Tennessee Commissioner: “We Got A Queer Running For President!”

Sevier County Commissioner Warren Hurst (screen capture)

During a commission meeting in Sevier County, Tennessee, Monday night Commissioner Warren Hurst decided he had somethings he wanted to get off his chest.

While the public meeting was meant to discuss a pending vote on becoming a gun sanctuary city, Hurst shifted topics.

“We got a queer running for president – if that ain’t about as ugly as you can get,” said Hurst with a toothpick in the corner of his mouth. “Look what we got running for president in the Democratic party. We can go over here to Hoss’s jail [Sevier County Sheriff] and get better people out of there than those running for democratic to be President of the United States.”

“I’m not prejudiced – but, by golly, a white male in this country has very few rights and they getting took more every day,” added the 77-year-old commissioner. “Now, your kids and your grandkids is gonna pay for what we’ve let happen.”

Local news station WVLT reports one woman stood up and left the meeting telling Hurst, “This is not professional. This is [expletive].”

But many attending the meeting laughed at Hurst’s comments.

Hurst later defended his comments to WVLT saying he stood by his remarks but claimed – get ready for it – that ‘some of his best friends’ are African-American.

Of course, they are.

On Tuesday morning, Perrin Anderson, assistant to the Sevier County Mayor, issued a statement denouncing Hurst’s remarks:

“The statements made by Commissioner Hurst at the Sevier County Commission meeting of October 21, 2019, do not reflect the opinion or position of Sevier County administration,” said Anderson. “Sevier County is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or status in any other group protected by law.”

Sevier County includes the cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (home of Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood). Their economies survive on tourism, so you have to wonder why would anybody want to visit there now?

You can watch Hurst’s comments below.

First UK Chick-Fil-A Location Set To Close One Week After Opening

Following the opening of the first UK branch of Chick-fil-A restaurants last week, the eatery is already facing closure.

The controversial fast-food chain, which has attracted negative attention for years due to donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations, opened its first outlet at The Oracle shopping center in Reading, Berkshire.

When the news was announced on a local Facebook page, the comments got pretty heated with many familiar with the restaurant’s history of supporting homophobic organizations chiming in.

“Not a company I would want to support regardless of what their food tastes like!” wrote one commenter. “Shame they are choosing our fabulously diverse town to ‘test’ in!”

“I totally agree with you!” added another. “I’m American and cannot support this business. It is anti-gay… anti-LGBT.”

“You have literally got to be kidding me,” declared a Reading resident. “You do know just how blatantly homophobic they are? I’m ashamed of all involved in allowing this to happen, honestly. Utterly unacceptable.”

“Vile won’t be eating there sadly until they stop their discriminatory and hate-filled policies!”

A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A issued a statement following the opening:

“We opened a pilot licensed location at The Oracle Centre of Reading on October 10 and we are pleased by customer response. Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on serving great food and hospitality. We are represented by more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs and welcome everyone.”

But today, the BBC is reporting a spokeswoman for The Oracle shopping center says “the right thing to do” was to not extend the fast-food outlet’s lease past the “six-month pilot period.”

“We always look to introduce new concepts for our customers, however, we have decided on this occasion that the right thing to do is to only allow Chick-Fil-A to trade with us for the initial six-month pilot period, and not to extend the lease any further.”

After statements in 2012 by CEO Dan Cathy who responded “Guilty as charged” when asked about opposing marriage equality resulted in much unwanted bad press, the company shared on its Facebook page it would change course and focus on chicken leaving the “policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

But ThinkProgress reports the company has continued to donate to anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

(source: BBC, ThinkProgress – image via Depositphotos)

Drag Queen To Aaron Schock: ‘You Can’t Have Your Cake & Eat It Too’

For months now, the LGBTQ media has reported on totally-not-gay former Congressman Aaron Schock as he’s turned up in photos and video clips making out with gay men at Coachella, tipping go-go dancers at gay clubs in Mexico and posing on the beach with gay social media mavens.

