News Round-Up: October 12, 2020

Rob Gronkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joins fellow NFL players in letting closeted players "When you're ready, so are we."

Rob Gronkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joins fellow NFL players in letting closeted players "When you're ready, so are we."

Some news items you might have missed:

Pink News: The pharmacy chain Superdrug has launched the UK’s first-ever PrEP service and it will be fully remote (utilizing online doctors) in an effort to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Superdrug will, however, require that people accessing PrEP through its new service adhere to blood monitoring tests to ensure that they can safely take the HIV-preventing drug.

Back2Stonewall: It has been confirmed that the new HBO Max reboot series of the Green Lantern will feature the first Green Lantern character, Alan Scott – and, like in the Earth-2 comics, the character will be openly gay.

Instinct Magazine: Current and former pro football players (Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski above) took part in this terrific PSA for National Coming Out Day. “Today, on National Coming Out Day, we come together with one clear message,” say the athletes direct to camera. “To all current players who are thinking of coming out, when you are ready, so are we. It takes all of us and you deserve to be all of you.”

Politico: South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison raised a staggering $57 million in the third quarter of this year, shattering the previous record for a Senate candidate as he seeks to unseat GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham, who has not released his third-quarter fundraising totals, raised $8.4 million in the second quarter and had $15 million in the bank as of June 30.

AP News: Here’s a bit of a warning sign for Donald Trump who won the 65+ vote by 9 points in 2016. The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community located in battleground state Florida, recently held a 300+ golf cart parade in support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The Hill: Donald Trump’s son Eric told ABC News’s Jon Karl on Sunday his father’s treatment for COVID-19 a “vaccine” that he further claimed the president helped create from “day one.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Eager Georgia voters swarmed to polling places Monday morning for the start of three weeks of early voting before Election Day. Voters filled parking lots and waited in lines to lock in their choices in advance of November 3. As the tweet below notes, 410,000 absentee ballots have already been returned versus a total of just over 200K in 2016.

Happy #NationalComingOutDay 2020

Since 1988, October 11 has been observed as National Coming Out Day (NCOD) in the United States with the idea that the most basic form of activism is coming out to family, friends, and colleagues, and living life as an openly LGBTQ person.

Homophobia thrives in an environment of ignorance and silence, and studies show that when people know that they have loved ones who are gay or lesbian, they are far less likely to hold homophobic views.

I’ve related my own coming out story (which was really more of a ‘journey’ than an ‘event’) here on The Randy Report, but I wanted to note the other side of this equation – when someone comes out to you.

For years, as a gay man, coming out primarily held a place in my head as MY coming out. But some time ago, when I was still co-hosting an online radio show with Candi Fox (The Candi & Randy Show), a regular listener reached out to me and asked if they could call me. I said, “sure.” 

What followed was someone coming out to ME, which hadn’t happened before.

The listener shared that by listening to the show and reading TRR, my ‘out-ness’ had inspired them to come out – to me. I remember being touched and honored that I was the first person they decided to trust with the news. And this only occurred because they had come to see me as an out, proud gay man.

The power of visibility.

By the way…did you know that when music icon Diana Ross released her 1980 hit “I’m Coming Out” she initially had no idea the songwriters were writing about queer folks coming out?

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and some other folks tweeted their support about the day. (Don’t bother looking for a tweet from Donald Trump about NCOD, there isn’t one).

News Round-Up: October 11, 2019

InstaHunk Dan Tai enjoys a Texas sunset (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Randy Report favorite Dan Tai (above) is doing a photoshoot with Box Menswear in my native state of Texas – and I’m not there! Dan shares this pic saying no filter was used, it was just the gorgeous Texas sunset (and hottie model).

KIT212: Kenneth rounds up the what’s what in gay magazines across the country.

Outsports: Two-time Olympic champion Kerron Clement came out publicly today at a Nike event celebrating a new rainbow-inspired track and field at Los Angeles City College. He told Outsports, “I was tired of loving in the dark and being in the dark by myself.”

Fox News: With Shep Smith’s departure at the conservative news outlet, Chris Wallace is one of the few journalists there trying to be sane. Check out his response to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for calling the current impeachment effort against President Trump “unconstitutional:”

Newsweek: It took much less time for a majority of Americans to signal their support for impeaching Donald Trump than it did Richard Nixon.

