Friday, December 30, 2016

NEWS: Andy Cohen, Trevor LaPaglia, Marriage Equality, Drake Jensen, Arctic Heatwave, Rosie O'Donnell, UN Investigations, David Frank Ray

Altruistic People Have More Sexual Partners
At one time or another, we’ve all heard bits of romantic advice like “nice guys finish last” or “treat em’ mean, keep em’ keen,” which suggest that being too “nice” will leave you disadvantaged in the world of mating. Do nice guys truly finish last? One area of research which seems to contrast this notion is the study of altruism as a sexual signal. Altruism involves behaving in ways that benefit another individual at some cost to one’s own fitness. Recently, converging evidence has suggested that altruism may play an important role in mate selection, thus highlighting a potentially important avenue along which good deeds done toward unrelated individuals (exemplified today by acts like donating blood or helping to push a stranger’s car out of the snow) may have evolved.

Gay Trailblazer Rosie O’Donnell Joins The Cast of SMILF
Rosie O’Donnell, the American hero who first exposed the nasty misogyny of our incoming President, is coming back to TV when we need her most. She’s been cast in Showtime’s sitcom SMILF from creator Frankie Shaw (based on her short film of the same name). Set in Boston, the show will revolve around Bridgette (played by Shaw), a single Millennial whose quest for career and satisfying sex crashes headfirst into the complications of also being a young mother. O’Donnell will play Tutu, Bridgette’s socially unconventional mother who does her best to be there for her daughter and grandson. Right now this one is in the pilot stages, which means it might or might not come to series. So, fingers crossed – we could always use a Gilmore Girls with Southie accents.

Australian Marriage Activists Seek ‘Fair Go’ in 2017
When the USA achieved marriage equality last year in the history making Supreme Court case President Obama said, “When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.” That idea of freedom is also part of the Australian credo of a “fair go,” where anybody should have the chance to follow their heart and reach their full life potential. That freedom to have a “fair go” is what we have been chasing in Australia for more than a decade. The option of pursuing marriage equality through the courts is not open to us in Australia like it was in USA. The only road we can take is through our federal politicians and 2016 proved to be one of the biggest and toughest years for the Australian Marriage Equality Campaign. In our parliament there is support from many of the non-government parties, but we need a handful of government members to get the vote across the line. It’s encouraging that senators from every political party in a government lead Inquiry have already started to work together to get the legislation right, and we are working hard to progress this to a successful vote as soon as possible.

UN Experts Vows Broad Investigations Into Abuses Against LGBTQ
The first-ever U.N. independent expert selected to examine violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has vowed to forge ahead with wide-ranging investigations despite formidable opposition to his appointment in a U.N. vote. “This mandate will cover every country under the sun and under the moon,” Vitit Muntarbhorn said at a LGBT conference in Bangkok on Wednesday. “There can never be a political or legal vacuum in terms of protecting people.” This includes working with countries opposed to his appointment, Vitit said. “We also have to cover not only peace, but war,” he said, noting that members of the Islamic State group have reportedly killed people accused of being gay by throwing them off buildings.

David Frank Ray, whose expertise with makeup led him to work on the top supermodels and celebrities of the '70s and '80s, has died. Frank, who also worked as a stylist, made a name for himself at Vogue and Cosmo. His work could be seen, fleetingly, on many familiar faces, like supermodels Iman and Janice Dickinson, as well as bombshells like Sharon Stone and Jaclyn Smith. Ray, a long-term survivor of HIV, was chosen as one of the most amazing HIV-positive people of 2016 by Plus, told the outlet that beauty's foundation may be genetic, but, “True beauty comes from self-love and self-confidence.” READ MORE

TV Host Andy Cohen Vacations In St. Barth with His Boyfriend
Andy Cohen is a little late for a "Baywatch" audition, but he still looked good in red trunks, braving the warm waters of St. Barth with his boyfriend, Clifton Dassuncao. In case you don't know, St. Barth is the "everybody who's anybody" place to go for Xmas and New Year's, so A.C. was right there rubbing elbows. And speaking of rubbing elbows ... he brought along his BF, Clifton, whom Andy refers to as "Brazilian Andy Samberg" in his book.

After States Legalized Medical Marijuana, Traffic Deaths Fell
Legalization of medical marijuana is not linked with increased traffic fatalities, a new study finds. In some states, in fact, the number of people killed in traffic accidents dropped after medical marijuana laws were enacted. “Instead of seeing an increase in fatalities, we saw a reduction, which was totally unexpected,” said Julian Santaella-Tenorio, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. By Ronnie Cohen (Reuters Health) - Legalization of medical marijuana is not linked with increased traffic fatalities, a new study finds. In some states, in fact, the number of people killed in traffic accidents dropped after medical marijuana laws were enacted. Since 1996, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. Deaths dropped 11 percent on average in states that legalized medical marijuana, researchers discovered after analyzing 1.2 million traffic fatalities nationwide from 1985 through 2014.The decrease in traffic fatalities was particularly striking – 12 percent – in 25- to 44-year-olds, an age group with a large percentage of registered medical marijuana users, the authors report in the American Journal of Public Health.

Gay Couple Accused of Sexually Abusing 8 Boys Die in Murder-Suicide
Horrifying story out of South St. Paul, Minn., where an elementary school teacher Aric Babbitt and his husband Matthew Deyo were being investigated for sexually abusing a growing number of boys, including a 16-year-old who says he used to be the teacher's pupil.

Arctic Heatwave Could Break Records
Climate scientists say these unseasonably warm weather patterns in the Arctic region are directly linked to man-made climate change. Temperatures throughout November and December were 5C higher than average. It follows a summer during which Arctic sea ice reached the second-lowest extent ever recorded by satellites. Dr Otto added that scientists are "very confident" that the weather patterns were linked to anthropogenic climate change. "We have used several different climate modelling approaches and observations," she told BBC News. "And in all our methods, we find the same thing; we cannot model a heatwave like this without the anthropogenic signal."

Actor-Model, Trevor LaPaglia On The Recent Deaths of So Many Celebrities
The thing about celebrity deaths... It's a time when new legends are born, a time that we are lucky to witness, just like those who stood next to Bach or Van Gogh. We've witnessed and embraced the unity that these individuals brought into our lives, into our homes, without actually knowing them. The influence of their power will be missed but remembered and will live on within us.

CANADA: Ottawa's Gay Community Mourns Loss of Pop Music Icon, George Michael

Drake Jensen
Members of Ottawa's gay community are mourning the loss of British pop star George Michael, calling him an "inspiration" and a "queer icon" for people questioning their own sexuality. ​"I'm glad that George Michael was there because I think he was an inspiration for a lot of gay people," said Drake Jensen, an openly gay country singer. Michael, who had a string of hits with 1980s duo Wham before forging his own solo career, died at his home in Goring, England "over the Christmas period," according to a statement from his family. Jensen said his mother loved Michael's music, and that was part of the reason he decided to tell his friends and family that he too was attracted to men. "So I'm thinking, 'OK, mom's listening to this. So it must be OK," Jensen said Monday. "That was inspirational, to know that there was somebody at that level that was an advocate for lots of different things in the gay community."

WATCH VIDEO: Drake Jensen - "Everytime I See Your Picture"