May 31, 2019

“Papi Chulo” Matt Bomer Playing More Gay Roles and Helping A Gay Presidential Candidate, Pete

          Image result for mat bomer and Mayor Pete


Matt Bomer plays a weatherman in his new movie “Papi Chulo,” but he didn’t shadow TV meteorologists to prepare for the role. 
What he was most concerned about was making sure the nervous breakdown his character has on live television was believable. To capture those emotions, he did a deep dive on the internet.
“I don’t want to say it’s there for your viewing pleasure because I’m not about laughing at the expense of others, but there are some documented breakdowns on camera that people have had,” Bomer explains. “There’s one, and he’s very open about this on so I feel okay sharing about this, [ABC News’] Dan Harris specifically had a nervous breakdown on camera. So I watched a lot of that.” (Harris chronicled the experience in his 2014 memoir “10% Happier.”)

Bomer sat down for this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, to talk about his new movie. Bomer also explains why he’s been playing more gay roles in recent years and why he’s “thoroughly impressed” with Pete Buttigieg

Writer-director John Butler’s “Papi Chulo” is the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between the Sean (a gay weatherman who is struggling with what appears to be a breakup with his longtime boyfriend) and his Mexican handyman Ernesto (Alejandro Patiño).
Sean first tries to cure his loneliness by hooking up through gay apps. In the original script, he was supposed to be seen using multiple apps, but “the app companies were so particular about who’s doing what and you can’t have Scruff if you have Grindr and you can’t have Grindr if you have the bear one or whatever,” Bomer said, laughing. “So it was so funny the politics of it all.”

In all seriousness, Bomer says the movie has a message, one that resonates more today than anyone would have ever expected when they first began the project.
“In a time where people are building up walls and separating off and cordoning themselves off from each other and different cultures and different ideologies, more than ever this was about a friendship that forms in the most unlikely of ways — that it’s our shared humanity that is really the only thing that can really save you from loneliness,” Bomer said.
Since publicly coming out in 2012 when he thanked his husband, Hollywood publicist Simon Halls, and their three sons while accepting an award from an AIDS organization in Palm Springs, Bomer has played a slew of gay characters. In the DC Universe series “Doom Patrol,” he stars as gay superhero Larry Trainor (a.k.a. Negative Man). There’s Emmy buzz surrounding his work as Will’s fiancé on “Will & Grace,” and he’s about to start shooting “The Boys in the Band,” the Netflix movie adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway play revival of the same name about a group of gay men in New York City in the late 1960s. Bomer will reprise the role he played in the stage production as will the rest of the cast of all openly gay actors. 

“I think we’re in this great boon time now where people are actually writing gay characters with three dimensions,” Bomer said. “They’re not just the sassy stylist or the friend with a lot of attitude or the guys who’s going to help the straight guy pull it together. There’s really nothing wrong with those things but they did become tropes over the years and often times were the only dimension that the character had to bring to the table so I did always pass on those opportunities.”
Matt Bomer photographed exclusively for Variety’s “The Big Ticket” podcast.DAN DOPERALSKI FOR VARIETY 

Growing up in Spring, Texas, Bomer had dreams of being an actor.
 However, dreams of having a husband and kids
“was never in the realm of possibilities,” he said.
“I don’t think I really even knew that having kids
as a gay man was a viable option until I got to
New York at 22. None of that ever seemed like a possibility to me.”
In fact, he believes if he came out in high school, “I wouldn’t be here now. My life would have taken some pretty harsh turns.”
On June 19, Bomer and Halls will co-host a fundraiser in Los Angeles for Buttigieg, a presidential hopeful for the Democratic party. While the couple isn’t making an official endorsement just yet, Bomer says, “I’m so thoroughly impressed with him on every level and he is obviously so much more than capable of the mantle of the office of President. It is kind of a getting-to-know-you and throwing in our hat to support him as best we can. I think it’s amazing that we have him as a candidate and it is legendary and historic and it’s just kind of the icing on the cake that he is also I think at this point the most qualified candidate to lead us.”
“Papi Chulo” opens in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles on June 7 and will expand nationwide on June 14.

