James Franco Is Making a Musical With College Kids

Casting begins Sunday for Yale University's April showcase of James Franco Presents, where the actor will work with the Yale Drama Coalition to put together "the story of a girl dealing with the realities of love and life once she realizes she can’t hide behind the wonderful fantasies of fiction. A comedic drama, this musical incorporates film and live musical theater to tell the story of a cast struggling to write and produce a musical that is grounded in high school realities but with a sci-fi twist. Sex, blood, and surrealism to be expected." Well Mr. Franco did say he might be gay. [Yale Drama Coalition via IvyGate]

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It’s official: For GOP hopefuls, making life harder for LGBTs will remain a primary goal

Fischer-PawlentyHaley Barbour loves his gay marriage ban. Mike Huckabee loves most all gay marriage bans. And now a third potential 2012 presidential candidate on the GOP side, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, tells the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer that he’s itching to keep/reinstate a ban on open military service for gay soldiers:

Pawlenty: Bryan (Fischer), I have been a public and repeat supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but if you look at how the combat commanders and the combat units feel about it, the results of those kinds of surveys were different than the ones that were mostly reported in the newspaper and that is something I think we need to pay attention to. But I have been a public supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I would support reinstating it as well.

If Elected President, Pawlenty Tells Fischer He’ll Reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell [Right Wing Watch]

Ya know, I knew when I woke up this morning that I felt my sense of being able to breathe easily in my country subside just a bit. I thought I was coming down with something. Should’ve known it was just GOP primary season heating up.

Though we do should all give Mr. Pawlenty a compliment in terms of where he chose to make this statement. Because if one is going to support something as out-of-touch with the public as the reinstatement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, then it certainly makes sense to say it to a man who’s contributed things like this to the discourse:

“homosexuals in the military gave us…six million dead Jews

“homosexuals should be disqualified from public office

Called on Christian conservatives to breed gays and progressives out of existence,

Called gay sex a “form of domestic terrorism

Said only gays were savage enough for Hitler

Compared gays to heroin abusers

Directly compared laws against gay soldiers to those that apply to bank robbers

Invoked a Biblical story about stabbing “sexually immoral” people with spears, saying we need this kind of action in modern day

Spoke out against gays serving as public school teachers

Questioned why Medals of Honor are given to people who save lives (rather than take lives)

Said that open service will “assign the United States to the scrap heap of history”

Blamed gay activists for dead gay kids, saying that: “If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students.”

Good As You

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Homophobe Matt Barber accuses gays of making him look ‘limp-wristed’

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Since it's the weekend, I am going to take a break from the serious stuff and do something I enjoy immensely – making fun of the homophobic Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber.

On his Americans for Truth webpage, LaBarbera made the following claim regarding an interview between him and Barber:

In the first part of the interview, LaBarbera discusses how homosexual activists manipulated a photo of Matt taken at a pro-family protest to try and make him look “limp-wristed.” (Barber, a former heavyweight boxer, ably describes the “queer” activists’ penchant for putting down their foes by calling them …. homosexuals.) See the hateful Joe Jervis’ embarrassingly sophomoric use of the trick Barber photo HERE.

 LaBarbera is talking about this photo of Barber looking especially like he is “family.”

m barbdr The sad thing about LaBarbera' s statement is that so much of it is false. The photo was not taken at a “pro-family” protest. It was taken at an anti- Proposition 8 protest from two years ago. And we have proof of this because of the link LaBarbera so generously provided. The original photo is below.

Perhaps LaBarbera was claiming that Barber's presence equaled a “pro-family” protest. Well counting Barber and LaBarbera, that was two protesters there. Whoop te do. I wonder what they sang as a protest song.



And of course LaBarbera's claim of the photo being a “trick” is highly specious. I did not listen to LaBarbera's explanation of how this was possible (mainly because I prefer my Metamucil taken orally and not audibly) but from what Jervis told me, LaBarbera was claiming that the “trick” had something to do with the shutterspeed of the camera.