NewNowNext: Homosexuality is already punishable by up to seven years in prison in Uganda, and the government is now trying to resurrect its ‘kill the gays’ law instituting the death penalty for anyone engaged in same-sex sexual activity, as well as punishing anyone found advocating for LGBTQ people.

INTO: In an earlier post, I shared my own coming out story. Now check out the ‘Old Gays’ from INTO as they talk on their own coming out. “If I would’ve told anyone I was gay… that would be the end of me.”

National Coming Out Day: Sharing My Story

Over on Instinct Magazine (you guys know I’m a regular contributor there, right?), our editor suggested the writers share our coming out stories for National Coming Out Day. I found my colleagues’ experiences really compelling to read. Click over to here and here to see how they fared.

It wasn’t until I sat down to write it that I realized I’d never really thought about my coming out. In truth, coming out isn’t a ‘step’ but a process. It happens in stages.

I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, in the 1970s. Trust and believe, it was not a welcoming environment for the gays.

As I thought back to the idea of ‘coming out’ I realize there were aspects of life that kept me in the closet, even when I didn’t know I was in one. And those episodes are part of the story as well.

I remember being drawn to a boy named Chris in 1st grade. Nothing sexual – I just knew he was funny, charismatic…people liked him. And so did I. 

Nothing ever happened between us, but something drew me to him. 

Is acknowledging attraction a part of coming out?

When I got to middle school, things started to get complicated. Kids were hurtling toward puberty, and guys I’d gone to school with for years seemed to view things differently than I did.

I was interested in singing and performing on stage. I auditioned for and was accepted into, the world-famous Texas Boys Choir.

That would prove to be problematic for middle school social circles. It wasn’t softball or football – it was ‘other.’ 

Boys I’d known since Cub Scouts now openly called me ‘fag’ on the playground. There were incidents where they would chase me, punch me, kick me. I honestly didn’t know I was gay, but I knew it was something I certainly didn’t want to be if this is what life would be like.

By 8th grade, I was asked to join the touring company of the TBC which meant traveling around the entire country for weeks at a time. In a different city practically every day, we would bunk two boys to a hotel room.

Now, most of us being about 13-years-old, it won’t come as a surprise there was some ‘experimenting’ among some of the guys, but it was done in secret. We were all pretty much locked in that closet we didn’t know existed.

High school years were pretty much hell. Not a day went by I wasn’t called ‘faggot’ in the halls or in class. In that environment, I fiercely tried to convince myself none of this had anything to do with me.

I dated girls but rarely took romance any further than kissing. I remember telling myself I was being ‘a gentleman.’

The most surprising thing about those four years was being befriended by two popular jocks at school.

John and David – both tall, strapping guys who played sports in school – included me in their circle and we became best friends. There was never anything sexual in the mix, they just liked me for me. I’ve never forgotten how much their friendship kind of saved me during those years.

Their unconditional friendship would eventually spark the confidence in myself I sorely lacked.

p.s. John and David and Randy are still tight today. States apart, we can pick up the phone and the years fall away.

(image via Keith Haring Foundation)

The summer after I graduated from high school, I was cast as a performer at a professional summer stock theater about four hours away from my hometown. When I arrived at my new job, I came to realize I was the youngest in the company.

Being musical theater, there were openly gay guys in the shows. They were older, had ‘dealt with themselves’ and didn’t seem conflicted about it. 

Like I was.

Throughout the summer, one guy continually flirted with me. It didn’t seem like flirting at the time, more like dressing room banter, but I figured it out later. 

One night after a performance, I gave him a ride to the house he was renting, and as he got out of the car I went to kiss him on the cheek (which is what theater people did back then). 

He stopped me, paused, and then kissed me for real. 

‘For real’ for real.

Time stopped. Suddenly, attraction, romance, and sex all clicked together. 

Today I think of that kiss as the moment I came out to myself. It was so full and authentic, there was no denying it.

And coming out to yourself is really the first step in the journey.

Of course, nothing lasting would come from that ‘flirtation,’ but we did have something of a fling for the remaining weeks of summer. And the other guy, understanding the closet door he had unlocked, would handle my young soon-to-be-broken heart very well.