Trump Admin and The State Of South Carolina Sued Over Gay Couple Turned Away By Foster Agency

                           Image result for south carolina against gay foster care


  • ABC News
    Advocacy groups on Thursday sued the Trump administration and state of South Carolina on behalf of a same-sex, married couple after a Christian ministry allegedly denied them from participating in its federally funded foster care program.  
    The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit, citing a decision by the administration’s Health and Human Services to waive an anti-discrimination rule for the South Carolina ministry.
    The ministry – Miracle Hill Ministries of Greenville, South Carolina – has said it always worked exclusively with couples that share its Christian faith.
    The lawsuit comes as the Trump administration weighs a request by the Texas attorney general to roll back Obama-era regulations that prohibit foster care providers fromdiscriminating against parents based on religion or sexual orientation.
    The couple at the center of the lawsuit, Brandy Welch and Eden Rogers, called the experience of being turned away by Miracle Hill Ministries “hurtful and insulting.”
    “Faith is a part of our family life, so it is hurtful and insulting to us that Miracle Hill’s religious view of what a family must look like deprives foster children of a nurturing, supportive home,” the couple, who have been married for three years, said in a statement.
    The Trump administration has taken several steps to expand legal protections for groups and individuals on religious grounds such as announcing protections for health care workers who object to various services based on personal beliefs.
    At this year's National Prayer Day service, President Donald Trump said he was committing his administration to "preserve the central role of faith-based adoption and foster care agencies to care for vulnerable children while following their deeply held beliefs."
     "As far as the broad picture, what we hope happens is that organizations aren't allowed to discriminate based on religion, especially when they're receiving federal funding, and that category of people that are allowed to foster represents the ... different types of children that need fostering," Welch told ABC News. "Right now, they're only allowing people in this certain small little box to foster, and I don't really believe that all the children fit into that small little box either. So I think a fair representation would be better."

    Image result for south carolina against gay foster care

     Days before President Barack Obama left office, he expanded anti-discrimination rules for federally backed foster care providers to include religion and sexual orientation. The issue arose for Miracle Hill when a Jewish woman was turned away by the agency because Miracle Hill insisted that it had always worked only with Christians that shared its faith.
    Miracle Hill appealed to the state governor, who secured a federal waiver for the rule by the Department of Health and Human Services. This allowed the organization to deny placement of children with anyone who violates its religious beliefs while still accepting money from federally funded state child welfare agencies.
    In a statement, Lambda Legal and the ACLU said the state and the federal waiver “enabled taxpayer-funded foster care agencies to use religious criteria to exclude families based on their faith and sexual orientation.”
    “By allowing Miracle Hill to discriminate against this couple, the government is not only favoring certain religious beliefs over others but is also placing those beliefs above what is in the best interest of children in foster care,” said Currey Cook, counsel and director of youth at Lambda Legal’s Out-Of-Home Care Project.
    After Miracle Hill was granted its religious waiver, the Texas attorney general asked the administration to repeal the rule or at least exempt the entire state from the policy.
    In a Dec. 17, 2018, letter to HHS, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed that a rule violates a law that protects organizations from acting against their religious beliefs.
    In response to the Texas request, an HHS spokesman said the request by Texas remains under consideration and that the administration “does not generally comment on the details of pending requests that are not public.”

    King’s Pin Son Collects His Prize For Testifying Against “El Chapo"

    Image result for Vicente Zambada
    Vincente Zambada "El Mayo" Mexico's Tops leader of the Sinoloa Cartel

    CHICAGO — From the time he was a boy, Vicente Zambada was groomed to be the future leader of the Sinaloa cartel. The eldest son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, Mexico’s most powerful drug trafficking organization was his by birthright. He followed in his father’s footsteps for years, becoming his top lieutenant and emissary. But it was ultimately his ill-fated attempt to quit the cartel that landed him in a U.S. federal courthouse Thursday. 

    With a dark tousle of hair, a fresh shave, and a gray suit with a pink tie, the 44-year-old Zambada swaggered into the courtroom of Judge Ruben Castillo like a man accustomed to getting his way. He pleaded guilty in 2013 to smuggling cocaine and heroin, but his sentencing was repeatedly delayed as U.S. authorities pumped him for information and used his testimony to put away several of Mexico’s most notorious narcos, including his father’s longtime partner, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

    Citing his “extraordinary and unprecedented” cooperation, prosecutors in Chicago recommended a 17-year sentence for Zambada rather than the maximum of life in prison. Amanda Lipscomb, a prosecutor who worked the Chapo case and questioned Zambada when he was on the witness stand, praised his “positive attitude” and said he “provided the jury with a unique perspective into the inner-workings of the cartel.” She said a reduced sentence for Zambada was needed in order to “incentivize other criminals out there who engage in serious drug trafficking who are thinking about engaging with the government.”