The original photo of Barber and other photos were originally posted on Pam's House Blend. So basically this idea that us gay activists manipulated a photo of Barber to make him look limp-wristed is a serious flight of fancy on the part of LaBarbera and Barber, much like the idea that either of them can be taken seriously as anything but two men with too much time on their hands and too much preoccupation with the so-called nocturnal habits of gay men. They both need to get real jobs.

Barber looking extremely limp-wristed in his photo had nothing to do with us. All we did was to take advantage of his faux pas because honestly, poking fun at Barber (and LaBarbera) is so enjoyable that is should be considered fattening.

UPDATE: Porno Pete LaBarbera accuses me of being a hypocrite while ignoring his own activities




Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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DADT and the making of Stone Soup

The passage of the DADT compromise a week ago had a lot in common with the making of Stone Soup.

You remember Stone Soup. The delicious soup that can be made from a single simple stone and some hot water. (And it tastes even better if you can get some totally unnecessary villagers to throw in some of their own bouillon, meat, and veggies.) And voila! You have delicious stone soup.

The DADT compromised was finally passed in a similar manner. Now, the President did more than bring a stone. But the recent effort to ignore the contribution of the villagers – aka activists – really needs to be called out.

To wit: A recent blog post at Huffington Post by NY gay writer David Kaufman. Kaufman contacted me, and admitted up front that he doesn’t often agree with me on gay issues, but he wanted my perspective for his piece, so I said sure, let’s talk. As I feared, the piece is a bit stone-soupy. It’s overall theme seems to be: Blogs don’t matter, blogs must be destroyed! And of course, it’s written as a blog post, but never mind that for a moment. To give you a flavor of the piece, here’s a line from the fourth paragraph about me:

Over at progressive site AmericaBlog, writer John Aravosis does thank Obama at the end of a long screed, but only with a tepid, “And even the “President, who finally got into gear (albeit a tad late) and made the calls necessary to make this happen.”

Now read my “screed” that Kaufman is referring to:

Join us in thanking the troops, but really in thanking everyone who had a hand in this. Here a few who really led the way:

Everyone at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United. Especially their leaders, Aubrey Sarvis and Alex Nicholson, both proud vets. Then there are the vets. Leonard Matlovich, Perry Watkins, Tracy Thorne, Zoe Dunning, Justin Elzie, Michelle Beneke (and Dixon Osborn, who isn’t a vet, but set up SLDN 17 years ago with Michelle), Grethe Cammermeyer, Joe Steffan, Keith Meinhold, Eric Alva, Victor Fehrenbach, and Dan Choi… and so many more.

And let’s not forget the activists who weren’t willing to take no for an answer. Robin McGehee at GetEqual and the entire gay Netroots. Our friends in the White House who have been pushing this for two years, in the face of some serious internal challenges. Our friends on the Hill, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid – who both got this done. Senator Udall of Colorado. Senator Gillibrand. Senator Lieberman (yes, he actually busted his butt for us). Senators Snowe and Collins, and every other Republican and Democrat who finally came our way. And Congressman Patrick Murphy, who went the extra mile for us. And even the President, who finally got into gear (albeit a tad late) and made the calls necessary to make this happen.

It’s not terribly clear how those paragraphs are anything comparable to an angry rant (the usual meaning of “screed”). Nor is it clear how my praise of the President – considering how critical we’ve been on him since the election – is a negative. But not matter. Let’s move on to the rest of the piece. It’s gets even better, so to speak.

The entire piece, sadly, has a bit of an Obama-bot quality to it. It’s a lot of the tired old arguments used by the administration’s apologists to justify the President’s inaction, and slow-action, on our issues.

While a few individual writers hardly speak for the entire LGBT community, there’s little doubt that the president has been vilified by many gay-stream leaders since his election two years ago. Yet considering the president’s impressive record on LGBT issues — from enacting hate-crimes legislation to extending benefits to federal employees and ending the ban on HIV-positive visitors entering the United States — that anger seems confoundingly misdirected. After all, wasn’t it President Clinton who approved both DADT in 1993 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) three years later — two of the most regressive laws in the history of civil rights legislation. And weren’t LGBT rights further imperiled under George Bush — who infamously opposed extending hate-crimes legislation to protect LGBTs and promoted a constitutional amendment defining marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution?

