New Music ‘Through The Storm’ + More News

Through The Storm is the new ballad from Sudi 'Rick' Karatas, a musical tribute to whoever or however we find the strength to overcome personal challenges.
Sudi ‘Rick’ Karatas (screen capture)

New Music: “Through The Storm,” written and sung by Sudi ‘Rick’ Karatas, is a musical tribute to whoever or however we find strength to make it through personal challenges. The uplifting lyrics and Rick’s clear, earnest vocals make for a welcome respite from the chaos of the times. I covered Rick’s 2018 book release, Rainbow Relatives, here. Continue reading “New Music ‘Through The Storm’ + More News”

Study: Social Media Platforms ‘Categorically Unsafe’ For LGBTQs

A young gay man on social media
A young gay man on social media
(photo: Eddy Billard/Unsplash)

GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, has announced the findings of its inaugural Social Media Safety Index (SMSI), a 50-page report on LGBTQ user safety across five major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.

The overall takeaway is that  all five platforms are “categorically unsafe” for LGBTQ people.

From Axios:

GLAAD had planned to give each of the sites a grade as part of its inaugural social media index, but opted not to give individual grades this year after determining all the leading sites would receive a failing grade.

“They are categorically unsafe, across the board,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. The findings follow a several month effort by GLAAD and a team of outside experts who looked at each of the sites, their policies and track record of enforcing those policies.

Ellis said that all of the sites hold themselves out as LGBTQ-friendly and nonetheless allow for LGBTQ people to be harassed on a daily basis as well as allowing harmful misinformation to spread unchecked.

Each of the social media platforms defended their efforts to protect LGBTQ people.

Facebook/Instagram CMO Alex Schultz declared their deep belief in “the representation of and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community that GLAAD champions.”

“Finding the right balance between giving voice and taking action on harmful content is hard,” added Schultz. “This is why we partner with experts, non-profits and other stakeholders – like GLAAD – to try to get it right.”

YouTube issued a statement noting its ‘significant progress’ in removing “hateful and harassing content against the LGBTQ+ community that violates our policies, prominently surface content in search results and recommendations from authoritative sources and limit the spread of extreme content by our recommendations.”

Twitter says it welcomes GLAAD’s initiative and the chance to “better understand the experiences and needs of the LGBTQ+ communities on our service.”

And TikTok promised it is “committed to supporting and uplifting LGBTQ+ voices on and off the platform and we care deeply about fostering a welcoming and supportive experience for everyone.”

Longtime YouTuber Tyler Oakley Is Taking A Break

Tyler Oakley, one of the most well-known YouTube stars in the world, has shared with his millions of fans that he is taking a break from producing weekly videos for his channel.

“I am just going to cut right to the chase,” Oakley said in a vlog post. “I have been making videos and uploading them every single Tuesday at noon for years and years and years. If you have been watching since I have been in college, I was 18 when I started, and I’m now 31.”

“I’ve never really taken a break and it’s now time for me to take a break,” Oakley added. “I’m going to be focusing on some other stuff that I’m really excited about, and I’m really ready to develop out and make into some fun new little things. I haven’t felt a fun, new little thing in a long long time.”

Over the 13 years Oakley has been on the video platform he’s amassed over 7 million subscribers who have faithfully shown up for the young LGBTQ advocate as he shared various aspects of his life.

In the video (titled ‘See Ya Later’), Oakley says he’ll definitely be back, but doesn’t name a specific date.

Colton Haynes Is The Daddy We Always Knew He’d Be

Colton Haynes shares in a new YouTube video that he’s finally a daddy!

Ok, not that kind of ‘daddy,’ and it’s complicated…

It seems the time had finally come for Colton to bring a cat into his life: “Hey y’all…meet my son…Timothee Chalameow!”

But our hero may have had unrealistic expectations about cuddling and playing with Timothee right off the bat. Cut to Colton trying to coax his new buddy out from under the furniture.

“This is my life now, folks – trying to win the affection of a cat,” muses Colton as Timothee stares from the relative safety under the couch. “I’m so excited! I was born to be a cat dad.”

“Come here,…come cuddle with me,” pleads Colton to an aloof Timothee. “I just want your love and affection.”

L-R Colton Haynes, Timothee Chalameow

Colton swears to the camera that Timothee cuddles with him, but the new cat of the house doesn’t seem as drawn to the camera as his cat dad.

Is it possible Colton had a dog in mind and got confused?

And then, there’s the inevitable ‘incident.’

“Man, this whole fairy tale of getting a cat…Whoo! Not all it’s cracked up to be,” Colton shares. Apparently, there was a knock at the door, a deliveryman and a freak out involved, although Colton does see a silver lining of sorts.

Showing off his new scar, Colton shares that Timothee did attack him, but in a ‘super chic way.’  “It looks like a sexy vampire bite, so now I have that.”

I don’t want to give away the whole story, but all in all, it’s a pretty cute diversion from the outside world.

Hit the play button below to see if/how/when Colton and Timothee ever find common ground.

Italy: Violin Twins Go Viral Covering Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’

Here’s a feel-good moment for your Monday afternoon.

These talented twins in Sicily have gone viral with their amazing rendition of Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’ during a quarantine lockdown in Italy.

Mirko and Valerio, shared the performance on YouTube, along with the caption (translated): “We thought we’d spend a bit of time with you all, from north to south. For us, music is a source of relief, and we hope you guys can use it too.”

“‘Viva la Vida’ by Coldplay seemed like the perfect song for this Sunday, full of sunshine and hope.”

Watch the viral violin twins’ performance below.

Kevin Spacey Drops Another Oddly Unsettling Video

Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey has dropped another oddly unsettling video on his YouTube channel.

