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

January 8, 2019

Robert De Niro Worries About the Safety of His Gay Son with A President Such as Trump






 
Robert De Niro has been on the side of the LGBT community as far as I can remember. It seems he wanted to be open about important people in his life. One was his dad and on 20014 he made it point to say how much he loved his dad who died in 1994. He was not as close to his dad  as he was to his mom because his parents were divorced and he was raised by his mom. But he says there was love between them and his dad "was not an absent dad." He also says he remembers being dimly aware his dad was gay. He proudly even made a documentary of those times and about the relationship
 with his dad and his growing up. Now he opens up about having a son who is also gay and how concern he is for his son's safety because of an anti gay president, Trump. I wonder how much the milennials know about this man and magnificent actor. He is had the looks, the fame and all that goes with it but he is also is had an honesty about something most straight men don't like to go into. That is being gay. Yes it was in his family but he is not the only famous person with gay members in his family except they keep it as a secret and will pay or sometimes even kill to mantain tha secret. Would it matter? To some everything matters but so many of us have come out that have made easier for the rest o the community to convince the straight community not to oppose our legal and human rights. Many, particularly those in power for what ever reason have taken the advice to heart. Men like De Niro sets people at ease that is ok to be who you are. This is not a disease except very capable men and women Like Davinci have beeen gay and also talented beyond belief. I wont generalised but when I see a gorgeous man whi is also talented the thought crosses my mind.




 De Niro and De Caprio, Two straight fire fighters for the LGBT Community


The legendary actor has said he believes the current President of the United States is a “white supremacist” and added that he worries about how his public discourse and policies will affect marginalised communities.

“I’m older now and I’m just upset about what’s going on,” De Niro said in a new interview with The Guardian. “When you see someone like [Trump] becoming president, I thought, well, OK, let’s see what he does – maybe he’ll change. But he just got worse.

“It showed me that he is a real racist. I thought maybe as a New Yorker he understands the diversity in the city but he’s as bad as I thought he was before – and much worse. It’s a shame. It’s a bad thing in this country.”

De Niro has six mixed-race children, and when conversation turned to the rise of Trump making people with racist, homophobic and sexist views feel legitimised, he added: “Yeah, I worry, and one of my kids is gay, and he worries about being treated a certain way. We talk about it.”

When asked if he would consider Trump a white supremacist, he replied: “Yes.”

A fascist? “I guess that’s what it leads to,” De Niro said. “If he had his way, we’d wind up in a very bad state in this country. I mean, the way I understand it, they laughed at Hitler. They all look funny. Hitler looked funny, Mussolini looked funny and other dictators and despots look funny. 

“What bothers me is that there will be people in the future who see him as an example and they’ll be affected in some way, but they’ll be a lot smarter and have many more colours to their personality and be more mercurial and become someone with the same values as he has but able to get much further and do more damage as a despot. That’s my worry. There are people who look up to him: ‘I want to be like him.’ But they’ll do it much better and they’ll be more smart about it.”

De Niro is opposed to Trump so much that if he ever bumped into him around New York City, he’d walk away.

“If he walked into a restaurant that I was in, I would leave. I would not want to be there,” he admitted.

Robert De Niro has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump throughout both the 2016 US election and his presidency.

Last year he was one of a number of high-profile names – which also included Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – who was sent a pipe bomb by fanatical Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc.

The bodybuilder sent out 13 pipe bombs to people who were the most outspoken about Trump and his administration’s policies.

Meanwhile back in November, Bernie Sanders – the Vermont senator who lost the Democratic nomination for president to Hillary Clinton back in 2016 – described Trump as “the most racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted president in history”.

It came weeks after a leaked memo from the Trump administration said it was looking to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex.

The proposal would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by an individual’s genitals at birth.

However, after being re-elected as speaker of the House of Representatives on 3 January, a position she previously held from 2007 to 2011, Democrat Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed her long-time support for the queer community.

In her first speech as speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi announced that she will seek to pass the Equality Act – which would outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ people – in the upcoming Congress.

