Showing posts with label Gay Heroes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Heroes. Show all posts

January 27, 2017

MouthButtMilo and More than just Gay, Fighter Roxane Gay



 It’s impossible to adequately articulate how much Gay is the antithesis of Milo. Milo rose to fame as the pretty gay male hater of all things gay, of women, of people of color. He was promoted on the pages of Breitbart news–the extremist website of which President Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who on January 26 told the press to stop talking and stop reporting, is CEO.
Bannon, who has also made documentaries for Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann and equated Planned Parenthood with the Holocaust, also said "birth control makes women unattractive and crazy," said women who feel they’ve been attacked online should just "log off" and said in a radio interview in 2011 that progressives don’t like conservative women because they aren’t "dykes." Milo was built by Bannon and Bannon’s protégé is a self-described white nationalist.

{By the Author:JANUARY 2017: Once more from a hospital bed I’ve been watching the eight years of the hard work of the Obama Administration being gutted by President Trump. My anger is wide-ranging, like that of the three million Women’s March participants. But it is also specific to me and the millions of other Americans fight cancer or other diseases who are about to have their health insurance taken away for no reason other than the Republicans hated Obama and Hillary and still do.}
Last year Yiannopoulos alleged that lesbians had the highest incidence of domestic violence of all couples in an article titled "Attack of the Killer Lesbians!" Another article "Lesbian Bridezillas Bully Bridal Shop Owner Over Religious Beliefs," took the side of shop owners refusing to serve a lesbian couple.
Milo was Bannon’s golden boy. There was no one off limits in his screeds, but Milo’s favorite targets were women (especially lesbians) and people of color (especially anyone Muslim). His writing is transphobic and xenophobic and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. College groups protested him speaking on their campuses while college administrators insisted free speech was at issue.
Currently Milo is on his "Dangerous Faggot" tour, which has brought the "Alt-Right" slithering out, even on college campuses. On Jan. 3, students at the University of California, Berkeley, tried to have Milo banned from appearing. But on Jan. 26, UC Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said Milo had the right to speak on campus at a Feb. 1 event organized by the Berkeley College Republicans.
Yes, Republicans–even the so-called moderates–love Milo because they can point to him as a gay man they "know." They can embrace his virulent misogyny because he’s gay. They can say he’s not a racist because he claims to have sex with black men. They think they can even say the word f*ggot because Milo does.
  
               (~._____.~)
                               !                                      
                 
It has often seemed that there is no one to stand up to Milo. Those of us who have stood up to him on social media have gotten hounded by his many trolls. Those who have written about him have received threats, too.
All of which is what makes Roxane Gay stand out like a supershero from a Marvel graphic novel. She stood up. Bigly.
In these days of The Resistance to President Trump, women are leading the protests. Our protests are taking myriad forms. On Jan. 26 award-winning writer Roxane Gay showed us what democracy–and intersectional feminism–looks like when she withdrew her upcoming book from Simon & Schuster.m
The best-selling author and New York Times columnist announced she will no longer publish her book with Simon & Schuster specifically and only because they had signed Milo Yiannopolous.
In a statement given to BuzzFeed News, Gay explained, "I was supposed to turn the book in this month and I kept thinking about how egregious it is to give someone like Milo a platform for his blunt, inelegant hate and provocation. I just couldn’t bring myself to turn the book in. My editor emailed me last week and I kept staring at that email in my inbox and finally over the weekend I asked my agent to pull the book."
Gay appeared at Indiana University Jan. 25 to a crowd so huge, there were hundreds in an over-flow room. There she explained she could not normalize racism. Gay also revealed–and this is both shocking and utterly unsurprising given who is now president–that Milo’s $250,000 advance is more than the advances for her first five books.
In her statement Gay said she was not calling for censorship, she was making her own statement, which, as she had said in her tweet, she could actually afford to do.
"Milo has every right to say what he wants to say, however distasteful I and many others find it to be. He doesn’t have a right to have a book published by a major publisher but he has, in some bizarre twist of fate, been afforded that privilege. So be it."
Emphasizing that as a well-known and popular writer (and, I would add, much beloved), Gay said she is in a "fortunate enough" position to withdraw her book. "I recognize that other writers aren’t and understand that completely," she added.
Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy responded to S&S authors with a letter in which she said in part, "First and foremost, I want to make clear that we do not support or condone, nor will we publish, hate speech," BuzzFeed News reported. "Not from our authors. Not in our books. Not at out imprints. Not from our employees and not in our workplace."
According to Reidy, the decision to publish "Dangerous" was an "editorially independent" one made without the "involvement or knowledge of our other publishers." The book was pitched as an "examination of the issues of political correctness and free speech," Reidy said in the letter.
Reidy explained, "The imprint believed that an articulate discussion of these issues, coming from an unconventional source like Mr. Yiannopoulos, could become an incisive commentary on today’s social discourse that would sit well within its scope and mission, which is to publish works for a conservative audience.” We will need more brave people like her in the coming weeks, months and years. We will need people willing to put everything on the line. We will need people to remind those who can’t stand up that there are heroes walking among us and that their voices can propel us forward.
Gay is the daughter of Haitian immigrants. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska. She has a PhD and teaches at Purdue University. She writes so much it’s hard to keep up with her work.
Gay said she was "putting my money where my mouth is."
Last summer, Gay and poet Yona Harvey were announced as writers for Marvel Comics World of Wakanda, a spin-off from the company's Black Panther title, making her the first black woman to be a lead writer for Marvel.
Roxane Gay is a boss. She fends off haters with aplomb. She makes time to send consoling tweets to women in the hospital and responds to aspiring writers and talks about the movies she loves (you’d be surprised).
And whether Simon & Schuster knows it or not, Gay’s made a statement about them that many of us will not soon forget. 

