News Round-Up: September 4, 2020

Gustavo Naspolini (via Instagram)

Some news stories you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Gustavo Naspolini (above) in Greece reminds me that I was SUPPOSED to be there right now on a cruise. #NoWorriesImOk

Washington Blade: Richard Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence and who’s now the quisling face of the Trump campaign’s LGBTQ outreach, snapped at a reporter Friday at the White House briefing for asking him about the global initiative Grenell himself had led to decriminalize homosexuality. #SoMuchWinning

KIT212: Don’t miss Kenneth’s round-up of the latest from LGBTQ publications like DNA Magazine (below) currently serving up “The Sexiest Men Alive 2020” with Argentine model Leonel Ledesma.

(image via DNA Magazine)

Boy Culture: Even the widow of Mr. Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) can’t stand Donald Trump – “The fact [is] that I can’t believe anything he says, not even the simplest thing. This man is pathologically ill. Mentally ill.”

Associated Press: North Carolina began sending out more than 600,000 ballots to voters today — responding to a massive spike in requests that has played out across the country as voters look for a safer way to cast ballots during the pandemic. The 618,000 ballots requested in the initial wave in North Carolina were more than 16 times the number the state sent out at the same time four years ago. The requests came overwhelmingly from Democratic and independent voters.

The Hill: A key forecasting model – often cited by experts and used by the White House – has revised its prediction of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., now estimating a peak of 410,451 by January 1.

InstaHunks II: One more from Gustavo Naspolini in Greece. I’ll get there someday. In the meantime, I’ve got a pool and Chardonnay to keep me happy 🙂 #HappyLaborDayWeekend

Laughable: Quisling Touts Trump As “Most Pro-Gay President” In History

Richard Grenell for Log Cabin Republicans (screen capture)

The Log Cabin Republicans, an organization representing conservative LGBTQ voters, recently released a misleading video featuring Richard Grenell, the openly gay former Ambassador to Germany, praising the Donald as the “most pro-gay president in American history.”

That’s certainly some serious hyperbole (and a lie), but it was right up the Donald’s alley as he retweeted the clip with the caption, “My great honor!!!”

The video, which has been viewed over 5.2 million times on Twitter at this writing, is meant to attack former Vice President Joe Biden’s record on LGBTQ issues.

In the clip, Grenell (who briefly served as acting Director of National Intelligence) points to Trump being the “first president in history to be pro-gay marriage from his first day in office.”


What Grenell doesn’t note is that marriage equality was the law of the land by that time, decided in 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s not exactly an act of courage to acknowledge the law.

When asked about the issue shortly after his electoral win in 2016, Trump told CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl his personal view on the matter was “irrelevant” and that he considered the matter “settled.” He added, “I’m fine with that.”

Hardly a glowing endorsement of marriage equality. Especially when, during the campaign, he sent mixed signals about gay rights.

While Trump mentioned “L. G. B. T. citizens” during his nominating convention speech (in a halting cadence that sounded like he’d never used the phrase in his life), he went on to tell Fox News he would “strongly consider” appointing judges who might overturn same-sex marriage.

Grenell also mentions the Trump administration’s supposed push to end the criminalization of homosexuality around the world.

You might recall the initiative, announced to be headed up by Grenell himself, was unknown to Trump when he was asked about it. And, since the announcement of the campaign, there’s been no news or apparent action on the issue.

NBC News also reported that State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino downplayed Grenell’s new effort, describing it as “long-standing,” “bipartisan” and “really is not a big policy departure.”

Additionally, Trump’s administration has attacked the LGBTQ community on numerous fronts including the transgender military ban, arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court LGBTQ people shouldn’t be protected under federal civil rights law, and supporting taxpayer-funded religious adoption agencies that refuse to place children in LGBTQ homes.

Just this week, the Trump Administration intrinsically erased LGBTQ people from an updated foreign policy on gender and women’s empowerment by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Throughout the video, Grenell ignores that transgender people even exist as he only uses the terms “gay and lesbian.”

Grenell also alleges that Biden believes “gays are security risks,” which is a pretty far stretch as Grenell is referencing an off-hand statement made almost 47 years ago.

Biden was reportedly ‘startled’ by a question about gays serving in the military and civil service at an informal event with neighbors in 1973.

According to the conservative Free Beacon, Biden responded, “My gut reaction is that they [gay people] are security risks but I must admit I haven’t given this much thought,” he said. “I’ll be darned!”

You’ll note Grenell doesn’t mention the incident happened back in 1973, and he also doesn’t include the part of Biden’s response that said he hadn’t given the subject much thought.

In reality, Biden’s movement on LGBTQ rights has pretty much mirrored the nation’s perspective.

He’s publicly evolved to become a champion for gay rights – most memorably coming out in support of same-sex marriage in 2012 just days before President Obama.