September 13, 2018

Berlin Gay Friendly Mosque Deradicalizes Young Muslims


Berlin Mosque

 

 LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Tugay Sarac was just 15 when he first talked about traveling from Germany to Syria to fight for Islamic State. But unlike his friends at the time, Sarac had turned to radical Islam as a way of avoiding coming to terms with his sexuality.

 “I had friends who, like me, were really radical extremists and even considered going to Syria or to Palestine to fight,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a quiet corner of the prayer room of Berlin’s Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque. 

Now 20, Sarac, who was born in Berlin to a Turkish family, learned from an early age that homosexuality was wrong - and un-Islamic. “I thought being gay is bad and that through Islam, by praying to God, I could cure myself and become normal. 

I started praying five times a day: I just felt bad, like I was dirty or inferior somehow ... I was really ashamed of my gay thoughts.” More than 5,000 Europeans - most from Britain, France, Germany and Belgium - have joined fighters in Syria and Iraq, according to Europe’s police organization, Europol, with more than 200 continental attacks and foiled plots last year. 

Studies suggest a range of motivations, from supporting fellow Muslims to feelings of alienation at home. Yet Sarac was not looking for a greater sense of Muslim solidarity – he was running away from the fact he was gay. “I knew I liked boys from maybe the first class of primary school,” he said. “(But) in Islam for me it was very clear that homosexuality was bad.” 

It was only when Sarac came across the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque - one of only a handful of gay-friendly mosques around the world - that he found a middle ground that allowed him to accept both his sexuality and his faith. 

As Sarac found himself drawn into the life of the mosque, its liberal, inclusive form of Islam drew him away from his more fundamentalist views and helped him come to terms with who he was. “This mosque helped me to deradicalize completely,” he said. “Coming here, I started being comfortable with myself and that’s when I told my mother and my aunt (that I was gay).”

 SLAPPED

LGBT Muslims are frequently required to make a stark choice between their sexuality and their religion, even in liberal countries such as Germany where same-sex marriage is legal.

Xenophobia and tensions are on the rise in Germany, which is home to about 4 million Muslims - about 5 percent of the population - since it opened its doors to more than a million migrants in 2015, many from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Following a spate of attacks on mosques, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in March that Islam does not belong in Germany, clashing with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s multi-ethnic vision for Europe’s biggest economy. 

Sarac’s father, who moved to Germany at the age of six, boasted of beating up gay people when he himself was younger and made his views of homosexuality very clear to the young Sarac. 

“My father was rather traditional, not in an Islamic way, but in a Turkish way,” Sarac said. “When my little sister was born, I just wanted to hold her buggy and walk with her. But my father slapped my hand and said, ‘Stop doing that, it’s gay’.”
His father died when he was just 13 – leaving Sarac even more vulnerable to radical views, while also battling to suppress his sexuality at school “because as a teenager – as teenagers normally do – I just fell in love with other guys”. 
Which is why when his friends started talking about becoming jihadis, Sarac readily joined the conversation – to deflect any questions on his own sexuality. 
“I was struggling between being a normal 14 or 15-year-old guy in Germany and being really religious. 
“My friends were very religious, very radical, and when they told me that they were considering going to Syria, I started thinking about it too.” 
But there were other tensions at work. 
One turning point was hearing a presenter on The Young Turks, a U.S.-based liberal news show, ask LGBT Muslims: “Why would you believe in a religion or a God if this God hates you, if this God will throw you to hell and let you burn forever?” 
Image result for berlin gay friendly mosque