The interest in Mr. Schock is borne out of the fact that while in office he openly opposed LGBTQ rights. His public positions and anti-gay votes included supporting a  constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and voting against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

He has never apologized or addressed his reasons for such policy positions while continually denying he is gay. He’s never publicly come out.

His most recent foray into LGBTQ social life was a visit to the popular West Hollywood bar Revolver when he attended a karaoke night hosted by local drag queen Jonnie Reinhart.

When word got back to Reinhart that Schock was in the audience, Reinhart felt a responsibility to do or say something.

In a video post to his Facebook page, Reinhart admits that he’s not “a confrontational person,” but in light of Schock’s well-documented hypocrisy, couldn’t shake a sense of obligation to address Schock.

In his video, Reinhart says he knows there are folks who would have loved to have seen Schock thrown out of the bar or had a drink thrown in his face.

“My job is to literally make people feel comfortable and in comes this situation, where clearly other people were aware he was there,” Reinhart recently told Insider.com. “There was a general elephant in the room.”

Instead of calling Schock out on the microphone, Reinhart decided to perform “F*ck You” by Lily Allen. As the song began, Reinhart told the crowd, “This song goes out to someone in the audience. And it goes out to anybody who votes against gay rights.”

Reinhart figured that would send a subtle message, and expected Schock to leave.

But after the song, a friend of Schock’s approached Reinhart to chat, which inspired the drag queen to speak to the former congressman directly.

Like many, Reinhart believes Schock still owes the LGBTQ community a public apology for his anti-gay positions. 

“Keep in mind, my blood was boiling, my heart was pounding,” shares Reinhart in his video. “So I went up and shook his hand and I explained to him why I was upset that he was there, why other people were upset that he was there, and I basically told him that he wasn’t going to be welcomed in gay spaces until he began the process of apologizing and healing the harm that his actions have caused.”

According to Reinhart, Schock listened and expressed appreciation for addressing him directly.

Addressing his political record, Schock apparently told Reinhart “that he did not identify as gay at that time, and it wasn’t until years later that he began to explore and understand his sexuality.”

Then, Schock shared with Reinhart “his experience of being publicly outed” and how his family had reacted to the news of him being gay.

“Basically, he told me his family’s reaction was not positive, it was very bad,” shares Reinhart. “And he insisted that he wasn’t looking for sympathy, and he said that he was working on putting out a statement.”

Reinhart didn’t go into Schock’s personal details that were shared in the conversation that night since “he’s actually no longer a public official.”

Schock apparently asked about Reinhart’s own coming out experience and the drag performer shared that he was publicly outed when he was 13, so he grasps how difficult it is to be outed. But, says Reinhart, “It doesn’t excuse his [Schock’s] behavior.”

“I told him that he can’t have his cake and eat it too, and I told him that I’ll be waiting for his statement,” added Reinhart. “He told me that he hoped that he could talk to me again, we shook hands, and that was that.”

Reinhart concludes by telling the viewer his goal in the conversation was to “extend an olive branch,” adding “I believe you can have a respectful conversation with somebody while still telling them that they have f*cked up and they need to do better.”

While I find Reinhart’s civility in his encounter with Schock admirable, it’s worth noting that Schock has now been out and about with his openly gay forays for several months.

If he’s planning to address his anti-LGBTQ past, how long does it take to pen a statement?

As I have previously reported, Schock left office in public disgrace in 2015 amid corruption charges including mail fraud, filing false tax returns, theft of government funds, and more.

In March, he was offered and accepted a sweetheart deal by federal prosecutors who agreed to drop all charges if he repaid $68k to his campaign fund and $42k to the IRS.

(source: Insider – images via Facebook, Instagram)

Sports Radio Host Called ‘Fag’ By Radio Station’s Own Twitter

In response to the recent kerfuffle regarding New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees filming a video PSA for the virulently anti-LGBTQ group Focus on the Family, New Orleans sports radio host Seth Dunlap penned a thoughtful, candid open letter to the Super Bowl MVP.

