Wednesday, February 08, 2017

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

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Lt. Michael Wyatt is Denver’s Police Ambassador to the LGBTQ Community

Michael Wyatt was 24 when he left Southern California for Mandan, North Dakota. His boyfriend had a new job there, and so did Wyatt: He’d be a police officer in the city of 15,000 people. Wyatt knew that he’d have to conceal much of his identity as a gay man to work in law enforcement in a conservative state. He had done it for years already, previously writing letters in code to avoid the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule while he was in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. What he couldn’t imagine is that two decades later his secret would be central to the job. Wyatt’s a commanding officer in Denver, and he’s the department’s unofficial (for now) ambassador to LGBTQ people. Read More

RELATED Take Away the Badge & Gun and Cops Are Just People, In All Colors & Sizes - Like Gay Cop, Brett Parson

Trump Escalates His Ongoing Attempt to Delegitimize Any Media Outlet That Covers Him Critically
President Trump made baseless accusations that the media is covering up terrorist attacks. Speaking at U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida on Monday afternoon, the president said, “You’ve seen what happened in Paris, and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.” Trump’s suggestion that media members are sympathetic to the cause of terrorists has been pushed by conspiracy theory websites like Infowars. There’s no evidence it’s true. But by accusing the media of clandestinely working on behalf of terrorists, Trump has escalated his ongoing attempt to delegitimize any outlet that covers him critically as “fake news.” A recent study concluded that a person in America is seven times more likely to be killed by a white nationalist than an Islamic extremist. Nonetheless, in the wake of the Quebec City shooting, Reuters reported that the Trump administration wants a federal counter-terrorism program to stop focusing on violent white supremacists and any other extremist group not comprised of Muslims.

Is it possible for an event, or concurrence of events, to be found universally remarkable? And, is it possible for an individual’s perception of apparent connection not to be influenced by personal beliefs? "We crave some kind of validation for existential significance." READ MORE

Texas Court Hearing Case to Limit Gay Marriage Legalization
The Texas Supreme Court to hear a Houston case that top conservatives hope will provide an opening to challenge the landmark 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide. Reversing its previous ruling, the state's highest civil court set arguments for March in a lawsuit seeking to halt same-sex spousal benefits that America's fourth-largest city offers its municipal employees. The nine Republican justices had ruled in September not to hear the case in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling from the previous summer that gay marriage was constitutional nationwide.

Group Behind Women's March to Launch Strike
The organizers behind the Women's March are gearing up for an even bigger protest against Donald Trump. After they filled the streets of cities and towns around the world, they are looking to see how the US would cope if they didn't have women in the workforce for a day. The group is planning a women's strike; a "day without women". The date is still to be determined, but many seem enthusiastic about it already.

Matt Redman
Matt Redman, AIDS Project Los Angeles Co-founder, Dead at 66
Matt Redman, an interior designer who co-founded AIDS Project Los Angeles in 1982, died of AIDS-related complications on Dec. 27. He was 66. Redman, a longtime AIDS survivor, apparently started feeling ill a week earlier, cancelling a party planned for Dec. 18. A friend begged him to see his doctor, but Redman refused. When he finally relented, he went to the emergency room at Southern California Hospital at Culver City (formerly Brotman Medical Center) and was immediately rushed to Urgent Care. An upper respiratory infection had traveled to his heart and lungs and he didn’t have enough T-cells to fight it. He “coded” and was placed on life support while his family and former partner were notified and flew in to be with him. “Matt was one of the original founders of APLA and bravely broke through the fear and apathy around AIDS in the early 1980s,” says West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran, an openly HIV positive elected official. “He was a strong advocate for the proposition that people living with AIDS had to be at the decision making table. He was my friend and fellow warrior and I so saddened by the news ”

LGBT Equality Caucus Sees Membership Double in Size
The congressional caucus dedicated to LGBT issues has nearly doubled its membership, rebounding after experiencing attrition in recent years as a result of shifting to dues-based membership. Dues payment for congressional caucuses isn’t unusual. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has a dues requirement for members. The LGBT Equality Caucus announced on Tuesday it has started the 115th Congress with 102 members, which is nearly double the roster of 53 members at the start of the last Congress. The caucus is co-chaired by each of the six openly LGBT members of Congress: Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.). Among the 102 members of the LGBT Equality Caucus are two Republicans: Reps. Ileana-Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.). Both support marriage equality and are considered supporters of LGBT rights.

International Human Rights Activist, Stuart Milk, Kicks Off OUTing the Past
International human rights activist and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, Stuart Milk kicks off OUTing the Past, a day of events celebrating LGBT+ activism at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, on February 26. Milk will be the first speaker in a program packed with eclectic, engaging and insightful talks and performances covering design, music, photography and the history of LGBT+ activism. The event has been organized to mark LGBT History Month. More info click here.

LGBT Magazine Founder, Sukhdeep Singh, Receives Youth Leadership Award
South Asian queer organization, Sher Vancouver, announced the first winner of its January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award. The award was established to create a legacy in memory of Lapuz and to honour youth between 16 and 30 years of age who have demonstrated significant involvement and leadership in LGBT communities. Gaylaxy Magazine founder, Sukhdeep Singh, is the recipient of the $500 award. Gaylaxy started a Hindi section in 2014 which remains one of the only online queer resources in Hindi. The magazine, which includes an audience in South Asia as well as among the international South Asian diaspora, publishes news as well as short stories and poetry.

RELATED January Marie Lapuz, A Member Of Sher Vancouver, Stabbed To Death

You Can Now Stream 22 Hard-to-Find Films From Black Cinema’s Earliest Pioneers on Netflix
In 2015, Kino Lorber released a treasure trove from American history in a DVD box set, Pioneers of African-American Cinema. Hours upon hours of feature-length and short films spanning the 1910s to the 1940s were featured, from Oscar Micheaux’s famously searing indictment of white America’s love affair with preserving whiteness and lynching, Within Our Gates, to writer Zora Neale Hurston’s short documentary Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940. As a document showcasing the work of early black filmmakers who paved the way for the Spike Lees, Julie Dashes, and Ava DuVernays of today, it’s invaluable.

RELATED Harlem Renaissance: As Gay As It Was Black

Still No Date Set for George Michael's Funeral
Pop icon George Michael died more than six weeks ago, but there’s still no date in sight for his funeral, because toxicology reports to determine his exact cause of death have not been completed, according to The Sun. In fact, it may take several weeks before they are.

RELATED Police Rule Out Foul Play in Death of Music Superstar George Michael; Boyfriend Cleared

Survivor Season 34 Cast Photos: Meet the 20 Returning Game Changers

CBS on Wednesday released the full list of returning favorites, which includes two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine (Seasons 7 and 20), as well as a few one-time winners, Tony Vlachos (Season 28) and James “J.T.” Thomas (Season 18). Filmed in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, the 34th season — titled Game Changers — will divide the 20 castaways into two tribes, Mana and Nuku. the new season premieres on Wednesday, March 8 (8/7c).