• Andrew Christian: With the weather finally warming up, it’s time to get out to the great outdoors for a date that includes some Vitamin D. Check out these ideas for you and your boo to do.
• LGBTQ Nation: On March 31, Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy White House Press Secretary, became the first out Black woman to host an official White House Press Brief. She delivered the briefing standing mid-flight aboard Air Force One.
• Kenneth-in-the-212: Don’t miss Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the best in LGBTQ publications including the feature in Hot Spots Magazine (below) on LGBTQs and our furry family members.
• Broadway Cares: The virtual edition of Broadway Backwards delivered an exuberant evening of performances and raised a record $749,555 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. The free online event can now be viewed by clicking here through 11:59 pm Eastern on Saturday, April 3.
• Instinct Magazine: Virginia is now the 13th state to ban ‘gay panic’ and ‘trans panic’ legal defenses in cases of violence and murder on LGBTQ people.
• Tostitos: The chip maker brings out Emmy Award winners Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) and Kate McKinnon (SNL) together for this cute new ad spot where the comic geniuses one-up each other describing the flavor of new Habanero Tostitos. McKinnon thinks the chips are “drama” but Levy says they are “pelvicular.”
The second piece of legislation would put into place statewide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
The third bill would outlaw so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ the dangerous pseudo-science that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
And the fourth bill would prohibit the use of the ‘gay panic’ or ‘trans panic’ defense in legal cases which attempts to justify killing or harming someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“No one should worry that they can’t buy a home because of who they love or be denied a haircut or a hotel room because of their gender identity,” Rep. Vernetta Alston (D-District 29) told the local ABC News affiliate.
Kendra Johnson of Equality NC added, “For too long LGBTQ North Carolinians have lived in the shadow of archaic and outdated laws that impact everyone in our community.”
Lawmakers say they are ‘hopeful’ the bills have momentum to pass, but I’ll note that the Republican-controlled state legislature hasn’t previously given queer people much to believe in.
Virginia could be the next state to ban the gay/trans legal defense.
House Bill 2132, introduced by state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), was approved on Friday in the House Courts of Justice Subcommittee by a vote of 6-2.
All of the Democrats on the committee plus Carrie Coyner (R-Chesterfield County) voted in favor of the legislation. State Dels. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) and Les Adams (R-Pittsylvania County) opposed it.
Judy Shepard, Wesley Bizzell of the National LGBT Bar Association and Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth are among those who testified in support of the bill. Out and Equal Workplace Advocates and other groups also submitted testimony in favor of HB 2132.
“Filing this bill as a constituent service request from an out student in Manassas Park reminds me that young LGBTQ people today in 2021 still live with the same fear I did as a 14-year-old freshman in 1998 when Matthew Shepard was tortured and killed for simply existing as a gay man in America,” Roem told the Washington Blade after the vote. “Equality is constituent service and the lives of my LGBTQ constituents need to be protected by the Virginia General Assembly.”
The American Bar Association denounces the gay/trans panic legal defense saying it “legitimizes and excuses violent and lethal behavior against members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
“The defense is defined by the LGBT Bar as ‘a legal strategy which asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder.'”
Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia prohibit using the legal strategy. The state of Maryland is also looking at banning the practice.
• InstaHunks: Woofy Joe Blizzard (above), signaling in from Yosemite National Park, calls this “being a nerd, as usual.” Nerd???
• LGBTQ Nation: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed four pro-LGBTQ bills into law this week. The new laws range from banning gay/trans panic legal defenses in cases of violence, making PrEP easier for gay folks to obtain to prevent HIV infection, and making it easier for trans people to change the gender markers on their state ID documents.
• Washington Blade: Facebook and Instagram have announced they will ban conversion therapy content/posts on their sites, following a block on paid ads promoting the practice earlier this year.
• Instinct Magazine: LA Pride has announced that it will be moving out of West Hollywood after almost five decades of celebration citing ongoing construction in West Hollywood Park as well as the changing demographics of Greater Los Angeles.
• VOTE: Eight of America’s leading fitness photographers have joined forces for “Flex Your Vote,” a new campaign that urges the LGBTQ community and its allies to the polls this November.
“It’s painfully clear why this is the most important time in our lifetimes to vote,” says Mike Ruiz, the campaign’s organizer. “We are being engulfed by a pandemic, millions are unemployed, the government is riddled with corruption. We need to change the direction of this country or we are headed towards a dictatorship where we will be stripped of our rights.”
• Las Vegas: Hubby Michael and I were invited to an industry night at the Westgate Hotel here in Las Vegas where pop music legend Barry Manilow is still thrilling audiences. In a fast-paced 90 minute show, Barry belts out hit after hit, inspiring standing ovation after standing ovation. If you’re heading to Sin City, I highly recommend you check out this truly authentic star who continues to knock it out of the park.
• NY Times: A year after the “London Patient” was introduced to the world as only the second person to be cured of H.I.V., he is stepping out of the shadows to reveal his identity: He is Adam Castillejo. “This is a unique position to be in, a unique and very humbling position,” he said. “I want to be an ambassador of hope.”
• CTV News: Legislation has been introduced in Canada that would make it illegal to cause a minor to undergo conversion therapy; to remove a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy in another country; cause a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will; profit from providing conversion therapy; or advertise an offer to provide conversion therapy.
• Spokesman-Review: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a bill that prohibits defendants from using a “panic defense” in court to justify violence against a member of the LGBTQ community. Washington is now the 10th state to ban so-called “gay panic” or “trans panic” defenses.
• The Hill: Former 2020 Democratic contender Michael Bloomberg gave $2 million to a nonprofit working to Collective Future, a nonprofit working to registering black voters ahead of November’s general election. The group is working to register 500,000 black voters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
• Passing: Openly gay playwright Mart Crowley, author of the groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band, about a group of gay and bi friends in New York City,has died at age 84.
The play, a hit off-Broadway in 1968, went on to become a feature film directed by William Friedkin in 1970. Crowley finally received a Tony Award for his opus when an all-star cast brought the play to Broadway in 2018. Hollywood super-producer Ryan Murphy is now bringing that production to Netflix in the foreseeable future. RIP Mart Crowley.
RIP Mart Crowley, who wrote Boys In The Band. He was justly acclaimed, ignorantly attacked and finally given his due. He dissected and celebrated gay lives, and as a person, he was funny, generous and brave. He got there first, and the theater is in his debt pic.twitter.com/eQoJyjGPp2