• Edge Media: A gay Tennessee couple – Mike Gill and Cody Heaton (above) – thought they had found their wedding venue since the owner put in an email, “We offer same-sex marriage ceremonies only.” An hour later he received a second email that read: “We do not offer same-sex marriage ceremonies.”#Typo? Continue reading “News Round-Up: September 1, 2021”
Daniel Jenkins, 22, of Dallas, Texas, has pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges in connection with his involvement in a scheme targeting gay men for violent crimes using the gay dating app Grindr. Jenkins is the fourth and final defendant charged in the scheme to plead guilty.
Jenkins pleaded guilty to one hate crime count, one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping, and carjacking, and one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
According to court documents filed in connection with his guilty plea, Jenkins admitted that he and his co-conspirators used Grindr, a social media dating platform used primarily by gay men, to lure gay men to a vacant apartment and other areas in and around Dallas for robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and hate crimes over the course of approximately a week in December 2017.
Jenkins admitted that he and his co-conspirators held victims against their will; pointed a handgun at victims and took their personal property, including their vehicles; and traveled to local ATMs to withdraw cash from the victims’ accounts.
Jenkins further admitted that he and his co-conspirators physically injured at least one victim and taunted the victims based upon the co-conspirators’ perception of the men’s sexual orientation.
In March 2019, Michael Atkinson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kidnapping charges in connection with this case. In December 2019, Daryl Henry and Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime and other charges in connection with this case. Sentencing for these three defendants is set for June 23.
At his sentencing, scheduled for October 6, Jenkins will face up to 26 years in prison.
It’s a rare bipartisan endorsement of a bill by the 50-50 Senate, and comes in the wake of a spike of anti-Asian hate crimes over the last year. Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) was lone Republican to vote against the bill.
The bill will train law enforcement to better identify anti-Asian racism and appoint an official in the Justice Department to review and expedite COVID-19-related hate crime reports, among other measures.
Republicans originally balked at the bill when language initially referred to the legislation as “COVID-19 hate crimes.” But an amendment to just “hate crimes” assuaged those conerns.
The bill heads to the House now where it’s expected to pass before heading to President Biden’s desk.
JUST IN: The Senate voted 94-1 to pass the anti-Asian hate crimes bill.
• The Advocate: South Carolina Democratic Rep. Cezar McKnight is facing ire from his fellow party members for introducing a new anti-trans bill that would make it a felony for doctors to prescribe life-saving hormone therapy for transgender youth. McKnight is joined in supporting the bill by 23 fellow lawmakers, all Republicans.
• JoeMyGod: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says he “would talk ’til I fell over to make sure that the Equality Act doesn’t become law.” Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
• Stonewall Gazette: The film Poppy Field (top image) follows the struggle of a young Romanian police officer, Cristi (Conrad Mericoffer), who tries to find balance between being a working man in a macho hierarchical environment and that of being a closeted gay person trying to keep his personal life a secret.
• NBC News: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Asian American community leaders during a scheduled visit to Georgia on Friday in the wake of the spa shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of whom were women of Asian descent.
• KATC: A federal grand jury in Lafayette returned a six-count indictment charging Chance J. Seneca, 19, of Lafayette, with hate crime, kidnapping, firearm, and obstruction charges based on his attempted murder of a gay man and his overarching scheme to kidnap and murder gay men whom he met online.
• CNN: Xavier Becerra was confirmed by the Senate as the first Latino Health and Human Services secretary on Thursday. The vote was 50 to 49. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the only Republican to vote yes – Democrat Mazie Hirono was absent.
You voted to confirm Betsy DeVos and Ben Carson, neither of whom had ANY relevant experience.
• Mediaite: Former President Barack Obama’s newly-released memoir, A Promised Land, sold more than 887,000 copies in the U.S. and Canada in its first 24 hours putting it on track to be the highest selling presidential memoir in modern history.
• Back2Stonewall: The FBI has released its annual report on hate crimes showing that, broadly, hate crimes rose 2.7 percent in 2019. Hate crimes perpetrated against gay men rose for the third straight year from 57.8% in 2017 to 61.8% in 2019.
• The Advocate: Ryan Phillippe says his parents “shunned” him for taking on the role on One Life to Live’s Billy Douglas, the first gay character on a soap opera, which he portrayed during the early ’90s. Phillippe is currently starring in ABC’s new drama, Big Sky.
• Minneapolis Star Tribune: Gov. Tim Walz will impose new restrictions on bars, restaurants and fitness centers starting Friday, closing them down to the public for four weeks as COVID-19 cases surge across the state. Bars and restaurants will still be allowed to offer takeout services during that time.
• CNN: The Trump campaign alleged last week that a vote cast by a Georgia woman named Deborah Jean Christiansen was fraudulent because she was reportedly dead. In fact, the vote was legally cast by a living woman who also happens to be named Deborah Jean Christiansen. Christiansen answered the door when CNN showed up on Tuesday evening.
• OUT: Schitt’s Creek co-creator and star Dan Levy scored another honor as he lands on PEOPLE’s 2020 ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ List
• Podcast: Just a reminder to please take a listen to my chat with the oh-so-talented country artist Cameron Hawthorn (above). I’ve been a fan for a long time, so I’m happy to share he’s just as charming as I expected.
• Instinct Magazine: With hate crimes on the rise in Italy, LGBTQ folks are marching in the streets.