    Judge Castillo went even further, reducing Zambada’s sentence to 15 years. With credit for time he has already served in the U.S,. and Mexico, Zambada could be allowed to walk free in five — or less, with good behavior.

    As Zamabda stood before him, swaying gently on his feet, Castillo spoke at length about his sentencing decision. He noted that Zambada was perhaps the highest-level drug trafficker who had appeared in his court, but his case still made no dent in the flow of drugs to the U.S.

    “His sins are washed away merely because he testified. The government buys testimony in exchange for reduced sentences.”
    “After 25 years of being a federal judge, if there is a so-called drug war, we are losing,” Castillo said. “It’s time for us to think about doing something different.”

    Castillo noted that he is of Mexican descent and lamented the high death toll from the drug war in Mexico, which he called “the only crisis at the border.” He also used the occasion to lambast President Donald Trump, though he referred to him as “someone in D.C.… I don’t want to say his name.”

    The judge also criticized Trump for speaking out against cooperators. “Are you kidding me?” Castillo said. “They are cooperating with the Justice Department.”

    Zambada was far from the only former high-level drug trafficker called to testify against Chapo, who was convicted Feb. 12 after a dramatic three-month trial in Brooklyn. Chapo now faces life in prison, though he is seeking a new trial. Thirteen other cooperators took the stand, including Zambada’s uncle Jesus “El Rey” Zambada. All of them sought leniency in their own cases, but the younger Zambada — known as “El Vicentillo” — is the first to find out exactly how much prosecutors were willing to give up in order to convict Chapo. The answer, it seems, is quite a lot. 

    In addition to his relatively short sentence, Zambada disclosed during his testimony against Chapo that U.S. authorities had already arranged to bring his wife and children across the border and provide security for them. He is expected to receive a rare S-visa, which puts foreign-born cooperators in major criminal investigations on the path to a green card and U.S. citizenship. The Treasury Department also agreed to lift sanctions on Zambada’s wife, who was allowed to bring $400,000 with her to the U.S. for living expenses. Under the terms of his plea, Zamabada agreed to forfeit his illicit drug proceeds — which prosecutors say are a whopping $1.37 billion, but it’s unclear when — if ever — he will be forced to pay up.

    Chapo’s former attorney, Eduardo Balarezo, who cross-examined Zambada during the trial, called his sentence and other benefits “a prime example of the corrupt nature of the federal criminal justice system.”

    “Vicente Zambada admitted to being responsible for trafficking hundreds of tons of drugs to the United States,” Balarezo said. “Yet his sins are washed away merely because he testified. The government buys testimony in exchange for reduced sentences.” 

    In a sentencing memo filed earlier this month, federal prosecutors told Castillo that Zambada was a reluctant participant in the cartel who tried to do the right thing by cooperating. Prosecutors said Zambada “shied away from involvement” in the drug business,” and only got involved “as a result of the unavailability of his father.” Because his dad was in hiding, prosecutors said, cartel members constantly asked Zambada to relay messages to him.

    Zambada himself offered a similar story during Chapo’s trial, but said the turning point came in the early ‘90s when a war broke out between the Sinaloa cartel and their rivals in Tijuana. Zambada was called to his father’s side for safety reasons, and he learned how to run the cartel by watching him operate. “I started realizing how everything was done,” he said. “And little by little I started getting involved in my father's business.”

    The 71-year-old El Mayo has been a legend in the Mexican drug trade for more than three decades. While other major traffickers have been killed or captured over the years, Mayo has remained free for his entire criminal career. With Chapo now out of the picture, Mayo has reportedly consolidated power and now leads the cartel from his remote hideouts in the mountains of Sinaloa. The U.S. State Department is currently offering a $5 million reward for information that leads to his arrest.

    Before long, Mayo’s heir apparent was coordinating multi-ton cocaine shipments from Colombia and overseeing a team of assassins. The younger Zamabda maintains he never personally killed anyone, but he acknowledged during Chapo’s trial there were "several times” when people were kidnapped, tortured, and killed on his orders.

