News Round-Up: July 2, 2021

Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey
Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey
Tyler Posey (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

NME: Former Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey says he’s still figuring out his sexuality. “I’ve been with everybody under the sun, and right now I’m in the best relationship that I’ve ever been in with a woman, and she’s queer too. She’s helped me realize that I fit under the queer umbrella and that I’m sexually fluid, I guess.”

them: Around 1,000 people made history this week by taking part in the first-ever Pride event at one of America’s most conservative Mormon colleges. On Monday, current and former students of Brigham Young University (BYU) gathered at Provo, Utah’s Joaquin Park before walking a mile to Kiwanis Park, a grassy expanse just east of campus.

PBS: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday that Andrew Bruck would be appointed acting attorney general for the remainder of Murphy’s term. Bruck will be the first openly gay attorney general in state history.

Instinct Magazine: Gilead Sciences is looking to get its ‘once every six months’ HIV inhibitor injection, Lenacapavir, approved by the FDA.

The Advocate: Sha’Carri Richardson, who made headlines recently for thanking her girlfriend after qualifying for the Olympics, will now miss at least part of the games due to a positive marijuana test.

Toasting Pride Month With Five Husbands Vodka

Ogden’s Own, an award-winning leading distiller of craft spirits and the largest independently owned distillery in the state of Utah, is welcoming Pride 2021 through a brand-new, special-edition label for its Five Husbands Vodka.
Celebrating Pride Month with Five Husbands Vodka honoring LGBTQ leaders in Utah
(Image via Instagram)

Sometimes, LGBTQ allies can come from unexpected places.

While Utah has long been considered a conservative state in regard to social issues and especially as the home of the Mormon Church, I was very pleasantly surprised to learn about a Odgen’s Own, an award-winning independently owned distillery in the state welcoming Pride 2021 with a brand-new, special-edition label for its Five Husbands Vodka.

The 2021 Five Husbands Vodka bottle is available for customers at the Ogden’s Own Distillery store with proceeds going directly to Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center, two charitable organizations that support the Utah LGBTQ+ community.

(image via Instagram)

As part of the distillery’s ongoing commitment to celebrate Pride all year long – not only during Pride Month – the new Five Husbands bottle features five members of the Utah LGBTQ+ community on the label.

Each 2021 “Husband” is well regarded for using their creativity, influence, and talent to build towards a better, more inclusive tomorrow.

The 2021 “Five Husbands” featured on the label represent a broad range of professions and areas of expertise, but the common thread binding each Husband is that they are all Utah locals that are passionate about representing the LGBTQ+ community and spreading the message of inclusiveness on as large of a stage as possible.

• Johnny Hebda – Johnny is a jack of all trades. A Nashville, TN native that has lived in Utah since attending BYU following the completion of his Mormon mission, Johnny currently serves as VP of Sales for AMP Smart, one of the nation’s fastest growing smart home companies. Additionally, he is a professional actor, model, director, and producer who is passionate about channeling his showbiz chops into social causes.

• Georgios Spiliopoulos – aka “DJ GSP,” Georgios is a native of Athens, Greece who has been a professional DJ for more than 15 years. In addition to being a DJ and music producer, Georgios is an event organizer and promoter, graphic designer, and record label owner. He has lived in London, Rio De Janeiro, Los Angeles and now makes his home in Salt Lake City.

• Rob Moolman, Ph.D – Rob is the Executive Director/CEO of the Utah Pride Center, a role he has served for more than three years. Among his many accomplishments with Utah Pride is establishing the SAGE program, which offers services for aging members of the LGBTQ community. A longtime friend of Ogden’s Own, he has partnered with the distillery on several occasions through the years to engage the community in LGBTQ+ events, causes and initiatives.

• CJ Hamblen – CJ is a real estate professional and aspiring personal fitness trainer, currently working as a leasing agent in Midvale, Utah. Born in Dallas, TX and raised in Sugarhouse, UT, CJ is a true creative, a music lover, and secret comic book and superhero aficionado. As an ardent believer in bringing awareness to both the LGBTQ+ and black communities, CJ is eager to use the Ogden’s Own platform to accomplish this in Utah and across the nation.

• Troy Williams – Troy is the executive director of Equality Utah and serves as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, ensuring that state laws include and protect LGBTQ Utahns and their families. Before his current role at Equality Utah, Troy produced reality television, including the TLC series, Breaking the Faith, which followed teens in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints fleeing polygamy – making a partnership with the creators of Five Husbands (and Five Wives!) Vodka an ironic twist of fate.