I went on to college, got a degree in musical theater and moved to New York City. In all that, there really wasn’t any progress in coming out as I was busy with school. 

It was after a year in NYC I was cast in a new national touring company of a big hit Broadway show, CATS. During rehearsals, I became smitten with another actor in the show, and we became ‘romantical’ almost immediately after hitting the road. 

Our second city on tour was Dallas, near where I’d grown up. I stayed with my dad during those weeks of the run and feeling empowered by my new job and new boyfriend, I decided to ‘share.’

Watching TV together, I told my dad I was ‘seeing someone’ in the show. He asked if it was a particular cast member he had noticed at the opening night party. 

“No, his name is David.”

My dad, a bit lost in whatever it was we were watching, took a second and then looked up at me. With a confused expression, it took a moment for him to eke out, “Aw…you don’t want that, son, do you?” 

I said I did.

The moment took a breath.

I added that I was nervous to tell him because I didn’t want him to disown me (or something). THAT got a reaction out of him. 

My dad moved the TV show out of his head, turned to focus on me and firmly announced, “Randy, don’t ever think you don’t have a place here. You always belong here.”

And that was that. I had crossed the coming out bridge, and my Texas Republican father took that trip with me – with no hesitation.

With hubby Michael (photo: John Ganun)

It would be a decade before my dad would meet the man who is now my husband (together 25 years now). Having traveled to Texas for my grandmother’s funeral, my husband walked into the room, and my dad – in his big, broad Texas way – walked right up to Michael, shook his hand and said, “You must be Michael – hey, you’re good-looking!”

Over the years, I found working in the theater made for a safe place for gays, so I never really had to come out to co-workers.

I think about the only friends I ever felt the need to ‘come out’ to were my besties, John and David, from high school. 

But, like out of a TV movie, both of those ended up being non-events where I barely got the first sentence out before they were nodding, smiling, and asking why it took me so long to bring it up.

So, in the end, while childhood taught me to be afraid of who I intrinsically was, the people who were most important showed me I was fine the whole time.

Coming out is: frightening, unnerving, a process. 

But most of all, one of the most authentic and empowering things you’ll ever do for yourself.

Here’s to everyone who takes even a first step today! In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:

Today you are you

That is truer than true

There is no one alive

Who is you-er than you

Neil Patrick Harris Shares Which Celeb ‘Promised’ To Have Sex With Him Years Ago

Neil Patrick Harris (screen capture via The View)

Guess which celebrity promised Neil Patrick Harris they would have sex with him?

Neil Patrick Harris stopped by The View earlier this week to chat on his kids’ upcoming birthdays, National Coming Out Day, and more.

The segment began with Harris sharing pics of his kids and hubby David celebrating Halloween for years with a family-theme when it comes to costume play.

The chat turned to his twins, Harper and Gideon, becoming more and more individual in what they want when it comes to their upcoming 8th birthdays like separate parties.

Smiling at the end of the table, host Whoopi Goldberg said, “I remember you at that age.”

At this point, Harris reminded folks that he made his feature film debut at the age of 15 with Goldberg in a film titled, Clara’s Heart.

According to Harris, Goldberg promised him during the shooting of the movie that she would have sex with him when he reached 25-years-old.

Awkward pause…

“I might’ve!” said Goldberg with a laugh.

“He had many questions as a kid,” explained the Oscar winner. “So I told him, ‘Wait 10 years – I’ll take you through it.’”

“See, in those days, you could actually have some fun like that,” said Goldberg in reference to the Time’s Up movement. “You can’t do that now.”

Taking the edge off of what could have been an awkward moment, Harris quipped,”Hey, I was not offended – I’m looking forward to it.”

The moment comes at the 2:40 mark below.

When the subject moved to National Coming Out Day, Harris emphasized, “It’s such an individual thing.”

“I guess I applaud the fact that there’s a day people can use as a conversation starter, if they’re not sure how to broach the conversation,” the 45-year-old actor continued. “But, I wouldn’t want to put any undue pressure on someone for needing to choose a specific day to come out.”

