Pro wrestler ‘Money’ Matt Cage comes out

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Matt “Money Matt Cage” Hullum: Out and proud

“This one is gonna be kinda long and kinda personal and very real.”

That’s how pro wrestler “Money” Matt Cage started off a recent post, titled “Here goes nothing …” on his Facebook page.

The wrestler, whose real name in Matt Hullum, goes on to talk about how rejection has always been one of his biggest fears, but that he has grown older and matured “I have discovered I truly don’t care as much about rejection anymore.” And knowing that his family and friends will love him “flaws and all” and that his peers respect him for his work, Hullum said he was ready to put aside all deception and be honest about himself:

“That being said,” he wrote, “it makes it much easier to post here publicly that I’m gay.”

Hullum lives in La Salle, Ill., and makes a living traveling the indie pro wrestling circuit. He told Outsports that he chose to share his story in hopes that it would inspire and motivate others.

Hullum wrote on Facebook that for a long time he claimed to be bisexual, and while he still thinks women are beautiful, “I have no real intentions of pursuing females at this stage of my life. … I don’t think that’ll ever change. But I think that to continue to claim something that’s not true is just continuing a streak of dishonesty, and I don’t want that. Sorry, ladies. I’m officially pulling myself off the market. Don’t hate me too bad.”

Although he believes that “private matters should stay just that,” Hullum acknowledged that the “constant speculation and discussion” about his orientation was beginning to wear on him, causing him stress and prompting bouts of depression.

“I spent the majority of my life lying, hiding and depressed because I felt like I couldn’t truly be who I wanted to be and live freely as I saw fit,” Hullum wrote. “I had to act and that’s not me. I, nor anyone else, should have to do that.”

In the wrestling ring, Hullum said, he has always conducted himself in a professional manner and will continue to do so. He said he doesn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable and doesn’t believe he has done anything so far that would do that.

“Hopefully nothing changes, but if any relationships change from this post, I’ll know that I didn’t need those people in my life anyway,” he said. “I hope that the fans, the promoters and everyone else don’t change their opinions of me. I was the same person yesterday as I am right now, just now, I have a bit more weight lifted off of my shoulders.

“The stress, depression and worrying that has always come from this is something nobody should have to deal with. Depression is a very real thing, and some people don’t understand that. People often times cannot empathize. But know this: we are all human beings. We all have our own way, traits, personalities and things that make us our own person. Keep that in mind.”

Hullum ended by thanking his supporters and “those who have my back,” and by apologizing to “anyone I lied to or had to keep this secret from.”

He concluded, “To anyone who has ever been scared of just being real and telling the truth, you shouldn’t be. Yes, I was. But if the people you care about, or even those you don’t, are good people, it won’t matter … the way it SHOULD be.”

Outsports notes that response so far on Facebook, including from Hullum’s fellow wrestlers, has been positive and supportive.

—  Tammye Nash

‘Kill the gays’ measure tossed by California judge

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California AG Kamala Harris

A proposed ballot measure calling for gay people to be put to death for the “abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy” has been thrown put by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raymond M. Cadei, according to Patheos.com, the Progressive Secular Humanist website.

Huntington Beach lawyer Matthew McLaughlin filed the measure, asking that it be placed on the California state ballot for a vote. Titled “The Sodomite Suppression Act,” the proposed law required that gays be put to death by “bullets to the head” or “any other convenient method.”

California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked the court to throw out McLaughlin’s ballot measure. Judge Cadei did just that, ruling that it was “patently unconstitutional on its face.”

Without his ruling, Harris would have been legally required to proceed with putting the process of putting the measure on the ballot. Cadei, however, said advancing the proposal to the signature-gathering phase “would be inappropriate, waste public resources, generate unnecessary divisions among the public and tend to mislead the electorate.”

Harris, in a written statement, called the proposal “the product of bigotry, [that] seeks to promote violence, is patently unconstitutional and has no place in a civil society.”

Shortly after McLaughlin originally filed his proposed ballot measure, activist and author Charlotte Laws filed the “Intolerant Jackass Act,” which, if approved by voters, would require anyone who proposes measures calling for the death of gay people to attend monthly sensitivity training and to donate $5,000 to “a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization.”

—  Tammye Nash

Southwest Airlines brings in Jason Collins for Pride Month event

Collins at Southwest

Jason Collins

Former NBA player Jason Collins is headlining Southwest Airlines’ LGBT Pride Month Celebration today (Wednesday, June 24), at the airline’s Dallas Love Field headquarters.

Collins will will “share his personal journey as an openly gay player in the NBA,” according to a statement released this week by Southwest. The statement noted that the airline’s 2015 Pride event focuses on “Pride in Your Authentic Self,” and will include discussion on being an effective ally for the LGBT community. The event is open to employees of Southwest Airlines and Accenture.

