Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Trump Promised to Be LGBTQ-Friendly--His First Year Shows That Was a Huge Lie

Vox reports:

President Donald Trump said he was a different kind of Republican. As someone from liberal New York, he signaled that he would be the person to finally move his political party on LGBTQ issues. He held up a Pride flag at a campaign event, and he said the key acronym (“L, G, B, T … Q”) at the 2016 Republican convention.

In its first year, the Trump administration has tried to reinstate a ban on transgender people in the military. It has nominated multiple people to the courts and elsewhere who have anti-LGBTQ records. It has directed its army of federal lawyers to take the anti-LGBTQ side in court cases. And it has done some extraordinarily petty things, like refusing to recognize Pride Month.

Together, it all marks a significant shift from President Barack Obama’s administration. In the runup to his 2012 reelection, Obama became the first sitting president to support same-sex marriage. His administration interpreted civil rights law to protect trans people where other existing laws failed to. It reversed “don’t ask, don’t tell” — which banned gay people from serving openly in the military — and began to reverse a similar ban on open trans service members. In court cases in which it chimed in, the Obama administration was a reliable ally of LGBTQ rights causes. And it took on smaller yet still symbolic causes, such as designating the Stonewall Inn as a national monument.

The Trump administration, based on a review of what it’s done so far, has essentially worked to undo all of this progress. . . . 
From Trump’s nominations for courts that will decide the expanse of LGBTQ rights across the country to his administration dictating who has basic civil right protections, it’s an agenda that could seriously harm LGBTQ people in the years and perhaps decades to come.

See full story here.

Happy Birthday to Jazz Vibraphonist Gary Burton

Gary Burton was born today, January 23, in 1943. He is an American jazz vibraphonist, composer, and educator. Burton developed a pianistic style of four-mallet technique as an alternative to the prevailing two-mallet technique. This approach caused him to be heralded as an innovator, and his sound and technique are widely imitated. He is also known for pioneering fusion jazz and popularizing the duet format in jazz, as well as being a major figure in music education from his 30 years at the Berklee College of Music.

Burton was born in Anderson, Indiana. Beginning music at 6 years old, he mostly taught himself to play marimba and vibraphone. He began studying piano at age 16 while finishing high school at Princeton Community High School in Princeton, Indiana. He has cited jazz pianist Bill Evans as the inspiration for his approach to the vibraphone.

Burton attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. He studied with Herb Pomeroy and soon befriended composer and arranger Michael Gibbs. After establishing his career during the 1960s, he returned to join the staff of Berklee from 1971–2004, serving first as professor, then dean, and executive vice president during his last decade at the college. In 1989, Burton received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee.

Early in his career, at the behest of noted Nashville saxophonist Boots Randolph, Burton moved to Nashville and recorded with several notable Nashville musicians, including guitarist Hank Garland, pianist Floyd Cramer and guitarist Chet Atkins.

After touring the U.S. and Japan with pianist George Shearing, Burton played with saxophonist Stan Getz from 1964 to 1966. It was during this time that he appeared with the band in the movie Get Yourself a College Girl, playing "Girl from Ipanema" with Astrud Gilberto. 

In 1967 he formed the Gary Burton Quartet with guitarist Larry Coryell, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Steve Swallow. Predating the jazz-rock fusion craze of the 1970s, the group's first album, Duster, combined jazz, country, and rock. However, some of Burton's previous albums (notably Tennessee Firebird and Time Machine, both from 1966) had already shown his inclination toward such experimentation. After Coryell left the quartet in the late 1960s, Burton hired a number of well-regarded guitarists: Jerry Hahn, David Pritchard, Mick Goodrick, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Julian Lage.

Burton was named Down Beat magazine's Jazzman of the Year in 1968 (the youngest to receive that title) and won his first Grammy Award in 1972. The following year Burton began a 40-year collaboration with pianist Chick Corea, recognized for popularizing the format of jazz duet performance. Their eight albums won Grammy Awards in 1979, 1981, 1997, 1999, 2009, and 2013.

From 2004 to 2008 Burton hosted a weekly jazz radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio. In 2011, he released his first album for Mack Avenue Records, entitled Common Ground featuring the New Gary Burton Quartet (with Julian Lage, Scott Colley, and Antonio Sanchez). In 2013, the group released "Guided Tour," their 2nd recording for Mack Avenue Records. Burton's autobiography, Learning to Listen, was published in August 2013, and was voted "Jazz Book of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Burton retired from performing in March 2017 following a farewell tour with pianist and longtime collaborator Makoto Ozone.

