The Queering Of Pee-Wee Herman: How The Gay Icon Redefines Queer Boundaries Beyond Sexuality

Pee-wee's Big Holiday
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday

“I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.”

These sentiments are voiced three different times in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” the Tim Burton-directed film that popularized Pee-wee Herman, the guileless manchild in the grey suit and red bowtie. Throughout the 1985 film, Pee-wee routinely rejects the advances of Dottie, a button-cute blonde played in a rare on-screen role by voice-over actress Elizabeth Daly (“Rugrats”). The joke isn’t just that Dottie is hopelessly, cluelessly in love with Pee-wee but seeing the character’s own image juxtaposed with his statement. These are the words you might hear from Johnny Depp’s meticulously coiffed greaser in John Waters’ “Cry-Baby,” not someone whose closest antecedent is Waters himself.

Pee-wee’s noted lack of interest in the fairer sex has long led to speculation about his sexuality—with the implication that he’s gay. If you’ve come into “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” with that idea in mind, the film will do little to dissuade you. The Netflix release, directed by John Lee (“Wonder Showzen”) and produced by Judd Apatow (“Freaks and Geeks”), finds Pee-wee Herman getting his bromance on with Joe Manganiello, playing a version of himself. Manganiello rides up to the diner where Pee-wee works on a motorcycle wearing a too-tight tee, and Pee-wee nearly faints. True to form, he refers to the “True Blood” actor as “triple cool!”

The movie never plays down its potential homoerotic elements: Aside from Pee-wee’s clear overexuberance at serving Joe Manganiello a milkshake, the character develops something of a crush on the hunky actor (and who could blame him?). He expresses his desires for “friendship” with Manganiello in fantasies where the two joust on what appear to be giant piñatas; meanwhile, fireworks explode in the background. It’s about as subtle as the end credits of “Deadpool,” in which the spandexed superhero jerks off a unicorn.



The film’s overt gayness led many, like BuzzFeed’s Louis Peitzman, to declare it a “queer romance.” “[C]ategorizing Pee-wee and Joe as ‘just friends’ would be, at best, a euphemistic solution to a relationship that’s deliberately vague but undeniably queer,” he writes. “Because Pee-wee is almost entirely sexless, his age indeterminate but his interests decidedly childlike, he can never consummate anything. Instead, he and Joe share the kind of mutual crush that passes for grade-school intimacy.” Slate’s Paul H. Johnson added that the character has always been gay, even back in the days of “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.” He married a fruit salad in one episode, forgodsakes.

These takes are smart, well-written and accurate: There’s something that’s always been defiantly, unmistakably queer about Pee-wee Herman, but it would be a mistake to solely ascribe that to his sexuality. Pee-wee might live in a world of adult longings and eroticism, but Pee-wee does not partake. It’s not that he’s queer or even asexual, but that—by being frozen in a state of stunted adolescence—he exists in a prepubescent universe where sexuality doesn’t quite exist yet. The queerest thing about Pee-wee Herman is that he purposefully breaks with those notions by rethinking the boundaries of what “queerness” really is—an act of societal rebellion.

If Pee-wee is a PG character in an R-rated universe, that’s no accident: The persona was developed while Paul Reubens was a member of the Groundlings, the L.A.-based improvisational comedy group that also gave Will Ferrell, Phil Hartman and Melissa McCarthy their starts. Reubens’ “Pee-wee Herman Show” began as a weekly midnight show with a grown-up slant. When he appeared on “Late Night With David Letterman” in 1983, Pee-wee romped around the set like a kid in a candy store—seemingly unaware of the adult show he’s on. “Camping with Pee-wee, that’s like a headline in the Post!” Letterman jokes. Pee-wee has no idea what he’s talking about.

