News Round-Up: May 19, 2021

Demi Lovato comes out as nonbinary
Demi Lovato comes out as nonbinary
Actor/singer Demi Lovato (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

Christian Post: A licensed therapist is suing Washington state over its 2018 law banning so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for minors. The therapist is being represented by virulently anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom.

NBC Out: Actor and singer Demi Lovato came out as nonbinary today and said they would be changing their pronouns to they/them. “Today is a day I’m so happy to share more of my life with you all,” Lovato wrote in a social media post in announcing the news.

Washington Post: The European Union on Wednesday agreed to open its borders to vaccinated Americans and others, after more than a year in which travel into the bloc has been severely restricted, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Out Music: LGBTQ-led band Hemisphere has been nominated for ‘Best World Music Album’ by the prestigious San Diego Music Awards for their album American Dreams. The album is meant to emphasize and promote the spirit of ‘Unity’, ‘Diversity’, and ‘Equality’. Hemisphere members Rob Shinno and Don Bowman have been publicly out since 1994.

CBS News: Fox News Media filed a motion to dismiss a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against it by Dominion Voting Systems over false claims about the 2020 presidential election amplified by some of its hosts. The motion laughingly says Fox’s “responsible journalists covered both sides” of the controversy and that the network’s opinion hosts provided commentary which “a reasonable viewer” would consider as little more than “hyperbole.”

Twitter: Rep. Tim Ryan was DONE with Republican House members who voted against a bipartisan commission to investigate the January invasion of the U.S. Capitol building. The measure passed by a vote of 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining Democrats in supporting the plan.

Note – Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN), brother of former Vice President Mike Pence, voted against the bill even though the rioters on January 6 called for hanging his brother.

Podcast: Leslie Jordan, Joshua Sade James, Gunnar Montana, EU, Queer As Folk Reboot

In this episode: the NFL's homophobic email scandal, Pete Buttigieg claps back, and new music from out singer/songwriter Michael Lazar.

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s podcast:

• The European Union’s Parliament overwhelmingly approves a resolution declaring all 27 member countries an LGBT ‘Freedom Zone’

• GLAAD has launched the Biden Equality Accountability Tracker which will monitor the Biden administration’s executive orders, legislative support, speeches and nominations that affect LGBTQ people and rights

• After the success of It’s A Sin, could a Queer As Folk reboot could be in the works?

• Philadelphia performance artist and dancer Gunnar Montana celebrated National Barbie Day in a ‘Super Gay’ way

• Love in quarantine – Joshua Sade James‘ new song “I’ll Wait For You” sings out for separated couples during the pandemic

• And Leslie Jordan wants the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, to know ‘The gays have your back’

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

European Parliament Approves Resolution Declaring EU An LGBT ‘Freedom Zone’

European Parliament
European Parliament
European Parliament in Brussels (screen capture via France 24)

In a lop-sided vote, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a resolution on Wednesday announcing the 27-member European Union is a “freedom zone” for LGBTQ people.

The  declaration came about after two years of rising homophobic animus in Poland and other member countries.

From AP News:

The parliament announced Thursday that there were 492 ballots in favor of the resolution and 141 against in a vote that came after a debate in a session of parliament in Brussels on Wednesday.

The resolution came largely in reaction to developments over the past two years in Poland, where many local communities have adopted largely symbolic resolutions declaring themselves free of what conservative authorities have been calling “LGBT ideology.”

These towns say they are seeking to protect traditional families based on unions of men and women, but LGBT rights activists say the designations are discriminatory and make gays and lesbians feel unwelcome. The areas have come to be colloquially known as “LGBT-free zones.”

The government of Poland clapped back saying they have a right to protect their ‘traditional family values.’

The Polish government also claimed to have lower hate crime statistics than other Western European countries. But, since there’s no mention of LGBTQ people in that country’s penal code, the authorities don’t keep track of homophobic attacks. So, there’s no telling how many anti-LGBTQ crimes are committed.

The president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, won reelection last year embracing anti-LGBTQ policies. During the campaign, he remarked that LGBTQ “ideology” is more dangerous than communism.

Read the full article.

News Round-Up: November 17, 2020

Joe Blizzard (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Joe Blizzard (above) is getting through the rough Miami winter the best he can 🙂

Kenneth-in-the-212: The venerable NYC-based gay blog turned 15 recently! Hit the link to check out Kenneth’s Top 10 posts over the years. Congratulations, Kenneth!

Broadway World: NBC is bringing the magic of Dr. Seuss’ world to life in a new musical production airing next month. Matthew Morrison (GLEE, Hairspray) will star as the title role in Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical! set to air Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT from the Troubadour Theatre in London.

STAT News: Pfizer may be within days of filing for an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine, having collected the safety data necessary to submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration, CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday.

Eonline: 13 years after Isaiah Washington was fired for calling his Grey’s Anatomy co-star T.R. Knight a ‘faggot’ on set, he reignited his feud with former co-star Katherine Heigl, who stood up for Knight at the time of Washington’s hate speech. There was no apparent reason cited for Washington reinvigorating the incident. Oh, and he’s a big Trump supporter, so…

Instinct Magazine: The European Union has announced a new strategy to fight anti-LGBTQ laws and sentiments across its borders. The union specifically made this announcement as a response to discrimination skyrocketing in Poland and Hungary.

 

Why Does The US Have Far More Deaths From COVID-19 Than EU?