We’ve been through this before, when the apologists have brought out this list repeatedly to explain how great the President has been in keeping his promises, but let’s go through it again since clearly the message hasn’t sunk in,

1. Hate Crimes. It already passed in a previous congress, so shouldn’t have been a heavy lift in this one. In fact, the President’s defenders can’t tell us one thing he did to get Hate Crimes passed, one bit of political capital he spent. Yes, he did sign the bill. But any Democratic president would have done so. Don’t get me, wrong, I’m glad the President signed the Hate Crimes bill. But please don’t point to it as the one of the biggest things he personally did for us when you can’t point out what he did at all. Not to mention, for many people, Hate Crimes is very 1998. Welcome, but not where they’re at right now – which is DADT, ENDA and marriage.

2. Extending benefits to federal employees. Nice try. As we proved on this blog, and we were subsequently mentioned by the NYT for what we found, the President announced “new” benefits that gay federal employees had for at least the previous 15 years. They weren’t new at all. (Interestingly, what Hillary did at State was new, but not what the President announced as “new.”) Again, we’re recycling old administration talking points that have already been debunked.

3. Ending the HIV ban. As I recall, it only happened after a lot of dawdling and a lot of criticism from many advocates, not the last of which was Andrew Sullivan. So let’s not pretend it was a sure thing.

Then we have the “wasn’t it President Clinton who approved both DADT in 1993 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) three years later” argument. It’s not entirely clear what the point is. That Obama’s campaign promises on those issues don’t mater because Bill Clinton caused the problem in the first place? Nice deflection, but also supremely irrelevant.

Then there’s the old stand-by: invoking George Bush. Yes, President Obama is better than George Bush on gay rights. If that’s the definition of “fierce advocate,” being simply better than George Bush, then we truly have become a sad excuse for a civil rights community. Specific promises were made to our community, and we expect those promises to be kept, regardless of how much worse George Bush would have been. We didn’t vote for George Bush, we voted for Barack Obama. We expect Barack Obama to keep his promises made in exchange for our votes. Why is that such an unreasonable thing for some to comprehend?

Then the favorite old canard of Obamabots gets wheeled out. You’re upset at Obama because you’re a racist. Were we racists when we supported Obama over Hillary in the primary? Is Pam Spaulding racist against black people? Kaufman mentions Spaulding and Obama and race, but doesn’t bother pointing out that Pam herself is black. Kaufman does, however, point out that I’m white. I guess my race was a more convenient truth than Pam’s when attempting to play the race card.

Now what got Kaufman so upset about race and Obama is that some people expect members of minorities that face discrimination to be more sensitive to the plight of prejudice. If you’ve suffered discrimination, the argument goes, you should be more aware of, more attuned to, the discrimination suffered by others, and act accordingly. The argument isn’t racist, any more than Supreme Court Justice (and then nominee) Sotomayor was “racist” for her “wise Latina” comment, which basically suggested the same thing – that her life experience gave her unique insight, and she would act accordingly as a Supreme Court justice. Such insight is expected, especially of a Democrat who claims to be a fierce advocate of civil rights.

Kaufman suggests that such a notion holds African-Americans to a higher stand than their white counterparts. That’s because he fails to understand the different between higher expectations and higher standards. No one holds President Obama to a different standard than we would a white Democrat, or a white president more generally. Had Hillary defended DOMA and DADT in court, invoked incest and pedophilia to defend anti-gay laws, and dawdled on DADT, ENDA and DOMA for the longest time (not to mention a lot more), you’d better believe she’d have been just as criticized as Barack Obama. It’s absurd to suggest that she’d get a free pass for being white. I do, however, think that there’s something particularly sad when a member of a minority falls short on civil rights. Whether that minority member is Clarence Thomas, Michael Savage, or a far-right gay Republican – their ignorance and bigotry holds a particular sting, is particularly surprising and disappointing, because of who they are.

