LGBT celebs tweet responses to Obama’s support of marriage equality

The big news of the day for LGBT Americans is President Obama’s vocal support of marriage equality which he stated in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. After the jump, read just a select few tweets from LGBT celebs who took to the Twitter-verse with their responses to Obama.

—  Rich Lopez

A reminder that all rights are human rights

Last week was International Women’s Day, which I had meant to write about, but frankly became distracted and forgot. I’m not a woman, of course, but my feeling is that pioneers of human rights — women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights for African-Americans — should be part of our consciousness, if we expect the populace to treat our cause with respect. (I’m often frustrated by those who deny that gay rights are the equivalent of rights for women or blacks. “They don’t choose to be black/women,” indicating an entirely appalling misunderstanding of the nature of sexual orientation.)

Then I saw this on Facebook: A link to a story in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper about a Twitter thread showed the depth of inequality out there (as well as many people who are satisfied with ignorance, with characterizing the “new freedom” as a right to be a bigot — I’m looking at you, Piers Morgan!). (“What gives you the right to criticize anyone, you dumb queer?” is a message I have gotten many times after posting a review. I think, “At least every criticism I’ve ever posted of someone had my name attached; your hate mail is always unsigned.”)

Just yesterday, Phyllis Schlafly was on NPR stating categorically that feminists hate men and always have. Well, I’m a feminist, and I love men. Feminism isn’t a movement, it’s a belief in the equal rights of all people. Feminism is humanism.

Anyway, here’s the link to the Guardian story. Read it. And think about what it means that 40 years after the ERA NOW slogan, we all still have a very long way to go. (In other news, Mad Men starts up next month. Can’t wait.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

All the single gays (boys and girls) needed for Indie-Verse and 35 Denton’s Blind Date Contest

Thanks to Brad over at Tactics Productions for pointing this out to me: The Indie-Verse site and 35 Denton festival peeps have teamed-up to give music-loving singles the hook-up in love and tunes. They have just announced the 35 Denton Blind Date contest in which three pairs of tickets will be awarded to contest winners.

The plan is to pair six guys and six gals to set up with three other contestants. They have started taking entries already once their announcement posted. Plus, they are open to same-sex contestants — if enough apply. Once contestants have been selected, they follow up with three virtual dates on Twitter escaping the need for a shave and a shower. Score! Twitter convos are #hashtagged so the date can be followed and the final determination on the best blind date(s) and bam! 35 Denton tickets. It’ll just be up to you to sweep someone of their feet in 140 characters minus the appropriate tags. You can do it. From Indie-Verse.com.

So here’s the plan… we’ll be picking 6 lucky guys and 6 lucky girls and setting them up with 3 of our other contestants. Our last year’s winners, Deb Doing Dallas, will be helping us out in the selection process, since we’re just as blind in this whole dating thing as you all seem to be… maybe she’s got a great POV. We’ll start taking entries as soon as this post is live… We’re TOTALLY open to same-sex contestants, but you have to specify… if we have enough, it’s on.

Click here for the official breakdown of how the contest works. Props to Indie-Verse and 35D for not forgetting the gays love their indie music (and hookups), too.

This year’s 35 Denton fest runs March 8-11 and will feature more than 150 bands including major acts Jesus and the Mary Chain, queer artist Atlas Sound, Best Coast and Built to Spill.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Brandon Hilton’s “Set Fire to the Night”

When I heard that Dallas-based singer Brandon Hilton’s newest single was titled “Set Fire to the Night,” I tweeted him asking what would Adele say about it since she has her song “Set Fire to the Rain.” With a confident bravado, he quickly tweeted back:

That was back in December. It was kind of funny, but also significant of Hilton’s self-assurance. Like him or not, Hilton is relentless in his drive to be a viable pop star and his new video released this week proves he’s trying to step up his game. It may not have the slick production value of a major artist, but there is a sense of graduation as he attempts to say something here — or just get your attention. And the visual effects, while not big budget, do make a memorable impression.

But the party beat and slashed to hell editing makes the video work for me. Although I do wish he had followed up with that big smack in the beginning of the video. What happened to that bully? Did he get his? A bunch of different images and looks override the opening and we’re left hanging. Don’t forget the story, Hilton.

Watch the video after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH LIVE: Wash. Senate vote on marriage

Via Twitter, above is a shot of the standing-room-only crowd tonight in the gallery of the Washington Senate, which is reportedly set to debate and vote on a marriage equality bill at 8 p.m. Central time (6 p.m. Pacific).

We’re told you’ll be able to watch the proceedings live here. The Twitter hashtag is #WA4M.

The bill is widely expected to pass both the Senate tonight and the House at a later date. Gov. Christine Gregoire supports the bill and would sign it. However, Washington is a referendum state so once the bill becomes law, the opposition will have until June to collect 120,557 valid signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: The Senate convened at 8 p.m. Dallas time but quickly stood at ease so the two parties could caucus. The Senate is expected to reconvene shortly.

UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: The Senate has reconvened and is working its way through several amendments to the bill, many of which deal with exemptions for religious institutions.

UPDATE, 10 p.m.: The Senate voted 28-21 to approve the bill. Here’s a press release from Washington United for Marriage:

Washington State Senate Approves Historic Legislation Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage
Bill passes 28-21 on bipartisan vote; house approval expected as soon as next week

OLYMPIA – Washington United for Marriage, a broad statewide coalition of organizations, congregations, unions and business associations that will work to obtain civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Washington State in 2012, today cheered the Washington State Senate’s vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage legislation in Washington State.  The measure passed by a bipartisan vote of 28-21, with 23 Democrats and four Republicans joining together to advance the bill.  

“We thank Majority Leader Brown, Sen. Murray and the bipartisan coalition of senators who stood with us today in the name of equality,” said Lacey All, Chair of Washington United for Marriage.  “The overwhelming support we’re seeing from businesses, labor, faith communities and people all across the state is a testament to the momentum of this movement and sensibilities of Washingtonians.  Volunteers from every part of the state have contributed thousands of hours of their time to make today possible, and we thank them for their commitment to this issue.”

“As small business owners who pride ourselves on contributing to our community, we are so grateful that today has arrived, and especially for the support of our senator, Mary Margaret Haugen,” said Larry Lowary and Gerry Betz, longtime residents of Washington who live on Whidbey Island.  “We’ve been together for 23 years and entered into our domestic partnership five years ago.  Now we’re looking to the day when we’ll be able to look into each other’s eyes, exchange our vows and finally say ‘I Do’ just like anybody else.”

“The action of the senate today means so much to us, and we thank all the senators who supported this legislation” said Tara Wolfe and A.J. Stolfus, longtime partners from Olympia.  “We moved to Washington years ago in part because of the open and welcoming nature of the people here – something we didn’t always see in Kansas.  We’re simply overjoyed that our friends, family and neighbors can soon recognize us as spouses and our family as being whole.”

The bill now awaits final house approval, which could come as early as next week.  Once the house has passed the legislation, Gov. Chris Gregoire would have five business days to sign it into law, which she has indicated she will do.  Opponents wishing to challenge the new law would have until June to collect 120,557 valid signatures – the amount required to place a referendum on the November 2012 ballot.

—  John Wright

10 Twitter suggestions for Astros’ new name

During a press conference yesterday Houston Astros owner Jim Crane suggested he would be open to changing the teams name. Crane also announced cheaper beer ($5!) at Astros’ games, new rules permitting fans to bring their own food/water to games, and more affordable tickets, but to read Twitter you’d think the name change was all he talked about. Here’s 10 of Houstini’s favorite suggestions:

 

…and Houstini’s personal favorite:

Don’t forget you can follow Houstini on Twitter @Houstiniblog.

—  admin

Girl Scout cookie boycott may backfire, if Twitter is any indication

The Huffington Post reports on an effort to boycott girl scout cookies in response to the organization’s trans affirming positions. Last fall, after a Colorado troop leader initially refused to allow Bobby Montoya to participate because she was identified as male at birth, Girl Scout leaders in that state with the support of the national organization quickly responded by re-enforcing their policy of allowing all girls to participate. “If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl,” said the GSC statement, “Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

That act of common decency inspired this video:

If the initial response on Twitter is any indication, however, the burgeoning boycott may backfire, begetting a bumper year for Tag-a-longs, Thinmints and Trefoils (those yummy shortbread cookies).

—  admin

LISTEN: Top 10 Christmas songs by LGBT artists

Yes, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole will likely make appearances today singing their famous Christmas tunes, but queer artists have their signature contributions as well. I mean, Fred Schneider’s ridiculous humor may not compare with traditional carols, but he proves we need a little disco year round. And Pink Martini can croon just like the best of them.

Here’s a rundown of my top queer Christmas tunes for the day to add your to mix. Bing and Nat won’t mind the company.

10.  The Superions — “Christmas Disco” This album is a pure exercise in the absurd, but Fred Schneider’s side project turns the reverent holiday into a flat out house party.

—  Rich Lopez

Christian group calls to pray for George Michael’s death

I blogged Monday in Queer Music News that singer George Michael has been hospitalized in Austria due to pneumonia. In that post, I added that Fox News reported there is speculation that his illness is much more severe than being let on. This appears to have spawned the group Christians for a Moral America to action and have called for the singer’s demise.

Huffington Post’s Gay Voices posted tweets by Kyle (@GodsWordIsLaw) from Nov. 26 about their intentions. His profile cites @CFAMABlog as the group’s official feed. From HuffingtonPost.com:

After the Daily Mail reported that Michael’s family and long-time partner Fadi Fawaz had gathered at his bedside in Vienna, Christians For A Moral America took to Twitter, claiming the singer “has AIDS” and calling for followers to pray for the his demise in light of his “satanic lifestyle.”

