This Week In LGBT News – Will & Grace, Aston, & Daddy The Movie

Kick back and listen in as I recap several of the top LGBT stories of the week including:

• Pansexual music artist Aston dropped her new dance single “Circles” this week

• Update to the tragic story of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide after cyber bullying by his college roommate.

• HIV history gets a rewrite as the myth of “Patient Zero” is debunked

• The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear an important transgender rights case

• Rumors swirl about a possible Will & Grace reboot, plus Sean Hayes apologizes to LGBT community for not coming out sooner

• Randy’s interview with hunky Bear City / DADDY film star Gerald McCullouch

And much more!

Tyler Clementi’s Roommate Gets Bias Convictions Overturned

Today, former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi, who’s anti-gay bullying led his roommate Tyler Clementi to commit suicide, saw his 15 count conviction overturned due to a change in state law in New Jersey.

Folks in the LGBT news world are stunned.


The appellate court sided with Ravi’s attorneys who had argued he never should have been charged with bias crimes and his convictions should be reversed. The court also ordered a new trial saying Ravi could not have received a fair trial as the bias evidence “permeated the trial.”

“It’s far from over,” Ravi’s attorney Steven Altman said Friday morning. “I’m extraordinarily pleased with the decision. I haven’t spoken with the Ravi family yet, but I can only imagine they’re pleased as well.”

The appellate decision arrives four years after Ravi’s conviction on several counts of bias intimidation and other charges following a highly publicized trial in New Brunswick, which put a national spotlight on cyber bullying.

Clementi, of Ridgewood, who was Ravi’s dorm mate at Rutgers University when the two were freshmen, jumped off the George Washington Bridge several days after the bullying incidents in September 2010 in which Ravi set up a remote webcam that spied on Clementi while he was having an intimate encounter with another man.

Ravi was not charged in Clementi’s death and his defense maintained the webcam incidents had nothing to do with Clementi’s decision to commit suicide. He was sentenced — and has already served — his 30-day sentence, three years of probation and 300 hours of community service.

After Ravi’s conviction in 2012, the state Supreme Court in a separate case struck down part of the state’s bias crime statute that focused on the victim’s state of mind. According to that case, it is the defendant’s state of mind and intent that is important, not the victim’s.

The appellate court said the prosecution conceded in its oral arguments four of Ravi’s bias convictions should “be void as a matter of law,” and, accordingly, dismissed those charges with prejudice. The court also dismissed Ravi’s conviction on hindering his own apprehension and tampering with witnesses.

Dharun Ravi files appeal of conviction

Dharun Ravi, who’s currently serving a 30-day sentence after being
convicted of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and other charges
for spying on his roommate, Tyler Clementi at Rutgers University during a
same-sex sexual encounter, has filed notice that he is appealing his

According to The Star-Ledger,
“The notice, filed June 4 with the appellate court, lists the proposed
issues to be raised, including that the bias intimidation statute is
unconstitutional as applied to Ravi and that several decisions by
Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman, who presided over the trial earlier
this year, ‘prejudiced the defendant’s ability to get a fair trial.’   The appeal process could take upwards of two years before a three-judge panel hears the appeal.”

Ravi will most likely be released from county jail sometime next
week. According to Warden Edmond Cicchi of the county jail, inmates are
automatically awarded 10 days for good behavior.  Ravi began his sentence
May 31.

Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Julia McClure,has filed
her own appeal against Judge Berman’s sentence; she had initially
requested that Ravi be sentenced to five years in prison.

Dharun Ravi issues apology to all “affected” by his choices

Dharun Ravi, convicted of  has issued an apology to “everyone affected by” his choices and has elected to start his 30-day jail sentence despite the readying of his appeal by his legal team.

“I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on Sept. 19, 2010, and Sept. 21, 2010. My behavior and actions, which at no time were motivated by hate, bigotry, prejudice or desire to hurt, humiliate or embarrass anyone, were nonetheless the wrong choices and decisions. I apologize to everyone affected by those choices.”