Of course, the irony here is that it was Kaufman himself who insisted on talking about race during our interview. I never brought the topic up even once, because I don’t think it’s relevant to the issue of Obama’s strategy on repealing DADT. Kaufman, however, was insistent that Obama’s critics were obsessed with the President’s race, and that his race was a key factor in why they were attacking him. I told Kaufman I didn’t think that was correct at all. Funny that fact never made it into the story – though Kaufman did manage to mention that I’m white. Now who’s obsessed with race?

What I told Kaufman, which didn’t make it into the story, was why I think President Obama largely got lucky with his strategy on DADT. He was lucky that the Pentagon study went our way. Lucky that the GOP filibustered the omnibus spending bill, forcing Harry Reid to take it off the floor and giving us time (we didn’t previously have) to give DADT one last shot. Lucky the Republicans didn’t demand even one single chance at offering an amendment on the DADT bill, which would have probably doomed the legislation because of the arcane procedural dance Senator Reid was doing to pull the bill up at all. Lucky we didn’t lose the Senate as well in the November elections, which would have scared Democrats into submission on every single issue, including DADT. The President was lucky that waiting until just a few weeks ago, to finally start making phone calls to Senators to lobby for DADT repeal, didn’t doom our chances at getting the bill passed. To suggest that the passage of the DADT legislation is prima facie evidence of the brilliance of the President’s strategy is the very definition of “stone soup.” It’s possible, just possible, that we won because the Netroots forced the President to get personally involved in an issue the President himself admitted isn’t seen as “good politics” by some of his advisers.

Perhaps my favorite part of Kaufman’s screed against the gay Netroots was the following line:

Perhaps, most telling of all, bloggers like Aravosis and Spaulding have virtually no impact on mainstream LGBT politics or thinking.

Yes. That’s why Kaufman is devoting an entire piece at the Huffington Post to bloggers like Aravosis and Spaulding – because we don’t matter. But putting that contradiction aside, Pam and Joe and I, and more generally the gay Netroots, supposedly have no impact on mainstream LGBT politics or thinking? Really? I seem to recall that Joe and I broke the story of the Obama administration’s infamous DOMA brief, the one that invoked incest and pedophilia. Kaufman would have you believe that that story had no impact on gay politics or gay thinking. Um, ok. (Of course, Kaufman doesn’t mention that those “new” benefits the President announced last year were intended to help quell the uproar created by our DOMA brief scoop – yeah, no impact). It wasn’t the first time, nor was it the last, that the gay Netroots created national news. We tend to do it a lot. And that news filters down to the gay body politic, and straight, alike.

Finally, if we’re so unimportant on the issue of LGBT politics, then why does Kaufman himself say that he thinks the President reads our LGBT politics blogs?

Despite the disconnect, one person who certainly is reading Aravosis, Spaulding and Towle is Obama himself. He invited them to the White House for the DADT-repeal signing, along with activists such as former Lt. Dan Choi and GetEQUAL’s Robin McGehee.

Are you really having no impact on LGBT politics when the President of the United States reads your writings on LGBT politics? It was the President who asked our own Joe Sudbay to the White House to be the first journalist writing for a gay publication to interview him as President. Why did President Obama do that if Joe Sudbay was so unimportant? And why did he invite Pam Spaulding and other Netroots critics to the bill signing for DADT if Pam and others had no impact on the DADT repeal effort (which is, the last time I checked, LGBT politics)? Clearly she did have an impact, and that’s why she was there.

I don’t want this post to be about tooting our own horn, as our accomplishments and track record on gay rights advocacy speak for themselves, but people like Kaufman need to decide which line of attack they’re going to use to discredit the President’s critics. Either we matter or we don’t. And if we don’t, then why spend nearly 1,200 words proving your point?