Following an early marriage in his twenties, Burton married for a second time, in 1975 to 1984.

By the 1980s, Burton was in a gay relationship and he came out publicly in a 1994 radio interview with Terry Gross, making him one of rather few openly gay jazz musicians of prominence. In 2013, he married his longtime partner, Jonathan Chong.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Laverne Cox Become First Transgender Cosmo Cover Girl

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Laverne Cox is making magazine cover history yet again.

Cox, who appeared on the cover of Time in 2014, is the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of Cosmopolitan.

The trans actress and activist graces the cover of Cosmopolitan South Africa, which has been given an LGBTQ makeover for a special “Say Yes To Love” issue.

Inside the covers of the magazine, readers will find a handwritten note from Cox.

“Your voice matters, the truth of who you know yourselves to be matters. The truth will set you free!” it reads.

See full story here.

Congratulations to Out and Proud Gus Kenworthy for Qualifying for Second Olympic Team

Teamusa.org reports:

Gus Kenworthy has a date with history.

On Sunday [Jan. 21, 2018], he earned not only the chance to go for the gold in slopestyle skiing at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, but also to be one of the first two openly gay men to compete for the U.S. at the Winter Olympics. Adam Rippon, the 2015 U.S. figure skating champion who qualified for the Games earlier this month, is the other.

Kenworthy qualified for his second Olympic team when he finished second at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain in California, in the fifth and final Olympic selection event for slopestyle. The second-place finish gave the 26-year-old the two podiums needed to meet objective criteria for the Olympic team, after he won the grand prix event at Snowmass in Colorado last week.

Canada’s Evan McEachran won the second final held Sunday with a score of 96.40. Kenworthy earned a 94,80, while Nick Goepper, who qualified for the Olympic team earlier in the day, was third with a 93.20.

Kenworthy, who literally bent over backwards in a gruesome crash during Friday’s halfpipe competition, set the bar on his opening run.

He nailed every trick, hitting a big right double 1260, a switch left double cork 1260 and ended with a massive triple cork 1440 to take command of the leaderboard after the first run.

See full story here.

NewNowNext reports:

Gus Kenworthy has a lot on his shoulders these days. But not dandruff.

With the Olympic Winter Games coming up next month in PyeongChang, South Korea, Head & Shoulders has named the U.S. freeskier its newest ambassador.

“As the first openly gay action sports athlete, Kenworthy will be featured within the brand’s Shoulders of Greatness campaign, which highlights all of the things people carry on their shoulders—pride, pressure, expectations—and how that motivates them to overcome any challenges and focus on achieving greatness,” reads an official statement from the brand. “Head & Shoulders celebrates how Kenworthy carries pride in himself, his country, his family and his community, allowing him to achieve greatness as he looks ahead toward PyeongChang.”

See full story here.

Born Today in 1788: British Poet, Nobleman Lord Byron

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron FRS was born today,  January 22 in 1788, and known as Lord Byron, was an English nobleman, poet, peer, politician, and leading figure in the Romantic movement. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage as well as the short lyric poem "She Walks in Beauty."

He travelled extensively across Europe, especially in Italy, where he lived for 7 years in the cities of Venice, Ravenna and Pisa. During his stay in Italy he frequently visited his friend and fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Later in life Byron joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died in 1824 at the age of 36 from a fever contracted in Missolonghi.

Often described as the most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, Byron was both celebrated and castigated in his life for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs with both men and women, as well as rumors of a scandalous liaison with his half-sister. 

LGBT Murders and Suicides Hit All-Time High In Brazil

The Guardian reports:

Violent deaths of LGBT people in Brazil have hit an all-time high following a sudden spike last year, new research reveals.

At least 445 LGBT Brazilians died as victims of homophobia in 2017 – a 30% increase from 2016, according to LGBT watchdog group Grupo Gay de Bahia.

The victims – 387 murders and 58 suicides – include Dandara dos Santos, a transexual woman who was beaten to death in the north-eastern Brazil city Fortaleza in March. A video of her being beaten and kicked circulated on social media with her torturers calling her homophobic slurs.

Brazil is one of the world’s most violent countries, with a record 62,000 homicides in 2016, but authors of the research say that the deaths were directly related to homophobia.

See full story here.