Yesterday, federal judge Michael McShane heard arguments from plaintiffs challenging Oregon's ban on gay marriage, the Statesman Journal reports:r
The judge’s questions and comments were divided into two categories. The first were legal questions about how he could decide the case in the plaintiffs’ favor, and the second group of inquires raised issues brought up in other cases by opponents of same-sex unions.r
McShane asked whether he should allow Oregon voters to decide the issue through a proposed ballot initiative in November, saying his decision could tell voters who approved defining marriage as being between one man and one woman in 2004 that “the entire ballot initiative they went through was a hollow exercise.”r
Sheila Potter, who works for the Oregon Attorney General’s Office asked McShane to “take a stand” and say that constitutional rights are not something voters get to give or take away.r
“That’s the purpose of a right,” Potter said. “You don’t get to vote on other people’s rights.”r
Watch KOIN's report on the hearing, and interview with the plaintiffs and NOM's John Eastman, AFTER THE JUMP...r
The first day the judge could rule in the case is May 14.r
More on the details of the questioning here.r
HBO organized a webchat this week with Maisie Williams, the 17-year-old who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, and the young actress shows she is on board with the majority of her generation when it comes to equality:r
If i could have three wishes I'd wish for happiness for me, my family and everyone I care about, I'd solve world hunger and make gay marriage legal everywhere.r
Williams was also asked what her character would be like if she were living in modern times:r
I'm going to put it in "Mean Girl" terms. So you know there's always that girl who looks perfect and has perfect hair and makeup stays on all day and wears a perfect handbag and has her nails done and they would never chip...Arya would not be that girl. She'd be the polar opposite and love it. she would be the ruler of the underdogs. She wouldn't be popular and people would hate her but she wouldn't care. That's what I like about her, she wouldn't care. "Do what you want and what you stand for," that's 2014 Arya.r
Read the full interview here.
Skydivers Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen set a new Guinness World Record this week when the two adrenaline junkies jumped off the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – the tallest building in the world.r
The building stands 2,700 feet tall, nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building. My blood pressure went up a bit just watching this video. Absolutely stunning.r
Check it out, AFTER THE (BASE) JUMP…r
Art Gardner, one of seven Republicans running for retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss's U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, announced his support for Lambda Legal's suit to overturn Georgia's ban on gay marriage, ComDig News reports:r
“I support marriage equality and I call on liberty-minded Republicans to join me in supporting this suit,” Gardner wrote in a press release. “I also call on Attorney General Sam Olens, a fellow Republican, to not fight the suit, but to allow the plaintiffs to obtain a favorable judgment directly.”
So far, Olens seems to be ignoring such calls. His spokeswoman stated on Tuesday: “The Attorney General will fulfill his constitutional obligation to defend Georgia law.” Olens will defend the ban in federal court in his capacity as the state’s chief law enforcement officer.
Gardner’s robust support of marriage equality stretches back over twenty years, when he implemented policies in a local classic car club to allow gays to join freely.
The three congressmen vying for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat—Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey, and Paul Broun—business titan David Perdue, and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel have each professed their support for traditional family values in the marriage arena, playing on the strong Christian dynamic at work in the state electorate.r
More on Lambda's case here.
Flume (below), an up-and-coming producer for Australia, has given a crowning glow to Lorde's track "Tennis Court". Flume is also one half of the duo What So Not from the Skrillex record label OWSLA and a sometime collaborator with Ghostface Killah.r
Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...r
On another note, Thursday's OXD Mirror music column will be coming tomorrow.r
If there’s one thing Houston
diva rapper Fly Young Red will be remembered for, it will be his dedication to shoving the term “boy pussy” so far down your throat it you’ll be able to “throw it” out the other side.
To celebrate the release of his exclusive “boy pussy” clothing line, Red announced last night that he’ll be holding a contest on Instagram to determine who can “throw” their “boy pussy” best. The winner will receive a “boy pussy” t-shirt.