(image via Instagram)

“Since the beginning, Ogden’s Own has been about supporting the LGBTQ+ community here in Utah through not only our words, but our actions, and we feel that this is our strongest statement to-date,” said Steve Conlin, co-founder and CEO of Ogden’s Own Distillery.

“Each of our Five Husbands is equally impressive, not just because of their individual accomplishments, but because of their character and commitment to making Utah a great place to live,” Conlin added. “We’re humbled to honor such an incredible group of people through our new Five Husbands bottle and can’t wait to celebrate Pride 2021 by sharing their stories.”

Ogden’s Own has served as the official alcohol sponsor of the Utah Pride Festival for several years and once again will for Utah Pride 2021.

For more information regarding Ogden’s Own’s canned cocktails, future availability of the products, and updates on all of Ogden’s Own brands, please visit www.ogdensown.com.

(image via Instagram)

Utah: Gov Issues 1st PRIDE Declaration, Rainbow Flag Raised At City Hall In SLC

(image via Twitter)

Well, will wonders never cease?

Utah’s Governor Spencer Cox issued an official declaration recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. He is believed to be the first governor of Utah to issue such a proclamation.

“We must encourage relevant and vital conversations about what it means to love each other, understand our differences, and support our LGBTQ+ friends and family members,” reads the declaration from Cox.

“We can strengthen resilience in the LGBTQ+ community through family and community inclusion and by providing access to help, and giving them our support, respect, understanding, and friendship.”

Additionally, Salt Lake City’s Mayor Erin Mendenhall took part in a ceremony raising the rainbow Pride flag at City Hall.

Utah High Court Confirms Transgender Right To Change Name & Gender Marker

Sign welcoming people to Utah

Sign welcoming people to Utah
(photo: JoshuaT/Pexels)

Good news coming out of Utah today.

From Equality Utah:

After 3.5 years, the Utah Supreme Court ruled today In Re Gray and Rice (20170046) 2021 UT 13, and confirmed the right of transgender Utahns to change the name and gender marker on their birth certificates.

This is a landmark ruling that allows transgender Utahns to fully integrate as equal members of society.

We send our love and appreciation to the legal team of Chris Wharton, Kyler O’Brien, and Beth Jennings (Wharton O’Brien) Troy Booher and Beth Kennedy (Zimmerman Booher) and the courageous joint plaintiffs Angie Rice and Sean Childers-Gray.

It has been an unprecedented year for transgender Americans. Over 30 states introduced legislation to restrict the freedom of transgender youth.

But here in Utah, we chart a different path. The Utah Legislature rejected two anti-transgender bills, and today, the Utah Supreme Court has upheld transgender rights to live freely as their authentic selves. This is ‘equality under the law’ in practice right here in Utah.

News Round-Up: April 16, 2021

Some news items you might have missed:

Instagram: Not everyone is celebrating ‘Bachelor’ star Colton Underwood getting a Netflix series that will follow his new life as an openly gay man after coming out this week. When Attitude Magazine posted the news (above), pop star Adam Lambert chimed in, “No one is feeling this Netflix.” And out former rugby star Keegan Hirst wrote, “Monetising coming out. Oh dear. Not a good look.”

Kenneth-in-the-212: Check out Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the what’s what in LGBTQ publications like this week’s GRAB Magazine featuring singer/songwriter Dodie.

(image via GRAB Magazine)

PBS: A new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll found two-thirds of Americans (66%) oppose laws that would limit transgender rights. That opposition includes majorities of every political ideology from liberal to conservative and every age group.

CBC: A gym in Quebec City has become one of the largest recorded COVID-19 super-spreading events in Canada as 224 cases have been traced directly to the gym as well as another 356 related cases. The gym owner, a pandemic denier, shared social media posts that questioned the effectiveness of masks and minimized the dangers of COVID-19.

Instinct Magazine: A straight man began sharing pics of his enormous penis on Twitter during the pandemic, and now says he identifies as bisexual following all the attention he garnered from gay followers. “I think if I met the right one, and got to know and like and trust him, I might find the courage to… explore.”

NBC News: A new bill in the Texas Senate aims to redefine child abuse to include parents who consent to hormone therapy and puberty blockers for their transgender children. The legislation would make such acts a felony.

Pink News: A student was caught on video tearing down a Pride flag that hung along a stairwell at Ridgeline High School in Cache County, Utah, on Tuesday. It had been placed by officials to celebrate the school’s Gay Straight Alliance during diversity week, alongside flags from various countries.