Victoria A. Brownworth is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer and the author and editor of nearly 30 books. She has won the NLGJA and the Society of Professional Journalists awards, the Lambda Literary Award and has been nominated for the Scripps-Howard Award, RFK Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She won the 2013 SPJ Award for Enterprise Reporting. She is a regular contributor to The Advocate and SheWired, a blogger for Huffington Post and A Room of Her Own, senior politics reporter and contributing editor for Curve magazine, contributing editor for Lambda Literary Review and a columnist for San Francisco Bay Area Reporter. Her reporting and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nation, Ms Magazine, Diva and Slate. Her book, Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic won the Lambda Literary Award, From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth won the 2012 Moonbeam Award for cultural & historical fiction. Her new novel, Ordinary Mayhem, won the IPPY Award for fiction and the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Mystery. Her book Erasure: Silencing Lesbians and her next novel, Sleep So Deep, will both be published in fall 2017. @VABVOX

This portion of Victoria’s writing  and the entire post on Curve Magazine. As always tittle and editing by adamfoxie blog

July 29, 2016

Ship Being Name After Legendary Harvey Milk


 
 Harvey Milk Spent 1951-55 as being a sailor
 
 
The Navy is set to name a ship after the gay rights icon and San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, according to a Congressional notification obtained by USNI News.

The July 14, 2016 notification, signed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, indicated he intended to name a planned Military Sealift Command fleet oiler USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206). The ship would be the second of the John Lewis-class oilers being built by General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, Calif.

The Secretary of the Navy’s office is deferring additional information until the naming announcement, a Navy official told USNI News on Thursday.

Mabus has said the John Lewis-class – named after civil rights activist and congressman Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) – would be named after civil rights leaders.

Other names in the class include former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren whose court ruled to desegregate U.S. schools, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, women’s right activist Lucy Stone and abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 1.10.13 PMMabus has also named ships in the past for other civil rights icons, including the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ships USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE-13) and USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14).

Milk came from a Navy family and commissioned in the service in 1951. He served has a diving officer in San Diego during the Korean War on the submarine rescue ship Kittiwake as a diving officer until 1955. Milk was honorably discharged from the service as a lieutenant junior grade.

Following his service, Milk was elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors and was the first openly gay California politician to be elected to office. He was killed in office in 1978. When Milk was shot he was wearing his U.S. Navy Master Diver belt buckle.

Over the last several years, there have been pushes from California politicians to have a ship named for Milk since the 2011 repeal of the Department of Defense’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” policy.

Naming a ship after Milk, “will further send a green light to all the brave men and women who serve our nation that honesty, acceptance and authenticity are held up among the highest ideals of our military,” said Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk in a statement to San Diego LGBT Weekly in 2012.

December 23, 2015

Gay Hero who Came Out before end of DADT killed in Afghanistan



                                                                           
 Here is our hero Adrianna with her partner celebrating end of DADT
 
 
Adrianna Vorderbruggen, a major in the Air Force who is known as one of the first openly gay service members since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed in 2011, was killed in action along with six of her fellow service members in Afghanistan on Monday.