    After Zambada was indicted in the U.S. on drug charges, he tried to find a way out that didn’t involve death or life in prison. “I wanted to get out of the cartel,” he recalled. “I wanted to retire from everything with my dad and with my Compadre Chapo's permission.”

    In March of 2009, with the blessing of both his father and Chapo, Zambada met with DEA agents at a hotel in Mexico City to discuss leaving the cartel and becoming an informant. Such an arrangement was not unprecedented. Since around 2005, DEA agents had been secretly meeting with a Sinaloa lawyer named Humberto Loya-Castro. He was an adviser to Chapo, and he was feeding the DEA information about rival groups. Loya-Castro’s own federal indictment disappeared in 2008 as a result of his cooperation. Zambada wanted the same deal.

    Loya-Castro was present during the meeting between Zambada and the DEA, but the plan for the cartel scion to become a snitch was derailed a few hours after the rendezvous, when Zambada was arrested by Mexican special forces. He was extradited in 2010 and agreed to become an informant in late 2011, after spending nearly two years in solitary confinement at a federal jail in downtown Chicago.

    Prior to his cooperation, Zambada claimed in a 2011 court filing that he could not be prosecuted because the DEA had given Chapo and Mayo “carte blanche” to smuggle drugs into the U.S. in exchange for providing tips that helped Mexican and U.S. authorities “capture or kill thousands of rival cartel members.” The Justice Department has acknowledged that the meeting with Loya-Castro and Zambada occurred, but it has steadfastly denied that Zambada was ever promised immunity. 

    During the Chapo trial, attorneys were under court orders not to mention Zambada’s past claims about having permission from U.S. authorities to traffic drugs. It was mentioned briefly when Zambada described his plan to “retire from everything with my dad and with my Compadre Chapo's permission,” but ultimately Zambada’s testimony was focused on Chapo, who is the godfather to Zambada’s youngest child.

    Zambada worked closely with Chapo and was privy to the cartel’s deepest secrets, and he did not hold back on the witness stand, detailing how Mayo and Chapo organized massive drug shipments, murdered rival traffickers, and doled out more than $1 million in bribes per month to corrupt Mexican politicians, police commanders, and military generals.

    Zambada’s attorney, Frank Perez, told the judge that the decision to testify against Chapo was not easy for his client.

    “He struggled with that,” Perez said. “He did not want to testify. He was concerned about the consequences he would suffer, and not just him but his friends and family.”

    “This feeling of repentance has been with me for years.”
    When it was Zambada’s turn to speak Thursday, he addressed the court in Spanish and began by “asking all those people for forgiveness who I hurt one way or another, either directly or indirectly.”

    Zambada said he had made “some bad decisions” in his life, “which I truly regret.” He added that he felt he “can be a better father, a better husband, a better son, and most of all a better human being.”

    “I would like to tell your honor this repentance did not just come about just yesterday nor did it come about just because I’m in front of you about to receive a sentence,” Zambada said. “This feeling of repentance has been with me for years.”

    In addition to Chapo, Zambada dished on the leaders of the Beltrán-Leyva Organization and Damaso Lopez, a former right-hand man for El Chapo who is now serving life in U.S. federal prison. Also known as “El Licenciado,” Lopez was among those who testified against Chapo during his trial.

    Federal prosecutors say Zambada is “one of the most well-known cooperating witnesses in the world and he and his family will live the rest of their lives in danger of being killed in retribution.”

    “If there is a so-called drug war, we are losing.”

    Even with Chapo behind bars, little seems to have changed in Chicago or elsewhere in the U.S. Chapo was named “Public Enemy No. 1” in 2013 because he was blamed for supplying drugs that fueled gun violence in Chicago, but the impact of his capture and conviction is negligible at best. Shootings are down about 12 percent across Chicago so far this year, according to police, but Cobe Williams, deputy director of the Cure Violence program the University of Illinois in Chicago, said the positive trend is not linked to Chapo or Zambada.

    “El Chapo and this other guy ain’t got nothing to do with what’s going on in Chicago,” said Williams said. “None of this got nothing to do with what’s going on in Chicago.”

    A native of the gang-plagued Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, Williams said the decline in shootings was the result of work by groups like his, which seeks to intervene in neighborhood disputes before such conflicts escalate to violence.