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Southern Poverty Law Center is making wingnut Matt Barber delirious

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

m barbdr You want to hear the funniest reaction from the religious right to the Southern Poverty Law Center profiling them for their anti-gay lies? Check this out:

Sometimes the most effective way to deal with a bully is to simply pop him in the chops. While it may not shut him up entirely, it usually gives him pause before he resumes flapping his toxic jaws. It also has the effect of showing the other kids in the schoolyard that they have nothing to fear. Though the bully struts about projecting the tough-guy image, he's typically the most insecure pansy on the block.

Such is the case with the bullies over at the fringe-left Southern Poverty Law Center. Having been recently “popped in the chops,” if you will, for a series of hyperbolic and disingenuous “anti-gay hate group” slurs against a dozen-or-so of America's most well respected Christian and conservative organizations – the SPLC now finds itself publicly struggling, outside of an extremist left-wing echo chamber, to salvage a modicum of mainstream credibility.

In response to the SPLC's unprovoked attacks, a unified coalition of more than 150 top conservative and Christian leaders across the country has launched a shock-and-awe “Start Debating, Stop Hating” media blitz to educate America about the SPLC's ad hominem, politically driven smear campaign.

The mainstream pro-family conglomerate already includes presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner, former presidential contender Mike Huckabee, four current U.S. senators, three governors, 20 current or newly elected members of the House of Representatives and many more.

As the controversy wears on and the facts become public, the moribund SPLC has understandably become increasingly defensive, strongly suggesting that it has come to regret this gross political overreach.

That passage is by the right-wing Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber in a recent column published by World Net Daily.  It's obvious that Barber has obsessed over gay sex so much that he is losing leave of his senses.

Barber's entire piece is empty hyperbole from a man claiming to win a poker game while he is playing with a dud hand.

What Barber calls a media blitz is an ignorant campaign by groups who don't want admit their wrongdoings teaming up with a bunch of shortsighted legislators and conservative leaders who themselves have engaged in ugly spin doctoring against the lgbt community . Their campaign hasn't resonated anywhere except for the lgbt community where we are rubbing our hands with glee while salivating over the notion that these individuals so easily (and stupidly) have put their necks on the chopping blocks and are waiting for us to come down with the axe at our leisure.
You see for the first time, the issue is not about whether or not lgbts have the right to equality. That's something which never needed to be argued. The issue is now, and deservedly so, why are these so-called moral groups saying these untrue and thereby unChristian things about the lgbt community.

Not exactly “shock and awe,” is it?

But what's even more hilarious is the fact that Barber actually accuses the SPLC of taking comments out of context:

. . . the SPLC has begun to grease the skids. Quotes cherry picked, taken out of context and misapplied are a powerful tool of the propagandist. Such are the Maoist techniques of the SPLC.

It's interesting how Barber uses that opening to claim that SPLC distorted a comment he made about hate crimes. But he conveniently ignores how the SPLC calls him out regarding the following comment he made:

There is nothing “conservative” about “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'”;

I would love to hear how that comment is a distortion. Or how about these from other religious right groups profiled by SPLC:

•Homosexual behavior ought to be outlawed;

•Gay sex ought to carry criminal penalties;

•Gays ought to be prohibited from serving in public office;

•Gay sex is domestic terrorism;

•”Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers … [because] homosexual soldiers basically had no limits [to] the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict.”

Then Barber does the standard religious right dodge – citing statistics from the CDC and other health organizations regarding health issues affecting the lgbt community.

Of course Barber conveniently omits the fact that the none of these organizations ever said that the lgbt orientation is indicative of bad health. They have said that homophobia leads to lgbts not getting the information or health care that they need. What Barber is doing is no different than a racist citing health organizations to claim that the African-American community is inferior.

Finally, Barber says the following, which pretty much nails down the fact that he has gone delusional:

Indeed, the SPLC and its allies are flailing violently as they swim upstream against a torrent of settled science, thousands of years of history and the unwavering moral precepts of every major world religion.

It's little wonder they've resorted to childish name calling.

Well Barber ought to know about name-calling. And the irony that he actually talks about “settled science” when he and his organization has gone against “settled science” when demonizing the lgbt community is the very height of audacity.