Ellen Torbert, Southwest Airlines’ vice president of diversity and inclusion, said the airline is “proud of our commitment to the communities we serve. We have been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community and are pleased to champion their work to promote inclusive environments, and we are proud of the relationships we have with our local, regional and national community partners. These nonprofit organizations work hard to make a positive difference in the LGBT community.”

Southwest Airlines, now in its 44th year, has more than 47,000 employees and

—  Tammye Nash

Proud Parenting, Fisher-Price Launch LGBT Family Photo Gallery

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I have long believed that one of the best ways to empower LGBT people is to provide the community with “role models,” images of people “like us” that we can look to for strength, for inspiration — just for the reassurance that we are not alone.

When you are a young LGBT person struggling to come to terms with your identity, or struggling with others who can’t come to terms with your identity, seeing the image of a happy, successful LGBT person gives you hope. These same images can also help combat the hate and the lies that anti-LGBT forces try to use against us.

Even when you are a grown-up gay, already reasonably successful and happy, it helps to see images of others like you. And when you are an LGBT parent, it helps so much to know there are others out there like you.

That’s why I think the Proud Parenting LGBT Family Photo Gallery, launched today as a joint effort by Fisher-Price and Proud Parenting is such a great idea. Well, that and the fact that it’s pretty fantastic to see a toy company being so supportive of the LGBT community, especially considering how the haters are ALWAYS trying to say every LGBT person is a child molester, and using the “protect our children” mantra to deny us our rights.

Anyway. Back to the Proud Parenting LGBT Family Photo Gallery.

According to a press release from Fisher-Price, “ The goal of the program is to increase the visibility of LGBT parents and to encourage interaction and support between LGBT parents, their friends and their allies.”

The gallery is a curated collection of photos of LGBT parents with their families intended to “provide an authentic look into the proud lives of these modern families.” New families will be featured over the course of the summer through the Proud Parenting digital media outlets, promoted by Gay Ad Network on LGBT websites, social media and mobile aps.

Proud Parenting, by the way, is an online community for LGBT parents, prospective parents and their allies, which is owned and operated by Gay Ad Network. Fisher-Price is a brand belonging to Mattel.

Jeff Bennett, founder and editor-in-chief of Proud Parenting, said his organization is “excited to partner with Fisher-Price” on this project, adding, “With a longstanding history of diversity and inclusiveness, they are now leading the way for a new generation of families.”

And Hailey Sullivan, Fisher-Price’s director of marketing, said her company is “thrilled to partner with Proud Parenting for its first-ever program to increase the visibility of LGBT families. Fisher-Price is proud to help all parents give their children the best possible start in life.”

According to the press release, an estimated 3 million LGBT Americans have had a child, and as many as 6 million Americans have an LGBT parents. Even though same-sex marriage is not legally recognized nationwide yet, married LGBT couples comprise 50 percent of the Proud Parenting audience, and 61 percent have two or more children in their household.

Check out the Proud Parenting Gallery here on Facebook, here on the Proud Parenting website, and here on Instagram.

LGBT parents interested in participating in the gallery can submit their photos via the Facebook page.

ProudParentingFamily6

—  Tammye Nash

A musical proposal

Braeden and RyanWhen Braeden Ayres and Ryan Aguirre met, back in October 2013, they say, they fell in love almost immediately. Since both men are music teachers in public schools, a musical proposal is an obvious choice.

So Braeden, a Texas native, wrote a song about why he wanted to marry Ryan and gave it to the Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus, for which Braeden is assistant conductor and with which both men perform, under an assumed name. So the chorus rehearsed the song, intending to include it in a concert that was part gay Pride celebration and part tribute to Harvey Milk, never knowing that it was Braeden’s love letter to Ryan, and that Braeden had concocted a plan for special proposal.

During rehearsal one night, Braeden asked Ryan to come sit down and listen as the chorus performed the song, “Request,” contributed to the chorus by “Serena Redbay.” Braeden explained that he was actually the one who had written the song and that he had written it for Ryan. Then, as the chorus sang, Braeden went down on one knee and asked Ryan to marry him.

Braeden posted a video of the proposal to YouTube on June 4 (see below), and on June 10, Huffington Post published this interview with the two.

Congratulations Braeden and Ryan. Here’s wishing you many happy years together.

—  Tammye Nash

Dallas LGBT Task Force celebrates Pride

Screen shot 2015-06-08 at 5.14.22 PMThe city of Dallas’ LGBT Task Force celebrates national Gay Pride Month beginning at noon Wednesday, June 10, when the Task Force chairman, Councilman Adam Medrano of District 2, presents a proclamation signed by Mayor Mike Rawlings in Room 6EN — the Flag Room — at City Hall.

Here’s a schedule of other Pride events taking place this month:

• June 10, 6 p.m.: LGBT Rainbow Book Club and discussion at the North Oak Cliff Branch Library, 302 W. 10th St. Refreshments will be served. Bring your favorite LGBT book. June is also LGBT Book Month, and the Dallas Library will be Tweeting a new book recommendation each day this month.