She was on a security patrol on foot near Bagram Air Base when an explosive-laden motorbike rammed into the patrol and detonated. Aside from the six who were killed, three U.S. service members were injured in the attack according to U.S. Army Brig. General William Shoffner, head of public affairs at NATO's Resolute Support Base in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Shoffner said the attack, which was the largest attack on foreign forces in Afghanistan since August, happened around 1:30 p.m. local time.

Major Vorderbruggen had served as a special agent with the Office of Special Investigations at a number of duty stations including McCord's Air Force Base in Washington and Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before joining her unit at Eglin Air Force Base. From Eglin Air Force Base, she was deployed to Afghanistan.

After learning that Vorderbruggen had been killed while serving her country, Military Families and Partners released the following statement and photo on Facebook:

Our friend Air Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen was killed in Afghanistan yesterday. Military families understand that...

Posted by Military Partners and Families Coalition on Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Vorderbruggen and her civilian wife, Heather Lamb, were married in June of 2012, and were raising a son who is not yet five.

Hours after the suicide bombing, several rockets hit an area of Kabul housing foreign embassies and government buildings. No casualties were immediately reported but a State Department official told CBS News that U.S. Embassy staff was told to shelter in place.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attacks.

The U.S. now has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan, some of which are involved in counterterrorism missions. With NATO contributions, there are about 13,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan.

CBS/AP

The victims included New York City Detective Joseph Lemm, a 15-year veteran of the NYPD who also volunteered in the U.S. Air National Guard and was on his third deployment to war zones.
"Detective Joseph Lemm epitomized the selflessness we can only strive for: putting his country and city first," New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement.
Local media in Statesboro, Georgia, identified a third victim as serviceman Chester McBride Jr., who was remembered by the principal of Statesboro High School as "a young man of high character with a great smile."
Serviceman Michael Anthony Cinco of Rio Grande Valley, Texas, was identified by local media as another victim.
Facebook postings identified others as Staff Sergeants Peter Taub, whose family lives in the Washington, D.C., area, and Louis Bonacasa from New York.
“My son, Chef Jon's brother, Staff Sargeant Peter Taub was one of six killed yesterday in Afghanistan,” wrote the owner of the Taub family sandwich shop in Washington. “The restaurant is closed for the rest of this week.”
Wrote Air Force member Jeffrey Behrman: “Joseph Lemm and Louis Bonacasa, I'm glad to have known you men, I'm glad I was able to buy you men a couple pints before you left for Afghanistan.”
The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the strike, remains resilient 14 years after the start of U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan. It has ramped up its attacks this year, inflicting heavier casualties on Afghan security forces.
Just last week, the Pentagon warned of deteriorating security in Afghanistan and assessed the performance of Afghan security forces as "uneven and mixed."
More than 2,300 U.S. troops have died in the Afghan war since the 2001 invasion, but the pace of U.S. deaths has fallen off sharply since the end of formal U.S. combat and a drawdown of American forces.
Pentagon data showed there have been 10 so-called "hostile" deaths of U.S. service members in Afghanistan this year. There have been 10 non-hostile deaths, largely from aircraft crashes. (Reuters)

July 30, 2015

A Gay Rights Defender; Ex Defense Secretary


                                                                              

The former defense secretary has gone further than many politicians in promoting gay rights in the military and private sphere. (Robert Gates)

Eagle Scout. Young Republican. CIA recruit. Air Force officer. CIA director. Secretary of defense.
It’s not the resume of a radical civil-rights campaigner, but Robert Gates has now integrated two of the great bastions of macho American traditional morality—first the U.S. armed forces, and now the Boy Scouts of America. In both cases, Gates pursued a careful, gradual strategy, one that wasn’t fast enough for activists. In both cases, he was careful to take the temperature of constituents. And in both cases, once he was ready to act, he did so decisively. In the end what seemed to matter most was not Gates’s personal feelings but his determination to safeguard institutions he cared about and his deft skills as a bureaucratic operator.