While Joe Biden has promised full-throated support for the Equality Act, which would extend existing civil rights protections to LGBTQ people, Trump and the majority of his fellow Republicans have stood firmly against the legislation.

Biden has also named a fierce Black lesbian, Karine Jean-Pierre, as the chief of staff for vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris.

If you want the facts, click over to GLAAD for an extensive list of Trump’s attacks on the LGBTQ community.

For information about Biden’s plans for LGBTQ equality, check out my report on his proposals for our community here.

News Round-Up: April 24, 2020

Canadian Idol winner Theo Tams (press photo)

***Re-upping this post as it didn’t seem to post correctly last night***

Some news items you might have missed:

OutSports: Brock Weston, a 25-year-old college hockey player from Marion University in Font du Lac, Wisconsin, came out to his hockey team and was surprised by the reaction. “People I thought would disown me or become even more cruel were among the first to voice their acceptance.”

NBC News: A top Health and Human Services official who said he was transferred from his post for pushing back on “efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections” felt pressured to rush access to chloroquine treatments for coronavirus after President Donald Trump had a conversation about it with a mega-rich donor

Out Music: Canadian singer/songwriter and pianist Theo Tams (above) drops his new video “The Last Song” which features the Canadian Idol winner as a character chameleon of sorts, all in the name of self-love and care. “The song represents the moment you realize your own self-worth,” says Tams. “It’s about recognizing you are enough and letting go of the past. Finally.”

NY Times: The Trump administration is considering cutting back on sharing intelligence with partner countries that criminalize homosexuality as part of a push by the acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, to prod those nations to change their laws.

OUT: On April 26, the Schitt’s Creek cast will join other Canadian celebrities in a commercial-free 90-minute special to support front-line workers fighting the global pandemic. Titled Stronger Together, Tous Ensembles, the display will feature musical artists like Michael Buble and Justin Bieber, as well as Cirque Du Soleil and Avril Lavigne.

SiriusXM: Host Jess Cagle speaks to Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes, and Debra Messing about the pride they feel over their “goofy sitcom” and its cultural impact.

The final episode of the series airs tonight at 9 pm ET on NBC. The finale is followed by a retrospective, “A Will & Graceful Goodbye,” at 9:30 p.m.

News Round-Up: February 19, 2020

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: For Wise Wednesday, hunky Dan Tai reminds: “Don’t forget you are the lighthouse in someone’s storm.” Follow him on Instagram here.

USA Today: Bernie Sanders said Tuesday night that he is not planning to release any additional medical records. Sanders, 78, suffered a heart attack in October during a campaign event. He had a blockage in one artery and two stents were inserted, his campaign said at the time.

NY Times: Donald Trump is expected to name Richard Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany, to be the acting director of national intelligence. A vocal Trump loyalist, he would be the first openly gay cabinet member.

Washington Blade: Actor Haaz Sleimann, who is openly gay, was speaking to LGBTQ media outlet NewNowNext for a profile story when he revealed that he will be portraying the husband of a gay superhero in the upcoming Marvel film, The Eternals, slated for a November 2020 release. Sleimann, 43, has recently garnered attention for his role as a gay Syrian refugee in Apple+ TV’s anthology series “Little America.”

NBC News: Don’t forget the Democratic debate tonight from Las Vegas where former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg will take to the debate stage for the first time in the 2020 primary cycle. The debate will start at 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET). You can watch the debate on NBC, MSNBC, and Universo. You can also stream it on NBCNews.com and MSNBC.com, as well as their Facebook pages – or the video window below.

Trump’s Openly Gay Nominee Confirmed As U.S. Ambassador To Germany

Richard Grenell during Senate confirmation hearing

By a vote of 56-42, openly gay nominee Richard Grenell has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Ambassador to Germany making him the most high-profile openly gay appointee in the Trump administration.

From Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade:


Grenell — who has faced Democratic opposition over mean tweets he made about the appearance of women and other comments downplaying the significance of Russia’s influence in the 2016 election — was confirmed by a largely party line vote of 56-42.

Among the Democrats who joined Republicans in voting to confirm Grenell were Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Claire McCaskill (D-M0). All Republicans present voted for Grenell’s confirmation.

Both of the senators from Grenell’s home state of California — Sen. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein — voted “no” on his confirmation.

First nominated by President Trump in September, Grenell’s confirmation means an openly gay person high-profile seat in the administration and serve as U.S. envoy to the world’s fourth largest national economy.

Resistance to Grenell’s nomination came in part due to comments he made on Twitter years ago about the appearance of women, including Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Callista Gingrich and Rachel Maddow.

He has since deleted the comments online and apologized, but in the context of the #MeToo movement today the comments became a flashpoint anew.

Grenell famously resigned from the Mitt Romney presidential campaign in 2012 after only two weeks as a foreign policy adviser due to pressure from conservatives over his sexuality.