Tending to a raging fire, Spacey appears to still be inhabiting his ‘Frank Underwood’ character from the Netflix series House of Cards as he addresses the viewer saying, “You didn’t really think I was going to miss the opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas, did you?”

Noting that he’s happy to “have my health back,” the 60-year-old shares that he’s “made some changes in his life” and he’d like the viewer to join him.

“As we walk into 2020, I want to cast my vote for more good in this world,” says Spacey. “Ah yes, I know what you’re thinking – could he be serious?”

“I’m dead serious,” he continues.

“The next time someone does something you don’t like, you can go on the attack – but you can also hold your fire, and do the unexpected,” advises Spacey. “You can (long dramatic pause)…kill them with kindness.”

Cue the creepy, dramatic music as the actor pauses before turning back to his fireplace.

You’ll recall Spacey last shared a similarly odd video during the 2018 holidays, again as his House of Cards persona.

At the time, the Oscar winner was facing legal challenges on several fronts. One concerned allegations of sexual harassment of a male teen at a Nantucket restaurant in Massachusetts, but the charges were dropped when the teen asserted his Fifth Amendment rights.

In the 2018 video, as he was just days away from being arraigned, he told the viewer, “You wouldn’t believe the worst without evidence, would you? You wouldn’t rush to judgments without facts, would you?”

Another case of sexual assault was brought by a masseur in Calfornia but was dismissed when his accuser suddenly died which makes today’s advise to “kill them with kindness” somewhat chilling.

(h/t Boy Culture)

News Round-Up: December 19, 2019

Tyler James (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Hottie Tyler James has folks’ safety in mind when he asks, “Anyone need their driveway shoveled?” Is that a euphemism…?

The Hill: The latest Iowa State University–Civiqs poll finds Mayor Pete Buttigieg currently leading the race in Iowa at 24 percent, followed by Sanders at 21 percent, Warren at 18 percent and former Vice President Joe Biden at 15 percent. No other candidate is polling above 4 percent in the survey.

Buzzfeed News: High school students in Missouri responded to Pride flags being handed out by flying the Confederate flag. After the racist flag was removed, the school decided there would be no disciplinary action taken hoping instead to “teach our students to respect each other and to respect different viewpoints on a variety of social issues.” Note – LGBTQ pride is pride; the Confederate flag stands for a war fought to keep slavery.

DListed: The highest-paid YouTuber is an eight-year-old named Ryan Kaji who has earned $26 million this year reviewing toys.

• NBC News: Until Wednesday afternoon, the fictional country from the popular 2018 Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther” was listed as a free trade agreement partner of the United States by the USDA’s tariff tracker.

Des Moines Register: An Ames man was sentenced Wednesday to about 16 years in prison after he set fire to a church LGBTQ flag in June. Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, last month was found guilty of a hate crime — a class “D” felony — third-degree harassment and reckless use of fire.

NY Post: While Donald Trump was hunkered down in the White House monitoring impeachment proceedings Wednesday, his predecessor in the Oval Office was hitting the links in Hawaii. Barack Obama — a native of Honolulu — was photographed on the course at the Mid-Pacific Country Club in Lanikai, O’ahu, playing a round of golf under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s.

News Round-Up: December 13, 2019

Three bearded police officers from Norfolk Police Dept
Three bearded police officers from Norfolk Police Dept
(image via Norfolk Police Department)

Some news items you might have missed:

WSET: The Norfolk Police Department has updated its uniform policy to allow officers to grow a beard and openly display tattoos while on-duty. So, if you see me speeding through Norfolk, you know why 🙂

The Verge: YouTube announced an expansion of its anti-harassment policy that will ban video creators from insulting individuals or inciting violence against people on the basis of their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation. But will YouTube enforce the new rules?

Bloomberg News: The share of credit card borrowers who are at least 90 days past due on their accounts will probably tick up to 2.01% next year, the highest level since 2010.

KIT212: Kenneth has the low-down on the what’s what happening the gay rags across the country.

Gaily Grind: The Senate voted to confirm homophobic nominee Lawrence VanDyke to serve as a Ninth Circuit appeals court judge, despite being rated as “not qualified” by the American Bar Association (ABA) over concerns of anti-LGBTQ past. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the only GOP ‘no’ in a 51-44 vote.

Washington Blade: The Screen Actors Guild has announced the nominees for its 2019 awards presentation, and like the Golden Globes nominations earlier this week, there are multiple nods for projects with LGBTQ-relevant content and performers.

ESPN: Marijuana will be removed from the list of drugs of abuse and will be treated the same as alcohol as part of changes announced Thursday to the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players’ association.

• Tweet of the Day: After Donald Trump trolled 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg, saying she need to “work on her anger management” and should “chill,” former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted her encouragement. #GodILoveHer

News Round-Up: October 2, 2019

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Color me jealous of hottie Max Emerson (above) – after years of snuggling with my bestie Bruno, my two dogs now do not do the snuggle. And I miss it.

Playbill: Actor Joshua Henry, currently starring in the off-Broadway play The Wrong Man, was singing while an audience member in the front row was using a phone. Mid-performance and without halting, the actor, last on Broadway in the revival of Carousel, took the phone and threw it under the risers. The audience applauded his action.

LGBTQ Nation: Three YouTubers tested over 15,000 video titles and say LGBTQ keywords can trigger YouTube’s algorithm to demonetize and hide those videos.

Right Wing Watch: Pro-Trump activist and right-wing commentator Karyn Turk pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday for stealing more than $17,000 from her mother’s Social Security, reportedly to pay for her own lavish lifestyle.

KIT212: Kenneth recaps the Q&A by Debbie Harry in New York City on Monday night for her new memoir, Face It.

DC Universe: Deaf, transgender model Chella Man shares the first look at his new role as ‘Jericho Wilson,’ a deaf, bisexual super-hero making his premiere on TITANS.