Thursday, March 04, 2021

Dream Daddy, Jon Stryker, Queer Skate LA, Trash Boat, Sam Cushing, Hayley Kiyoko, Wilson Cruz, Birdcage, Facebook & MORE!

Political Groups Sidestepped Facebook’s Ad Ban Partisan groups were able to circumvent the social networking giant’s moratorium on political ads to target people online Political campaigns are cheering the return of political ads to Facebook this week. But some groups never stopped running them. Scores of right- and left-wing political groups purchased tens of thousands of dollars in political ads that broke the company’s rules between January and March this year. These paid-for messages include those from a union-linked group that peppered swing states with political ads ahead of November’s election, as well as from Turning Point USA, the conservative student group with close ties to the MAGA movement. Facebook ended its 18-week ban of political ads on Thursday. The company has said it will continue to evaluate whether further changes to its political ad policies are needed.

Queer Skate LA

Meet the Queer Skate Collective Who Scored Their First Calvin Klein Campaign Calvin Klein's latest campaign features a mix of music megastars and buzzy emerging talent, including Megan Thee Stallion, Jacob Elordi and Rina Sawayama, each posing for photographer-to-the-stars Mario Sorrenti in the brand's signature black and white lens. Another new addition to the cast was Queer Skate LA, a collective based in Los Angeles that was formed to create safe spaces for LGBTQIA skaters and make the male-dominated world of skating more inclusive for all backgrounds. The group meets regularly and host various peaceful demonstrations that bring awareness to issues they care about. Queer Skate LA's goal is to create an uplifting environment that helps people of their community discover the joy of skateboarding.

The Rise of Unapologetically Erotic LGBTQ+ Games Video games have long struggled to handle sexuality, but a growing number of indie developers are changing that Dream Daddy, which was released in 2017 and starred a single father looking to romance other solo dads, featured in a Markiplier video with 6.8 million views, a sign that LGBTQ+ friendly romance games were starting to push into the mainstream. Dream Daddy, while not from a major studio, was funded by YouTube behemoths Game Grumps. It was praised for its engaging tone, and for giving a queer narrative mainstream attention, but was also criticized for not engaging with gay culture or using queer language. That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, but critics could tell that a game about the gay dating scene wasn’t made by gay men. Good representation needs authenticity.

Slobodan Randjelović and Jon Stryker

Gay Couple Jon Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović Gift $15 million to the ACLU Foundation Stryker is founder and president of the Arcus Foundation, a private, global grant-making organization that supports the advancement of LGBTQ human rights and conservation of the world’s great apes. “LGBTQ rights are literally life-and-death human rights issues,” Stryker said. “I’ve learned that in the United States and around the world, many people are still unaware of the discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQ people. We’re talking about ordinary people who are trying to live openly but lack the freedom to do so without facing severe consequences.” The ACLU has named a project addressing LGBTQ and HIV issues after Stryker and Randjelović - The Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project is located inside the ACLU Ruth Bader Ginsburg Liberty Center in New York.

Hayley Kiyoko

Out Singer Hayley Kiyoko’s New Fragrance Is Gaydar In A Bottle Much like the synthpop music that made her famous, Kiyoko's energy is upbeat and fun, but at her core is radical, unapologetic inclusivity. For many queer people, her music is like a warm hug of acceptance — so her new gender-inclusive fragrance, Hue, is a perfect next step. Created with Kiyoko's style and audience in mind, Hue (made in partnership with Slate Brands) toes the line between masculine and feminine so beautifully that it stands to be armor for legions of young people, gender notwithstanding, for years to come.

The Pandemic Is Making it Even Harder for Queer Youth to Get Health Care
Many young queer people across the country say they are struggling to access healthcare, and not just care related to their gender or sexual identity. Even general care and emergency services can be massive hurdles, despite the global pandemic making access to healthcare more critical than ever. Queer young people face financial insecurity and poverty at astronomical rates compared to their peers. One study from 2012 found that queer people comprise 40% of youth who seek services from youth homelessness organizations. This statistic is in large part driven by family rejection, which corresponds with higher rates of being uninsured as well as higher instance rates of pre-existing health issues.

COVID-19 Pandemic Sparks New Ways of Building Community for LGBTQ Americans
 Queer Americans and allies were forced to get creative to build community as many much-needed queer spaces closed down because of the pandemic. In one case, that meant a church hosting an inclusive virtual event celebrating same-sex unions for the first time ever. In another, that meant setting up a mask-decorating project and silent auction to raise money for an LGBTQ fund and help artists struggling during the pandemic. Elsewhere, a charter school intended to be an affirming space for LGBTQ youth got approval after a lengthy process, while a transgender electrician started her own business to meet the needs of her community.