Utah: Pride Flag Thief Apologizes With New Flag & Note

New flag hanging after being stolen
New flag hanging after being stolen
(screen capture via Fox13Now)

How about some good news for a Saturday?

Julie Cordell-Seamons of Eagle Mountain, Utah, had several rainbow Pride flags stolen last Halloween. So she was surprised to find a new flag sitting on her porch along with an apology note this week.

“I’m sorry for taking your flag last fall,” read the note reports local news station Fox13Now. “It did not sit right with me, so I’m making it up to you guys for my actions. Have a good 2021.” the note read. (Editor’s note: Corrected for punctuation)

The apology note which read, "I'm sorry for taking your flag last fall. It did not sit right with me, so I'm making it up to you guys for my actions. Have a good 2021."
(screen capture)

The gesture not only surprised but touched Cordell-Seamons.

“I’m assuming it was a trick-or-treater. It looked like a kid from what I could tell,” Cordell-Seamons told FOX 13 on Monday. “But I was so impressed — to have an adult do that, let alone a kid, you know, admit they were wrong and try to make up for it… I seriously started tearing up.”

“In this day and age, we don’t see that a lot, so it meant a lot to me. It warmed my heart.”

Coronavirus Update 11/11/20

A man wearing a face mask during the pandemic

No, Donald Trump Jr., the coronavirus has not ‘magically’ gone away now that the 2020 election has passed.

With the virus surging in so many places both here and around the world, I wanted to create a way to share news related to the pandemic in an abbreviated manner. For more information on any of the stories below, please feel free to click the links.

Per Johns Hopkins Hospital coronavirus tracking, the U.S.  has now reported 10,353,604 cases of COVID-19 resulting in 240,688 deaths.

CBS News: Texas became the first state to surpass 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The second-most populous U.S. state, Texas now has more coronavirus cases than all of Italy, which was previously one of the major hot spots of the virus. California is close behind with over 986,000 confirmed cases, as is Florida with more than 852,000.

ABC News: Faced with more than 2,000 new daily COVID-19 cases in his state and hospitals at capacity, Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert has declared a state of emergency and issued a mandate for all residents to wear masks in public until further notice. Herbert’s announcement implored all state residents “to do everything in your power to stop the spread of this disease.”

CNN: Following the positive news regarding the effectiveness of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper that an average American could potentially have access to a coronavirus vaccine by April of 2021.

Pink News: Brazil’s homophobic president Jair Bolsonaro has told his country to accept coronavirus and stop dealing with it like “a country of fags”. The far-right leader made the remarks as his country has suffered over 5.7 million infections and 163,000 deaths from coronavirus. “We have to stop being a country of fags… We have to face up to it and fight. I hate this faggot stuff.”

Nevada Current: With the coronavirus surging in Nevada and nearly every state in the nation, Gov. Steve Sisolak urged people Tuesday to “to operate in a ‘Stay at Home 2.0’ mentality to get things under control so our public health response infrastructure can catch up.” Nevada has seen more than 1,300 cases a day over the most recent seven day period and hospitalization rates not seen since August.

The Hill: A top health department official in Wisconsin says that the state is nearing a tipping point at which some patients who need lifesaving care will be unable to receive it due to overcrowding in hospitals resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

News Round-Up: August 18, 2020

(image via Facebook)

Some news items you might have missed:

FOX13Now: A waiter at an Ogden restaurant is sharing his story after finding a bigoted message written on a cash tip that was left for him. Even though the transaction was all-electronic, the customers specifically asked for a pen. The $5 bill (above) was marked with the words, “Get out of America, Fag!”

Pink News: HIV activists are cheering that China has finally approved the drug Truvada for Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) which can prevent people from contracting HIV through condomless sex. According to the United Nations, 44 percent of new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific region last year were in queer men.

YouTube: I loved this rundown of Top 20 Best Gay Romance Movies (with a happy ending). Lots of my favorite films here.

Out: A federal judge in Boise has temporarily blocked a controversial law in Idaho that banned trans athletes from participation in school sports. The bill, which Governor Brad Little signed into law this past March, allowed for internal and external verification of a disputed athlete’s reproductive system.

Washington Blade: A gay former assistant superintendent and contracting liaison for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has been charged with fraudulently obtaining more than $2.1 million in funds for personal use from two federal coronavirus relief programs. Kenneth P. Gaughan, 41, reportedly used the funds to purchase a $300,000 yacht, a $1.13 million townhouse in D.C., and a $46,000 luxury sports car.