In the essay, posted to Dunlap’s personal Facebook page, he took time to express his sympathy for Brees’s position after catching blowback for the “Bring Your Bible to School Day” video.

Dunlap noted Brees’ public position of his personal Christian faith and acknowledged the quarterback most probably had no idea of the ugly policies promoting by Focus on the Family which include battling marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, any anti-bullying programs and enacting hate crime laws.

But the open letter also addressed Brees’ response to the backlash he received wherein the quarterback clapped back “negativity spread about” him by folks who pointed out the uncomfortable connection between a football hero and a group certified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

I won’t dissect Dunlap’s full essay here, but I encourage you to read it here.

Thoughtful, pensive, and very non-adversarial, the radio host picks up on a word used by Brees in his response – ‘shame’ – and connects it to shame he’s experienced at times being an openly gay man.

At every turn in the letter, Dunlap is respectful in his attempt to perhaps educate Brees on who and what Focus on the Family represents to the LGBTQ community.

So it must have come as a shock to the sports radio show host when the Twitter account for his own station tweeted an ugly response to him.

After posting a topic to listeners on his Twitter account asking “Which of these 5 ‘overreactions’ isn’t actually an overreaction?’ in the sports world, Dunlap received a response (that was quickly deleted) reading, “That you’re a f*g.”

It would take about five hours for the station to address the homophobic tweet.

This was the statement issued via tweet – please note that there is no apology to Mr. Dunlap included.

“We are aware of a tweet that went out today from the WWL account,” read the statement. “The content of the tweet is categorically offensive and abhorrent to the station. We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred.”

Listeners were not impressed with the non-apology:

 

 

 

 

 

For his part, Dunlap played the classy move and stayed above the fray:

Big Easy Magazine notes that when Dunlap opened his show on Tuesday night, he focused on how Monday night’s Saints game brought everyone together.

“White, Black, Latinx, men, women, straight, gay – nobody caring,” said the veteran radio host. “If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to be a part of something like that, it could be a truly religious experience. And that camaraderie, that togetherness, is what makes sports so special. We can set everything aside and just be ourselves.”

Bravo, Mr. Dunlap, bravo.

(source: BigEasyMagazine)

Homophobe Screams ‘You Are Desecrating The Name Of God! You Will Be Murdered!’

On Sunday afternoon, as Adam Eli, a community organizer in New York City, made his way out of the 28th Street subway station, he was followed and verbally harassed for being gay.

Eli, who is openly gay and Jewish, told local news station PIX 11, “I’m sort of assuming they read that I was gay cause of the purse and also I have a patch on my butt,” referring to a pink handbag he was carrying and a gay pride patch on his jeans.

The man had apparently tapped Eli on the shoulder on the subway and ordered him to remove his yarmulke. Eli declined.

As Eli exited the station, he began recording the encounter on his phone which quickly went viral.

As the man followed him, he pointed directly at Eli and demanded he remove his pink yarmulke (kippah).

On the video, you can hear Eli ask, “Because I’m gay and wearing a kippah…is that why?”

“You’re desecrating the name of God,” said the homophobe as he began quoting verses from Leviticus. “You will be murdered! Take the kippah off.”

Continuing down the sidewalk, Eli told the man, “No – this is my life and my city. I don’t have to take my kippah off.”

“Stay in the closet!” yelled the man, his voice rising in volume. “Make sure your closet is in another closet! Take your kippah off! This is not Judaism!”

“I’m cisgender, white, I have a social media platform I have resources and that’s the type of violence that I’m getting,” Eli told PIX 11 in an interview.

“If that’s the type of violence that one of the most privileged members of our community is getting, can you imagine what it’s like every day in the subway to be a trans person or a gender non-conforming person or a queer person of color?”

In a series of tweets, Eli explained his reasons for sharing the encounter with his followers.