Sam Cushing

Sam Cushing Takes the Windy City Into the Influencer Realm Cushing is at the vanguard of a new brand of influencer: socially aware but relatable and sweet. No sanctimony or lecturing. Yes, he does brand partnerships, but in a conscious and thoughtful way. He discusses his struggles as a gay man who deals with anxiety, but keeps things entertaining and light. "My mom actually asked me if I was gay when I was about fifteen. I had already come out to my best girlfriend that same year. I told my dad the following year. It’s sort of a funny story. I told him in an effort to get out of a grounding because I’d come home really late. I was in my sophomore or junior year of high school at this point. It was summertime and I really wanted to go to the Pride Parade the next day." 

Queer in the Country: Why Some LGBTQ Americans Prefer Rural Life to Urban ‘Gayborhoods’ Pop portrayals of LGBTQ Americans tend to feature urban gay life, from Ru Paul’s “Drag Race” and “Queer Eye” and “Pose.” But not all gay people live in cities. Demographers estimate that 15% to 20% of the United States’ total LGBTQ population – between 2.9 million and 3.8 million people – live in rural areas. To the extent that American pop culture portrays rural LGBTQ adult life, the focus is on their isolation – think “Brokeback Mountain” or “Thelma & Louise.” The gay protagonists of these films are lonely, seldom able to express their sexual selves.

Bill to Ban Discrimination Against Gun Businesses Passes Kentucky House
The sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Savannah Maddox, said some gun businesses in Kentucky are having trouble getting access to credit card processing services or loans. She cited Operation Choke Point, a former Department of Justice initiative that investigated banks that did business with firearms dealers and other businesses it considered at high risk for fraud. Chris Hartman, director of the LGBTQ rights group Kentucky Fairness, called it “sad” that the state legislature was prioritizing the rights of gun companies over the civil rights of LGBTQ people in Kentucky. “It’s incomprehensible to me that these are the priorities of our commonwealth,” Hartman said. A bill to ban discrimination against the LGBTQ community in Kentucky has never made it out of committee.

Rights of LGBTQ Residents in Nursing Homes Will Be Protected Under New Law 
Residents at long-term care facilities cannot be discriminated against based on their gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or HIV status, under a new law signed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. The new law prohibits long-term care facilities from denying admission, transferring, discharging, or evicting residents, as well as denying service, medical care, or other reasonable accommodations, due to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, intersex status or HIV status.

Diabolique Paris Johnson

Indianapolis Porn Star and Rapper Charged with Murder of Videographer He targeted members of the LGBTQ community through dating apps Diabolique Paris Johnson is accused of shooting dead Joshua J. Smelser inside the victim's home in Detroit back in September. Johnson, who goes by the rap name Chuck Da MF Buck, is also accused of carrying out a separate armed robbery of a 26-year-old man at a hotel in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn four days earlier.

Trash Boat

Rock Band Trash Boat Takes On 'Morally Indefensible' Homophobes The new single from UK rock band Trash Boat, “He’s So Good,” chronicles the story of a young man who – even in the face of abandonment, spite and naked homophobia – remains a positive and loyal element in their family. Lead singer Tobi Duncan was inspired to pen the tune after meeting and hanging out with a closeted gay man while out on the road touring.

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane

The Birdcage Turns 25: Celebrating one of the greatest, gayest mainstream comedies ever made The performances are, across the board, comedic genius, and Elaine May's screenplay (which adapted the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles) is basically perfect: sparkling, fabulous and with some wildly progressive social messaging for a mainstream studio comedy released in 1996 (or even 2016, for that matter). A big star-filled movie (Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest. Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Hank Azaria, Christine Baranski) with multiple happy, healthy gay characters in which none of them died. And the movie itself … seemed to be on their side! I mean, Nathan Lane's proudly effeminate Albert is really the film's hero.

Wilson Cruz

Groundbreaking 'My So-Called Life' Series Is Coming to Hulu When Wilson Cruz played 15-year-old gay teen Rickie Vasquez on the show, he became the first out actor to play a gay character in a leading role on American television. For many, he was the first three-dimensional gay character they saw on TV. "I want people to watch this show and see Rickie Vasquez and understand what it means to be a great friend, not only to the people in your life, but to yourself," said Wilson Cruz.

How Racism in Dr Seuss Books Can Teach Young Readers About History and Context Let’s start by putting aside the bugbear that it is even possible to “cancel” children’s author Dr Seuss. As Philip Bump wrote in The Washington Post this week, “No one is ‘cancelling’ Dr Seuss ... The author, himself, is dead for one thing, which is about as cancelled as a person can get.” On Tuesday, the company announced its plan to halt publishing and licensing six (out of more than 60) Dr Seuss books. Few would know some of the discontinued titles, such as McElligot’s Pool and The Cat’s Quizzer. However, many will recognise If I Ran the Zoo and And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, which have been criticized for racist caricatures and themes of cultural dominance and dehumanization. In If I Ran the Zoo, young Gerald McGrew builds a “Bad-Animal Catching Machine” to capture a turbaned Arab for his exhibit of “unusual beasts”. Children’s books are among those most often banned or censored. In this case, removing the Dr Seuss titles recognizes that he was writing in a time and place when racial stereotyping was commonplace and frequently the focus of humor.

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