His own lack of awareness is central to how we understand Pee-wee Herman—and how we read his character. In Peitzman’s essay, he refers to homosexuality as the “subtext” of “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday,” but if we’re being honest, it’s the context. “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” might as well take place in a gay bar. Take the program’s holiday special, for instance: The episode boasted a queer cornucopia of guest stars, including community icons like Cher, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dinah Shore and kd lang. Pee-wee goes ice-skating with Little Richard. Grace Jones even drops by to sing “The Little Drummer Boy.” If that’s not enough, a group of shirtless construction workers build a tower out of fruitcakes.

If subtext by definition is furtive and secret, the queer reading of this episode couldn’t be any more overt if it were singing the Village People in gold booty shorts. The joke is that if the world around him is fabulously gay, Pee-wee hasn’t the slightest clue. The ongoing series of Pee-wee Herman films and television programs delight in placing the character in settings where his naive innocence is at odds with his surroundings, even the film he’s in: “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” finds him in a coming-of-age tale, even if Herman—by nature—doesn’t grow. “Big Holiday,” however, reimagines his hero’s journey as a romantic quest—except that the character himself finds that concept gross, like eating his peas.


 

Taken from Salon.Com


Corporate Christ is a Musician and Author from Cardiff, UK.

CORPORATECHRIST

Virulent Anti-Gay Remarks Test Indonesia’s Moderate Image

lgbt flagJAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Gays are a contagion, declares the banner in bold red and black lettering that hangs on the sidewalk of a bustling neighborhood in the Indonesian capital close to embassies, luxury hotels and the homes of some of the country’s leaders.


Erected by an ultra-conservative Islamic group, it’s the latest manifestation of a virulent campaign of denigration against gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities that has entered the mainstream and is testing Indonesia’s image for moderation.

Echoing venomous headlines in conservative newspapers, government officials and leaders in areas from psychiatry to religion also have heaped condemnation on homosexuality. The defense minister even said gays and lesbians were a more serious threat to national security than nuclear war.

The fevered atmosphere began emerging in late 2015 when top academics attacked gay support groups at universities. By February it had become an onslaught. Pressure from Islamic hardliners forced the closure of an Islamic boarding school for transgender students in Yogyakarta last month.

“Everyone in society is reading the propaganda of hate,” said Augustine, a veteran lesbian activist who goes by one name. “They forget LGBT are human.”

She said that for several weeks, she has received phone calls late at night or before dawn from men who threaten to kill her if she does not close the advocacy organization she works for.

Augustine said she has not felt so abused over her sexual orientation since she fled her own father’s anti-gay violence in the late 1990s.

Indonesia’s human rights commission has deplored the outpouring of hatred, but President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been silent. He was elected on a platform that included human rights and respect for diversity as a top priority.

Kyle Knight, a researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch, said it feels like the cause of equality has been set back by a generation. Bigoted officials “actually do ruin people’s lives,” he said.

Among the startling announcements from officials, the minister for technology, research and higher education said LGBT people should not be welcome on university campuses. Harking back to medical theories discredited decades ago, the head of the psychiatry association called homosexuality a mental condition that could be treated, earning a rebuke from professional associations abroad.



Smartphone messaging app Line pulled stickers showing same-sex couples from its Indonesian emoji store in a response to a quixotic order from officials to stop the spread of gay and transgender imagery.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, which is the world’s most populous Muslim nation and embraces both democracy and moderate Islam. Some of the archipelago’s ethnic groups have centuries-old traditions of same-sex love. Transgender women, known as waria, are familiar to many people and extended tolerance by the majority. Some of the stickers abruptly censored by Line were created with the help of waria, whose slang has been widely adopted in popular culture.

But daily life is lived under an uneasy status quo that tolerates LGBT people as long as they are not too visible. Activism has largely focused on areas such as preventing the spread of HIV and reducing social isolation rather than pushing for specific rights such as anti-discrimination measures. Violence has forced some gay people to flee Aceh, a Sumatran province that practices a form of Shariah law and canes people for behavior such as adultery, gambling and drinking alcohol.

Many activists believe conservatives in Indonesia’s ruling circles are unnerved by incremental liberalization in neighboring Southeast Asian countries and the advance of gay rights in Western nations, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in favor of same-sex marriage.