“ I spent the first 18 years of my life listening to people tell me I couldn’t be gay and Jewish,” he began. “Today I love my queer Jewish identity and nobody is taking that away from me.”

Eli says he didn’t report the incident to the police because he “didn’t see how that could help.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio became aware of the encounter and tweeted his support writing, “It takes courage to confront homophobia and tell a story like this.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through this, Adam,” continued the mayor. “But we’re proud of how you responded. There’s no place for hate in this city.”

Brazil’s Largest Newspaper Trolls Homophobes, Prints Superhero Kiss On Front Page

Last week, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro called for a ban on superhero comic book because of ‘sexual content’ he deemed unsuitable for minors.

The ‘content’ in question occurs in the three-year-old Marvel publication Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. In one panel of the graphic novel, the characters Wiccan and Hulkling, who are in a committed relationship, engage in a kiss.

Why the 2016 publication suddenly caught the eye of the Mayor Marcello Crivella, a former evangelical pastor, now is unclear. But Crivella called for the comic to be banned from the Riocentro Bienal do Livro, Brazil’s most important literary event.

Rio de Janeiro’s councilman Alexandre Isquierdo also made a statement calling the imaging an “attempt to propagate homosexuality.”

But before authorities could remove the graphic novel, word spread and all copies were almost instantly snapped up by fans.

And now, Brazil’s Supreme Court has blocked the efforts to censor the Marvel publication.

“Attorney General Raquel Dodge challenged the move by Crivella, a former evangelical pastor,” reports ABC News. “She said allowing the mayor to remove books goes against freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas.”

According to the report, a lower court initially supported the mayor, but chief justice José Dias Toffoli “ruled in favor of Dodge on Sunday, blocking the mayor from removing any books.”

And just to put a point on the subject, Brazil’s largest newspaper Folha De S.Paulothrew shade by printing the image on the front page of the publication.

Ha!

It’s perfectly legal to be LGBTQ in Brazil (the country has legalized same-sex marriage), but thanks to statements and actions by virulently anti-LGBTQ president Jair Bolsonaro, the gay community has reasons to be concerned.

Bolsonaro has announced plans to remove mentions of LGBTQ people from textbooks and classrooms in schools; he’s posted tweets denouncing the country’s annual Carnival event for being too risque; told the world “Brazil can’t be a country of gay tourism” because “we have families.”

He’s even told publications he’d rather have a dead son than a gay son.

But, today, we celebrate this small triumph (and epic trolling) over hate.

(source: ABC News)

Uber Driver Kicks Same-Sex Couple Out For ‘Kiss On The Cheek’

An Uber driver kicked two Camden County, N.J. women out of her car after one kissed the other on the cheek. One of the women, Kristin Michele, recorded the incident.

From NJ.com:

Kristin Michele and Jenn Mangan were in an Uber on their way to a Zac Brown Band concert in Camden on Friday night when Michele leaned over and gave Mangan a kiss on the cheek, they said.

The driver then immediately told the women to get out of the car, Michele said.

“I said ‘I don’t understand.’ She said ‘I can’t ride with that. You kissed her,’” Michele said. “She said ‘I won’t have that.’”

Michele started recording a video right after that, in which she asks, “Are you kicking me out because I’m gay?” and the driver responds, “Yes, I am. Yes. Get out.”

The women eventually walked half a mile home, and then took a train to their concert.

They say they reached out to Uber and the company says they would look into the incident.

School Board Has Filed Appeal After Losing Gavin Grimm ‘Bathroom’ Case

Last month, Gavin Grimm, a transgender man who graduated from Gloucester High School in Virginia two years ago, won his long legal battle with his former high school over the right for trans students to use the public bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

But this week, the Gloucester County School Board decided to appeal the federal court ruling in Grimm’s favor.

And so, Gavin Grimm will have to fight his trans ‘bathroom case’ yet again.

Yes, he’s graduated and moved on, but the pro-trans ruling is so important to trans people that you can bet the 20-year-old activist will continue the good fight.