 HAPPY 

When Sarac started worshipping at the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque late last year, his radical friends disowned him, but the mosque offered other opportunities to explore a more liberal form of Islam. 
Founded in June 2017 by Seyran Ates, a feminist lawyer who was born in Turkey, the mosque allows men and women to pray together. 
“We consider ourselves an inclusive mosque,” Imam Susie Dawi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Berlin. 
“We have no homophobic attitudes in any form here.” 
Yet even among liberal Muslims, there is much work still to be done, she said. 
“I have taken lesbian friends, for example, to Muslim friends and they’ve got along wonderfully and I thought that this would change attitudes. But it didn’t somehow ... Maybe it needs time.” 
The mosque has recently begun a deradicalization workshop for students to take into German schools. 
“The point is to open up people’s minds towards a more liberal understanding of Islam, for example by showing them women in different roles,” Dawi explained, rather than the traditional Islamic image of the subservient woman. 
“There is a female pilot, for example.” 
For Sarac, the mosque offers a chance for other LGBT Muslims not to repeat his mistakes. 
“I’m 100 percent sure there are many gay Muslims who hide themselves like I did,” he said, either becoming atheists or fighters with militant groups like the Taliban or al Qaeda. 
“If you are conflicted, it doesn’t make any sense to listen to one group who tell you are going to hell,” he said. 
“If we want gay Muslims to be happy, we should just open ourselves up and let them be gay (and become) a happy, working part of the Muslim community.”

October 20, 2017

Is Texas Gay Friendly? Depends Wether Live or Go to Dallas or Denton







AUSTIN — Dallas and Fort Worth remain two of the friendliest cities for LGBT Texans to live, but the rest of the region continues to lag far behind, according to national rankings released Thursday.
For the third year in a row, Dallas received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, a nationwide survey that ranks cities based on how many local laws and policies foster greater acceptance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. 
Fort Worth and Austin were the only cities in Texas to also get the full 100 points. The average score in Texas was between 40 and 41 points, far below the national average of 57. 

The nine other North Texas cities' scores either remained stagnant or lagged far behind Dallas and Fort Worth. Irving again received the lowest score both regionally and statewide, with 6 points out of a possible 100, and McKinney remained at 18 points for the second year running.
Plano got the highest marks in the region behind Dallas and Fort Worth, nabbing 74 points, the same score it received in 2016. And two North Texas cities saw large gains while still remaining below 50 points: Denton jumped from 35 to 44 points and Grand Prairie doubled its score to 24.
Texas grabbed national headlines this year as state politicians fought over whether to enact a bathroom bill to restrict restroom use based on biological sex. Widely criticized as a discriminatory measure meant to erode the rights of transgender men, women, and children, the bill died after more than 50 Fortune 500 companies publicly opposed it.

Another proposal that would give religion-based adoption companies more legal cover if they denied services to LGBT couples and children was signed into law. California officials cited the new law, which they called discriminatory, in banning further state travel to Texas.

The Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based LGBT advocacy organization, included Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio on its list of "all-star" cities that have passed local ordinances prohibiting LGBT discrimination, even as top state officials reject statewide protections.
Outside of the region, the only other city to increase its score was College Station, the home of Texas A&M University, which saw an increase from 6 to 18 points since 2016. 

Each city's rank was calculated by considering five categories:
Nondiscrimination ordinances: The presence or absence of local laws barring discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
Municipality as an employer: Whether the city protects its LGBT workers from discrimination on the job and offers inclusive health care benefits.

Municipal services: Whether the city has a local "human rights commission" focused on LGBT citizens with a designated community liaison and whether anti-bullying rules are in place in schools.
Law enforcement Evaluates the relationship of the police force to LGBT citizens and tracks whether law enforcement reports hate crimes to the FBI.

Relationship with the LGBT community: How local leaders publicly express their stance on LGBT rights, and whether they push LGBT legislation.

HRC rated 506 cities this year, including all 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities and most-populous cities in each state, and the cities and towns with the states' largest public universities. In Texas, 25 cities were ranked.   Dallas News.  Lauren McGaughy

2017 Texas LGBT Equality Index

August 29, 2017

Rob Halford of Judas Priest Expresses Disappointment LGBT Have Not Advance More Rapidly




   

Judas Priest singer Rob Halford said he remains frustrated about the state of the LGBT equality battle.

He also said that he had always hoped things would have gotten far better than they have over the years. But he recalled the warmth he received from the hard-rock community when he came out as gay in 1998, after having become convinced he was going to suffer a “fallout” effect.