A jack of all trades, Harris also proudly shared that the second installment in his Magic Misfits children’s book series is currently number one on the New York Times Best-Sellers List.

News Round-Up: October 11, 2018

Some news items you might have missed:

• The above graphic is dedicated to any and everyone considering National Coming Out Day… #comeoutcomeoutwhereveryouare

• Activists are warning people with HIV and other chronic illnesses to check small print when getting a new health insurance policy. Some insurers are refusing to allow co-payment assistance coupons from drug manufacturers from counting towards annual deductibles.

• Americans have ranked Barack Obama as the president who’s done the best job in their lifetimes.

• Observing the 20 anniversary since Matthew Shepard was kidnapped and beaten then left to die on a cold Wyoming night tied to a fence, his parents have announced his remains will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral later this month.

• The 750,000 citizens of North Dakota, where Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is struggling in the polls, could very well decide for the country who controls the Senate after midterm elections.

• UK recording artist (and Randy Report favorite) Calum Scott offers his own coming out story for National Coming Out Day.

Scott recounts a painful part of his young adult life – processing the complex emotions of being a gay teen and letting the world around him aware of his sexual orientation. Friends abandoned him early on, and it hurt. But in the poignant profile, he says he found the courage to be honest about himself through music.

Gus Kenworthy: I Really Thought I Was Going To Come Out And Then Others Would Too

Speaking to Variety, woofy out Olympian Gus Kenworthy shares that he thought more athletes would follow him out of the closet when he famously came out in 2015 via ESPN Magazine:
Gus Kenworthy

Speaking to Variety, woofy out Olympian Gus Kenworthy shares that he thought more athletes would follow him out of the closet when he famously came out in 2015 via ESPN Magazine:

“I really thought I was going to come out in ESPN and then suddenly other people would too, other skiers and snowboarders. I really thought it was going to happen, and it hasn’t.

“It’s not easy, and it doesn’t seem to be getting easier. But I do think that more athletes need to come out, and athletes need to recognize that they have a responsibility to come out. It’s only going to do good to have more representation and visibility.”

Well, Gus, it is National Coming Out Day. Maybe we’ll see some today?

By the way, Gus recently shared that he actually got on skis for the first time since the Olympics. He playfully wondered if he’d forgotten all those Olympic silver medal skills.

Yeah, no way.

‘Came Out’ Is Now Available As A ‘Major Life Event’ Option On Facebook

Just in time for National Coming Out Day, Facebook has added a profile option that allows folks to share and celebrate their personal coming out stories.

“Came out” is now available as a life event on Facebook users profiles.

“For the LGBTQ community, Facebook is a way for you to come out, celebrate your pride and find support,” Tudor Havriliuc, a vice president at Facebook, told NBC News.

“Visibility is so important because it changes hearts and minds about being LGBTQ when friends and family see us living our true lives.”

“We’re excited to give more people the opportunity to ‘come out’ on Facebook,” Havriliuc added. “For National Coming Out Day, we hope people will share their coming out story and use the hashtag #ComingOutToShare to follow along with the wider community.”

To add “Came Out” as a life event on Facebook, users head over to the About link on their page.

On the left side, at the bottom of the list is “Life Events.” Click that and then choose “Family & Relationships” in the drop-down menu (or just “Relationships” if you;’re using your smart phone). There, you’ll find “Came Out” in the list of life events.

In addition to the date, the option allows users to add details, comments and photos to mark the occasion.

Facebook has experimented with LGBTQ-specific functions for several years.

In 2017, the social media giant added a rainbow “Pride” reaction for Pride month to the usual like, love, laugh, wow, sad and mad buttons.

According to MSN.com, some people used the feature to troll opponents of LGBT rights by using the Pride reaction in all their Facebook responses, and so the feature didn’t return.

In 2018, Facebook added rainbow filters, stickers and effects for users to add to photos and posts.

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.” – Dr. Seuss.

A Few Words On National Coming Out Day

I’ve been told I should do more video messages, and what better time to try than National Coming Out Day?

I was working with new software here, so there was a pause or two along the way – thus the change in lighting as the sun went down.

In any case, I’m wishing everyone a happy National Coming Out Day as I share my thoughts on why it’s even important to come out and what it means to the LGBTQ community.