His case dates all the way back to 2014, when he began to transition in his sophomore year of high school.

Grimm began using a men’s restroom and told school administrators what was going on in his life.

But in December of that year, the school board instituted a policy that prohibited Grimm from using the boys’ room.

Grimm filed his initial law suit in 2015 with the aid of the ACLU. Since that time, he has been locked in this never-ending legal.

He finally took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago, but the high court sent the case back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals after the Trump administration reversed Obama-era protections for transgender students in American public schools under Title IX.

Boston ‘Straight Pride Parade’ Fails, Participants Outnumbered By Pro-LGBT Protesters

The so-called ‘Straight Pride Parade’ in Boston ended up a massive fail for the organizers as only a small number of participants showed up on Saturday while the pro-LGBTQ counterprotesters far outnumbered those marching.

From NBC News:

The parade, which drew several dozen participants, kicked off at around noon to the sound of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” with some floats displaying messages of support for President Donald Trump, with signs such as “build the wall,” “Trump nation” and “Blue Lives Matter.”

Since plans for the event were announced in early June, organizers have come under criticism. Some critics said that parade organizers are white supremacists whose intent was to bait members of the LGBT community in one of America’s most liberal cities.

The Independent adds:

The organisers of a controversial “Straight Pride” rally are heavily linked with far-right movements and nationalist protests, it has emerged. Now questions have been raised over the past political activities of the trio of men behind the group, John Hugo, Mark Sahady, and Chris Bartley.

Mr. Sahady and Mr. Bartley are both heavily associated with Resist Marxism – a loose ultra-conservative group found to have links to white supremacist organisations – while Mr. Hugo ran, unsuccessfully, for congress in 2018 with an endorsement from the same group.

And from The Washington Examiner:

The small crowd that gathered in support of the parade was met with signs and protesters who seemed to outnumber the parade attendees in the early hours.

Boston police donned riot gear in anticipation of potential violence, as the parade was expected to feature an appearance by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who was set to be the grand marshal and mascot for the parade.

The Proud Boys, a far-right group that often clashes with far-left Antifa during demonstrations and gatherings, also made an appearance in Boston for the Saturday parade.

Yiannopoulos was first spotted shortly before 1 p.m. donning a glittering “Make America Great Again” hat. The parade began a short time after, and police began using physical force to maintain order as emotions on both sides ran high.

Photojournalist Bob Bishop reports during his speech at the event, Yiannopoulos told the crowd gays should pay reparations to the families of AIDS victims and Hurricane Dorian may be gods punishment to Florida for allowing Disney to create gay characters.

More from Bishop:

And finally, this little nugget:

Remember, according to the Straight Pride organizers:

“Super Happy Fun America advocates on behalf of the straight community in order to build respect, inclusivity, equality, diversity, unity, solidarity, dignity, social mobility, empowerment, sustainability, justice, awareness, intersectionality, human rights, education, access, participation, dialogue, visibility, tolerance, and alliances with people from all walks of life.

“We encourage everyone to embrace our community’s diverse history, culture, and identity regardless of sexual orientation.”

Hungary Bans Same-Sex Marriage In New Constitution

Hungarian lawmakers approved a new constitution Monday that was blasted by rights groups and the political opposition for measures considered extremely conservative.

Some of the changes to the current constitution include:

* Ban on same-sex marriage

* Protects the life of a fetus from conception opening the possibility to future ban or restriction on abortion

* Ban on discrimination does not include age or sexual orientation

* Tax and pension law changes require a two-thirds majority

“We’ve just participated in a historical moment,” parliamentary speaker Laszlo Kover said moments after the bill was approved 262-44. “The new constitution is built upon our past and traditions, but seeks and contains answers to current problems while keeping an eye on the future.”

Hungary’s current constitution dates from 1949, near the start of the communist regime but it was almost fully rewritten during the 1989 transition to democracy.

Hungary assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the EU in January.