“I just get so frustrated and angry that here we are in 2017,” Halford told Fox Sports 910 via Blabbermouth. “Because of that society I grew up in, and to a still great extent today, we have this tremendous push back in equality. I always kind of felt as I was going through my teen years, my twenties and my thirties, things would be better – but they’re not. There’s still a long way to go in America and in my home country. And in some parts of the world, people like me get thrown off buildings. People like me get hung, just because of who we are.”

He compared LGBT struggles to those experienced by “people of color” and “people that have tremendous difficulties with accepting religions,” and added, “It’s a crazy world. You’d think that by now we’d have just figured things out – live and let live, love each other and just accept each other for who we are. Life is short.”

Recalling the moment he came out during an MTV interview, Halford noted, “The thing about gay people is that, until we come out of the closet, we’re always protecting other people – ‘I can’t do this because it’s gonna hurt so-and-so.’ We’re trying to live the lives of other people, and that’s the worst thing you can do. You’ve gotta learn to love yourself, then you can go out in the world and try and figure everything else out. So I said that thing, and I went back to the hotel and I thought, ‘What have I done? There’s going to be a fallout.’

“I’d never seen such an outpouring of love in all my life from everybody in the metal community,” he recalled. “‘Rob, we don’t care. We want you to be who you are.’ That was a tremendously uplifting moment for me. This just goes to show you that we in the metal community – probably because of the push back we felt because of the music we love – we are the most tolerant, the most open-minded, the most loving, the most accepting of all the kinds of music in rock’n’roll. So it was a great moment.”

Judas Priest is completing work on the follow-up to their 2014 album Redeemer of Souls. Halford will receive the inaugural Lemmy Lifetime Achievement Awards at the first annual Loudwire Awards on Oct. 24 in Los Angeles.

 Rob Halford on LGBT Rights: ‘I Always Thought Things Would Be Better’

 | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/rob-halford-lgbt-rights/?trackback=tsmclip

July 7, 2017

Everybody Loves Steven of Walking Dead


 

 pic by Youtube





It’s hard not to love Steven Yeun. His character, Glenn, on The Walking Dead, was a beloved everyman, and his recent turn as a radical animal rights activist in Okja has been called the “most realistic Korean American character in film history.” Yeun is the kind of actor you wish you could see in more roles—or on the cover of magazines—and his latest interview with Vulture’s E. Alex Jung won’t dispel you of that desire.
Yeun is reflective, charming, and very honest in addressing race and Hollywood, especially when it comes to Asians and Asian Americans. His thoughts are particularly interesting in the light of the scandal surrounding the pay gap between the white and Asian stars of Hawaii Five-0 which is still taking place at CBS.
A few highlights:
On why only a Korean-American could have played his role in Okja:
A Korean-American actor is very specific. I think if you got a native Korean who spoke English the comedy wouldn’t have worked. If you got a Korean-American who didn’t have a better understanding of Korean, it wouldn’t have worked. As an Asian-American person, K feels ostracized from the community on both sides and no one will really let him in, so he’s kind of at the mercy of what they decide. It makes him a little foolish; he just wants to be liked really bad, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get that.
On how Glenn was treated on The Walking Dead:
I didn’t think of it as racism, where it’s like, Oh, this is racist. I caught it in a way of Oh, this is how we’re viewed all the time – as part of some glob, some amorphous, non-individualistic collective. We’re like a Borg, and so because of that, they’re like, “Well, we don’t need to give the shine to that character. There’s all these other characters who are so cool!” I’d always hear people go, “I love Glenn, he’s my favorite character.” But the merchandise would go one way. That really might be the market, so I’m not going to sit here and be like, “Why didn’t they make Glenn merchandise?” But there was a disparity.
On what it means being a second generation Korean American:
Even I struggle with the fact that I’d been doing what America told me I am without even understanding I was doing it. I grew up in the suburbs of Michigan. Racism was not overt, it was super undercover, and while you’re there you don’t notice it. You think you’re fine, because 6 percent of your school is Asian, and that’s enough. ... Then you grow up, you go to a place that’s more diverse, you talk to other people, and you go, “Holy shit. I became exactly what everybody told me I was instead of being who I actually am.” That’s where I feel like a lot of Asian kids are.
On being an Asian American from a “weird” place:
Even now, talking about this new wave of Asian-Americans who are advocating for our fair shake is a beautiful thing, I think, but a lot of them are from the coasts! They’re getting, like, angry about new racism and it’s like, “Dude, I was formed by that racism.” I’m not saying their struggles are any less than mine, but mine is very different. You look at someone who comes from where we come from and they go, “Oh, you’re the dude who got whitewashed.” No dude, I had to survive, so I conformed, and now I’m finally fucking out of that matrix. I did it!
On turning down racist roles:
It was for a thing called Awesome 80s Prom, like Tony and Tina’s Wedding, where you physically go to a play but you’re in the play as a patron and they act around you and improvise. There was one Awesome 80s Prom in Chicago, and they go, “Bring an ‘80s monologue from a movie,” so I did Ferris Bueller’s opening monologue, and they’re like, “Can you do it in an accent?” I was like, “It’s Ferris Bueller, what do you mean do it in an accent?” And I realized they wanted me to do Long Duk Dong, so I left. I got reamed out by my brand new agent, but I was like, “Fuck that! I’m not doing that shit!”
You can read the full interview here.
Fusion.com

