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Cocktail Music: Without You by Chaz Robinson

May 27th, 2016 Chris Roney
Courtesy of Chaz Robinson

Courtesy of Chaz Robinson

Chaz Robinson’s new single “Without You” dropped last week in anticipation of his full-length studio album, due out August 12. The 26-year-old Indianapolis native is a jack of all trades, one of the most interesting being: he’s a professional jump roper.

Last year, Chaz racked up two nodes from the Official Grammy Ballot for Best Pop Solo, and has appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show, Disney Channel’s original series Shake It Up, and Broadway’s Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, among others.

Off Spectra Records, Chaz’s single “Love Will Come Back Again” was downloaded over 800,000 times worldwide, while his debut single, “Upside” saw a rotation on some 200 radio stations in North America along. Listen to the new song, below, and to check out his song on iTunes, click here.

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Global Memorial Day Cocktail: Ginger Snap by Austin, Texas’ Whistler’s

May 27th, 2016 Tyler Neasloney
Image via Dead Rabbit

Image via Whistler’s

No one knows cocktail culture better than the folks in Austin, Texas. So we asked one of the best bartenders in the hip capital to show us what he’ll be drinking in this Memorial Day. Brett Esler of Whisler’s shared this too-cool-for-school concoction. “The Ginger Snap is an incredibly simple yet strong sipper. Aviation’s botanicals play extremely well with both the vermouth and Canton’s bright crisp ginger notes. A small amount of Combier helps dry out and balance this cocktail making this the ideal summertime sipper. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend the holiday weekend.
Instructions
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir for about 20 seconds or until properly chilled. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over 1 large ice cube, express and place the lemon peel as a garnish, and serve.
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Just Give Him the Gold! Sexy Spanish Water Polo Player Comes Out as Gay

May 27th, 2016 Joseph Pedro
Victor Gutierrez

Screen Shot via Instagram

Here’s a Memorial Day weekend present for all of us, a Spanish water polo player, Victor Gutiérrez, has come out as gay just months before the Olympics in Rio. The 25-year-old dreamboat came out during an interview with Shangay magazine. The Speedo-wearing hunk also has a big heart. He told the magazine, that a big reason for coming out was the the increase in homophobic attacks in the Madrid this year—there were over 70.

Get ready to be Team Spain this August 5.

Check out some more of his Instagram after the jump…

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Did Pixar Just Include their First Lesbian Couple in Ellen’s ‘Finding Dory’?

May 27th, 2016 Joseph Pedro
Photo via Facebook

Photo via Facebook

Ellen Degeneres stars as Dory, a lovable, very forgetful fish in Pixar’s new Finding Nemo spin-off, Finding Dory, but will it be the first Disney flick to portray an LGBT couple?

By the looks of it, the answer may be yes. Matthew Gottula was the first to pay notice to what appears to be a lesbian couple strolling on the sidewalk with their baby in the film’s new trailer, sharing screencaps from the clip on Twitter.

Photo via Twitter

Photo via Twitter

Twitter users have poured out their support, commending Disney for (finally!) introducing viewers to gay and lesbian characters in the Pixar Universe. According to GLAAD’s fourth annual Studio Responsibility Index, “Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters.”

Just this year, Walt Disney Co. earned a failing grade on the Index, so here’s to turning a new page on inclusion.

Watch the trailer for Finding Dory, below:

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Vermont Becomes 5th State to Ban Gay-Conversion Therapy

May 27th, 2016 Joseph Pedro
Peter Shumlin Governor of Vermont

Governor Peter Shumlin. Image via Erika J Mitchell

Vermont has become the latest state to ban the antiquated practice of gay-conversion therapy. The New England state has become just the fifth state in the country to prohibit a practice that has been scientifically proven to do more harm than good.

Below is a statement from Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin:

At a time when some states are working to erode hard-fought advances in civil rights for the LGBT community, Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed a law to advance them in Vermont by banning the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. The new law bans the practice of seeking to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity in the State of Vermont.

“It’s absurd to think that being gay or transgender is something to be cured of,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Our country has come a long way in a short period of time in recognizing the civil rights of members of the LGBT community, and I am so proud that Vermont has taken a leadership role at every step of the way. At a time when the rights of LGBT individuals are under attack in other parts of the country, Vermont will continue to stand up to hatred and bigotry and show the rest of the country what tolerance, understanding, and common humanity look like.”

Conversion therapy has been widely discredited by the scientific community. A 2015 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “found that variations in sexual orientation and gender identity are normal, and that conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity are not effective, are harmful, and are not appropriate therapeutic practices.”

Vermont joins California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. in enacting a law to ban conversion therapy. Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced regulations to ban public and private insurers from covering the practice.

The ban on conversion therapy takes effect July 1, 2016.

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Micronesia’s Nauru Becomes Latest State to Decriminalize Gay Sex

May 27th, 2016 Joseph Pedro
Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

The third smallest state by area in the world, Nauru in Micronesia has become the latest place in the world to decriminalize homosexuality. The country’s 1899 penal code prohibited same-sex relations between men because it was considered a crime “against the order of nature.” The new Crimes Act 2016 has now voided the antiquated penal code. While the population of Nauru is just under 10,000, it has become a hotbed for the refugee crisis.

