UPDATE: Gay rights icon Jim Obergefell, who became a gay icon as the lead plaintiff in the landmark 2015 Supreme Court case that made marriage equality the law of the land, made it official today. He is definitely running for a seat in the Ohio House. Continue reading “Jim Obergefell, Gay Rights Icon, Announces Run For Ohio House”
Brazil may have its first out gay presidential candidate, Gov. Eduardo Leite, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be standing up for LGBTQ rights any time soon. Continue reading “Brazil’s Gay Prez Candidate: LGBTQ Rights “Not A Cause I Lay Down For””
Eduardo Leite, governor of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and a 2022 presidential hopeful, has come out as gay.
Leite, who hopes to challenge his country’s virulently anti-LGBTQ leader, President Jair Bolsonaro, in next year’s election, came out during an interview with Brazil’s top broadcaster, TV Globo.
“I’m gay — and I’m a governor who is gay rather than a gay governor,” Leite shared with viewers. “Just as Obama in the United States wasn’t a Black president, but a president who was Black. And I’m proud of this.”
Leite, a member of the center-right Brazilian Social Democratic Party (SDB), went on to say he has nothing to hide and wished that sexual orientation was a “non-issue” in Brazil.
The 36-year-old’s announcement was met with much support from the worlds of Brazilian politics and LGBTQ activism.
The Guardian reports Toni Reis, a longtime advocate of LGBTQ rights in the South American country, wrote on social media, “You’ve made history.”
“I know the pain the prison of the closet represents, particularly in a conservative environment like politics,” tweeted Fabiano Contarato, Brazil’s first openly gay senator elected in 2018. “Everyone must find the right moment for this gesture. Be happy and follow your great work: life will be lighter!”
Leite responded to the public show of support on Twitter writing, “The countless messages of care and support I am receiving make me absolutely safe. Love will conquer hate! Thank you very very much everyone!”
Amid the positive responses, however, were some who noted that Leite eventually came to publicly support Bolsonaro in his 2018 presidential campaign on the eve of the election although he disagreed with Bolsonaro on several policies including the treatment of minorities.
At the time, Leite called his decision a “democratic gesture.”
According to The Guardian, Jean Wyllys, the first out member of Brazil’s congress to fight for LGBT+ rights, noted that Leite has yet to disavow his previous support for Bolsonaro.
“This chap had many opportunities to defend the LGBT community and he didn’t,” said Wyllys. “On the contrary … he was a Bolsonarista until yesterday – and he’s probably still one today, because at no point has he retracted his support for Bolsonaro.”
“So I don’t celebrate this,” added Wyllys. “I’m not part of this team of people who are commemorating this chap coming out of the closet as if it was some great accomplishment for Brazil’s LGBT+ community.”
Some news items you might have missed:
• Instinct Magazine: Grammy Award winner Ricky Martin is now a spokesperson for the onePULSE Foundation, the nonprofit founded to honor the lives and deaths of the 49 murdered victims at the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.
• Pink News: An episode of ABC drama The Good Doctor is winning praise for a sensitive and authentic portrayal of a pregnant transgender man. The Good Doctor cast trans actor Emmett Preciado as Rio Gutierrez, as a gay transgender man who discovers he is pregnant while also battling a brain tumor in a recent episode.
• RIP: Ground-breaking out singer/songwriter Ari Gold passed away this past weekend at the age of 47 after a lengthy battle with leukemia. Long before anything close to the acceptance of gay recording artists we see today, Gold jumped out of the box with hits like “Where The Music Takes You” and more. RIP Ari Gold.
• NY Daily News: A Manhattan judge on Tuesday dismissed all charges against a white woman who on May 25 called the cops on a gay Black bird watcher in Central Park for requesting she leash her dog. The judge found that, after attending therapy sessions “designed towards introspection and progress,” the charge of falsely reporting an incident could be dropped.
• Washington Post: A wealthy conservative donor gave $2.5 million to a group who said they were going to investigate voter fraud in the 2020 election. Now he wants his money back.