Democratic National Convention: I meant to get around to sharing my thoughts on the first night of the convention, but…the day got away from me.

As the second night is about to begin, I have to share this one-two knockout punch from Night One – Michelle Obama’s pitch-perfect keynote speech, followed by Billy Porter and Stephen Stills performing the iconic anti-war protest song, “For What It’s Worth.” #Bam

County Commissioner Loses Reelection Bid After Coming Out

Nathan Ivie (via Instagram)

 

Republican county commissioner Nathan Ivie came out to his Utah constituents last year via social media, and at the time, the announcement appeared to be well received.

But a year later, Ivie has lost his bid for reelection and the 41-year-old says there’s no doubt in his mind that his sexuality “was part of the issue.”

With all of the votes counted, Ivie suffered a bruising primary loss to former Marine Lt. Col. Tom Sakievich by a margin of 60.4 percent to 39.6 percent according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Contrast that with his first campaign in 2016 when he won his primary with nearly 59 percent of the vote and won in the general election with 81 percent.

What a difference four years can make.

“I can’t tell you the number of hate emails I received,” Ivie told the Tribune. “I didn’t make an issue out of it in the campaign because that’s not the kind of person I am. But there is no doubt that the Eagle Forum [a conservative group] and its lies were absolutely in play here.”

Sakievich denies the allegations saying Ivie’s openly gay status “was not an issue” in the race.

“Most people that I talked to said that they’re aware of his coming out,” said Sakievich. “But to them, that wasn’t the issue. The issue was the taxes and how the government is being run.”

Ivie had voted for an unpopular property tax increase, the first in 23 years, to address neglect he discovered when he was elected in 2016.

Ivie says his opponent “ran around telling everybody that he was going to cut taxes, increase services, and then use a tax fund that you can’t use to pay for it. That’s a lie. … It’ll be interesting to see what happens when reality sets in.”

Ivie has accepted the results of the primary, though, adding that while he’s sad for Utah, he’s upbeat about his own future.

“For me personally, I get to go back to my ranch and ride horses full time,” he shared. “I have a lot of work to do with the LGBT community, especially with troubled youth, to reach out to them.”

When he came out in May 2019 (video above), Ivie said it was due to several factors.

One, he said he wanted “the 22-year-old version of himself” out there to know things will be ok.

“Obviously we have a problem in our community, especially in the LGBT community, of suicide,” he shared. “As someone who’s been there and pulled the trigger once: don’t.”

He also says that seeing two men holding hands on a river trail in Boise deeply affected him.

“It was just two regular human beings who loved each other who were walking holding hands as an intimate, caring couple, and that image really stuck with me for whatever reason,” he told the Herald Extra. “And that was probably one of the first times in my life I went, ‘Maybe I’m not screwed up. Maybe I’m not broken.’”

(source: Salt Lake Tribune)

News Round-Up: May 6, 2020

The original and new casts of Queer Eye will compete on Celebrity Family Feud

Some news items you might have missed:

HRC: On the 8th anniversary of former Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement of marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign announced its endorsement of Biden for President. HRC’s Board of Directors, comprised of 26 community leaders from across the nation, unanimously and enthusiastically voted to endorse Biden. “Vice President Joe Biden is the leader our community and our country need at this moment,” said HRC President Alphonso David.

NY Times: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday issued final rules for how public and private schools must address allegations of sexual misconduct locking in protections for accused students and faculty. The new regulations narrow the definition of sexual harassment and require colleges to hold live hearings during which alleged victims and accused perpetrators can be cross-examined to challenge their credibility.

Out: On Sunday, May 31 Celebrity Family Feud is set to host the casts of the old and new iterations of Queer Eye (above) in a face-off for charity. The full, original cast will play for The Trevor Project and the new squad (with Karamo Brown swapped out for a featured guest from season 4) will compete for GLSEN.

Daily Herald: Two Utah County businesses told staff to not follow quarantine guidelines and required staff who had tested positive to report to work resulting in 68 positive cases.

Variety: For the past seven decades, the show has always gone on for the Tony Awards, which honor the best Broadway performances and productions. But with the 74th edition being postponed from its planned June 7 date due to the coronavirus, there’s a real chance that the ceremony will be scrapped altogether this year.

CBS News: At an event marking National Nurses Day at the White House, Donald Trump contradicted Sophia Thomas, the president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners who works at a community health center in New Orleans, who said the availability of personal protective equipment has been “sporadic.”