Before the Obama administration began moving to eliminate the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy there was barely any indication of Gates’s views on LBGT issues—though not none. In 1991, while director of central intelligence, Gates ordered an inquiry into whether CIA personnel had ever been blackmailed into espionage because they were gay. When he found no cases, he ended the practice of asking employees about their sexual orientation as part of polygraph tests. From 2002 until he took over the Pentagon in 2006, Gates was president of Texas A&M University, a famously culturally conservative school. (In 1984, students sued, successfully, to force the school to recognize a gay-student organization; the ruling effectively removed all legal prohibitions on LGBT student groups nationwide.) At A&M, Gates worked to improve student diversity overall—including racial minorities and LGBT students—and appointed the school’s first administrator specifically in charge of diversity.

Given the rapid advance of gay rights over the last decade, it’s tough to remember just how different the stage was in 2006, when Gates replaced Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” had had plenty of critics since it was enacted in 1994—President Bill Clinton himself would have preferred simply opening the military to gay servicemembers—but it was still firmly in place. The Bush administration was not interested in lifting the ban, and Gates took a cautious approach. He repeatedly told reporters that he was not reviewing or reconsidering the policy.

When, several months into his tenure, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, said that “homosexual acts between individuals are immoral,” Gates tried to avoid discussing the comments, and said of DADT, “As long as the law is what it is, that’s what we’ll do.” (Pace, who retired in September 2007, reiterated his personal opposition to homosexuality during an exit hearing with Congress, but also endorsed gay service in the military.) When, two months later, the military ejected 58 desperately needed Arabic linguists because they were gay, Gates still said the policy wasn’t under review.

Even after President Obama was elected and Gates accepted an offer to stay on as secretary, he remained cautious. Though the president pledged to repeal DADT during his first State of the Union, Gates expressed a preference in March 2009 to “push that one down the road a little bit,” infuriating gay activists. Yet in June, he was clearly expecting the policy to end and was exploring whether “there’s a more humane way to apply the law until it gets changed.” A similar pattern held in 2010, as Gates warned Congress not to repeal DADT before he had a policy in place for the aftermath and insisted courts not make the decision. He also issued a survey on gays to servicemembers, a step that LGBT activists, who saw it as putting civil rights to a vote, disagreed with. Yet there Gates was in the fall, saying DADT’s demise was “inevitable” and testifying to Congress in favor of repeal—before the courts did it. (And that survey? It turned out the troops were totally fine with LGBT comrades.)

Once DADT was repealed, Gates moved quickly to enforce discipline and get the change implemented in the military, and shot down any hopes that soldiers, sailors, and marines who disagreed with the policy could leave their commitments early.

Gates’s push for the end of DADT never relied on the soaring rhetoric of rights and justice that people like Obama used. Gates spoke with the dry, careful language of a bureaucrat, speaking in terms of unit cohesion, military readiness, and obstacle recognition. When he indulged emotion, it was to praise soldiers risking their lives—the same language a defense secretary would use for straight soldiers. The decision was more than anything a triumph of pragmatism. Gates carefully studied the effects repeal would have on the military and decided the downsides were minimal; and he looked at the way the country was changing and realized that the policy would have to end soon, and that he wanted it to end on the Pentagon’s terms to ensure the military’s stability and long-term health.

The DADT fight offers a template for the opening to gay scoutmasters. Gates had expressed tempered sympathy for gays in scouting as far back as 1993, when he told Wichita Rotarians, “Values central to Scouting are under challenge today as never before: challenges to our belief in God, challenges from Americans who are gay. Scouting must teach tolerance and respect for the dignity and worth of every individual person, certainly including gays.”

The Boy Scouts had already begun to dismantle some of their anti-gay policies when Gates was elected president in late 2013. A lopsided vote in May 2013ended a ban on gay scouts but kept prohibitions on gay scout leaders and volunteers in place. Just as he had at Defense, Gates initially took a carefully diplomatic position. “I was prepared to go further than the decision that was made,” Gates said in May 2014. “I would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country.” He said he wouldn’t reopen the decision during his term as president.

At some point in the last year, he had a change of heart.

The shift seems to reflect much the same calculus that guided Gates through the DADT decision. At the Pentagon, he had first avoided discussing repeal because it seemed too likely to create institutional instability; but once he decided that the writing was on the wall and that refusing to change was the greater risk to the organization, he moved swiftly and effectively to impose his new will. The point was to guarantee institutional survival.

In May 2015, one year after saying he wouldn’t reopen the issue of gay scoutmasters, Gates did just that. In short, he decided once again that if the institution he led didn’t change its policies now, a judge was likely to force it to do so later.