June 26, 2017

Singapore Resist While Vietnam is Become One of The Most LGBT Friendly Countries in Asia


 Vietnam Celebrates under the rain





LGBT rights in the global financial capital are murky at best, while Vietnam has been pegged as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Asia.

A global metropole, the small, tropical island of Singapore is the hub of crypto-capitalism: a country flanked by towering skyscrapers that boast of "progress" and "advancement," but where fighting for LGBT rights is still a tall order.
While queer marriages are prohibited, changing one’s gender is allowed — underscoring the country’s schizophrenic policies with regards to sexual rights, which palter about progressivism, but leave much to be desired. 

LGBT activists are gearing up for continued challenges after the government tightened rules this year for the upcoming Pride event, limiting the celebration that is already only allowed to take place once a year.
From ambiguity about their legal rights to facing censorship in the media, the terrain of LGBT equality in the global financial capital is nonexistent at worst, and murky at best.
Legal ambiguity and inequality for LGBT Singaporeans
For bisexual lawyer Indulekshmi Rajeswari, the country “does not recognize LGBT rights at all.”
“In fact, sex between mutually consenting men is still criminalized, through the infamous section 377A of the Penal Code,” she told teleSUR.
“There are no anti-discrimination laws in any sphere, including housing, employment, healthcare and so on. LGBT couples and families live in a legal limbo,” she continued.
According to Rajeswari, while queer and trans people pay the same taxes, they are not given the same access to government housing or tax breaks that “married, heterosexual couples take for granted.”
The “vocal but small religious right and the government’s interest in maintaining the status quo”, she explained, explains why LGBT Singaporeans continue to live in a state of legal ambiguity and inequality.
“Same but Different,” the new legal guide
In this arena of muddled rights, comes Rajeswari’s new guide titled, “Same but Different: A Singapore LGBT Legal Guide for Couples & Families.” Set to release July 8, the book will help LGBT Singaporeans navigate their legal rights.
"I knew my friends were asking me because they did not know other LGBT-friendly lawyers," Rajeswari told teleSUR of her inspiration to begin the guide in November 2015.
The crowd-funded project that has a team of 18 volunteers, delves into the "legal ambiguities" surrounding marriage and cohabitation contracts, property, wills and inheritance, medical decisions and children. 
The guidebook, to be published and distributed to LGBT organizations throughout the country, will also be made available for free online, filling a "much-needed resource gap" for social workers and other LGBT advocates alike.
"For example, we could not find any publicly available guidance on what is required to change one's gender legally," pressed Rajeswari.
"This is one of the many examples of the type of legal ambiguities that LGBT people in Singapore face. It is a type of ambiguity that is often hidden or rarely discussed," she said to teleSUR.
Parties versus policies
The guidebook is to come in handy as the community faces ongoing assaults on their rights.
For the past 8 years, LGBT Singaporeans have congregated in Hong Lim Park, “the only venue in Singapore where public protests are allowed," for Pink Dot, the annual Pride rally.
But this year’s event has been mired in controversy — with recent changes to the country’s Public Order Act barring foreigners from attending.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam told Parliament last month that the changes were made to prevent foreigners from “advancing political causes in Singapore.”
“As a government, we don’t take a position for or against Pink Dot, but we do take a position against foreign involvement,” he had added. “The point is this is a matter for Singaporeans, Singapore companies, Singapore entities to discuss.” 