Here are some of the finest entrants:
Ladies When ya nigga acting like a bitch… Tell him Throw That Boy Pussy!!! If he don't slap the shit out of you he gay…. Lol
— Fly_Young_Red (@Red_hustla) April 23, 2014
Five Hasidic men were arrested Wednesday for the December beating of a black gay man in Williamsburg, one of Brooklyn’s oldest Jewish neighborhoods. Police believe the man’s sexuality is what provoked the attack, and are now investigating the assault as a hate crime.
According to reports, 22-year-old fashion student Taj Patterson was walking along Flushing Ave. in Williamsburg after a night of partying last December when he was assaulted by a group of up to 20 ultra-Orthodox Hasidic men shouting antigay slurs.
Aharon Hollender, 28, Abraham Winkler, 39, Mayer Herskovic, 21, Pinchas Braver, 19, and Joseph Fried, 25, claimed to be part of a vigilante patrol group monitoring the area after a series of vandalizations occurred. There’s no evidence to support that Patterson had vandalized anything that night or previously, though a police report notes he was “highly intoxicated, uncooperative and incoherent.” Police suspect he was attacked simply for being gay and black.
The men, now all charged with gang assault, allegedly yelled things like “stay down, faggot, stay the fuck down” and cheered as the main instigator kicked Patterson’s face. According to reports, the unprovoked attack left Patterson with a broken eye socket, a torn retina, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knee and ankles.
Patterson remembers that his assailants “came up behind me, they grabbed me, they punched me in the face, kicked me down, knocked me out.” The assault was stopped by an MTA bus driver who intervened while on duty.
Gothamist reports that two of the suspects now in custody were plucked from Israel, where they fled following the attack, and that “more arrests are likely.” If convicted, each assailant could face up to 25 years in prison.
Anyone who has been keeping up with Game of Thrones knows Arya Stark is not someone you want to mess with.
Well if 17-year-old British actress Maisie Williams, who plays the pint sized killer, is anything like her character, the fight for global gay marriage has a worthy new warrior.
Asked recently by a fan what she’d ask for if given three wishes, she replied:
“From [my] perspective, if I could have three wishes I’d wish for happiness for me, my family and everyone I care about, I’d solve world hunger and make gay marriage legal everywhere.”
We have to assume that would include King’s Landing.
But even though universal gay marriage makes her list of top three desires, don’t expect to see a wedding ring on her finger any time soon.
“Right now, my view on marriage is that it’s extremely pointless. I see why other people get married. But for me, I’ll never get married, so I always do designs on my wedding ring fingers because I’ll never wear a finger there.”
A little naive? Perhaps, but then isn’t that what being 17 is all about? Glad to know her heart’s in the right place.
Her comments must also ring a nice chord with fellow GoT actor Kristian Nairn, who recently came out.
We’re looking forward to seeing more of Arya and Maisie, both in the current season where Arya continues to be a total badass, and in future projects.
Arya may be all business, but Maisie has some seriously underutilized comedic chops, as evidenced by her Vine account.
In particular, this perfect response she posted after the highly controversial “Red Wedding” episode:
h/t: Gay Star News
Who doesn’t love a sexy, cozy throwback? Last December, hot model Jake Richards was photographed for Underwear Nation’s “The Cozy Issue” wearing James Tudor and N2N Bodywear in a layout that warmed us right to the bones. Posing with just the right amount of fur and underwear, this shoot was just the thing to go with a cup of hot chocolate on those cold winter nights.
See more photos at The Underwear Expert.
Photo Credit: Jerrad Matthew for Underwear Nation
In an interview with Larry King this week, the 92-year-old actress reaffirmed her favorable stance on gay rights in response to a fan’s question regarding the impact the gay community has had on her career.
Echoing the sentiment from her 2010 Parade interview, in which she first came out in support of gay rights, White says she doesn’t understand why homophobes think same-sex relationships are any of their business.
“I don’t care whom you sleep with,” she said. “It’s ‘what kind of human being are you?’ I don’t understand [why people are antigay], it’s such a personal private business and it’s none of mine.”