Check out this fascinating article from the Saturday Paper’s article titled Victims of love: life as a gay refugee on Nauru to learn more about life on the island before this news.

 

 

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Memorial Planned in Bondi and Marks Park to Commemorate Unsolved Murders of 88 Gay Men

May 26th, 2016 Joseph Pedro
The last family photo of Scott Johnson, who died in 1988. Photo: NSW Police

The last family photo of Scott Johnson, who died in 1988. Photo: NSW Police

A city council has given the go ahead for a public memorial commemorating the gay men who were killed at Bondi and Marks Park. The artwork that will be placed near Bondi’s Hunter Sculpture Park will pay tribute to those lives lost during a hate-crime rampage that took place from the 1970s-1990s in Sydney, Australia. The murders were never solved, but a renewed interest has piqued the public particularly after more recent mysterious deaths took place of three people that may be linked to decades’ old murders. The police have launched Operation Parrabell, reopening the investigation. Additionally, a historical non-fiction series titled Deep Water is set to air later this year, stirring up controversy among friends, family, and the LGBT community, while others feel it will call more attention to the murders and hate crimes in general.

Many in the community want a permanent memorial to the victims. Activists, though, believe that this temporary tribute is a huge step forward.

You can read a lot more about this tragic time over at the Star Observer

 

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Watch a California Rep. Tear Apart Anti-Transgender Law Professor, ‘You’re an Ignorant Bigot’

May 26th, 2016 Joseph Pedro
Screen Cap via YouTube, of LGBT Champion Lofgen

Screen Cap via YouTube, of LGBT Champion Lofgen

Rep. Zoe Lofgren showed in a committee meeting that there is no room for uneducated, bigoted testimonies to be written into record during debates about transgender issues. During the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Lofgren reacted to bizarre and offensive letter sent to her by University of San Diego Professor of Law Gail Heriot (whose area of expertise include civil right) that read: “If I believe that I am a Russian princess, that doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy.” She continued this logic by saying if she believed she were a horned owl… (we hope she doesn’t use this kind of logic with her students).

Lofgren, clearly upset by these comments, couldn’t sit there idly, she stuck back.

“I’ve got to say, I found this rather offensive, and it says to me that the witness really doesn’t know anything and probably has never met a transgender child who is going through, in almost every case, a very difficult experience finding themselves. I think it’s very regrettable that comment was put into the record, and I think it’s highly offensive,” Lofgren added.

 

You won’t believe how Lofgren reacted when Heriot tried to react to her statements.

Watch after the jump…

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Justice for Vacationing Lesbian Couple Arrested for Kissing in Honolulu

May 26th, 2016 Joseph Pedro
Lesbian couple caught kissing in hawaii

Screen Shot via NBC

It was like any other day for lesbian couple Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero who were out on a grocery-shopping trip during their holiday in Honolulu, Hawaii. The two showed their affection with a kiss, and were soon told to “take it somewhere else” by a police officer. When the couple refused, the officer, Bobby Harrison, threw Guerrero on the ground, “striking Plaintiff Wilson in the process,” and arrested for PDA and assault on an officer for two days.

The two needed to use their travel money to bail themselves out of jail, told to not leave the state of Hawaii, and were forced to survive for the next six months on no income (having to sleep a night in the park).

Following a police investigation into the case the charges against the women were dropped.

After filing a lawsuit for the unlawful arrest, the city must pay $80k in damages.

“For the publicity that it has gained, I hope that people saw it and it gives them inspiration to stand up for the civil rights that we have and to not tolerate bigotry behavior like that because it’s not acceptable,” Wilson told  KHNL.

 

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11 States Sue Washington Over Transgender-Inclusive Bathroom Guidelines

May 26th, 2016 Joseph Pedro
Texas Governor Greg Abbott Leads the Charge Against Obama's Administration's Guidelines to Protect Transgender Students. Image via Facebook.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott Leads the Charge Against Obama’s Administration’s Guidelines to Protect Transgender Students. Image via Facebook.

Eleven states have filed a lawsuit against President Obama’s federal guidelines to protect transgender students. The administration sent letters to school districts across the country with the hope of making public schools more accepting to transgender students. It directing schools to allow young men and women to use the restroom that matches his or her gender.

The lawsuit—signed by nine states, a governor, another state’s education department—was sent to the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, says that what the administration offered up “…has no basis in law” and could cause “seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts.”

The administration made it clear that they will do everything in their power to ensure the rights of transgender men and women this was particularly evident when Attorney General Loretta Lynch gave an impassioned speech against North Carolina’s HB2 law.

Lynch quickly responded to the lawsuit brought forth by the 11 states. “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex…This guidance gives administrators, teachers, and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”

Leading the charge against the guidelines is Texas Governor Greg Abbott who (so eloquently) said his state will fight the letter because Obama is “not a king” and he cant “bully Texas schools into allowing men to have open access to girls in bathrooms.”

We guess bullying is OK if a transgender student is involved, right Abbott?

His office posted this on their Facebook:

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Response has been overwhelmingly negative on his social media channels with constituents demanding he stop wasting taxpayers’ money on fighting the Obama Administration.

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