But lastly, Barber seems to have his fingers in his ears and his eyes closed.  It's sad really. While the Family Research Council tries to fight SPLC, Barber has actually convinced himself that the SPLC and the lgbt community is retreating in this controversy.


The lgbt community has had an excellent year. In courts, we've beaten DOMA and Proposition 8, gay adoption in Florida is now allowed after over two decades, George Rekers, a peddler of anti-lgbt propaganda was taken down, then there is that very interesting that happened this weekend. What was it? Oh yeah, the repeal of DADT after 17 years.

The lgbt community, nor the SPLC, aren't swimming upstream. We are coasting on a hot wave.

And you and your side are coasting, too.  But in the other direction. All of your phoniness about being moral and pro-family while engaging in a 20+ year of lies and propaganda against the lgbt community is finally coming to light.

You aren't just flailing. You are already dead on the water.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Martina Navratilova Won’t Be Making It To The Top Of Mt. Kilimanjaro This Week

Martina Navratilova thought she'd celebrate her million divorce settlement with Toni Layton by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Sorry. Ain't gonna happen.


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Making Every Vote Count in Pennsylvania

The following post comes from  Field Intern Alex Conlan. Alex is just one of 30 HRC staff that will be on the ground in 16 states by Election Day, working with HRC-endorsed candidates and engaging our membership about the upcoming elections:

Here in Bucks County, I’m out for Patrick Murphy, working to remind people to return their absentee ballots.  With ballots due this Friday, October 29th, this is our last weekend to get out and remind people who can’t vote at the polls that their vote can still be counted.  A number of people told me they were glad I came because they’d forgotten that they had received the ballot. That is exactly why I’m out here engaging voters.

One guy, whose wife was voting absentee, asked for a lawn sign.  I’m glad I stocked up! Whether it is handing out signs, encouraging our members to make their voice heard or reminding people to cast their absentee ballots, I am so proud to be out here working with HRC staff and volunteers to make a difference in such an important election.

Murphy is one of our strongest allies, and he is in a tough race this year. With Election Day just a week away, I will be out here doing everything I can to engage members and reminding everyone I meet that Patrick Murphy supports LGBT Americans.

Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign PAC and authorized by Patrick Murphy for Congress

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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*WARNING: No civil rights legacies were ably examined in the making of this ad

Good As You

—  John Wright

Video: Tony’s TV priorities: Making ‘Real Housewives’ drama seem that much less frivolous

Not sure which is more annoying about the following clip:

-Tony’s aggressive attempt to misinform the audience about Judge Walker’s ruling, acting as if it would force Christians to personally accept, preach in favor of, or perform same-sex marriage ceremonies (hint: it won’t!).

-That someone like Tony can talk for over twenty minutes about the California marriage case with several mentions of the voters who voted in favor of bias, yet not once mention the near-half of the state voters who came out against Prop 8, or the millions of gay people who are deeply affected by it. In what other political matter is that kind of oversight okay?!

-The host’s constant attempts to rile up a Texas vs. gays mentality (e.g. “As long as there’s a Texas, there’ll be a moral course”; “This wouldn’t happen in Big D, now would it?”)

-The host’s aggressively anti-intellectual explanation of how our republic supposedly works, which wholly ignores the crucial role of our independent judiciary

-The very fact that TBN had Tony on for two segments to discuss the biggest problems currently affecting our government and way of life, and gay people’s basic rights, fair treatment, and happiness is what he chose to discuss.

But hey, why choose just one piece o’annoyance. Here’s Tony’s full appearance from last night’s edition of TBN’s “Praise The Lord”:


Good As You

—  John Wright

Watch: Men Making Fashion Statement Attack Gay Marriage


My, the "traditional marriage" supporters in Harrisburg, PA are colorful and coordinated.

NOM Tour Tracker photographed this group from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property on NOM's penultimate stop in Pennsylvania.

They also interviewed the group's lead twink, who is adamant about his definition of a family.



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright