Saturday, November 18, 2017

Happy Birthday to Fashion Designer Christian Siriano


Christian Siriano was born today, November 18, in 1985.  He is a fashion designer who first gained attention after winning the fourth season of American design competition show Project Runway, becoming the series' youngest winner. He launched his namesake "Christian Siriano" collection in 2008.

Siriano was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. He attended the Baltimore School for the Arts where he chose fashion design as his course of study.

Siriano's interest in costume design inspired him to pursue a career in fashion. He began designing clothes at 13, while working as a hair washer and styling assistant at Bubbles Salon in Annapolis, and eventually began sewing clothes for the salon's annual hair shows.

Before auditioning for Project Runway, Siriano worked as a freelance make-up artist and made wedding gowns for private clients while also holding a brief intern position at Marc Jacobs. During his time on Project Runway, Siriano won three challenges, the most of any contestant that season. Siriano advanced to the show's finals, and won a spot to show a 12-piece final collection at New York Fashion Week. His collection was made up of Musketeer-inspired couture, featuring ruffles, feathers and headwear. During the finale, which aired on March 5, 2008, celebrity guest judge Victoria Beckham praised Siriano's collection as being a "breath of fresh air" and stated that she would be "honored to wear" any piece of his clothing. Siriano was announced the winner of the show's fourth season, winning a fashion spread in Elle magazine, a 2008 Saturn Astra, and $100,000 to start his own label.


Siriano's eponymous fashion line, Christian Siriano, debuted at New York Fashion Week on September 13, 2008. His collection is retailed at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. In September 2012, the first Christian Siriano flagship store was opened on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood. Siriano launched his first fragrance in early 2014.

Christian Siriano is a red carpet favorite for celebrities. Some of his most famous clients include Victoria Beckham,Emily Blunt, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rihanna, Christina Ricci, and Taylor Swift.

In July 2016, after comedian Leslie Jones commented that several designers had refused to dress her for the premiere of Ghostbusters, Siriano offered to design a gown for her. Michelle Obama wore a royal blue dress designed by Siriano for the speech she made at the Democratic National Convention on July 25, 2016.

In October 2009, Siriano released a book titled Fierce Style: How To Be Your Most Fabulous Self. The book was co-written by Rennie Dyball and featured a foreword by Siriano's former Runway mentor Tim Gunn.

In September 2011, Siriano's boyfriend Brad Walsh said that he hadn't heard Siriano use his Project Runway catchphrase "fierce" since 2008, and that fashion media were stubbornly refusing to take Siriano seriously because of the way he found fame.

Siriano and Walsh became engaged on July 28, 2013. They exchanged engagement bracelets rather than rings. They were married on July 9, 2016 at their summer home in Danbury.

Tony Perkins Knew of Gay Fondling Charge Against Rising GOP Star


The Washington Post reports:

On a fall evening two years ago, donors gathered during a conference at a Ritz-Carlton hotel near Washington to raise funds for a 31-year-old candidate for the Ohio legislature who was a rising star in evangelical politics.

Hours later, upstairs in a hotel guest room, an 18-year-old college student who had come to the event with his parents said the candidate unzipped his pants and fondled him in the middle of the night. The frightened teenager fled the room and told his mother and stepfather, who demanded action from the head of the organization hosting the conference.

“If we endorse these types of individuals, then it would seem our whole weekend together was nothing more than a charade,” the stepfather wrote to Tony Perkins, president of the Council for National Policy. 

Tony Perkins, president of the Council for National Policy

“Trust me . . . this will not be ignored nor swept aside,” replied Perkins, who also heads the Family Research Council, a prominent evangelical activist group. “It will be dealt with swiftly, but with prudence.”

The incident, described in emails and documents obtained by The Washington Post, never became public, nor did unspecified prior “similar incidents” Perkins referred to in a letter to candidate Wesley Goodman. The correspondence shows Perkins privately asked Goodman to drop out of the race and suspended him from the council, but Goodman continued his campaign and went on to defeat two fellow Republicans in a hotly contested primary before winning his seat last November.

Goodman, 33, abruptly resigned this week after state legislative leaders learned of what the House speaker called “inappropriate behavior related to his state office.” 


See the full story here.

LGBT Conversion Therapy Is Dying in Florida—and Fast

Photo illustration by The Daily Beast
The Daily Beast reports:

In June 2016, Miami Beach banned conversion therapy for minors.

Now, over half of the approximately two dozen U.S. municipalities that have banned the discredited therapy are located in a single state: Florida.

And, as the Sun-Sentinel reported earlier this week, Broward County—which contains Fort Lauderdale, and has a population of nearly 2 million—is aiming to add to that number with a ban of their own.

The practice of trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity is on its way to becoming extinct in the Sunshine State.

As frequent Florida vacationer Donald Trump might say, “There’s something going on.”

More specifically, a well-organized network of LGBT Floridians have rapidly passed 17 local conversion therapy bans in as many months—a feat that no other state besides Ohio has even come close to replicating.

“Local leaders have really taken it upon themselves to lead where the state legislature has failed,” Hannah Willard, senior policy director for Equality Florida told The Daily Beast, adding, proudly, “Not only do we have the most local conversion therapy bans passed, we also have the most local human rights ordinances passed out of any state in the country without state-level protections.”

In a media economy that often positions Florida as the butt of bad jokes—Willard, laughing, tells The Daily Beast that “we are a very unique state in many ways” and that “we know all of the memes”—this grassroots achievement has largely gone overlooked.

Florida, like 41 other states, does not have a statewide ban on conversion therapy for minors—even though virtually every major medical association has condemned the practice as dangerous, unethical, and premised on the false assumption that LGBT identity can be changed. (The American Psychiatric Association, for example, warns that the risks of conversion therapy are “great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.”)

Nor does Florida have statewide protections for LGBT people in employment, housing, and public accommodations. With a Republican-dominated legislature in Tallahassee and Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the governor’s mansion, Florida is not exactly fertile ground for such efforts.

Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich is familiar with these limitations. A former state legislator who spent a total of 12 years serving in the state Senate and the House of Representatives, Rich proposed Broward County’s conversion therapy ban after joining the commission in 2016.

“We have not had any success at the state legislature,” Rich told The Daily Beast, noting that a statewide conversion therapy ban has now failed two years in a row.


See full story here.

Today in 2003: Massachusetts First State in U.S. to Rule Same-Sex Marriage Legal

The seven plaintiff couples in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health
Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health was a landmark state appellate court case dealing with same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. The November 18, 2003, decision was the first by a U.S. state's highest court to find that same-sex couples had the right to marry. 

Despite numerous attempts to delay the ruling, and to reverse it, the first marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples on May 17, 2004, and the ruling has been in full effect since that date.

Here's how it happened.  On April 11, 2001, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) sued the Massachusetts Department of Health in Superior Court on behalf of seven same-sex couples, all residents of Massachusetts, who had been denied marriage licenses in March and April 2001. All the plaintiffs had been in long-term relationships with their partners and four of the couples were raising a total of five children. The Department's responsibilities included setting policies under which city and town clerks issue marriage licenses.

After holding a hearing in March 2002 at which GLAD attorney Jennifer Levi argued on behalf of the plaintiff couples, Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly ruled in favor of the Department of Health on May 7, 2002. He wrote: "While this court understands the reasons for the plaintiffs' request to reverse the Commonwealth's centuries-old legal tradition of restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, their request should be directed to the Legislature, not the courts." 

The plaintiffs appealed directly to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), which heard arguments on March 4, 2003. Mary Bonauto of GLAD argued the case for the plaintiffs. Assistant Attorney General Judith Yogman represented the DPH.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly argued in his brief that the Court should defer to the legislature's judgment of "the broader public interest" and recognize that "same-sex couples cannot procreate on their own and therefore cannot accomplish the 'main object' ... of marriage as historically understood."

In a 50-page, 4–3 ruling on November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said it was asked to determine whether Massachusetts "may deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. 
The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens." 

The plaintiffs had asked the Court to say that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated Massachusetts law. Instead the opinion said: "We declare that barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution."

More than 10,000 same-sex couples married in Massachusetts in the first four years after such marriages became legal on May 17, 2004. Approximately 6,100 marriages took place in the first 6 months, and they continued at a rate of about 1,000 per year.

In the years following the Goodridge decision, some wedding celebrations used passages from it. For example:
Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Happy Birthday to Drag Superstar Extraordinaire RuPaul


RuPaul Charles was born today, November 17, in 1960. He is an actor/host, drag queen, television personality, and singer/songwriter. Since 2009, he has produced and hosted the reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race.

RuPaul was born and raised in San Diego and later moved to Atlanta to study performing arts. He settled in New York City where he became a popular fixture on the nightclub scene. RuPaul achieved international fame as a drag queen with the release of his debut single, "Supermodel (You Better Work)," which was included on his debut studio album Supermodel of the World (1993). 


In 1996, he became a spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics, raising money for the Mac AIDS Fund and becoming the first drag queen to land a major cosmetics campaign. That year, he received his own talk show on VH1, The RuPaul Show, which garnered 100 episodes while co-hosting the morning radio show on WKTU with Michelle Visage. He has had continued success as a recording artist, releasing 14 studio albums to date.

As an actor, RuPaul has made appearances in films including Crooklyn (1994), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), But I'm a Cheerleader (1999), Hurricane Bianca (2016) and the Netflix original series Girlboss (2017). 





He has also published two books: Lettin It All Hang Out (1995) and Workin' It!: RuPaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style (2010). Additionally, RuPaul's Drag Race has produced 11 seasons to date and has inspired several spin-off series. He is also featured as a host on series such as Skin Wars, Good Work, and Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul.

At the age of 15, RuPaul moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with his sister Renetta to study performing arts. In the ensuing years, RuPaul struggled as a musician and filmmaker during the 1980s. He participated in underground cinema, helping create the low-budget film Star Booty, and an album by the same name. 


In Atlanta, RuPaul often performed at the Celebrity Club as a bar dancer or with his band, Wee Wee Pole. RuPaul also performed as a backup singer to Glen Meadmore along with drag queen Vaginal Davis. RuPaul's first prominent United States national exposure came in 1989 with an extra role dancing in the video for "Love Shack" by The B-52's.

In the early 1990s, RuPaul worked the Georgia club scene and was known by his full birth name. Initially participating in gender bender-style performances, RuPaul performed solo and in collaboration with other bands at several New York City nightclubs, most notably the Pyramid Club. He appeared for many years at the annual Wigstock drag festival and appeared in the documentary Wigstock: The Movie.

RuPaul is widely considered to be the most commercially successful drag queen of all time. He has been accredited with creating wider exposure for drag queens from LGBT culture in to mainstream society, thanks to his early-career chart success, and later, the successive climb in viewership of RuPaul's Drag Race. 


His talk show The RuPaul Show was the first ever national talk show to have a drag queen as a host. Along with his partner Michelle Visage, he welcomed an array of high-profile guests such as Cher, Lil Kim, and Diana Ross over the show's 100-episode span. As well as having a variety of comedy skits, the show was noted for discussing topics such as black empowerment, female empowerment, misogyny, and liberal politics which were otherwise unheard of in 90's television at the time. 

In 1999, RuPaul was awarded the Vito Russo Award at the GLAAD Media Awards for work in promoting equality in the LGBT community.

By pioneering queer representation on television, many believe RuPaul to have essentially revolutionized the portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community on screen. He first won an Emmy for his work on the show in 2016, and one year later the show garnered 8 nominations, including Outstanding Reality-Competition Program for the first time in its 11-season run, and a second consecutive win for RuPaul in the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. 


In 2017, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world.

RuPaul has been with his Australian partner, Georges LeBar, since 1994, when they met at the Limelight nightclub in New York City. They married in January 2017. LeBar is a painter and runs a 50,000-acre ranch in Wyoming.


RuPaul is noted among drag queens for his indifference toward the gender-specific pronouns used to address him—both "he" and "she" have been deemed acceptable, as stated in his autobiography: "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don't care! Just as long as you call me." RuPaul has also played men in a number of roles, and makes public appearances both in and out of drag.




                    

Born Today in 1925: Hollywood Heartthrob Rock Hudson


Roy Harold Scherer Jr., also known as Rock Hudson was born today, November 17, in 1925.  He was an actor who was a prominent 'heartthrob' of the Hollywood Golden Age.
Numerous film magazines declared Hudson Star of the Year, Favorite Leading Man, and similar titles. He appeared in nearly 70 films and starred in several television productions during a career that spanned more than 4 decades.

Hudson was born in Winnetka, Illinois. Although he tried out for roles in many of his school plays, Hudson failed to win any because he could not remember his lines, a problem that continued to occur through his early acting career. Working as an usher in his teenage years, he developed an interest in film and stardom at a young age.

After graduating from high school during World War II he enlisted in the United States Navy. In 1946, after returning to San Francisco aboard an aircraft carrier, Hudson moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and applied to the University of Southern California's dramatics program, but he was rejected due to poor grades. 


Hudson worked as a truck driver for some time, longing to be an actor but with no success in breaking into the movies. After he sent talent scout Henry Willson a picture of himself in 1947, Willson took Hudson on as a client and changed his name to Rock Hudson, although Hudson later admitted he hated the name. Hudson's name was coined by combining the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River.

Hudson made his acting debut with a small part in the 1948 Warner Bros. film Fighter Squadron, and took 38 takes to successfully deliver his only line in the film.

Hudson was signed to a long-term contract by Universal Studios. There he was further coached in acting, singing, dancing, fencing, and horseback riding, and he began to be featured in film magazines where, being photogenic, he was promoted.

His first film at Universal was Undertow (1949). Hudson was promoted to leading man for Scarlet Angel (1952), opposite Yvonne de Carlo, who had been in Desert Hawk and Tomahawk. He co-starred with Piper Laurie in a comedy, Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952), directed by Douglas Sirk. He and de Carlo were borrowed by RKO for Sea Devils (1953), an adventure set during the Napoleonic Wars.

Hudson was by now firmly established as a leading man in B adventure films. What turned him into a star was the 1954 film Magnificent Obsession, co-starring Jane Wyman, produced by Hunter and directed by Sirk. The film received positive reviews, with Modern Screen Magazine citing Hudson as the most popular actor of the year. It made more than $5 million at the box office.


Hudson's popularity soared with George Stevens' film Giant (1956). Hudson and his co-star James Dean were both nominated for Oscars in the Best Actor category. 

Another hit was Written on the Wind (1957), directed by Sirk and produced by Albert Zugsmith. Sirk also directed Hudson in Battle Hymn (1957), produced by Hudson, playing Dean Hess. These films propelled Hudson be voted the most popular actor in American cinemas in 1957.

Ross Hunter teamed Hudson with Doris Day in a romantic comedy, Pillow Talk (1959), which was a massive hit. Hudson was voted the most popular star in the country for 1959, and would be the second most popular for the next 3 years.

He made two hugely popular comedies: Come September (1961) with Gina Lollobrigida, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin; and Lover Come Back (1961) with Day.

Along with Cary Grant, Hudson was regarded as one of the best-dressed male stars in Hollywood, and received Top 10 Stars of the Year a record-setting eight times from 1957-64.



While his career developed, Hudson and his agent Henry Willson kept the actor's personal life out of the headlines. In 1955, Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson's secret homosexual life. Willson stalled this by disclosing information about two of his other clients. Willson provided information about Rory Calhoun's years in prison and the arrest of Tab Hunter at a party in 1950. According to some colleagues, Hudson's homosexual activity was well known in Hollywood throughout his career.

Soon after the Confidential incident, Hudson married Willson's secretary Phyllis Gates. Gates later wrote that she dated Hudson for several months, lived with him for two months before his surprise marriage proposal, and married Hudson out of love and not (as it was later reported) to prevent an exposé of Hudson's sexual past. Press coverage of the wedding quoted Hudson as saying: "When I count my blessings, my marriage tops the list." Gates filed for divorce after 3 years in April 1958, citing mental cruelty. Hudson did not contest the divorce and Gates received alimony of $250 a week for 10 years. Gates never remarried.

After Gates' death, the magazine, The Advocate, published an article by Willson's biographer, who claimed that Gates was actually a lesbian who believed from the beginning of their relationship that Hudson was gay. Bob Hoffler, who wrote a biography of Hudson's agent, Henry Willson, The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson, told the Village Voice that Gates attempted to blackmail Hudson about his homosexual activities. In 2013 the transcript of one of the recordings was published. It showed that, contrary to her later public statements, Gates was aware of Hudson's homosexuality while married to him.

During the 1970s and 1980s, he starred in a number of TV movies and series. His most successful television series was McMillan & Wife opposite Susan Saint James, which ran from 1971 to 1977. Hudson played police commissioner Stewart "Mac" McMillan, with Saint James as his wife Sally, and their on-screen chemistry helped make the show a hit.

Hudson took a risk and surprised many by making a successful foray into live theater late in his career, the most acclaimed of his efforts being I Do! I Do! in 1974.

In the early 1980s, following years of heavy drinking and smoking, Hudson began having health problems which resulted in a heart attack in November 1981. Emergency quintuple heart bypass surgery sidelined Hudson.

From December 1984 to April 1985, Hudson appeared in a recurring role on the ABC prime time soap opera Dynasty as Daniel Reece, a wealthy horse breeder and the love interest for Krystle Carrington (played by Linda Evans) and biological father of the character Sammy Jo Carrington (Heather Locklear). While he had long been known to have difficulty memorizing lines, which resulted in his use of cue cards, it was Hudson's speech itself that began to visibly deteriorate on Dynasty. He was originally slated to appear for the duration of the show's second half of its fifth season; however, because of his progressing ill health, his character was abruptly written out of the show and died off screen.
Doris Day and Rock Hudson

According to the 1986 biography Rock Hudson: His Story by Hudson and Sara Davidson, Hudson was good friends with American novelist Armistead Maupin. The book also names certain of Hudson's lovers, including Jack Coates; Tom Clark (who published a memoir about Hudson, Rock Hudson: Friend of Mine), actor and stockbroker Lee Garlington, and Marc Christian.

Unknown to the public, Hudson was diagnosed with HIV on June 5, 1984, just 3 years after the existence of HIV and AIDS had been discovered by scientists. Over the next several months, Hudson kept his illness a secret and continued to work while, at the same time, traveling to France and other countries seeking a cure—or at least treatment to slow the progress of the disease.

On July 16, 1985, Hudson joined his old friend Doris Day for a Hollywood press conference announcing the launch of her new TV cable show Doris Day's Best Friends in which Hudson was videotaped visiting Day's ranch in Carmel, California, a few days earlier. His gaunt appearance and almost incoherent speech were so shocking that the reunion was broadcast repeatedly over national news shows that night and for days to come. Media outlets speculated on Hudson's health.

Two days later, Hudson traveled to Paris, France, for another round of treatment. After Hudson collapsed in his room at the Ritz Hotel in Paris on July 21, his publicist, Dale Olson, released a statement claiming that Hudson had inoperable liver cancer. Olson denied reports that Hudson had AIDS and would say only that he was undergoing tests for "everything" at the American Hospital of Paris. But, 4 days later, July 25, 1985, Hudson's French publicist Yanou Collart confirmed that Hudson did in fact have AIDS. He was among the first notable individuals to have been diagnosed with the disease.

On the morning of October 2, 1985, Hudson died in his sleep from AIDS-related complications at his home in Beverly Hills at age 59, less than 2 months before what would have been his 60th birthday.
                         

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Conservative GOP 'Family Values' State Rep Quits after Having Gay Sex In His Office


Newsweek reports:

An Ohio Republican state legislator who consistently touts his faith and his anti-LGBT stances resigned this week after being caught having sex with a man in his office.

Representative Wes Goodman, who is married, was reportedly seen by someone who is not a staffer having sex with a man inside his Riffe Center office. The witness told Ohio House Chief of Staff Mike Dittoe of the situation early Tuesday afternoon, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Dittoe told House Speaker Republican Cliff Rosenberger, who met with Goodman. Shortly after the meeting, Goodman resigned due to “inappropriate conduct.”

This comes as a surprise to many constituents, because Goodman has consistently spoken about "natural marriage" being between a man and a woman. His campaign website, which is now offline, outlined his views on family: "Healthy, vibrant, thriving, values-driven families are the source of Ohio's proud history and the key to Ohio's future greatness. The ideals of a loving father and mother, a committed natural marriage, and a caring community are well worth pursuing and protecting."

See full story here.

Born Today in 1952: Gay Baseball Player Glenn Burke


Glenn Burke was born today, November 16, in 1952. He was a gay Major League Baseball (MLB) player for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics from 1976 to 1979.

Burke was the first and only MLB player to come out as gay to teammates and team owners during his professional career and the first to publicly acknowledge it. He died from AIDS-related causes in 1995.

Burke was proud of his accomplishment, stating, "They can't ever say now that a gay man can't play in the majors, because I'm a gay man and I made it."


As a gay man, Burke's association with the Dodgers was a difficult one. According to his 1995 autobiography, Out at Home, Dodgers General Manager Al Campanis offered to pay for a lavish honeymoon if Burke agreed to marry. Burke refused to do so, and is said to have responded "to a woman?" 

He also angered Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda by befriending the manager's gay son, Tommy Lasorda, Jr. Lasorda has disputed that but says he does not understand Burke's behavior at the time: "Why wouldn't he come out? Why keep that inside? Glenn had a lot of talent. He could have been an outstanding basketball or baseball player. He sure was good in the clubhouse. What happened? I don't know what happened. He just wasn't happy here?"

The Dodgers eventually traded Burke to the Oakland Athletics, claiming that they needed an experienced player who could contribute right away. That player did have more experience and better statistics, but some would argue he was less talented, and there have been suggestions that homophobia was behind the trade. 

The trade was unpopular with Dodger players. The day after the trade was announced, teammate Davey Lopes said: "He was the life of the team, on the buses, in the clubhouse, everywhere." 

In Oakland, Burke received little playing time in the 1978 and 1979 seasons. Billy Martin used the word "faggot" in the clubhouse when he became the Athletics' manager in 1980, and some teammates avoided showering with Burke. Burke suffered a knee injury before the 1980 season began, and the Athletics sent him to the minors in Utah and then released him from his contract before the season ended.

In his four seasons and 225 games in the majors playing for the Dodgers and Athletics, Burke had 523 at-bats, batted .237 with two home runs, 38 RBIs and 35 stolen bases.

Burke said "By 1978 I think everybody knew" and he was "sure his teammates didn't care." Former Dodgers team captain Davey Lopes said "No one cared about his lifestyle." He told The New York Times that "Prejudice drove me out of baseball sooner than I should have. But I wasn't changing". He wrote in his autobiography that "prejudice just won out." Burke left professional sports at the age of 27. He told People magazine in 1994 that his "mission as a gay ballplayer was to break a stereotype" and that he thought "it worked".

On October 2, 1977, Burke ran onto the field to congratulate his Dodgers teammate Dusty Baker after Baker hit his 30th home run in the last game of the regular season. Burke raised his hand over his head as Baker jogged home from third base. Not knowing what to do about the upraised hand, Baker slapped it. That incident has been credited at the first "high five." After retiring from baseball, Burke used the high five with other homosexual residents of the Castro district of San Francisco, where it became a symbol of gay pride and identification.

Burke continued his athletic endeavors after retiring from baseball. He won medals in the 100 and 200 meter sprints in the first Gay Games in 1982 and competed in the 1986 Gay Games in basketball. His jersey number at Berkeley High School was retired in his honor. Burke played for many years in the SFGSL (San Francisco Gay Softball League), playing third base for Uncle Bert's Bombers.

An article published in Inside Sports magazine in 1982 made Burke's homosexuality public knowledge. Although he remained active in amateur competitions, Burke turned to drugs to fill the void in his life when his career ended. An addiction to cocaine destroyed him both physically and financially. In 1987, his leg and foot were crushed when he was hit by a car in San Francisco. After the accident, his life went into physical and financial decline. He was arrested and jailed for drugs and lived on the streets of San Francisco for a number of years, often in the same neighborhood that once embraced him. He spent his final months with his sister in Oakland. He died May 30, 1995, of AIDS complications at Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro, California, at age 42.

When news of his battle with AIDS became public knowledge in 1994, the Oakland Athletics organization helped to support him financially. In interviews given while he was fighting AIDS, he expressed little in the way of grudges.

On August 2, 2013, Burke was among the first class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

Bisexual Rapper Lil Peep Is Dead at 21

Getty Images
The New York Daily News reports:

Emerging rapper Lil Peep has died, according to multiple reports.

Peep, born Gustav Ahr, died at the age of 21, his UK representative confirmed to the Guardian. The cause of death is unclear.

His manager Chase Ortega tweeted, “I’ve been expecting this call for a year. Mother f---.”

Peep, who grew up on Long Island, debuted his full-length album “Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 1” about three months ago.

He got his start recording his own songs on a $200 microphone plugged into his laptop and sang about drugs, suicide, and failed relationships.


See full story here.

Billboard Magazine reported in August of this year:

Emerging emo artist Lil Peep has recently gained a great deal of traction in the alternative hip-hop scene, establishing a greater platform for himself to speak out to his fans about topics he cares about like like mental health.

On Tuesday (Aug. 8 [2017]) the recording artist took to Twitter to open up about his sexuality to his fans, sharing that he identifies as bisexual. He blatantly tweeted, “yes I’m bi sexual.” 