In March, a jury convicted Ravi of all 15 criminal counts with which he was charged, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. On two of the intimidation counts, he faced up to 10 years in state prison.

Dharun Ravi speaks about being found guilty and Tyler Clementi’s death

Having been found guilty of a hate crime for spying on Tyler Clementi, Dharun Ravi gave an interview to the NJ Star-Ledger about his thoughts on the trial and Tyler’s death.

Regarding the tweet he sent to friends suggesting they tune into his webcam to see Clementi with a male guest:

“I knew my friends would think it was a joke because they know my sense of humor,” he said. “But eventually I thought it was stupid, so I went back into the room and pointed the camera back at my bed.”

When asked the question, “What were you thinking?” Ravi candidly stated, “I wasn’t.”

“At that point, I got caught up in what I thought was funny, and my own ego. I never really thought about what it would mean to Tyler,” he said. “I know that’s wrong, but that’s the truth.”

Upon learning about the webcam, Tyler Clementi committed suicide.

Ravi stands by his statement that he set up his webcam out of concern for his iPad and that he was also put off by the appearance of Clementi’s guest, a 30-year-old man known only as M.B. that Tyler met on a gay dating Internet site.

“But I wasn’t biased,” Ravi said. “I didn’t act out of hate and I wasn’t uncomfortable with Tyler being gay.”

“I’m very sorry about Tyler,” he said. “I have parents and a little brother, and I can only try to imagine how they feel. But I want the Clementis to know I had no problem with their son. I didn’t hate Tyler and I knew he was okay with me. I wanted to talk to his parents, but I was afraid. I didn’t know what to say.

UPDATE: Preview of “20/20” interview with Dharun Ravi. He doesn’t come off very sympathetic here. Almost as if he’s the victim. May not play well for him in an appeal.

Rutgers Dharun Ravi found guilty in Tyler Clementi case

A former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate’s love life was convicted of all counts Friday in a case that exploded into the headlines when the victim of the snooping committed suicide by throwing himself off a bridge.

Dharun Ravi, 20, shook his head slightly after the guilty verdicts were read for all 15 counts, including bias intimidation — a hate crime that was based on the victim’s sexual orientation — and invasion of privacy. He was also found guilty of tampering with evidence,witness tampering and hindering prosecution.

The most serious charges in the Rutgers case centered on whether Ravi’s actions had constituted bias intimidation, meaning that he was motivated to inspire fear in the Ridgewood, New Jersey, native because of his sexual orientation. Those charges carry jail time of up to 10 years and possible deportation back to India.

Letters to my brother – from Tyler Clementi’s older brother

Tyler (left) and James Clementi / Photo courtesy James Clementi

James Clementi – Tyler Clementi’s older brother – has shared with a series of letters he wrote after Tyler committed suicide last year. The letters are touching and heartfelt and beautiful. They are James’ attempt to reclaims his memory from the headlines and pays tribute to his abbreviated life.

Here’s just an excerpt:

Pipsqueak – You were one noisy kid. I remember walking inside and the most beautiful sounds of Tchaikovsky and Mozart would waft through every room. And I hated it.

Remember how I used to bang on your door and scream at you to stop being so loud? It was so unfair that I had to listen to your noise all the time — why couldn’t you just pick up a quieter hobby!? I would refuse to attend your recitals and concerts because I had to listen to you play all the damn time at home. Wow, do I regret that.

It is so quiet now. You were really talented; it was a gift. I’m not sure I ever told you that… maybe you didn’t care. It’s not like you needed my validation; I know nothing about classical music and you knew you were the shit when it came to that damn violin. I just feel really bad for not telling you how awesome you are, how much I respect your skills and dedication. I regret not listening to every note with open ears, not going to more concerts. Fuck you for making me feel bad; it’s not fair that you did that to me. But I would tell you now if I could, I really miss the noise!

I really recommend you read them. Tyler’s early death became a catalyst for today’s anti-bullying campaigns. The letters remind us Tyler was real, human and most importantly – gone too soon.