Wednesday, November 22, 2017

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

LGBT Influencers Were Honored at the 6th Annual Gentlemen's Ball in Atlanta

LGBT leaders Derek J, Amiyah Scott, Tyra B, Julian Walker, Tarell Mccraney, Coriology, Charles Stephens and more were given their due praise by The Gentlemen’s Foundation at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. There were more events added this year to create a full weekend of mentorship and fellowship, including guest appearances by ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett, Bevy Smith, and more.  Enjoy photos from the arrivals & the main event here.

There's a Wave of Republicans Leaving Congress
Republicans are leaving office at a higher rate than in recent congresses, suggesting Democrats could pick up seats in the 2018 midterm elections. On Thursday it was Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte, the influential chairman of the House judiciary committee. Already, at least 25 Republicans have announced they are retiring, running for another office or resigning outright. They're leaving from all over the map, from southern New Jersey to southern New Mexico. Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to retake the majority from Republicans, who've had control of the House since 2011. READ MORE

Former Foster Mom of Teen Killed By His Own Father For Being Gay Speaks Out
Friends and family are remembering 14-year-old Giovanni Melton who police say was shot and killed by his own father, 53-year-old Wendell Melton. "Giovanni was abused physically and mentally and spiritually for many, many years," said Sonja Jones, Giovanni's former foster mom. Jones says she was told by another family member that part of the argument that led to the deadly shooting was over Giovanni's sexual orientation. Jones says Wendell Melton had problems with it. "He hated the fact that his son was gay," said Jones. "I'm sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son." Jones says Wendell threatened his son before. Friends of Giovanni Melton remember an energetic teenager bringing smiles to everyone he met. READ MORE

Gay Rights Pioneer Ben Dillingham, 72, Dies After Losing Battling With Pancreatic Cancer

Ben Dillingham
Ben Dillingham, a retired Marine who became a political power broker clearing a path for pioneering gay office holders in Southern California, has died at his home in San Diego. He was 72. “He was the lodestar for those of us aspiring to serve in politics,” said state Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who in 2014 became the first lesbian speaker of the state Assembly. Dillingham became the top aide for San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor after her election in 1986 and soon was “a beacon” to others, according to Christine Kehoe, a City Hall staffer elected to the City Council in 1993, the first acknowledged gay elected official in city history and later a state legislator. “He was a role model,” Kehoe said in a statement. “Ben never lost his Marine bearing, no matter what controversy swept through his office.”Dillingham later became a leader in community organizations dedicated to LGBT rights and to the fight against AIDS, which claimed the lives of three of his partners. “Until we all come out of the closet,” he once said, “it will not be safe for any of us.” READ MORE

Trump Is Racking Up An Appalling Civilian Death Count
In March alone, 1,000 died as a result of needless American wars. We can expect to see increasing numbers of civilian deaths as Trump continues the "war on terror" he inherited from his predecessors. Since Bush launched this war after 9/11, we have become more vulnerable to terrorism. Civilian killings heighten anger toward the United States and lead to stepped-up recruitment of those who would do us harm. READ MORE

LGBTQ Characters On TV Reach a Record High, Still Mostly White Men
GLAAD’s latest TV study found that LGBTQ characters will have a record high visibility this season, but that the majority of those characters are white and male. The “Where We Are On Tv” report counted LGBTQ characters across broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms for the 2017-18 season, and while broader representation has improved, there’s not much diversity within that progression. Among original streaming programs, for instance, GLAAD’s report found that 77% of the LGBTQ characters were white and, per Variety, “all three platforms tracked—broadcast, cable, and streaming originals—were lacking in LGBTQ characters of color.” On primetime broadcasts, women accounted for 43% of regular LGBTQ characters. So in generally-good-but-still-not-there-yet news. READ MORE

Man Beat and Robbed Gay Teenager - Then Posted It On Facebook
An 18-year-old Muskegon man is facing multiple charges in connection to the beating and robbery of a teenager in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. Authorities say Trevon Godbolt stripped and beat the victim during a robbery. The victim was targeted because he is gay, authorities said. Muskegon Heights Police Chief Joseph Thomas Jr. told 24 Hour News 8 the attack on the teen was recorded and posted on Facebook. Police determined from audio of that recording that the victim was beaten because of his sexuality. In the video, the attacker can be heard calling the victim gay and using the N-word and another expletive as he punched the victim. Police said the video was used to identify Godbolt as the suspect. Godbolt was charged with unarmed robbery and unlawful imprisonment. He pleaded not guilty. READ MORE

Emmy Winning Actor Rick Hearst to Guest Star on 'Dynasty'
Actor Rick Hearst announced on social media that he would be guest starring on the 12th episode of The CW's Dynasty. On Twitter, the actor used the hashtag #SenatorDaniels, giving a hint at his character, and later shared a photo of himself in costume from his dressing room. “My most challenging role yet,” he joked. “A conservative Republican.”

