Friday, February 03, 2017

News & Pop Culture Round-Up

Virginia House of Delegates Passes Dangerous Anti-LGBTQ ‘License to Discriminate’ Legislation
“The Virginia House of Delegates’ decision to pass this legislation puts the state’s people, reputation, and economy at risk,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “This reckless bill in truth has nothing to do with the right to practice one’s religion, which is already firmly protected by the First Amendment. Rather, it is a thinly veiled attempt to provide a special license to discriminate with taxpayer funds. The discriminatory measure would no doubt result in multiple, expensive legal challenges and fallout similar to the self-inflicted wound in North Carolina from HB2. The Virginia Senate must reject this legislative assault on LGBTQ Virginians and their families.” The dangerous anti-LGBTQ proposal will now move to the Senate for consideration. READ MORE

Openly Gay Singer-Songwriter Tom Goss Was Convinced He Was Asexual
"I was very late in understanding my sexuality," the blue-eyed singer tells The Fight magazine. ‘I think a big part of me shut off any interest in intimacy after my parent’s divorce. It also didn’t help that I was attracted to bears. I remember being in college and not really understanding where everyone’s sexual drive was coming from. I knew I wasn’t attracted to women but I also spent the majority of my time roughhousing with my wrestling teammates. We hung out together, practiced together and showered together. These were 18–22 year old men, beautiful and with bodies to die for, I didn’t find them attractive either. As a result I just assumed I was asexual." READ MORE

With All Eyes on Trump, Republicans are Planning to Break Unions for Good
A so-called ‘right to work’ bill going through Congress will starve unions of funding, leaving workers at the mercy of their bosses and politicians. Alternative facts are nothing new; politicians have been making stuff up since they first crawled out of the primordial swamp. One of the most successful lies in modern US politics has been that of “right to work” laws, which break unions under the guise of protecting workers, one of which was introduced in Congress on Wednesday afternoon and will probably break unions in the country for good. A national right to work law has been a pipe dream of corporate lobbyists, the chamber of commerce, the Koch brothers, and the politicians on their payroll for decades, and is about to become a reality. Right to work laws already exist in more than half the states in the country, where unions are weak or nonexistent, wages are correspondingly low, and workers are correspondingly disposable. In theory, these laws are about guaranteeing workers’ freedom of association. In practice, they’re about keeping workers from forming unions, by making unions financially unsustainable. READ MORE

Soccer Player and Model Comes Out as Gay Hoping to Inspire Others
Former professional soccer player Adam McCabe has recently come out of the closet. The athlete is known for playing in England for three and a half years, in Thailand for six months, and in Slovakia for another six months (as well as for playing with his university team at Vassar College). McCabe has expressed his apprehension towards coming out and the relief that he’s found after the fact. “As a gay athlete your natural instinct is to hide this from your teammates, fans, and coaches. The language that is used during practice, in the locker room, and on the pitch is extremely masculine and at times vulgar. I have heard teammates use homophobic language both in the soccer realm and in daily life. It causes you to really pay attention to your surroundings and debate every action as a closeted athlete.” READ MORE

First Amendment Defense Act Would Be ‘Devastating’ for LGBTQ Americans
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, through his spokesperson, told Buzzfeed they plan to reintroduce an embattled bill that barely gained a House hearing in 2015. But this time around, they said, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) was likely to succeed due to a Republican-controlled House and the backing of President Donald Trump. FADA would prohibit the federal government from taking "discriminatory action" against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: "(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage." READ MORE

Out actor Alan Cumming will return to CBS as a CIA agent searching for a serial killer. CBS has ordered a pilot for Killer Instinct, which is based on the upcoming book of the same name by James Patterson. READ MORE

Senate Subpanel Launches New Russia Hacking Probe
A Senate subcommittee is joining the bevy of congressional investigations into Russia's alleged tampering with the 2016 presidential election. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) — who oversee the Judiciary Committee's subpanel on crime and terrorism — announced the contours of their probe in a joint statement Thursday. The intelligence community believes the cyber campaign — which included successful hacks of mostly Democratic targets and the strategic leaking of internal Democratic documents — eventually morphed into an influence campaign aimed at putting Donald Trump in the White House. Republican leaders have rejected demands for a special committee to investigate the issue, arguing the existing committee structure is sufficient. Graham and Whitehouse said their investigation has several goals. It aims to “gain a full understanding” of the U.S. intelligence assessment that concluded Russia was responsible for last year’s cyberattacks, and to learn more about the digital methods Moscow may have used to target foreign elections. READ MORE

Kylie Minogue Has Signed a New Label Deal for a “Big Pop Record”
The Aussie icon has left Parlophone after 12 years ahead of her brand new album. Kylie Minogue has signed a new record deal with BMG, with fresh music expected by the end of 2017. “We want to make a great, big, classic Kylie pop record,” new BMG president Alexi Cory-Smith told Music Week. “Thirty years she’s been in the business, and she’s better than ever before. READ MORE