In her initial 2010 interview, White said “I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”
Madonna’s classic foot-in-mouth disease has landed her in hot water again this week, as a number of outraged Buzzfeed commenters have accused the 55-year-old entertainer of being “homophobic” for using the word “gay” as a “negative slur.”
The Queen of Pop sat down with Buzzfeed to play a word association game earlier this week, presumably in an effort to drum up early buzz for her upcoming album, and used the word “GAY” to describe both Vladimir Putin and kale, the leafy green vegetable.
No one has taken issue with the fact that Madonna used “gay” in a combative way to describe disdain for Putin’s antigay legislation, or that she horrifically described Crocs as “effective.” She is, however, “homophobic” for describing kale as “gay.”
Nevermind her the decades of LGBT advocacy, the inspiration she’s drawn from the gay community, and her close friendships with a number of power gays. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the word police recently, it’s that any word can be offensive if the right person has an ax to grind.
“How is kale homosexual?”, one commenter writes. “Or is she just using gay as an insult………. how irresponsible! I am poor and love tennis. Not to mention she is epitome of white trash lol. Ughhhh moving on.”
Another chimes in: “I am surprised she used the word “gay” to mean “bad”. I thought she was more sensitive than that.”
Surely #kalegate is not as bad as the rightful backlash Madge received over using the N-word on Instagram in January, but it’s apparently enough to leave a bad taste in a few people’s mouths. Like kale.
Stephen Colbert is extremely angry about the new Harvey Milk postage stamp being issued in May.r
"The gays are hellbent on rubbing our noses in their lifestyle...and suddenly, if I want to mail something I have to lick this guy's backside? No! No!"r
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...r
BTW, you can preorder the stamps now.rr
Gay Brooklyn Nets player Jason Collins nabbed an 'Inside Cover' for Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World issue along with actor Robert Redford and GM CEO Mary Barra. Beyoncé appears on the front cover, according to TODAY.r
The profile on Collins was written by Chelsea Clinton. The issue goes on sale this Friday.r
Matthew Wilkas discovers there are places you should never put your iPhone, no matter what the voice from Candy Crush tells you to do.r
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
BY NAVEEN KUMARr
Harvey Fierstein knows that a play about straight transvestites is bound to raise eyebrows, and he’s hoping it does more than that. Casa Valentina, which opened on Broadway last night at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Friedman Theatre, has already riled up some severe backlash. “I wrote a play that you’re either going to walk away from with all of your prejudices pushed aside or brought forward,” says Fierstein.r
But the play is in fact based on true stories, from men who frequented the Chevalier d’Eon Resort in the Catskills during the 50s and 60s. Think of it as summer camp for guys who prefer makeup kits to toolboxes and makeovers to car repairs. Most of the guests were family men, who escaped there to “express the girl within,” donning women’s clothes, sharing meals and performing sing-alongs.r
Casa Valentina begins as what might have been a typical summer at the resort, but for the arrival of Charlotte (played by Reed Birney), a character based on Virginia Prince. An activist for transgendered men and the publisher of Transvestia magazine, Prince was also virulently anti-homosexual.r
In the play, Charlotte attempts to recruit the guests of Casa Valentina to her nationally recognized sorority of transvestite men—on the condition they agree to ban gays from their ranks. If a straight man in a dress is the first hard pill to swallow, a perfectly coiffed and intensely homophobic one is even more outrageous.r
I spoke to Harvey about gay people’s responses to the play, if homophobia can ever be justified, and whether you should feel bad about saying ‘tranny.’r
Naveen Kumar: What was your initial approach to writing this play?r
Harvey Fierstein: I knew about the resort from my childhood, because my father grew up in the Catskills. Years later I saw the book of photographs, Casa Susana [published in 2005 by Michael Hurst and Robert Swope, who discovered a wealth of snaps from the resort at a New York flea market]. [A group of producers] came to me and begged me to write a play. I thought, you know it’s cute—a bunch of straight guys go up and put on dresses, but really? A play?r
But there’s something about the photographs. There’s a certain calmness, a happiness and a freedom [to them]. It’s not like looking at pictures of drag queens. There’s a nervous energy to drag queens—they’re projecting forward, they’re pushing out at you, they’re trying to show you something. They’re not being. These people in these photographs, there’s a sort of relaxed happiness, which I didn’t understand.r
CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...r
So, I started reading. I read some psychological studies from back then on transvestites and I discovered Transvestia magazine, which Virginia Prince published and Susana [on whom the character of Valentina is based] wrote for. I was put in touch with Katherine Cummings, a transgendered woman who had been a guest at the Chevalier d’Eon resort [where the play takes place].r
It was like a detective story: Suddenly I discovered this moment in time , before what we think of as the sexual revolution and yet it was laying the groundwork for it. I thought, here we are in 2014 with a whole LGBT community, but there’s no “T” for transvestites. We folded in every other sort of person, and I thought that was an interesting question—how they decided to separate out. So I found this story I wanted to tell, one that we don’t know anything about.r
NK: Today, even men who claim to be bisexual can face skepticism from gay men (i.e., it’s just a pit stop en route to gay town). So, for audiences to buy transvestites as genuinely straight is a challenge. Was that something you considered going into this?r
HF: What I learned, and what I tried to express in the play no two people are alike. It’s total bulls--t to say that gay people are all alike: It’s not true. Banding together because we sort of have something in common is a kind of a lie, and cuts you off from the rest of the world.r
That’s what transvestites did, they cut themselves off from the rest of world and ended up alone. There are no two people in the play who dress for the same reason, who are the same sexually. There are probably no two people on this planet who are identical in that way.r
When it comes to sexuality there is black to white and we’re all somewhere in the greys. The same goes for our gender identity. There’s black being female and white being male, and all the infinite choices in between. Your body image fits into that as well. There are no two people who see themselves exactly alike in that way. So, when you take gender and sexuality and blend them together, it’s infinitely impossible for you to be exactly like somebody else.r
It’s bulls--t to say ‘the straight community’ or ‘the gay community,’ we are all individual, if we’re going to tell the truth, and be ourselves and ask the important questions. Do I believe there are heterosexual transvestites? Of course, I do. I know several. Gender identity can have absolutely nothing to do with sexuality. Are there transvestites who are more fluid than that? Of course there are.r
Virginia Prince herself [on whom Charlotte is based] was virulently anti-gay and yet we know that she had sex with men. But because she was a woman, it was heterosexual sex. Are you going to call her a liar? Maybe you would say she’s in denial, but you’re not experiencing the world in her skin.r
She would say you can’t express the girl within unless you express the male without. So, you had to be male part of the time and female part of the time in order to be a whole human being—that was her philosophy.r
Read more AFTER THE JUMP...r
NK: It’s tempting to read that phobia as repressed homosexuality and self-hate, even as some characters in the play insist otherwise (while wearing dresses!). But, you’ve said you think that separation of gender and sexuality is totally possible.r
HF: It is. We have our own prejudices when it comes to a story like this. There are going to be a lot of people who say, ‘This couldn’t have been,’ or that I don’t know what I’m talking about. The truth is I’ve worked very hard to make sure I’m expressing it right, and I don’t come to conclusions in the play. Because I think it’s bulls--t to come to conclusions when I know the truth isn’t the same for any two people.r
These men believed—remember we’re talking 1962, before Stonewall, before liberation—that no decent, God-fearing society would every accept homosexuals as normal. So, in the play Charlotte is speaking politically. The feeling was, we kill two birds with one stone by banning homosexuals: We get our wives to understand that we don’t want to have sex with each other (which, like I said was not true of everyone) and we tell society there’s no reason to be frightened of us, because we’re not looking at your dicks.r
There was somebody online, a gay man, who actually said I wrote an anti-gay play. Like, ‘We all know that heterosexuals hate us, why does Harvey have to rub our faces in it?’ But, for the time, I believe Charlotte was absolutely right. I think her choice was wrong for many reasons, but I could see why she made that conclusion, can’t you?r