“The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” he said. “Between internal challenges and potential legal conflicts, the BSA finds itself in an unsustainable position, a position that makes us vulnerable to the possibility the courts simply will order us at some point to change our membership policy.”

Gates warned that a court order would disarm the Boy Scouts’ ability to act of their own volition, and suggested that doing anything besides opening would be an existential threat.

“I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement,” he said.

Monday evening, Gates got his wish, as the BSA’s 80-member board voted to approve the change. (A smaller executive committee had already approved it.) The new policy may not satisfy everyone. Traditionalists are upset about the move, while progressives feel it doesn’t go far enough—troops that are chartered by churches and other religious organizations would still be permitted to set their own standards. Regardless, the policy marks a serious shift for BSA, and it cements Robert Gates’s place in history: as one of the least likely but most successful proponents for gay equality in institutional America.


February 23, 2015

The Oscars, Gay Rights, lack of Sex and “The Imitation Game”


                                                                          
                                                                            


In the campaign for this year's Oscars, a vote for "The Imitation Game" is a vote for gay rights and justice. At least, that's how its backers are framing it.
The film is about Alan Turing, a British man who cracked a Nazi code during World War II and was later prosecuted because of a relationship he had with another man. It’s up for eight awards at Sunday's Oscars, including Best Picture.
                                                                  
As Charlie Rose said on "CBS This Morning" last month, if you poll 100 people in Hollywood about who's the most effective at getting their film's an Oscar win, it's Harvey Weinstein, whose company produced the film. And he's making a political argument for why the Academy should consider "The Imitation Game."
A Weinstein Company video about the film posted online last month ties it closely to the gay-rights movement, with black-and-white photos of Turing interspersed with color photos of gay-rights demonstrations today.
And then there's the quotes used by people like Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin ("Alan Turing is a hero to the LGBT community"), GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis ("'The Imitation Game' is an important film that preserves LGBT history"), Michael Kors and Anderson Cooper.

Griffin was also quoted in a full-page ad placed in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times asking the Academy to honor Turing and for the 49,000 other men who were prosecuted for their same-sex relationships to be officially pardoned, as Turing was in 2013.
"Honor the man. Honor the film," reads a Los Angeles billboard.
Turing's sexuality isn't as central to the film as it is to the film's Oscar's campaign. But in a political Oscars that boasts Best Picture nominees like "American Sniper" and "Selma," the campaign fits right in.


Hunter Schwarz covers the intersection of politics and pop culture for the Washington Post

A poor excuse to omit gay sex scenes from a film about a gay character that was driven to suicide because of his sexuality, Alan Turing. It was someone who had love or sex affairs and unlike a straight character that does not need sex to say he is straight because it will be assumed he is straight, it was important to show everything that happened of importance during the periods that the movie covers. Gay sex was the reason that a Genius was brought down not only to be jailed but to to take his masculinity away so he could not sexually perform. This was the English government to have a hero be in their government almost just the other day. I was not born yet but my parents and some of my siblings were. Adam Gonzalez
The words below art of Oscar-nominated director Morten Tyldum says none were necessary as Alan Turing’s life and relationships were ‘all about secrecy’

He may have edged out more experienced film-makers such as David Fincher and Clint Eastwood for a best director nomination at this year’s Oscars, but The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum is still being forced to defend his film against accusations that it underplayed Alan Turing’s homosexuality.
Ahead of tonight’s Oscar ceremony, Tyldum has finally spoken out on the subject in a recently published interview with Variety. The Norwegian director denied that the biopic of the pioneering British codebreaker and computer scientist soft-pedaled the issue because of a fear of limiting the film’s box office, currently at $160m (£103m) worldwide.
“It was not because we were afraid it would offend anybody,” Tyldum said. “If I … had this thing about a straight character, I would never have a sex scene to prove that he’s heterosexual. If I have a gay character in a movie, I need to have a sex scene in it — just to prove that he’s gay?”
“I’m not shying away from it. His whole relationship, how he falls in love and the importance of him being a gay man, was all about secrecy.”
Tyldum admits that Turing was engaged in affairs during the period covered in the film but believed that it wasn’t relevant to include any other references to this.
He had some sexual partners, but it was few and far between. The only reason to have a sex scene in the film would be to satisfy critics who feels that every gay character needs to have a gay sex scene.”