• June 13: Bahama Beach LGBT Day, 1895 Campfire Circle. Guests should indicate that they are attending for LGBT Day to receive reduced admission ($9, down from $15).

• June 20-21: Juneteenth Pool Party and Juneteenth Unity Barbecue, sponsored by United Black Ellument in collaboration with Dallas Southern Pride. Pool party, 5-10 p.m. June 20 at 3121 Ross Ave. Unity Barbecue, 2-7 p.m. June 21 at Stone Tables Pavilion, 650 E. Lawther Drive. For information visit UBEDallas.org/Juneteenth. The Unity picnic is also sponsored by Cosmopolitan Congregation of Dallas.

• June 26, 1-5 p.m.: Children’s Rainbow Crafts and Movie, at the Children’s Center at the J Erik Jonsson Central Library, with children and families invited to make fun rainbow crafts and relax with a family-friendly movie. Drop-in crafts start at 1 p.m., and the movie starts at 2 p.m.

• June 27, 4-7 p.m.: Rainbow Family Day at Dallas City Hall Plaza, 500 Marilla St., with activities for the whole family.

—  Tammye Nash

Jenner’s Vanity Fair author in epic fail on ‘CBS This Morning’

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Buzz Bissinger

Most people in the LGBT community agree that Caitlyn Jenner’s very public transition will touch a number of people who have never known (or knew that they knew) a transgender person, and those who never understood the concept of gender identity. No matter what you think of Jenner’s story, that’s a great thing.

However, Buzz Bissinger, the author of the Vanity Fair piece released yesterday (June 1), appeared on CBS This Morning and, in an epic fail, repeatedly used the expression “sexual preference” when he was talking about sexual orientation.

Maybe the point was to have a writer who knew nothing about the LGBT community write the story. Bissinger followed Jenner’s transition for more than a year before writing the story.

But how can someone who doesn’t understand sexual orientation explain the difference between someone’s orientation and their gender identity?

How can he explain credibly that gender identity is innate if he thinks someone’s attraction to others is just a preference? Does he believe “sexual preference” can be changed? If it’s just something you prefer, then maybe another orientation is fine, too.

I think Gail King winced during the interview, but maybe I’m just reading something into it.

—  David Taffet

Labor Secretary Tom Perez: Promoting opportunity for all Americans

Tom Perez

U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez

By Secretary Tom Perez

U.S. Labor Department

 

Pride Month gives us an opportunity to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have had on our nation. Here at the U.S. Department of Labor, it’s also a chance for us to recommit to our efforts to ensure equal rights for LGBT workers, and to celebrate the great work we’ve done on this front.

We have a responsibility to make sure that every worker has the same opportunity to pursue and realize their dreams, and we take that responsibility very seriously — and not just because it’s the right thing to do, which it is.  It’s also the smart thing to do.

Diverse and inclusive workplaces are productive workplaces. Our economy works best when we field a full team, so we can’t afford to leave any talent on the bench.

At DOL, our agencies are doing great work to advance the rights of LGBT workers. We’ve worked to implement the president’s Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

We’ve taken steps to make sure that all families receive the benefits and protections of our programs and services. We’ve made clear that job training and other workforce programs in the nation’s workforce development system may not discriminate against someone because of gender identity, gender expression or sex-stereotyping. We’ve worked to make workplaces more inclusive for transgender workers.

And we’ve done so much more. In fact, you can read about all of the work we’ve done to protect and empower LGBT workers in a new report here. http://1.usa.gov/1FPeKGy.

We’re proud of our accomplishments on behalf of LGBT workers and job seekers and their families. Of course, for all our progress, there remains more work to do.

As we celebrate Pride month, we also celebrate our continued commitment to building on our accomplishments going forward so that every person in our nation can realize their highest and best dreams, no matter who they are or whom they love.

—  Tammye Nash

‘Call me Caitlyn’ — TMZ leaks Vanity Fair cover with Jenner photo

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The Vanity Fair cover featuring the photo of the former Bruce Jenner as a woman has been leaked on TMZ.com, with the headline “Call me Caitlyn.”

The photo is by Annie Liebovitz and the story is by Buzz Bisinger.

TMZ says: “In theDiane Sawyer interview Bruce made it clear he was saying farewell to his male persona. This pic is a full reveal of the transformation. Caitlyn just opened a Twitter account, saying, ‘I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.’

There is also a video — see below — “where Caitlyn models several outfits and seductively poses.”

—  Tammye Nash

25 Stories of LifeWalk: Raeline Nobles

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Raeline Nobles

LifeWalk, the  5K held each October to raise money for AIDS Arms and other North Texas AIDS service agencies, marks its 25th year this fall. And to celebrate, each Friday for the 25 weeks leading up to the event, AIDS Arms is posting another Story of LifeWalk.

This week’s story comes from Raeline Nobles, AIDS Arms’ longtime executive director, who retired a few years ago.

Check it out here.

—  Tammye Nash