Monday, December 04, 2017

Exposing Hollywood, Washington, Islam & Much More in Today's Editor Picks

The media landscape saturates us with so many interesting news and entertainment stories that we can sometimes feel overwhelmed. Our social media feeds overflow with more stories than we can possibly read in a day. So what to do? I created the Editor Picks column to help the reader stay informed, educated and entertained. I hope you enjoy today's picks. Leave your comments below. I enjoy getting feedback from old and new readers so please do take a moment to share this post on your social media (it's very much appreciated when you do!). If you have any questions or suggestions be sure to contact me here.

Happy Reading!

Shane Smith, Editor, Stonewall Gazette.

How Pop Culture Journalism Became ‘Entertainment: SVU’

The Harvey Weinstein exposés have changed the way Hollywood thinks about sexual harassment and assault. But they’ve had another side effect: They’ve changed the way Hollywood’s editors and reporters think about their beat. The normal industry fare — the signing of a deal, “10 things we learned from the Last Jedi trailer” — has given way to a frantic chase to expose the depredations of the Next Harvey (or the further depredations of the current one). Publications and sites have undergone a kind of gritty reboot, and what was once a micro-genre of reporting has become the main event. Welcome to Entertainment Writing: SVU. READ MORE

Federal Agencies Routinely Fail to Report Hate Crimes to the FBI (Including the FBI Itself)

In a country where hate crimes are on the rise, partly due to the xenophobic rhetoric of racist-in-chief Donald Trump, it appears that we have no idea how extensive and widespread hate crimes really are. This is because the federal government is incredibly negligent in keeping accurate records. Despite a legal mandate to do so, it appears that more than 100 federal law enforcement agencies regularly fail to submit statistics on hate crimes to the national hate crimes database run by the FBI. The FBI itself isn’t even in compliance with the law. How much more absurd can this get? Clearly, it’s not a priority for our government to prioritize who is being impacted by hate crimes. So much for keeping citizens safe. READ MORE

The Secret, Hypocritical Gay World of Islamic State

The murder of a 15-year-old teenager, thrown to his death by ISIS for being gay, not only reveals—yet again—the terror group’s murderous homophobia, but also the hypocrisy that exists alongside it. A senior commander of the so-called Islamic State, named in reports as Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi, was having some kind of relationship with this as-yet-nameless 15-year-old, but the more senior man was not killed. Instead, al-Jazrawi was reportedly flogged, and forced to leave Syria and join the fighting fronts in northwestern Iraq.

Three Decades Later, Men Who Survived the 'Gay Plague' Speak Out

America was in the throes of panic on the day Mark S King picked up the phone in Los Angeles. On TV, politicians on both sides of the aisle were debating in earnest whether gay people should be quarantined. In the White House, Reagan hadn’t so much as mentioned AIDS. But everywhere and every day, friends, relatives, acquaintances and partners were dying. “It was like a 'Twilight Zone' episode where everyone in town just starts disappearing,” King said of that time. “It was the bank teller at your bank who wasn’t there one day. It was your favorite bartender. It was the guy who did your hair. They just stopped being there.” Death was the last thing King thought he would have to confront when he moved to West Hollywood from Houston to pursue an acting career. He was 24 years old and eager to enjoy life. Instead, he found himself at an epicenter of the HIV outbreak that would shape the gay world in the United States for years to come. “Numb,” King said of what he felt when his friend told him he had tested positive. “I was simply numb. I immediately went into denial. Protective denial. ‘Maybe I’ll be someone who survives,’ I told myself.” READ MORE

Tim Gill: The Megadonor Behind the LGBTQ Rights Movement

Tim Gill, a software programmer who made a fortune in the 1990s, is not a household name – and that's by design. The 63-year-old Coloradan rarely gives interviews and describes himself as pathologically anti-social and ill at ease with publicity. In the past three decades, Gill has methodically, often stealthily, poured $422 million of his fortune into the cause of equal rights for the LGBTQ community – more than any other person in America. Within the movement, he is praised as a visionary, a computer-nerd-turned-brilliant-strategist, the megadonor who coalesced a movement around the fight for marriage equality and then pushed onward to victory. Today, Gill's sprawling network of LGBTQ advocacy groups rivals any big-money operation in the country. The Gill Foundation, which he started in 1994, underwrites academic research, polling, litigation, data analytics and field organizing. Gill Action, a political group launched a decade later, has helped elect hundreds of pro-equality lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels. OutGiving, his donor club, coaches the country's richest pro-LGBTQ funders on how best to spend their money. Gill's fingerprints are on nearly every major victory in the march to marriage, from the 2003 Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health case, which made Massachusetts the first state to allow same-sex marriage, to the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision two decades later that legalized it in all 50. "Without a doubt," says Mary Bonauto, the attorney who argued the Obergefell case, "we would not be where we are without Tim Gill and the Gill Foundation." READ MORE

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