take full responsibility,” would all be acceptable.
In the meantime, Brian Stewart is a hero. The end.
Caio Medeiros photographed by Nino Yap.
Click here to read the rest of the post