December 18, 2014

Gay Man Was the Real thing } I hope the reporting goes that way, Gay people are the most Courageous beings on the Planet





Tori_Johnson_gay_sydney_siege_hero_lauded
Tori Johnson (Pic: Facebook / Lindt Australia)
The gay man who died during the cafe siege in Sydney has been praised as a hero for his brave efforts to save the hostages.
Tori Johnson, 34, was killed on Tuesday when he wrestled with gunman Man Haron Monis in a bid to allow other hostages to flee.
Monis reportedly shot him in the head at close range as Johnson tried to take the sawed-off shotgun away.
When police stormed the building, Monis was also shot dead.
Another victim, mother-of-three and barrister Katrina Dawson, died in the shoot-out, possibly of a heart attack.
Johnson, who was the manager of the Lindt cafe, is survived by his partner of 14 years, Thomas Zinn.
Johnson’s grieving family said in a statement: “We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for.”
They added: “We feel heartfelt sorrow for the family of Katrina Dawson.”
Steve Loane, CEO of Lindt Australia, said in a statement that Johnson was a much loved and dedicated staff-member.
“By nature he was a perfectionist and he had a genuine passion for the hospitality industry and people. He was a really important part of our management team in Australia and his loss is absolutely tragic,” he said.
Johnson’s bravery is reminiscent of that displayed by another gay man, American Mark Bingham. He is credited with being one of those who fought to save passengers from hijackers aboard a doomed 9/11 flight by rushing the cockpit.
Writing for Huffington Post, James Peron pointed out that while Johnson was a hero, the reality is that he was also a “second class citizen” in Australia, where marriage equality is not yet a reality.
“Tori and his partner of 14 years, Thomas, could never be married, not in Australia. Tori and Thomas deserved the same rights as other Australians. But that right was denied them, and now, for Tori, it’s too late,” he said.
The more than 16-hour-siege of the Sydney CBD cafe left the city and the country in shock.
On Wednesday, Johnson’s family and partner visited the Martin Place pedestrian mall, where thousands have laid flowers and left messages in tribute to the victims.

October 9, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch Plays Gay Hero Driven to Suicide Alan Turing


                                                                              

Benedict Cumberbatch says he is "proud" that his film about computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing is opening this year's BFI London Film Festival. 
The Sherlock star and Keira Knightley will attend at the European premiere of wartime drama The Imitation Game in Leicester Square on Wednesday night.
Cumberbatch's performance as Turing is already being tipped as an Oscar contender. 
Knightley plays his close friend and fellow-code breaker Joan Clarke.
"I'm a Londoner and... to be opening the festival with this film, I couldn't be more proud," Cumberbatch said.
Some 248 feature films will be presented over the 12-day festival, which runs from 8-19 October.
Among the stars expected on the red carpet are Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Timothy Spall, Andrea Riseborough, Sophie Okonedo, Noomi Rapace, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Carell, Sienna Miller, Reese Witherspoon, Dominic West and Emily Watson.
The Imitation Game is set at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, where Turing and his team attempted to decipher German messages to help end World War Two.
Turing killed himself in 1954, two years after being prosecuted for gross indecency after he fell foul of anti-gay laws at the time.
Turing received a posthumous royal pardon in December 2013, with Justice Minister Chris Grayling saying he undoubtedly shortened the conflict and saved thousands of lives.
Cumberbatch hopes the film will help bring Turing "the recognition he deserved as a scientist, as the father of the modern computer age and a war hero".
He said he understood why some people drew comparisons with his TV role as problem-solving genius Sherlock Holmes.
"I didn't read the script and go this is Sherlock in tweed," he added. "I liked how uncompromising he was and and I suppose that's a strong trait in strong characters."
The film's Norwegian director, Morten Tyldum, described Turing as "an unsung hero who achieved so much... he was ahead of his time and outside of his time and was carrying all these secrets". 
Another World War Two drama, Fury - starring Brad Pitt - will close the London Film Festival on 19 October. 
Pitt will attend the premiere with director David Ayer, who said it was "a true pleasure to be returning to England, where we shot the film". Many of the action scenes were filmed in Oxfordshire. 
Set in 1945, Fury tells of an army sergeant in command of a tank crew for a mission behind enemy lines.
Other gala screenings at the festival include wrestling drama Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell; and Wild, with Reese Witherspoon as a young woman on a gruelling 1,100 mile hike. The film's screenplay is written by Nick Hornby.
Tim Masters