• Netflix: Check out the trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom directed by George C. Wolfe starring a cast headed up by Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman. Coming to Netflix on December 18. “Tensions rise between Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), her ambitious horn player (Chadwick Boseman), and the white management determined to control the legendary ‘Mother of the Blues.’”
• Axios: The Supreme Court denied a request from Pennsylvania’s Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. Thanks to the court’s 4-4 deadlock, ballots can be counted for several days after Election Day.
• Jewish News: Ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election, some 75 percent of U.S. Jews would vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, while 22 percent would vote to re-elect U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a poll released on Monday by the American Jewish Committee. In 2016, 71 percent of American Jews voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, while 24 percent voted for Trump.
• Politico: In an episode that has since become legendary within the CIA, Donald Trump was reportedly in the middle of a highly classified briefing on Afghanistan at his New Jersey golf club when he suddenly craved a malted milkshake. “Does anyone want a malt? We have the best malts, you have to try them,” Trump insisted, as he beckoned a waiter into the room where code-word classified intelligence was being discussed.
• Fox News: Donald Trump called CNN “dumb bastards” during a campaign stop today for continuing to cover a worldwide pandemic that’s killed over 220,000 Americans and continues to surge across the country.
“They are getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they? You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. ‘Covid, Covid, Pandemic, Covid, Covid.’ You know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN, you dumb bastards.” — Trump pic.twitter.com/QobvMA6Yz0
• Instinct: A real-life gay couple (above) kissing in an Australian underwear ad got a lot of attention. Some called it “beautiful,” but others said the ad was “offensive.”
• Washington Blade: The number of hate crime incidents targeting gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the United States in 2018 increased by nearly 6 percent over the previous year and the number of anti-transgender hate crime incidents increased by 41 percent during that same period, according to the FBI’s newly released annual Hate Crime Statistics Report.
• Newsweek: Donald Trump regularly struggles to “remember what he’s said or been told,” an anonymous senior government official writes in the newly-released book,A Warning.
• The Sun: A United Airlines passenger refused to sit next to 16-year-old Taylor Richardson on a plane “because she was black.”
• NBC News: Preparing to enroll their two-year-old in pre-school, two gay dads were asked: “Who is the mother?”
• Rolling Stone: Michelle Obama, Lizzo and Lil Nas X all scored Grammy Award nominations today.
• Gaily Grind: Acrobatic dancers Guillaume Paquin and Arthur Morel Van Hyfte received a standing ovation after performing a dance routine meant to combat homophobia on La France a Un Incroyable Talent (France’s Got Incredible Talent) last night.
The dance routine is part of the CircusQueer project, which is described on social media as “a series of performance videos to address social issues and hopefully inspire a kinder world” and meant to address “gender identity, trans youth, and the conditioning of gender expectations.”
• InstaHunks: Dan Tai (above) offers this Hump Day inspiration, “Nothing will work unless you do, so chalk up and get it done.” I offer this photo of Dan as Hump Day inspiration. #woof
• Advocate: A New Orleans judge has rejected an arrest warrant for gay ex-radio host Seth Dunlap, who is accused of fabricating an antigay tweet from his former station.
• Socialite Life: Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer was finally voted off Dancing with the Stars this week. In true Trump form, the Donald deleted his tweet of support for Spicer once the Spice man got the boot.
• FBI: The FBI has released its annual Hate Crime Statistics report for 2018 which shows anti-LGBTQ hate crimes increased by almost 6 percent compared to 2017.
• NY Daily News: Michael Troina, a former NYC firefighter who said he experienced hazing from colleagues including taunts to “have sex with a stripper” to prove he is straight, received an $80,000 settlement from the city after filing a lawsuit.
• Funny: Michael Henry’s latest ‘funny but makes you think’ video confronts gay men’s obsession with parties, drinking, and sex. Eventually, all that sex-crazed fun stops being fun, and that just leaves a lot of loneliness in the gayborhood.
“When’s the last time you tried to make any gay friends that didn’t involve parties, drinking, or sex?” Henry asks the lonely party bunny. “All you ‘sexys’ only have surface friendships because you’re stuck in this loop of connecting and validating each other through some sort of sexual activity. Wear some pants and take an improv class, nobody’s having sex there.” #wisdom
• InstaHunks: Bodybuilder and fitness expert Calum Von Moger shares the above pic with a humorous touch embracing his inner peacock as he writes, “I was made for this moment.”
• LGBTQ Nation: While crime overall in major cities has declined over recent years, a new study shows hate crimes increased 9% over the last year. That makes for the 5th consecutive increase and the largest jump since 2015.
• Gr8erDays: Follow this Instagram account for celebrity trivia from Hollywood days gone by.
A post shared by Gr8erDays (@gr8erdays) on Aug 1, 2019 at 2:55pm PDT
• Morning Consult: New polling shows the second round of debates among Democratic presidential candidates did little to shake up current standings. Thirty-two percent of Democratic voters still say former Vice President Joe Biden is their first choice, just 1 percentage point down from MC’s polling after the first debates. None of the candidates shifted more than 2 points.
• Wall-Street Journal: While median income in the U.S. has gone up 14% in 30 years, housing prices have gone up 290% and college tuition has risen 311% making life for the middle class even more difficult.
• Out Music: Swedish pop star Tove Lo drops her latest single, “Bad as the Boys,” a light, breezy, summertime pop bop which finds the singer teamed-up with Finnish singer ALMA.
“’Bad as the Boys’ is about my first summer girl crush when I was in my teens,” says the singer. “It’s about that sting you feel in your heart when you know summer is coming to an end and so is the romance.”