HF: Let me give you an example closer to your life. There’s been a whole rash of stories about gay men sleeping with children. And you’re about to come out as gay to your family. How do you handle the subject of pederasts with your family? Don’t you say, ‘I’m not them, they’re not me?’r
NK: But in making that comparison, you’re asking me to consider a parallel between homosexuality and pederasty as both deviant. Homosexuality isn’t deviant.r
HF: You’re making a decision about what’s deviant! The point is that you’re willing to stand up for who you are and your group, but you’re not going to take on the sins of someone else. You draw your lines, sometimes they’re bizarre and sometimes they make sense. What men do in prison, is that homosexual sex?r
My mind was so closed when I started doing this research, I thought much the same as you do now. I thought to myself, ‘Anybody who said this s--t was probably gay and just hiding.’ There can be denial in there, but maybe not—maybe their experience of the world is different.r
Katherine Cummings, who frequented the resort when she was 27, is a transgendered woman whose greatest tragedy is that she still loves her wife physically and emotionally, and would be with her if her wife would accept her. Her wife’s opinion was, ‘I’m not a lesbian. I didn’t sign up to be with a woman.’ Well, Katherine isn’t really a lesbian either.r
Once you break it down to the individual, all those labels become kind of silly. The only people I now think of as totally in denial are people who think we’re all the same—that call themselves heterosexual, ‘I’m heterosexual and that’s normal.’ That’s bullshit. It may be that they’re heterosexual—but there’s no normal.r
We all make choices about how we see ourselves in the world and how we move through the world. You were sitting [at the play] next to another gay man. How would you have experienced it if you were sitting next to your mother? Or your father? There are so many variations to our experience of the world, if I can change your experience of a play, what can I do to you if I offered you the variety of sexuality that’s out there, or the variety of gender choices?r
It’s only when you say: ‘No. No. No. I am. I am. I am. I’m done making choices.’ That in my view of the world, you’re done living. But, life is really exciting if you’re willing to say, ‘OK, let me really have a look at who I am.’r
What I found doing this play is that these people were the pioneers of asking those questions. I’m not saying any of the things they did were right, I’m just saying we need to look at them, we need to explore what they found, we need to ask them about their experiences, and we need not to judge them.r
NK: How did you decide not to perform in the play?r
HF: Because I didn’t want to confuse the issue. I knew I wanted the audience to believe these characters were heterosexual, or primarily heterosexual. I have, over the years, somehow become bigger than life in my sexuality, and I know people have prejudices. When it’s a play about questioning, is this gay or not, I thought I would be a distraction.r
NK: There’s been some recent debate about sensitivity over language used inside the LGBT community referring to transgender and transsexual people (i.e. ‘tranny,’ ‘she-male’). Do you think words like these, especially since they’re primarily used inside the community, can be considered as reappropriated or that using them indicates a sort of ignorance or lack of respect?r
HF: This has a lot to do with what the play is about. You have people struggling for identity and looking for a way to express who they are, specifically. So, you have this experimentation with titles. Some of them work, some of them don’t, some of them rile up this one or that one.r
When we went from ‘homosexual’ to ‘gay,’ there were a bunch of people who got angry. I remember feeling personally affronted when people started using ‘queer.’ I got over it. People need to express themselves and say this works for me and that doesn’t.r
Do you have a right to claim your own space and who you are? Absolutely, but you have to judge whether somebody’s trying to hurt you or not. Somebody bumps into you on the subway. Did they bump into you to steal your phone or to hurt you, or did they bump into you because they just bumped into you and they’re sorry? I think we get really silly.r
But I know transvestites who don’t mind the word ‘tranny’ at all and use it constantly. Are they insulting somebody else even though they’ve reclaimed it? I think there are bigger problems in the world.r
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Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos:bruce glikas, matthew murphy and powerHouse books)