News Round-Up: February 8, 2021

Actor Russell Tovey
Actor Russell Tovey
Russell Tovey (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

Out: Actor Russell Tovey (above) says his dad wanted him to get ‘hormone treatment’ after he came out as a means to ‘cure’ Tovey of being gay.

The Advocate: Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has selected Arlando Teller, a gay member of the Navajo Nation, man to serve as deputy assistant secretary for tribal affairs. Teller, who was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2018, resigned his seat last week to take the post at the Department of Transportation.

Pink News: Soccer legend David Beckham has signed a £10m deal to become face of Qatar, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be gay.

Revry: The queer streaming network has a whole schedule of programming to celebrate Black History Month. The six-part drama Single Record follows a talented and arrogant rapper whose record label could drop him if his next song isn’t a hit. His desperation to save his career will force him to confront his identity, sexuality and bring him to new lows that could cost him everything.

Jerusalem Post: An Iranian cleric warned followers not to go near people vaccinated for COVID-19, claiming the vaccine turned them gay. Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian wrote on his Telegram social-media platform: “Don’t go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals.”

Reuters: Hackers broke into the computer system of a facility that treats water for about 15,000 people near Tampa, Florida and sought to add a dangerous level of lye to the water supply. “The guy was sitting there monitoring the computer as he’s supposed to and all of a sudden he sees a window pop up that the computer has been accessed,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. “The next thing you know someone is dragging the mouse and clicking around and opening programs and manipulating the system.”

CNN: Senate leaders reached an agreement Monday giving House impeachment managers and Donald Trump’s lawyers up to 16 hours each to present their cases and creating the option for a debate and vote to call witnesses — if the House impeachment managers seek it.

Tampa Man Threatened To ‘Wipe Out Whole Gay Community’

Ralph Perkins (mugshot via Tampa Police)

A 50-year-old Florida man has been arrested after threatening to commit a mass shooting against the LGBTQ community in Tampa, Florida.

From The Gaily Grind:

Ralph Perkins was arrested Wednesday on a charge of making a written threat to conduct a mass shooting and is currently being held without bail in the Hillsborough County jail.

According to the arrest report, Perkins made the threats Monday after his offer for an unidentified person to move in with him was rejected.

“I like to take a gun I like to wipe the whole gay community out in Tampa and then kill myself,” Perkins wrote via a grammatically incorrect text message on his phone. “That’s going to be my ultimate present to Tampa Florida is the annihilator the gay community before I kill myself.”

Officers confirmed that Perkins sent the threats from his phone and took him into custody just after midnight Wednesday.

Perkins’s angry comment was apparently spurred by being rejected by another man on Grindr.

No weapons were found during Perkins’ arrest, but a spokesperson for Tampa Police told the Tampa Bay Times, “We cannot predict what he would have done had he not been arrested.”

The Times also notes that Perkins is a registered sex offender

Tampa Elects First Openly LGBTQ Mayor

Tampa, Florida has elected its first openly gay female mayor, ex-police chief Jane Castor, who won a runoff election in a landslide.
Jane Castor becomes mayor of Tampa, FL

Tampa, Florida has elected its first openly gay female mayor, ex-police chief Jane Castor, who won a runoff election in a landslide.

Within thirty minutes of the polls closing, the outcome was clear. Castor defeated wealthy businessman David Straz garnering a huge 73% of the vote.

“It shows a change in the times, but really all along, the majority of people just want someone who can do the job,” Castor said of her historic win. “They want a leader who’s gonna improve their lives and focus on the issues that matter to them. And that’s what I intend to do.”

“We don’t tear people down with negativity, so thank you all for believing in that message,” added the 59-year-old former police chief.

The reference to negativity was a clear nod to her opponent who reportedly spent $5 million, much of that his own money, in the race.

In the week’s leading up to the runoff vote, Straz declined any debates or forums saying voters had grown tired of them.

“That means Straz spent nearly $345 for every vote he received,” The Tampa Bay Times reports. “Castor, who won all but 7 of the city’s 103 precincts, spent about $44 per vote.”