    “A lot of things that drive the violence is personal,” Williams said. “People have personal altercations or beef. It ain’t no gang relationship. People get that twisted. It’s personal.”

    Meanwhile, the DEA has moved on to target other groups that traffic drugs to Chicago. While Mexico’s new president has floated some radical new ideas to reduce drug violence, the status quo remains the same. Drugs continue to flow across the U.S.-Mexico border. El Chapo is gone, but his sons now run his faction of the cartel. Another one of Mayo’s sons, Serafín Zambada, was released from U.S custody last September after striking a plea deal that allowed him to serve less than six years in prison. Mayo has at least two other sons still in Mexico, including one awaiting extradition to the U.S. and another who is still on the run.

    Castillo seemed to recognize the futility of the situation during Zambada’s sentencing.

    “We need to discuss demand and fund treatment,” he said. “If you don’t address the demand, there will be plenty of people to fill the role of sending drugs to this country.”


    May 30, 2019

    “I love You Hon” Are You Gay?


    I think I might be gay. I remember once wanting to kiss my best friend when I was maybe twelve. I also remember seeing an actress look too good in a movie and going home and pacing around thinking, "It's ok for other people to be gay, but not me!" Then I forgot about it for a while. I went to an all girls high school and wished I had a boyfriend. I had a huge crush on a guy in my twenties. For me, it's less about looks—some men have this aura about them that turns me on. I always thought women were more interesting to look at but I just thought that that was some sort of truth about people and not my own sexuality. I had a close female friend in college ask me if I wanted to touch her boobs and take a shower together once, and I didn't want to. We're both with men now. I recently had very short hair, and tried to become a barber, and it had a lot of people questioning my sexual orientation. Could they see something that I was blind to? That whole time was filled with sexual tension, both from the questioning of my identity, and from being surrounded by men who were horny for me. This would build up a hungry desire for my husband, who would happily oblige. Yes, I'm married. And I've been thinking a lot about having kids, and I'm worried that I might be gay. He knows this. He finds my worrying over whether or not I'm a secret lesbian to be comforting somehow. He says he's most worried about the things he doesn't know to worry about while I worry about things he wouldn't have thought to worry about. I'm ok with being gay, but I don't want to leave my husband and the life we have together. I love showing my husband my body, I love how he reacts to it and touches me, I love our intimacy. I love gazing at his body and being naked together. He makes me come. But sometimes I have dreams I'm with a woman and wake up with the thought, "I'm gay!" Is this just OCD or my truth trying to burst through? I know I need to know myself, but I'm just so unsure. Help!
    Some Confusion Unconsciously Rousing Real Emotional Distress
    P.S. Your advice gives me so much understanding.

    I think you might be bi.
    It sure doesn't sound like you're faking an attraction to your husband—and you're not just into him because he's into you; being wanted by him certainly seems to inflame your desire for him, SCURRED, but you're attracted to him as, well, as an object. A male object. You love gazing at his body, you love getting naked (and off) with him, etc. If you were gay... well, there are plenty of lesbian-identified women out there who were once married to men with whom they had enjoyable sex lives. But most of those women describe a disconnect, something missing, some sense of incompleteness they weren't quite able to articulate. (Or weren't fully conscious of at the time.) They knew somethingwas missing but didn't know what it was or couldn't bring themselves to admit it.
    But you don't want something else, SCURRED, you want something and. Dick and pussy, pecs and tits, your husband's body and some hot woman's body. You seem clearly into men—male energy, the male gaze, your husband's body—and you're also attracted to women. It's really not that complicated. But despite reading my column for however long (sigh), you somehow have it in your head that you can only have one (male partners) or the other (female partners) and that you can only be one (gay) or the other (straight).
    You can have both. You can have it all. You don't have to have it all, of course, and no one is entitled to anything (much less all), but you can have male and female partners, SCURRED, if your husband is okay with opening up your marriage. If he's not interested in an open relationship (or you're not), well, then you can't have male and female partners—but you can still identify as bisexual, even if you've never had sex with a woman and aren't, for the time being, able to have sex with a woman.
    Soooooo... stop wasting time and energy on this debate/dilemma/d'whatever. You're bi.
    P.S. I'm guessing your feeling angsty about this now because you're thinking about getting pregnant and having kids—like having a kid will prevent you from ever exploring your interest in women, so you have to figure this out right now. Not true: you can have a kid and keep exploring your sexuality.