• Out: A British Minister of Parliament, MP Luke Pollard (top photo), received abuse online for a Valentine’s Day message of love for his boyfriend he posted to social media. “He looks 12 years old,” wrote one commenter. “You should be locked up.” Mind you, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 56, is currently engaged to 32-year-old fiancé Carrie Symonds, who lives with the prime minister in the official residence at 10 Downing Street. Twenty-four year difference and no one raises an eye-brow.
View this post on Instagram
After spending nearly 10 years in the Pennsylvania state House, openly gay Rep. Brian Sims has announced he is running to be the Keystone State’s next lieutenant governor.
The woofy Democrat made history in 2012 when he became the first openly gay man elected the Pennsylvania legislature. Now he’s looking to take his experience and move on up to statewide office.
Citing the values instilled in him by his military officer parents – taking responsibility, show empathy, have courage, and being authentic – Sims says he “wants to put those values to the direct service of the Commonwealth.”
“I have a lot of hope when I look at the people across the country that decided over these last number of years that they’d had enough,” says the 42-year-old lawmaker in his announcement video. “That they looked at a lack of leadership and thought that they could do better and oftentimes they’re right.”
”I want to be your next Lieutenant Governor,” says Sims directly to voters in his announcement. “We need adults in the room and I want to bring bold innovative leadership based on lived experiences and shared values to the Commonwealth.”
During his time in office, Sims has not been shy to call out folks for what he sees as stepping astray of their elected responsibilities.
Whether raising his voice for equality for women, LGBTQ rights and protections or personal accountability during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sims isn’t one to stay quiet.
Last year Sims gave a fiery speech calling out his Republican colleagues in the state House after it was discovered a GOP lawmaker had tested positive for COVID-19 but kept on attending meetings.
Prior to public service, Sims was a star athlete who, as an openly gay captain for the Bloomberg University football team, led his teammates to a Division II National Championship game in 2000.
After college he worked as the executive director of Equality Pennsylvania and served as a member of the Victory Campaign Board.
Pennsylvania’s current Lt. Governor, John Fetterman, recently declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. He’s looking to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Toomey (R) who announced last fall he would not seek reelection in 2022.
For more about Brian Sims, visit his official campaign site here.
Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has been confirmed by a vote of 86-13 as Secretary of Transportation.
In doing so, Buttigieg becomes the first openly gay man to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to a Cabinet-level position.
— The Randy Report (@randyslovacek) February 2, 2021
Rick Grenell served as “acting” director of national intelligence for three months but was neither nominated nor confirmed by the Senate.
In addition to being one of the highest ranking LGBTQ public officials in the country, Buttigieg is also the first millennial to be confirmed to a White House Cabinet position.
The Army veteran is the 19th Transportation Secretary and the 5th member of President Biden’s Cabinet to be confirmed.
Buttigieg and Vice President Kamala Harris are the only two 2020 presidential contenders to join the Biden Cabinet.
I'm honored and humbled by today's vote in the Senate—and ready to get to work @USDOT.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 2, 2021
LGBTQ advocacy groups were quick to celebrate the news.
The Human Rights Campaign noted the history-making moment writing, “Another barrier broken for our community.”
BREAKING: The Senate has confirmed @PeteButtigieg as Transportation Secretary, making him the first-ever openly LGBTQ person to be confirmed by the Senate to a Cabinet-level position.
Another barrier broken for our community. pic.twitter.com/LYEtziSnBZ
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 2, 2021
“Pete shattered a centuries-old political barrier with overwhelming bipartisan support and that paves the way for more LGBTQ Americans to pursue high-profile appointments,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “Pete testifying at his confirmation hearing, with his husband looking on, will be among the powerful images that define this unprecedented political moment and will be remembered as a milestone in America’s move toward social justice.”
Congratulations, Secretary Buttigieg 🎉 pic.twitter.com/wwNxpoUfbc
— LGBTQ Victory Fund (@VictoryFund) February 2, 2021
“The role of Secretary of Transportation requires an innovative thought leader, someone who understands all Americans’ needs and has the courage to create and form the road ahead,” read a statement by GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Secretary Buttigieg’s vision will improve all Americans’ lives and navigate toward needed change to serve communities on the margins. We know he will continue to lead our country’s drive for LGBTQ acceptance. Congratulations, Secretary Buttigieg.”
— GLAAD (@glaad) February 2, 2021
“Buttigieg is a true example of what it means to have all voices — including LGBTQ Americans — at the table, and he’ll be an inspiration for so many who until this moment may have believed certain dreams were not possible,” read a statement from the Indiana Democratic Party.
Congrats and make us proud, Secretary @PeteButtigieg!
— Indiana Democrats (@INDems) February 2, 2021
For those wondering, the thirteen ‘no’ votes (all Republicans) were Sens. Cruz (Texas), Cotton (Ark.), Marshall (Kansas), Scott (Fla.), Tuberville (Ala.), Shelby (Ala.), Hawley (Mo.), Blackburn (Tenn.), Rubio (Fla.), Scott (S.C.), Lankford (Okla.), Hagerty (Tenn.), and Cassidy (La.).
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania did not vote.
Expect many of those to run for president in 2024.
Some news items you might have missed:
• GregInHollywood: So, basically, everyone became pretty smitten with CNN’s Phil Mattingly (above) as he expertly handled ballot count recaps at the famed Magic Wall. Prior to joining CNN in 2105, Mattingly was at Bloomberg News where he was a national political correspondent.
• Instinct Magazine: After being attacked for having a porn past during his race for New Mexico’s House of Representatives, Roger Montoya won the race for state District 40 with 56.8 percent of the vote against his Republican opponent Justin Salazar-Torrez (who received 43.2 percent). The 59-year-old Democrat addressed the accusations and confirmed he had appeared in two adult films in the 1980s when he was 22.
• Out: Bi, trans, and nonbinary folks in Norway are celebrating a huge win after the country recently expanded its penal code that previously only protected lesbian and gay people from hate speech to include gender identity and all forms of “sexual orientation.”
• HuffPost: The Trump campaign’s primary source of “evidence” of ‘voting irregularities’ in Detroit apparently consists of pages of affidavits and complaints from Trump supporters about social distancing measures, and some people in the polls were wearing “Black Lives Matter” face masks and shirts. A woman named ‘Karen’ was reportedly upset she parked in the wrong place. The white Republican poll watchers appear to have been ready to treat any and all actions by election workers as nefarious criminal activity.
• Pink News: Hungary has announced it will move to ban adoption by same-sex couples claiming it’s ‘become necessary’ due to the coronavirus pandemic. LGBTQ Hungarians say the changes were deliberately drafted at a time when mass protests were not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic.
• Reuters: News bureau fact-checks false allegations of voter fraud in a video clip showing workers picking up mail-in ballots from ballot drop boxes in Los Angeles “after Election Day.” Some users referring to the videos allege the scene is proof of “election fraud.”
Mike Sanchez, a spokesman for the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) told Reuters the ballots shown in these videos “are valid ballots and will be processed and counted in our Official Election Canvass. All vote by mail ballot drop boxes were closed and locked at 8 PM on Election Day. Ballots from all boxes throughout the County were picked up the following day.”
— Casey Phillips (@caseyboltz18) November 4, 2020
One of the things to come out of this election cycle that I’ll long appreciate is the emergence of former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg onto the national stage.
Over the past year and a half, Buttigieg demonstrated how a mayor of a mid-sized city can show up and go toe-to-toe with not only experienced political candidates but also the press (Fox News, I’m looking at you).
Last night, Mayor Pete made an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden where he addressed the state of the election cycle (“It’s all going to come down to getting out the vote”) but also offered a positive view on the resiliency of the American people.
“We have to find a way to get through this,” said Buttigieg. “This is a country that has been through pandemics, it has been through wars; at one point, half the country broke off and declared war against the other half. And this country still stands. We have got to find a way through this and I believe that starts with electing new leadership.”
“Now, we’re also the generation that could blow it,” he added. “That’s part of the reason this election is so high stakes. But if we get it right in the next few years, the 2020s could go down in history as the time America stood up and turned in a better direction. And by the middle of this century could be delivering to humanity something as important as the founding of America itself. I really believe that – if we do the work, and that’s why we’re doing the work.”