September 5, 2014

Tony West an Unknown Name who’s been fighting for LGBT rights



                                          
Associate Attorney General Tony West isleaving the Justice Department. If you’re a supporter of marriage equality, he’s one of the most important people you’ve probably never heard of.
As the chief of the civil division, West led an interagency process that led Attorney General Holder to announce in 2011 that he and President Obama believed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional and would no longer defend the statute against court challenge. The Supreme Court agreed and struck down a key part of DOMA in United States v. Windsor in 2013. With the exception of yesterday’s ruling in Louisiana, every federal court (21 and counting) hearing a challenge to state bans on same-sex marriage have echoed the Windsor decision. Today, marriage equality is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
“It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever been involved in and it is one of the things that I think will matter the most,” West told The Post’s Sari Horwitz, adding that it was the most meaningful accomplishment of his 5 1/2-year tenure. West recalled that when he called Edith Windsor’s attorney Roberta Kaplan to inform her of the Justice Department’s decision to no longer defend DOMA in court, “She started to cry on the phone.”
Kaplan told me that West “understated” what happened on the phone. “I was not only crying, I had tears streaming down my face,” she said. “I was cynical about it. I didn’t expect DOJ to change its position. I wasn’t only overjoyed but I was also a little bit in shock.”
Kaplan told me that in the Windsor case, they were “very careful about making a link” between the gay civil rights movement and the African American civil rights movement. “While there are similarities” between the two, she said, the injustices faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans don’t compare to the Jim Crow South. But Kaplan noted, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was three African American men who made the decision” to no longer defend DOMA against court challenge. She’s absolutely right on this score. Last year, I heralded West, Holder and Obama as three of the “four straight black men who led on gay rights” because of their work that led to the demise of DOMA. The fourth is Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who as the chief counsel at the Pentagon, conducted and co-wrote (with Army Gen. Carter F. Ham) the study on the impact of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military. “Don’t ask don’t tell” was overturned by Congress in 2010. 
West has many other accomplishments under his belt, including record civil penalties and global settlements related to financial fraud and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. But he will forever be a hero to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans for what he did to bring fairness and equal protection under the law to their lives, especially now that they know who he is.

By Jonathan Capehart 
Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.

August 18, 2014

9/11 Gay Hero and Rugby player’s life will be highlighted this week


                                                                             

The remarkable true story of gay rugby player Mark Bingham’s life and death is being told on ABC2 this Wednesday evening.
Bingham was a gregarious, happy-go-lucky player with gay rugby team the San Francisco Fog. He’s remembered as a rowdy and fun guy who loved making videos and playing his favourite ball game – he helped create the gay rugby movement.
But his life ended abruptly on board United Flight 93, which went down on September 11, 2001. Bingham is believed to be one of the group that wrestled control of the plane that landed in a field, presumably on its way to the White House.
Devastated by Mark’s death, his mother Alice Hoagland is a key driving force in The Rugby Player, the documentary film about his life.
Inspired by her son’s courage, we see how she herself begins to take on the fight for equal rights.
“It’s incredibly heartbreaking to watch this film, but at the same time I’m so proud that Mark’s life story challenges any notion that gay men are somehow weaker or morally unprepared to face a difficult physical task,” says Hoagland, who will be attending the Bingham Cup gay rugby tournament in Sydney next week, and staying with Mark’s Australian best friend, who also appears in the film.
Watch the trailer for The Rugby Player below. “The film shows a unique insight into the man who became a hero,” explains Sydney Convicts rugby club President Andrew Purchas. “In many ways he was just one of the blokes, although tougher than most and certainly a very good rugby player. He was a very tough competitor but incredibly fair and understanding.”
The Rugby Player plays on ABC2 this Wednesday 20 August at 8:30pm. It will also available to watch online via iview for few weeks afterwards.