    Dublin Reverses on The Rainbow Flag, Yes It will Be Displayed

    After a week of negative publicity, the Dublin City Council likely will reverse itself and approve flying the rainbow Gay Pride flag next month at City Hall.
    Mayor David Haubert and Councilman Arun Goel are now willing to reconsider after hearing from supporters of the LGBTQ community. Haubert, Goel and Councilwoman Melissa Hernandez, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning, had previously voted against flying the flag. 
    Haubert said Wednesday morning that the council would hold a special meeting June 4 to consider adopting a flag policy and approving a June 22 ceremony to hoist the Pride flag for the rest of the month.
    He said he was swayed by conversations with constituents and discussions with Emeryville City Councilman John Bauters, who is gay, about the sensitivity of the issue in the LGBTQ community.
    Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Goel said that after many discussions, “I believe that we should have an inclusive flag-raising policy, and YES, I believe that the LGBT pride flag should qualify.”
    The bad news is that the embarrassing and painful episode has exposed that, lest there was any doubt, homophobia remains in the Bay Area. As speakers at the May 21 Dublin City Council meeting showed, vicious falsehoods about gays, lesbians and transgenders still have a foothold.
    Haubert and Goel acknowledge that they should not have let those hateful comments go unchallenged. “I personally apologize for not being a more proactive voice in directly addressing any inappropriate comments,” Goel said.
    June marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the spontaneous protest of police raids of a club in Greenwich Village. The demonstrations served as the catalyst for the gay rights movement in this country.
    Cities like San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco fly the LGBTQ’s rainbow flag each June to mark Gay Pride month. In the suburbs, Concord flies the flag, something that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago, when voters rejected an ordinance barring discrimination against people with AIDS.  
    And, in another sign of suburban progress, the neighboring Walnut Creek City Council voted unanimously this month to fly the flag for the month of June. Speakers lined up to support the effort; no one spoke against it.
    Then came the effort in Dublin, led by Councilman Shawn Kumagai, who, as a gay man, knows what discrimination feels like. He served 10 years of active duty in the U.S. Navy under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
    Kumagai proposed a council proclamation declaring June LGBTQ Pride month and flying the rainbow flag at City Hall. Councilwoman Jean Josey, who has worked in the Dublin schools, joined him.
    “I see these struggles of our LGBTQ youth for their acceptance, for their safety, for their feelings of worth, for their feelings of not only their physical safety, but their emotional safety,” she said.
    “It is very, very important that we send a message to all members of the community, but particularly our youth, that they are worthy just for who they are and nothing else.”
    The proclamation was approved unanimously. The fight was over flying the flag.
    Opponents warned the council of a “slippery slope,” sometimes reaching the point of absurdity.
    One speaker insisted the council would have to raise flags for Jewish, Christian, Muslim and atheist pride months; for Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia pride months; and, said the balding man, for the “follicly challenged.”
    Another said the city would have to fly the Confederate flag if residents demanded. And the owner of a gun shop insisted the council would have to fly the NRA flag.
    They were wrong. There is no legal slippery slope.
    If the council doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race or religion, it is free to issue the proclamation and to raise flags of its choosing as a form of free speech, says constitutional law expert Vikram Amar, dean of the University of Illinois College of Law.
    Then the comments to the council turned ugly, likening gays to “immoral destruction,” pedophilia and the deterioration of the public school system. It was a regression to the fearmongering seen in the suburban East Bay in the 1980s.
    What was most disturbing was the reaction from the dais, with Goel, Haubert, and Hernandez embracing the slippery slope argument and thanking everyone for their comments — what Goel called “a lot of great speeches, a lot of great opinions.”
    As Goel and Haubert repeatedly claimed that the city is already inclusive, they ignored comments they had just heard that showed otherwise.
    The irony wasn’t lost on Josey. “Quite frankly some of the comments highlighted why we need to be hanging the flag,” she said. They showed “exactly why this particular (LGBTQ) community does not feel safe both emotionally and physically — still in 2019.”
    Fortunately, Goel and Haubert apparently now understand that, too.