Some misunderstand homosexuality as being a disease or cultural trend and fear the idea of an Indonesian gay movement, said Dede Oetomo, who founded Indonesia’s first gay-rights groups in the early 1980s.

A U.N. report in 2014 on the status of gay rights in Asia that estimated Indonesia has more than 100 LGBT groups was probably also unsettling to some a country where ignorance about sexuality is widespread, he said.

“They are afraid LGBT will recruit their children,” said Oetomo.

Some government ministers have grudgingly spoken out against the anti-gay onslaught, saying LBGT Indonesians have the same rights as anyone else.

“We have to treat them as citizens of Indonesia,” said Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister of legal, political and security affairs. “This is something naturally happening. I don’t think we can stop this one. But to contain, we can do it to some extent.”

He said he prays daily that none of his grandchildren are gay because “nobody wants to be like that.”

Groups that represent foreign businesses in Indonesia hope the current controversy will blow over, like previous episodes of social panic about alcohol and prostitution.

Despite being one of biggest economies in the developing world, Indonesia lags behind neighbors such as Singapore and Thailand in attracting foreign investment. If the anti-gay hysteria mounts or produces legal measures at the national level, it could add to perceptions of the country as unpredictable and deter some foreign executives from working in the country.

Oetomo said there are signs the level of hysteria is abating. Republika, a hardline newspaper, has toned down its attacks after activists met with its editors.

Though activists say the onslaught was frightening and wiped away years of progress, in the longer run it may galvanize more activism and be a catalyst for overcoming social isolation.

“LGBT has become a household word,” Oetomo said. “It’s going to be long haul, but in an ironic way, we could thank the bigots.”


Taken from Salon.Com

A Man Poured Boiling Water On A Gay Couple. Georgia Won’t Charge Him With A Hate Crime.

Marquez_Tolbert_2A man and his boyfriend in Atlanta spent 10 days and nearly one month in a hospital, respectively, after another man poured boiling hot water on them, allegedly because of their sexual orientation.

Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert were sleeping in Gooden’s apartment on February 12 when Martin Blackwell, the boyfriend of Gooden’s mother, walked in. According to Tolbert, Blackwell poured boiling water on the men, causing severe burns that required surgery to treat. Blackwell, who didn’t live in the apartment, told Tolbert, “Get out of my house with all that gay shit.”

“The pain doesn’t let you sleep. It’s just, like, it’s excruciating, 24 hours a day, and it doesn’t go anywhere,” Tolbert told Atlanta’s WSB-TV. “It doesn’t dial down, anything. It’s just there.”

Blackwell said the men were having sex when he poured hot water on them, Sarah Kaplanreported for the Washington Post. But Vickie Gray, a friend of Tolbert’s, said they were sleeping, although the attack wouldn’t be justified if the men were having sex.

Blackwell is currently in jail, charged with two counts of aggravated battery.



Georgia doesn’t have a hate crime law

One charge Blackwell won’t face from Georgia: a hate crime charge.

Like 19 other states in the US, Georgia doesn’t include sexual orientation in its hate crime laws, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

In fact, Georgia has no hate crime law at all. According to the Anti-Defamation League, it joins just four other states that don’t: Arkansas, Indiana, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

Still, federal officials are considering hate crime charges, according to WSB-TV. Federal hate crime laws include sexual orientation and gender identity following the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009.

Americans supported the addition: A 2009 Gallup survey found 67 percent of Americans supported including gay and lesbian people in federal hate crime laws.

The FBI reported more than 1,000 incidents of hate crimes in 2014 against someone based on sexual orientation, but the data is likely incomplete for all LGBTQ people. Still, the reported count averages to nearly three incidents of hate crimes based on sexual orientation each day in the US.


 

Taken from Vox.Com

A Tech Entrepreneur Is Moving His Company Out Of Georgia Because Of Its ‘Anti-Gay’ Bill

gayrightsMarc Benioff isn’t the only business leader threatening to move business out of Georgiabecause of a new bill that critics say discriminates against gay people.