Castor nearly won the general election outright, but fell 2 points short with 48% of the vote. That number was triple Straz’s 15.5% he earned to come in second.

Acknowledging her long-time partner, Ana Cruz, Castor gushed, “She was everything. I’ve never been involved in campaign before, that’s her wheelhouse. She knows how to run a positive campaign.”

In conceding the race, Straz called for the city to rally around the new mayor.

“This is all about the future of Tampa,” Straz told the media. “The voters have spoken. They elected Jane Castor. And we need to get behind our mayor and help move the city forward.”

According to her campaign website, Castor served 31 years at the Tampa Police Department, first as a beat cop and then six years as police chief.

LGBTQ advocacy groups celebrated the news.

“Jane Castor’s victory is a clear sign that LGBTQ Americans are being welcomed as leaders in every part of society,” said Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal. “Tampa is the second major American city to elect an openly lesbian mayor so far this month, coming just weeks after Lori Lightfoot won in Chicago.”

“For decades we have fought to make sure that LGBTQ Americans like Castor can have a seat at the table,” she added. “Elections like this show us that all of us belong at the table.”

(Source: Tampa Bay Times)

Tampa church that cancelled gay man’s funeral sees online backlash

New Hope Baptist Church near Tampa, Florida

Yesterday I reported on a small Tampa-area church that cancelled funeral services for 42 year old Julion Evans after learning he was gay and married to another man.

Evans’ mother received the call canceling the service standing by her son’s casket at the wake a day before the funeral. The pastor said it would have been “blasphemous” for the church to host the funeral service.

Now, New Hope Missionary Baptist has been forced to take town their website and contact information after the internet rose up to condemn the clearly “un-Christ-like” behavior of the church and pastor.

Just a sample of the 300+ one-star reviews on the Church’s Facebook:

• Discriminatory practices that Jesus would never approve. Complete lack of Christian behavior. Shame on then.

• Using your misunderstanding of faith in a Divine and Loving God as a reason for turning away the funeral for one of God’s beloved children is a perversion of the Gospel. God calls us to love and reach out to all persons. You have once again made Christianity look badly. Shame on you.

• Disgraceful. Utterly disgraceful and unforgivable. There are no “Christians” attending or acting as Pastor at this church. To cancel a man’s funeral, simply because you and your “flock” do not agree with or like Homosexuals is beyond evil. A persons life before they have died has no baring on their right to a funeral. Do you refuse to hold funeral services for murderers? Adultors? Unwed mothers? People who have pre-maritial sex? All of these are also “sins” in the Bible but you don’t refuse to grant these people a funeral at your church. You are all hypocrites and you disgust me.

• Christian = Christ like; There is nothing Christ like about what this Church just did. I am appalled that this should occur in a place were the compassion of Christ should be seen most. Shame on this place!

• True evil. So glad that I don’t call myself a christian anymore, because churches like yours that are so exclusive and show none of God’s love.

[via The New Civil Rights Movement]

Tampa City Council passing new ordinance – sleeping in public is now illegal

 Making life just that much tougher for the homeless, the Tampa City Council passed
a new ordinance – Item #60 – allowing police officers to arrest someone
they see sleeping in public or “storing personal property in public.”  In doing so, the City Council has basically criminalized homelessness.  The vote was 4-3.

Advocates protested holding signs reading “Sleeping Is Not A Crime” and “Homelessness Is Not
A Choice” outside the Council and testified against
the measure. A number of the protesters were elementary
school children who handed out flyers and asked those passing by, “Where are they supposed to go?”

A 2012 study found that Tampa’s homelessness problem is one of the worst among mid-sized cities. Tampa and it’s surrounding area had the highest number of homeless individuals at 7,419.

In addition, homeless shelters are not free in Tampa, making the proposition of getting off the streets that much more difficult.  “Most shelters in the Tampa Bay
area charge $10 to $42 per night for a single person. They aren’t
free,” Tasha Rennels, a Ph.D. student at University of South Florida, told
Bay News 9.

Though the City Council acknowledged that shelters in the
city are full almost every night, they didn’t include any additional
funding for new shelters or housing to go along with Item #60.