    May 29, 2019

    Mayor Pete Could be Influencing Fellow Millennials to Take The Plunge


    Jeanette Settembre (Market Watch)
    The 37-year-old from South Bend, Indiana is the first openly gay person to make a serious bid for presidency, bringing greater representation to the LGBTQ community.
    Like many young people, Buttigieg met his husband, Chasten Glezman, on the dating app Hinge. And his success story seems to have inspired others in the LGBTQ community to sign up. Hinge has seen a 30% increase in dating profiles created by gay men since April 1, around the same time Buttigieg had been making national news, Fortune reports. 
    “We’re proud of all of the relationships we’ve helped set up — including Mayor Pete and Chasten!” Hinge founder and CEO Justin McLeod told the magazine. “We’re happy to see that their love story has inspired even more members of the LGBTQ community to find their person on Hinge.” (Hinge did not immediately return a MarketWatch request for comment). 
    Buttigieg, who came out in an essay he wrote for The South Bend Tribune in May 2015, told the New York Times he joined Hinge in hopes of finding a long term partner. Hinge makes users select and answer three questions about themselves for their dating profile, a more personal touch that can allow singles to get to know someone before they swipe.  
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    “I wanted a platform where you’re not necessarily inundated with hookup culture and sex,” he told the paper in 2018. Buttigieg met Glezman in 2015.
    More than 60% of same-sex couples meet online, studies show. And dating experts say having a prominent figure like Buttigieg share his success story brings visibility to underrepresented groups. 
    ‘The more we see diversity in every way, and prominently displayed at the highest levels, the more it makes people feel more like ‘wow I can just be myself and that’s okay’
    —Bela Gandhi, a Chicago-based dating coach
    “The more we see diversity in every way, and prominently displayed at the highest levels, the more it makes people feel more like ‘wow I can just be myself and that’s okay,’” Bela Gandhi, a Chicago-based dating coach and founder of Smart Dating Academy, tells MarketWatch. 
    More than 1 million LGBTQ people in the U.S. are married in the U.S. to someone of the same sex. There were more than 547,000 same-sex marriages nationwide in 2917, up from around 491,000 in 2016, data from The Williams Instituteshows. Since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide in June 2015, same sex couples have spent more than $1.3 billion on their weddings.
    Buttigieg vowed to pass federal legislation in April that would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. And he often expresses his favor for the Equality Act, a bill that would ban discrimination in the workplace, education, housing, federal financing and jury service, and protect people from being fired or harassed because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. 
    For those who are coming out or have recently come out, online dating can serve as a buffer before going public, Gandhi says. “Dating is challenging if you’re a small minority of the population, online is easier when you’re looking for somebody specific,” explains Gandhi, who says she’s had clients come out to her. “Online dating is great for people who might not be sure [about their sexual orientation].” 
    Same-sex marriage and relationships have increasingly garnered more visibility in pop culture. Last week, the PBS children’s animated television show “Arthur” was praised for its depiction of a same-sex wedding through its character Mr. Ratburn which aired nationally across the U.S. 
    “PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation. We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day,” PBS said in a statement. 
    Despite big strides, the conversation around equality and gay marriage is still facing backlash and discrimination. Alabama public television refused to air the“Arthur” episode. Alabama is one of several states that has taken issue with the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage-equality ruling. Several probate judges in Alabama who issue marriage licenses have protested the law. 
    While the majority of Americans (63%) continue to say same-sex marriage should be legal, a recent Gallup poll found that number has dropped four points from an all-time high of 68% recorded in 2018. However, support for same-sex marriage is more than twice as high as it was when first polled in 1996. 
    Carol Sugar-Burke, a dating expert at Bespoke Matchmaking, a New York City-based gay matchmaking service, says she understands the challenges the LGBTQ community faces when looking for a partner. 
    “Finding a safe place to meet a potential partner that shares the same life goals and objectives is hard enough for the heterosexual community, let alone the LGBTQ community,” Sugar-Burke says. “Being able to share and talk about what is most important to you without having to hide who you are is a big step in the right direction.”

    May 27, 2019

    Priest in Newark Church Pressed NJ School To Cover Gay Mural Painted by LGBT Students

    Mural painted over by school

    Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, speaks about NJ’s conversion therapy ban, during an interview at her home in Ridgewood on April 18, 2019. She is the mother of Tyler 
    Clementi, who died by suicide after being bullied because he was gay. North Jersey Record 
    New Jersey's largest gay rights advocacy group is condemning a Bergen charter school for destroying part of a student's mural that supported the LGBT community.   