LGBTQ Americans Won't Be Counted in 2020 U.S. Census After All
LGBTQ advocacy groups are outraged after proposed questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity were quickly removed Tuesday from a just-released draft of the 2020 U.S. Census. The U.S. Census Bureau, which is part of the Department of Commerce, is required to issue a list of categories it plans to track three years before the survey is conducted. Tuesday's list showed categories ranging from race and gender to the type of plumbing in homes and the length of a person's daily commute to work. Each category is followed by a table showing the federal agencies that rely on the data to make decisions about law enforcement, health care, equal employment opportunities and more. No previous U.S. Census has ever included LGBTQ Americans, which makes it challenging for federal agencies and researchers to accurately track the size, demographics and needs of the community. In addition, the more detailed American Community Survey also leaves out LGBTQ categories. "If the government doesn’t know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we’re getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need?" Meghan Maury, Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, asked in a statement Tuesday. READ MORE

Legendary Actor Nick Nolte Gets His ‘Walk of Fame’ Star

Nick Nolte
Nick Nolte kept a straight, bearded face while receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The 76-year old “Prince of Tides” star has been in the business over 40 years and been nominated for an Oscar three times throughout his extensive career. His family showed up for the ceremony, and he gave a short speech where he discussed his admiration for the iconic Walk of Fame and the stars it immortalizes.

Teenager Charged After Mural of Pop Singer George Michael Was Defaced, Again
(Newton, Adelaide, South Australia) Police have charged a 16-year-old boy with graffiti after a controversial mural in Newtown was defaced with homophobic messages and crucifixes in yellow paint. A painting of George Michael and another of Tony Abbott and cardinal George Pell have been defaced several times in the past week, first being painted over and then amended with messages written over the top. Police say a group of young men were spotted graffitiing the murals yesterday afternoon and one was arrested when he was caught by police defacing the George Michael mural on Bray Street in Erskineville. The new graffiti shows crucifixes and homophobic messages in yellow spray paint on both of the murals. READ MORE

Skull Found in China Could Re-write 'Out of Africa' Theory of Human Evolution
A skull found in China could re-write our entire understanding of human evolution. That's according to scientists who have examined the important, ancient head and say that it proves the existing theory of how humans came to be is wrong. Most anthropologists believe that our species came about in Africa around 200,000 years ago – and that one group left around 80,000 years later before spreading across the world. But instead of humans purely coming out of Africa, the new research suggests that important characteristics of humans actually developed in east Asia. READ MORE

How 70's Teen Idol David Cassidy Outed Me
I was an ecstatic 12 year old when I picked up a Tiger Beat magazine in 1973 and read David Cassidy’s concert schedule. He was set to perform in Nashville. I ran screaming out of my bedroom, down the stairs to the kitchen where my mother was throwing Swanson’s frozen dinners in the oven and demanded to go to his concert. For weeks, I was reading every teen and pop magazine, scouring them for private details about David’s life…for any evidence that he was queer like me. I ripped every David Cassidy centerfold out of those magazines and meticulously arranged them on the wall behind my bed, a pyramid gallery of David worship in preparation for the big event. READ MORE

Former OK State Sen. Ralph Shortey Agrees To Plea Deal For Child Sex Trafficking
Former Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey, who was the Oklahoma state chair for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, has agreed to a guilty plea of child sex trafficking after being caught offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for sexual “stuff” last March. Shortey, who was infamous for introducing strange legislation like banning human fetuses in food products (that happens?) has been married to his high school sweetheart since 2002.  READ MORE

ICYMI - It’s The First Gay Kiss in ‘Star Trek’ History, Y’all!
The latest incarnation of the Star Trek franchise features the first two canonical gay characters in Trek history (about damn time too!), Paul and Hugh, played by Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz. Rapp may get a bit more screen time as the ship’s engineer. But Cruz, as the ship’s doctor, gives the series an extra dose of sincerity. Oh, and the two are a happy couple! READ MORE

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