Happy Birthday to Film, TV Director Jamie Babbitt


Jamie Babbitt was born today, November 16, in 1970. She is a film director, producer, and screenwriter. She directed the films But I'm A Cheerleader, The Quiet and Itty Bitty Titty Committee. She has also directed episodes of television programs including Gilmore Girls, Malcolm in the Middle, United States of Tara, Looking, Nip/Tuck, and The L Word.

Babbit was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and grew up in Cleveland. 
After graduating from Barnard College in 1993, Babbit's first job was as an assistant to the assistant for Martin Scorsese on The Age of Innocence

In 1996, Babbit, with Ari Gold, directed Frog Crossing, a comedic short film about an animal rights activist who protects frogs as they hop across a highway. 


In 1999, Babbit directed her first feature film, But I'm A Cheerleader. Starring Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall, it is a romantic comedy about a high school cheerleader who is sent to a so-called "reparative therapy" camp when her parents suspect she is a lesbian. The film was inspired by an article that Babbit read about a man who had been sent to a similar camp. The camp in the film was partly based on a halfway house for young people with drug and alcohol problems run by her mother. 

In 2000, the film won the Audience Award and the Graine de Cinéphage Award at the Créteil International Women's Film Festival, an annual French festival which showcases the work of female directors. Film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon described the film as a commercial and critical success, which became a cult film on DVD in later years.

Babbit lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Karey Dornetto.She has two daughters, Finley and Ryder, with her former partner, producer Andrea Sperling.

Gay Man's Painting Broke Record for Highest Price Paid: $450 Million!

Leonardo's painting of Christ before and after restoration, which recently sold for $450m.

BBC News reports:

A 500-year-old painting of Christ believed to have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci has been sold in New York for a record $450m (£341m).

The painting is known as Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World).

It is the highest auction price for any work of art and brought cheers and applause at the packed Christie's auction room.

Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence.

Just one is thought to be in private hands - the Salvator Mundi, believed to have been painted sometime after 1505.

The final bid for the work was $400m, with fees bringing the full price up to $450.3m. The unidentified buyer was involved in a bidding contest, via telephone, that lasted nearly 20 minutes.


See full BBC News story here.

Leonardo's sexuality has long been the subject of analysis and speculation. Leonardo's most intimate relationships were perhaps with his pupils Salai and Melzi. 
Could this be the work of a gay man?

Melzi, writing to inform Leonardo's brothers of his death, described Leonardo's feelings for his pupils as both loving and passionate. It has been claimed since the 16th century that these relationships were of a sexual or erotic nature. 

Court records of 1476, when he was 24, show that Leonardo and three other young men were charged with sodomy in an incident involving a well-known male prostitute. The charges were dismissed for lack of evidence, and there is speculation that since one of the accused, Lionardo de Tornabuoni, was related to Lorenzo de' Medici, the family exerted its influence to secure the dismissal. 

Since that date much has been written about his presumed homosexuality and its role in his art, particularly in the androgyny and eroticism manifested in John the Baptist and Bacchus and more explicitly in a number of erotic drawings.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Homelessness Report Shows LGBTQ Youth at Higher Risk


The Human Rights Campaign reports:

Today, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago released a new report on youth homelessness, Missed Opportunities: National Estimates, which found that LGBTQ young adults had a 120 percent higher risk of reporting homelessness compared to youth who identified as heterosexual and cisgender. The report also found that one in 30 youth ages 13-17 experienced a form of homelessness over a 12-month period and one in 10 young adults ages 18-25 experienced a form of homelessness over a 12-month period.

These findings are consistent with other research that also shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented among the homeless. Estimates show that LGBTQ youth comprise up to 40 percent of the total unaccompanied homeless youth population, even though they make up 5 to 10 percent of the overall youth population.

The consequences of homelessness, particularly for LGBTQ youth, are far reaching and can last a lifetime. Homelessness is harmful to mental and physical health, and youth who are homeless are at an increased risk for sexual abuse and exploitation, chemical and alcohol dependency, social stigma and discrimination. These youth also experience lower levels of long-term educational attainment—placing them at an even greater disadvantage when they enter the job market. Growing up without the critical family and social safety nets so many young people rely on results in catastrophic consequences for economic stability, educational attainment and life expectancy.

Little support exists at the Federal level to provide funding for programs that improve family relationships and reduce homelessness among LGBTQ youth. As a result, homeless youth, particularly LGBTQ youth, continue to face severe obstacles in their emotional and professional development.


See the full article here.

The True Colors Fund is working to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, creating a world where all young people can be their true selves. Click here for information on how to help.