    The Bergen Arts and Science Charter School in Hackensack, which leases its building from Holy Trinity Church, a Catholic church in Hackensack, painted over part of the mural that a 16-year-old student created because the church found it offensive.  

    The group Garden State Equality was enraged by that act, and is asking the Archdiocese of Newark to have the school restore the mural.  

    “It is offensive, unconscionable, and flatly unconstitutional for this church acting as a for-profit landlord to restrict a public school’s curriculum or censor student speech within those walls. This type of hate-fueled bigotry is precisely why New Jersey needs LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum to promote acceptance and understanding,” said Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino in a statement. 

    A student at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School painted a mural for an art project. The church, which owns the building, demanded the school paint over a rainbow heart signaling LGBTQ rights.

    A student at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School painted a mural for an art project. The church, which owns the building, demanded the school paint over a rainbow heart signaling LGBTQ rights. (Photo: Student)
    Garden State Equality also said that the church has restricted education at Bergen Arts and Science before, including by forcing a school psychologist to remove a poster supportive of LGBT students.

    The student who did the mural, a high school junior, told and The Record that the school was forced to paint over part of a mural that included a rainbow heart.

       Related image

    I would like to ask this priest what in the picture did he find inmoral, ungodly or brought him bad memories of his past? Which one of those?    None? why do this?  I guess he forgot The  name Tyler Clementi, the young man that killed hmself after being bully in the school......Iam starting to think that this so called priest or one like him had something to do with the athmosphere of bullying in school that killed Tyler. I never met tyler but I know about him. If these students are being taught that a rainbow heart is bad because gays painted it, then it most be ok to make fun of them.
    BRING THAT MURAL BACK!!  MUral and Moral are so close but I see no morality in those that took part in this. Lets say enough is enough!! 

    Adam Gonzalez, Publisher

    The Archdiocese of Newark, in a statement released on Thursday, asserted that there was no order to cover the rainbow heart, and that school officials must have made the decision to do so. But the mural did include "some symbols of sexuality that were inappropriate for the building," which is used by church parishioners as well as the school, the statement said.  

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    Holy Trinity Church raised two concerns, according to the statement: "First that the school refrain from consistently painting on the building surfaces. Secondly that the school remove some content in a new painting, which included some symbols of sexuality that were inappropriate for the building, as the building is utilized by parishioners of the church as well as the school." 

    The Rev. Paul Prevosto, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, told that parishioners brought the mural to his attention because of a depiction of male figures that looked "obscene." The mural included abstract figures with interlocking circle and arrow symbols that represent the male gender.

    Prevosto also called the mural "offensive" and said he told the school to "take care of it."

    The student, who did not want her name published, said her honors art class had painted murals inspired by great artists in the school cafeteria. She painted a piece featuring colorful silhouettes of people and a rainbow heart that was a replica of work by gay artist Keith Haring, whose colorful graffiti-style art gained popularity in the 1980s. 

    Distraught by the incident, the student took to Twitter for support. 

    "So school's owned by a Catholic Church and they want me to take down my Keith Harring mural that supports the LGBT community," she said. "They think it's inappropriate...I'm heartbroken and I really never thought this could actually happen. Please help." 

    The Catholic Church prohibits sexual activity between people of the same gender and its Catechism calls homosexual acts "intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law." 

    But the church has also emphasized that homosexual people are not inherently sinful and should be welcomed in the faith community. 

    Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Newark Archdiocese has called for the church to be more inclusive, and he has celebrated Mass for openly gay Catholics. 

    The school's lease agreement with the school includes a stipulation about Catholic values and states that "anything contrary to our Catholic sensitivity should not be displayed or seen."  

    New Jersey this year became the second state in the nation to adopt a law that requires schools to teach about LGBT history, including the political, economic and social contributions of individuals who are gay and transgender. The law takes effect in the next school year.

    Officials from Garden State Equality noted that charter schools like Bergen Arts and Science, which are public schools run by private organizations, will be required to comply with the law.

    "Decades ago, the United State Supreme Court held that students ‘do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,’” said Garden State Equality board member and former state bar president Thomas Prol. “It is sadly ironic that an educational institution is now delivering a lesson in censorship to these students during their tender years."

    Hannan Adely contributed to this story.
    North Jersey

    , North Jersey Record

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