Read their Twitter posts after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Poll: Young people jaded by slurs online, including ‘fag,’ ‘that’s so gay’

Many report seeing language, but few realize it can be hurtful

CONNIE CASS and JENNIFER AGIESTA  |  Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Young people immersed in the online world are encountering racist and sexist slurs and other name-calling that probably would appall their parents and teachers. And most consider it no big deal, a new poll says.

Teens and twentysomethings say in an Associated Press-MTV poll that people feel freer to use hurtful language when texting on their cellphones or posting to sites like Facebook than they would face to face. Half the young people regularly see discriminatory slang — including racial taunts and words like “slut,” “fag” and “retard” — and the majority say they aren’t very offended by it.

Those surveyed are twice as likely to say biased slurs are used to be funny as they are to think that the user is expressing hateful feelings toward a group of people. Another popular reason: to sound cool.

“They might be really serious, but you take it as a joke,” said Kervin Browner II, 20, a junior at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. He’s black but says the ugly words he sees are generally aimed at women, not minorities. And although Browner doesn’t like it, he doesn’t protest when his friends use those words on Twitter. “That’s just how it is,” he said. “People in their own minds, they think it’s cool.”

When the question is asked broadly, half of young people say using discriminatory words is wrong. But 54 percent think it’s OK to use them within their own circle of friends, because “I know we don’t mean it.” And they don’t worry much about whether the things they tap into their cellphones and laptops could reach a wider audience and get them into trouble.

Those who use slurs are probably offending more people than they realize, even within their own age range. The poll of 14- to 24-year-olds shows a significant minority are upset by some pejoratives they encounter online, especially when they identify with the group being targeted.

“It’s so derogatory to women and demeaning, it just makes you feel gross,” Lori Pletka, 22, says about “slut” and more vulgar words aimed at women. The Southeast Missouri State University senior said she regularly sees other offensive terms, too — for black people, Hispanics and gays.

But even the most inflammatory racist slur in the AP-MTV poll — the “N-word” — didn’t rouse a majority of young people. Only 44 percent said they’d be very or extremely offended if they saw someone using it online or in a text message. Thirty-five percent said it wouldn’t bother them much, including fully 26 percent who wouldn’t be offended at all.

Among African-American youth, however, 60 percent said they would be offended by seeing the N-word used against someone.

Four in 10 young people overall said they encounter that word being used against other people, with half of those seeing it often.

Other derogatory expressions are more common and accepted. Majorities see “slut” and “fag” used against others, and only about a third consider them seriously offensive.

But 41 percent of women deem “slut” deeply offensive (jumping to 65 percent if it’s used against them specifically), compared with only 28 percent of men. And 39 percent of those who are gay or know someone who is gay are seriously offended by the use of “fag,” compared with 23 percent of all others.

Demeaning something with “that’s so gay” is so common that two-thirds of young people see it used, and the majority aren’t offended at all, despite a public-service ad campaign that tried to stamp out the anti-gay slang.

A similar effort by the Special Olympics and others to persuade kids not to use “retard” hasn’t hit home with half of those surveyed, who don’t find the word even moderately bothersome. Twenty-seven percent are seriously offended, however.

Some teens just text the way they talk. Calling each other “gay” and “retarded” is routine in high school, says Robert Leader, 17, a senior in Voorhees, N.J. So teens text it, too.

But constantly seeing ugly words on their electronic screens may have a coarsening effect. “It’s caused people to loosen their boundaries on what’s not acceptable,” Leader said.

What group gets picked on the most? Those who are overweight. And slurs against the overweight are more likely to be considered intentionally hurtful than slights against others; 47 percent say these comments are meant to sting.

Muslims and gays also are seen as targets of mean-spiritedness.

In contrast, only a third say discriminatory words about blacks are most often intended as hurtful, while two-thirds think they are mostly jokes. And 75 percent think slurs against women are generally meant to be funny.

That blasé attitude could lead them in trouble.

Four out of 10 young people have given little or no thought to the ease with which their electronic messages could be passed to people they didn’t expect to see them; less than a quarter have thought about it a lot. Two-thirds haven’t considered that what they type could get them in trouble with their parents or their school. But it happens.

A 13-year-old Concord, N.H., girl was suspended from school for posting on Facebook that she wished Osama bin Laden had killed her math teacher. The University of Texas Longhorns dismissed a sophomore football player for his racial slam against Barack Obama on Facebook after the 2008 presidential election. And a Harvard law student’s email to friends, suggesting that blacks might be intellectually inferior, was forwarded across the Internet, prompting the law school dean to publicly denounce it.

“People have that false sense of security that they can say whatever they want online,” said Pletka of Cape Girardeau, Mo. “Anything that you put into print can be used.”

The AP-MTV poll was conducted Aug. 18-31 and involved online interviews with 1,355 people ages 14-24 nationwide. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The poll is part of an MTV campaign, “A Thin Line,” aiming to stop the spread of digital abuse.

The survey was conducted by Knowledge Networks, which used traditional telephone and mail sampling methods to randomly recruit respondents. People selected who had no Internet access were given it for free.

—  John Wright