For Rajeswari, Pink Dot and other public displays of LGBT pride illuminate only a tiny reality.
“How gay-friendly or trans-friendly Singapore is, depends on who you are and what you want out of life. There are gay parties, there is a relatively vibrant scene and most people are not afraid of being arrested for being gay. If you just want to party and have a good time, Singapore might seem great to you,” she said.
“However, we are not allowed to have Pride parades (except the annual Pink Dot gathering). Freedom of speech and freedom of association is in general very curtailed, so that applies to the LGBT community too. If you want any kind of rights, then Singapore starts looking less attractive,” she added.
Vietnam, one of the most LGBT-friendly places in Asia
In contrast, elsewhere on the continent, Vietnam has emerged as one of the most LGBT-friendly country advancing on a number of fronts in the last decade, leading NBC News to say in January 2015, “On gay rights, Vietnam is now more progressive than America."
That year, its ruling Communist Party of Vietnam removed a ban on same-sex marriage and also allowed those that undergo gender reassignment surgery to register under their preferred gender. At a hearing leading up to the legalization, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien proposed that same-sex marriage be made legal immediately, "As human beings, homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else to live, eat, love, and be loved," according to the Atlantic.
It was a decade prior to these achievements that Nguyen Hai Yen, searching for community and acceptance in a place still mired by homophobia and transphobia, turned to the internet.
“I became the administrator of a lesbian online forum,” Yen told NBC OUT. “The internet community was a safe space for us to meet, so we met each other and discussed things like dating or coming out.”
The year was 2004, and while there was an emerging network of online forums and websites for lesbians, gay men, gay teens and transgender women that had a large following, they remained separate and disconnected.
“The issue of rights for the broader LGBTQ community was never mentioned,” said Yen.
But things changed in 2008, when the Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment, a civil society organization in Hanoi, invited Yen and other online forum administrators to discuss the idea of building a more focused community.
“iSEE decided it should be the community’s voice that brought up their own issues,” Yen explained. 
March for marriage equality in 2015.
Just a few, short years later, Vietnam is set to celebrate its fifth year of pride celebrations in 36 provinces across the country.
“The first generation of leaders is now in their late 20s or 30s,” iSEE Chairman Le Quang Binh said. “They are (now) building the second generation of leaders … (who) are young, passionate, committed and daring.”
Still, despite the progress, the LGBTQ community still has its fair share of challenges that stem from deep-seated prejudices against them. But the movement fighting that has left even those involved with it for years, stunned. 
“The LGBTQ movement in Vietnam has had this really strange and unprecedented opportunity to grow so fast — it is head spinning,” Nga L.H. Nguyen, who joined the movement four years ago and is now on the organizing board of Viet Pride, told NBC OUT.
LGBT Singapore resists
Back in Singapore, Rajeswari is hopeful, recounting victories elsewhere in the region. Despite the battles, she notes the resilience of her communities.
“We have an LGBT-affirming counseling agency, Oogachaga, who do the very important work of helping LGBT people with their mental health and also work related to safe sex. We have organizations such as Sayoni, a queer women’s group, which does a lot of advocacy and welfare work,” she said. “This is not an exhaustive list, but we do indeed have a vibrant scene with lots of group working on their individual concerns.”
“(Our) community continues to be resilient by creating resources to help empower the community,” she told teleSUR.