L-R Donald Trump, VP Mike Pence (image: public domain/Flickr)

Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have argued in recent weeks the increase in confirmed U.S. cases of COVID-19 is primarily the result of more testing for the virus being conducted.

However, that’s not true, as The New York Times explains. The U.S., which once trailed the European Union in per capita overall deaths, has now racked up many more.

From the New York Times:

Most other high-income countries are dealing with modest numbers of new cases — often an inevitable consequence of reopening — and the countries are responding aggressively. Many are following the advice of public health experts, ordering social distancing, mask-wearing and partial lockdowns and doing their best to track people who came in contact with new patients.

The United States is not. President Trump and many governors continue to flout scientific advice and send mixed messages about the seriousness of the virus.

As the U.S. soars past the EU in coronavirus-related deaths, it’s worth noting that the population of the EU (446 million) eclipses the U.S. (328 million) by nearly 120 million.

In the graphic below, check out how many more deaths due to COVID-19 the U.S. has suffered versus the EU.

Also, Japan – which has a population of 128 million – has far fewer deaths. But wearing a face mask in the Asian country is a common practice, year in, year out.

(graphic via New York Times)

EU May Continue To Ban Travelers From US Due To COVID-19 Failure

People at an airport wearing face masks

This probably explains why my cruise set to sail in August was canceled today.

From the New York Times:

European Union countries rushing to revive their economies and reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the scourge, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers reviewed by The New York Times.

That prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world and a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country.

European nations are currently haggling over two potential lists of acceptable visitors based on how countries are faring with the coronavirus pandemic. Both lists include China, as well as developing nations like Uganda, Cuba and Vietnam. Both also exclude the United States and other countries that were deemed too risky because of the spread of the virus.

Officials say the list will be revised every two weeks accordingly to reflect updated information and status of countries.

News Round-Up: June 19, 2020

Pierre Vuala (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Fitness trainer and model Pierre Vuala (above) offers up this #FBF moment until “traveling is a thing again.” Follow him on the Gram of Insta here.

Instinct: A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the State Department must recognize that the daughter of a gay couple in Maryland has been a U.S. citizen since her birth in Canada via a surrogate last year. The Trump administration had changed the interpretation of a 1952 citizenship law to view children born abroad via surrogacy as being born “out of wedlock.”

KIT212: Don’t miss Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the what’s what in local LGBTQ publications.

Washington Post: Even though the population of the European Union surpasses the United States by more than 100 million (446 million vs. 328 million), coronavirus cases in the U.S. haven’t fallen as quickly as in the EU.

(graphic via Washington Post)

Media Matters: referencing the Supreme Court’s rulings on marriage equality and this week’s decision on LGBTQ employment protections, Rush Limbaugh blames the “deep state” for “cultural rot.” Rushbo told his listeners, “We are so low that when we look up, we see a filthy gutter.”

The Hill: Oklahoma has reported more than 800 new coronavirus cases in the past two days, marking a significant spike ahead of a massive rally for President Trump in the state planned for Saturday. The state reported 352 new cases on Friday, one day after a record 450 new cases on Thursday.

Outsports: Declaring himself “proud and free,” Daniel Arcos, a pro basketball player from Chile, came out Wednesday as gay in an Instagram post. The 26-year-old forward in the top Chile pro basketball league posted a three-page letter on Instagram in which he talked about his struggles to accept himself but decided the time to make a statement was now. He followed the post with a message of thanks to supporters: “Thank each of the messages of support, signs of affection and respect. The tranquility that I have with myself is incredible. #pride.”

Romanian Same-Sex Marriage Case Could Affect Several European Union Countries

Within the European Union, 13 countries currently recognize same-sex marriage, 9 additional nations offer civil unions or a similar legal status but 6 countries have no legal recognition of same-sex couples.

That could change soon as the European Union’s highest court is looking at a case brought by a Romanian man’s desire to live in his home country with his husband of 7 years.

One of the fundamental principles of the EU is to provide the citizens of the bloc’s member states and their family members the right to move and freely reside across the region, subject to certain conditions.

But when Adrian Coman and his American husband, Claibourn Robert Hamilton, sought to move to Coman’s home country of Romania, the authorities there refused to recognize their relationship in regards to legal residency for Hamilton.

Should the court rule in their favor, it could effectively force Romania and the other five non-marriage-equality nations residency and working rights as long as one member of the couple is a citizen of a European Union country.

In a country of 20 million Romanians, 3 million signed a 2016 petition calling for the constitutional definition of marriage to be defined as between “one man, one woman.” A referendum on the issue could be held as soon as next year.

So this decision by the high court will be especially timely.

Stay tuned.

(source)

European Parliament Says Same-Sex Marriage Is A Human Right

The European Parliament on Thursday called on EU member states to recognise civil unions and same-sex marriage as a civil and human right and urged governments and EU institutions to contribute to further discussion in this area.

The call was contained in the 2013 global human rights and democracy report, approved by the assembly with 390 ayes, 151 nays and 97 abstentions.

In it, the European Parliament acknowledged “the legalisation of marriage and civil unions between same-sex couples in a growing number of countries around the world, currently 17” and encouraged “the EU institutions and member states to further contribute towards reflection on the recognition of marriage or civil unions between people of the same sex as a political and social issue and a matter of civil and human rights”.

(from GazettedelSud)