June 4, 2014

Logo’s Trailblazers: 5 All Time Gay Elders




LGBT elders
In the lead up to Logo’s Trailblazers special on June 26, we’re showcasing pioneers of LGBT rights. Today we look at trailblazing seniors who fought—and in some cases are still fighting—for equality.
Watch Logo’s Trailblazers on Thursday, June 26, at 9pm.

larry-kramerLarry Kramer, 78
The best-selling author and playwright never set out to be an activist, but wound up co-founding two of the world’s most influential AIDS organizations.
Though he hadn’t been active in LGBT politics before, Kramer gathered some of New York City’s “A-list” gays in his apartment in 1981 to address the growing health epidemic facing the community.
He was 46 at the time, but had the passion and drive of a much younger man.
Out of that meeting grew Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the first organization to raise funds and provide services for people with HIV and AIDS. As recounted in The Normal Heart,though, Kramer’s confrontational style clashed with other board members and he was removed from GMHC in 1983. Undeterred, he continued the fight and, in 1987, co-founded AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP), a direct-action group using guerrilla tactics to garner media attention.
Though his health has deteriorated, Kramer continues to speak out about AIDS and the LGBT community in general. On July 24, 2013, he married his lifelong partner, architectural designer David Webster, who had actually jilted him back in the 1970s.
Most recently Kramer penned the screenplay for HBO’s adaptation of The Normal Heart. But his most ambitious project is yet to come: For almost 35 years he has been writing The American People: A History, which documents gay American history dating back to the Stone Age. At over 4,000 pages, it’s slated for publication in two volumes beginning in 2015.

Tom Ammiano, 72tom-ammiano
Tom Ammiano was the first openly gay teacher in the state of California, coming out in 1975 when he co-founded the Gay Teachers Association.
Three years later, he campaigned against Proposition 6, which would have banned out educators in public schools. Along with Harvey Milk and Hank Wilson, Ammiano founded No on 6, which worked to defeat the initiative.
He remained involved in politics after that victory, and was eventually elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1990, and  the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1994. (Ammiano was a key player in the passage of the city’s comprehensive domestic-partnership ordinance.)
In 2008, he was elected to the California State Assembly where he remains today. Last year, he succeeded in passing legislation protecting students against discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

Vernita Gray, 65
vernita-grayVernita Gray was at Woodstock when news of the Stonewall Riots hit in the summer of 1969. Within months she went home to Chicago, came out as a lesbian and established the city’s first gay helpline out of her apartment, which also served as an overnight shelter for homeless LGBT youth.
Gray was also integral in the Chicago chapter of the Gay Liberation Front and editedLavender Woman, an early lesbian newspaper.
She worked for many years in the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, where she served as a liaison to the LGBT community. Gray remained a presence at LGBT marches and events for decades, and was  inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1992.
President Obama invited her to the White House four times during his first six years in office.
A breast-cancer diagnosis in the 1990s did not deter Gray, who doggedly pursued marriage equality in her home state. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed marriage equality into law on November 20, 2013, but it would not take effect until  June 1, 2014.  Her health failing, Gray petitioned to be allowed to marry early and wed her partner, Pat Ewert, on November 22, 2013.
Gray lost her battle with cancer on March 18, 2014, at age 65.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 5.54.04 PMJim Darby, 81, and Patrick Bova, 76
Another Chicago couple, Jim Darby and Patrick Bova, also took advantage of Illinois new marriage-equality law—51 years after they met.
The lead plaintiffs in Lambda Legal’s challenge to the state’s marriage equality ban, the two were among a dozen couples who wed at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Monday, June 2, 2014.
Darby, a veteran of the Korean War, didn’t expect to live to see his wedding day: ”I did not think this would ever come,” he told The Huffington Post. “I was involved with the gay veterans for 20 years and it seemed like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would never come to an end. And when it did, it came so fast we were almost caught by surprise.”
Darby and Bova met at a cruising ground in Hyde Park July 17, 1963.
60s“I was walking to the beach and I saw this tall handsome guy walking down the street reading a book,” recalls Darby. “While he was walking. And I whistled at him! My friend panicked and said, ‘We don’t whistle at guys on the South Side!’ But I didn’t give a shit.”
By September the two had moved in together.
In addition to building a life together, they remained dedicated activists, especially in the fight for gays in the military. (Darby was arrested at a White House protest against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 1993.)
In recent years, the two traveled repeatedly to Springfield to lobby for marriage equality, speaking with lawmakers and press outlets about their unique story.
“What I often say is that when Jim enters the room, it doesn’t matter if it’s with a group of people or even in the morning when he comes down for coffee, he brightens the room,” said Bova. “He lightens it and brightens it and brings the atmosphere alive…  He’s a catalyst for happiness.”
 by John Cain

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