June 4, 2017

How Some Rabbis Trying To Make Conservative Jews More Gay Friendly






The Jewish coming-of-age ceremony known as a bar mitzvah is always challenging. It happens at the awkward age of the early teen years, and requires the child to chant, before family, friends and congregation, from the archaic Hebrew of the Torah.
For Amichai Lau-Lavie, the Israeli-born scion of an Eastern European rabbinical dynasty, it was even more difficult. The section he read, called Kedoshim, contained the biblical prohibition against sex between two men: 
“A man who lies with a male as one would with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon themselves.”
It was a painful moment for Lau-Lavie, now 48, who had already realized he was gay.
Decades later, in part because traditional Judaism condemns homosexuality, Lau-Lavie left Orthodoxy to become a rabbi in the American Conservative movement of Judaism, which ordains LGBTQ rabbis and blesses same-sex marriages. 
But now, more than a decade later, Lau-Lavie and other Conservative rabbis are pushing for more change. Their activism represents one instance of how queer leadership is pushing the movement to modify its approach on a range of issues, including the study of Torah, the place of intermarried families and how synagogues are run.
The problem is that even while Conservative life is inclusive of LGBTQ people, it still places limits on their most intimate lives. It instructs gay men to avoid anal sex precisely because of the verse Lau-Lavie chanted at his Bar Mitzvah, and urged bisexual people to pursue relationships with those of the opposite sex. It also cited heterosexuality as the ideal sexual orientation.
Lau-Lavie and other Conservative rabbis believe those rules should be abandoned. Forty-nine-year-old Rabbi Adina Lewittes, who identifies as a lesbian, is leading the charge. 
She recognizes that queer people can be full participants in Jewish life, that they can marry and become rabbis. And few members of the movement are likely to know about these rules, much less follow them. But enshrining in Jewish law negative attitudes against homosexuality and bisexuality amounts to a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that leaves some queer Jews feeling excluded, she argues.
“Spiritual and halachic acceptance isn’t something to snatch underhandedly,” Lewittes wrote in a Forward op-ed, using the Hebrew word for “Jewish law.” “It’s something to be articulated with clarity and pride.”