And in another segment called “Late Late Show And Tell,” Corden asked Mayor Pete to share something from his home that the general public wouldn’t generally get to see.
Buttigieg revealed a red baseball he received on the night of his first date with now-husband Chasten. The couple had attended a baseball game, and the souvenirs were a give-away at the game that night. Later in the date, the couple held hands for the first time.
“That moment we held hands was one of the best moments of my life,” shared Buttigieg. “I keep this baseball around because they were giving them out that night. It’s just a reminder of how any given night can change the rest of your life.”
At a time when so many politicians and elected officials give us much to be cynical about, I find Buttigieg continually serves up reasons to look for the good in those in public service.
Alex Morse, an openly gay mayor in Massachusetts, has issued a statement acknowledging he’s had “consensual adult relationships, including some with college students” and “apologized to anyone I have made feel uncomfortable.”
Morse became the youngest mayor in the history of Holyoke when he was elected to office in 2011 at the age of 22. Currently in his fourth term, the 31-year-old is running to unseat longtime Democratic Congressman Richard Neal (D-Springfield) in the state’s primary on September 1.
He reportedly has the support of progressive groups like the Working Families Party, Justice Democrats, and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Morse’s statement comes in response to three Democratic college groups who emailed him on Thursday saying he was “no longer welcome” at their events.
“It is no longer appropriate to encourage interaction between College Democrats and Alex Morse,” read the email which was obtained by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian.
The groups allege Morse had inappropriate relationships with college students while not only being an elected official but also lecturing at UMass Amherst. The mayor taught a political science course at UMass between 2014 and fall 2019.
According to the email, he matched with students on dating apps like Grindr and Tinder. It’s not known if any of those ‘matches’ were students who Morse taught.
The groups also say he attended College Democratic events to build his social media following.
“We have heard countless stories of Morse adding students to his ‘Close Friends Story’ and Direct Messaging members of College Democrats on Instagram in a way that makes these students feel pressured to respond due to his status,” the letter read.
“Even if these scenarios are mutually consensual, the pattern of Morse using his platform and taking advantage of his position of power for romantic or sexual gain, specifically toward young students, is unacceptable.”
Morse responded saying he wanted “to sincerely apologize to anyone I have made feel uncomfortable” and offered to meet with “any person or group” to discuss their concerns.
“I want to be clear that every relationship I’ve had has been consensual,” he added. “However, I also recognize that I have to be cognizant of my position of power.”
“Growing up gay and closeted in a small city like Holyoke, I struggled with accepting my sexuality, and in high school, I had a hard time finding other openly gay students,” Morse said. “As I’ve become more comfortable with myself and my sexuality, like any young, single, openly gay man, I have had consensual adult relationships, including some with college students.”
He continued, “Navigating life as both a young gay man and an elected official can be difficult, but that doesn’t excuse poor judgment.”
CNN reports UMass Amherst issued a statement on Saturday calling the allegations against Morse “serious and deeply concerning.”
“The school also said it planned to launch ‘an immediate review of the matter to determine whether the alleged actions during his time as a university lecturer were in violation of university policy or federal Title IX law.'”
Holyoke City Councilor Linda Vacon has called for Morse to resign as mayor in light of the allegations, but other councilors on the 13-member board said they need to learn more before drawing.
Here’s my question, though: If none of the mayor’s ‘matches’ were with any of his own students, and if everything was of legal age and consensual – what is the issue? A late-20s gay guy meeting up with early 20s gay guys?
In this week’s podcast:
• A young man standing outside a gay nightclub in North Carolina was shot leaving him paralyzed, and people all over the world come together to help with his recovery. Crowdfunding link: www.gofundme.com/f/hope-for-pedro
• A new report shows LGBTQ discrimination costs Jamaica over $11 billion a year
• A lawmaker won her bid to become the first female and first LGBTQ mayor of Bogota in Colombia, considered the second most important office in the country after the president
• On the 5th anniversary of his public coming out, Apple CEO Tim Cook has no regrets
All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report