April 20, 2015

The Gay “Longest Ride" Interview




East1 The hunky shirtless star of the Western romance The Longest Ride talks with our Chris Azzopardiabout his famous dad, gay marriage and sex in a barn.
Scott Eastwood has already provided a generous hunk of swoon-worthy shirtlessness, but the model-turned-actor is just getting started. In his first lead role as Luke Collins in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride, Clint’s sexy son makes you feel all the feels as a bull rider pursuing a hard-won girl (and, for good measure, flashing his now.
— Chris Azzopardi
Dallas Voice: Scott, you were obviously blessed with good genes, and people have taken note of that, many of them in the gay community. At this point in your career, how aware are you that gay men enjoy you?  Scott Eastwood: Now I am — you’re bringing it to my attention! I love it. I don’t discriminate against any fans. Fans are fans, and gay men are great. I support gay marriage and the whole bit. I think everybody should be able to be with who they want to be with. My dad is the same way. He’s a total Libertarian — everyone leave everyone alone. Everyone live their own private life. And why does everyone gotta be all up in arms about it? 
Your dad put it best when he spoke about gay marriage: “I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?!”  I’d give the same fucking quote — that’s perfect. I’m a firm believer that everyone’s human. We’re only on this planet for a short period of time, and we should all just be as kind as we can to other people because, in life, all you really have is how you affect people, in a negative way or a positive way.
How did you learn to embrace that mentality?  My mom — and my dad, too — was really a firm believer of it, and really compassionate and selfless. She’s such a firm believer that in life you gotta be compassionate. Everyone’s from different walks of life and everyone has their own reality, and to be uncompassionate is not very human.
You were a model for so long …  I wasn’t really a model for that long. People say that, but they don’t really know. I mean, I did a couple of modeling jobs, but I never really pursued that. I was like, “Oh well, that’s not really for me. I’m gonna do something different.”
East3Why wasn’t modeling for you?  I didn’t find it creative enough. It was cool, though. It paid some bills when I was in college as a struggling, broke actor.
Your body, however, is breaking barriers. I read a web comment recently that said, “Even I, as a Gold Star lesbian, look at this guy and state categorically, ‘A-hummina-hummina-hummina.’” What’s it like to know you can have that effect on even the lesbian community?  That’s awesome! I mean, I don’t really know what I’ve done that’s worthy of it.
You’ve taken your shirt off a few times, so there’s that.  Yup! 
The hat, the Levis, the boots. You rock that look like you were born a cowboy.  There’s probably a little bit of cowboy in me somewhere.
When it comes to gay roles, could you see yourself playing one? Is it too soon to get you in a Brokeback Mountain remake?  Oh my gosh, that’s funny! To me, it’s all about the script and the director. I’m very director-driven and material-oriented, so if it’s a great script and a great director, then yeah.
What do you look for in a great script and a great director?  Ohh. That’s hard to put into effect. It’s gotta have that je ne sais quoi, as they say. You don’t know why it’s amazing but it is.
What about this Nicholas Sparks movie stuck out to you when you read the script?  Well, for one, I love [director] George Tillman, Jr. — his films are great. I loved Men of Honor. I thought it was a fantastic movie. I thought that movie was an old ’90s drama, which don’t exist anymore. I was really so excited to work with him. I thought it was a very unorthodox choice to have him direct a Nicholas Sparks movie. And then geez — what else? The script was great.
East2The name of the movie, The Longest Ride, really lends itself to a porn spinoff down the line, don’t you think?  That would be amazing. That’d be so funny if that happened. And why not?!
Your sex scene in this movie wasn’t your first.  I’ve had a few. I’ve had about four or five.
What’s the trick to shooting a sexy sex scene?  Keeping your thoughts sort of… controlled.
In addition to keeping other things “controlled.” I’m only one man! I can only do what I can do. But I think it’s sexy. I mean, being in a shower with a beautiful, sexy woman — I was turned on! I had fun!
You’ve shown full butt before, and in this film, you graciously give us a glimpse. With this movie, how was it determined how much butt would be in the shot? For me, I didn’t really care. The butt thing — to me, this was a really classy story and a really classy movie, so I didn’t care about showing a little butt in there. That’s part of it. Sex scenes … you see a little bit of action, right? And that’s what makes a good sex scene. Not too much. You don’t wanna give it all away. You gotta leave something to the imagination.
Has your father seen the movie?  He hasn’t.
How do you feel about him seeing those scenes?  I’m really proud of the film, and I hope he enjoys it. It’s not all the time you do a film you’re really proud of.
What are or have been some of the challenges of creating a career independent of your father?  That people take me seriously. I’ve been doing it for 12 years, and I always say Hollywood is like high school. If you’re not the cool kid, you’re the outcast. And nobody really cares and people don’t take you seriously. I was never the cool kid. Definitely not the cool kid. And so I split. I split LA. I lived in San Diego. And there’s been a couple of moments I thought about throwing in the towel, for sure. I once heard from Mel Gibson. His advice was, “Just stick around and keep plugging away at it. Keep your head down and keep working hard.”
With so much attention on your shirtlessness, is there more pressure to prove yourself beyond the hunky exterior?  I don’t really think about it like that. I don’t spend a lot of time on it. There’d be a lot of wasted time if I let that consume my thoughts. I just keep my head down and do the best I can.
When you’re in a movie about love and relationships and sex, people are interested in your own personal experiences.  [Laughs]
How do you deal with those kinds of questions? Are you an open book?  Partially. I don’t give everything away. You gotta have your private life too. But I’m not shy. I love women.
Well, then, barn sex – yay or nay?  I mean, why not?!
  

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