Kelvin Williams, founder oftelecom company 373Kheadquartered in Georgia, tells Business Insider that he’s already in the process of moving his company to Delaware.

He vowed to move in late February, when Bill 757, dubbed the “First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), initially passed the Georgia Senate. On Wednesday night, the bill was amended and passed by the House and the Senate, and is now headed to Governor Deal, who is being urged by Salesforce and others to veto it.

But Williams, who is gay, isn’t waiting to find out what the governor will do.

“When they passed FADA the first time, we decided to move at that point. Everyone thought it was a threat, but no. We were dead serious,” he said.

His decision to move earned him national attention and he heard from economic development officials all over the country inviting him to move his business to their states.

But Delaware did one better: Governor Jack Markell called Williams. “He extended a personal welcome to Delaware.”



On Thursday, 373K officially “became a Delaware corporation” and in the next couple of days, it will dissolve its Georgia corporate status. It will fully relocate to Delaware within couple of months, he said.

373K is a telecom provider with about 20 employees, and is hiring. Williams says his staff voted on the decision to relocate. Employees won’t be required to move if they want to stay in Georgia. 373K has many remote workers, he says.

And he’s not leaving the state just because he feels personally unwelcome but because he’s concerned for his employees, too, he says.

“One reason we decided to leave is because our employees are from around the world. You name it, we’ve got it here. What I tell people is that, under this law, if it is to become a law, I only have two employees that would be acceptable in the state of Georgia, only two heterosexuals that have only been married once,” he says.

His team includes people of multiple faiths (Muslim, Buddhists, atheists), single divorced parents, and members of the LGBT community, all of whom he fears could be targets of discrimination, or worse, in Georgia’s current political climate.

“The support versus the hate mail, it’s like 99% to 1%. But the hate mail we have gotten reaffirms our decision to leave,” he says.


 

Taken from UK.BusinessInsider.Com

Danny Dyer Stars As Drag Queen In Moving New Music Video

The EastEnders star features in a new video from British singer Lucy Rose

Danny Dyer DragEastEnders’ Danny Dyer has taken on one of his most challenging roles – becoming a drag queen for a guest appearance in a music video.

The British actor (who plays Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter in the long-running BBC soap) features in the new video from singer Lucy Rose.

Entitled ‘Nebraska’, the film, directed by Christopher McGill, also includes Ghostpoet, Rae Morris and Josef Salvat.

In the video, Dyer plays a man who is struggling with his desire to dress as a woman. He visits a London drag club and after watching the acts, goes to the dressing room with his own bag of make-up and sequin-encrusted gown.

Speaking to The Independent, Dyer said, ‘I was honored to be asked by the maestro that is Lucy Rose to be part of her video.

‘When I got the treatment through I was overwhelmed. I think it’s such a moving piece of work. I’m beyond proud to be part of it, I’ve always believed that people should be who they wanna be, regardless of race or gender.

‘Freedom of expression is so important – I really hope that this video gets the recognition it deserves.’



British singer Rose released her sophomore album, Work It Out, last October. It reached number 9 on the UK album charts. She said that she had reached out to Dyer after she noticed he began following her on Twitter and recommending her music.

‘I built up the courage and sent him a private message asking if he would be interested in collaborating on a music video. This was back in August 2015 and straight away he was keen and really enthusiastic.

‘We discussed which song to do, I gave a few options and he chose ‘Nebraska’ which suited me down to the ground as it’s a song that I think really shows a different side to my record.’

She said that the idea for the video came from director Chris McGill, and although she loved it, was ‘bricking it’ at the idea of sending it to Dyer.

‘How could I ask Danny to do what we were asking him to do? The miracle to this story is that almost an hour after I sent over the treatment he replied saying lets do it, I’ve always wanted to be a drag queen.’

‘This video to me isn’t about Danny being a drag queen but a freedom of expression and a form of escapism. I’m sure there’s many things we all want to do but we are worried that it means we won’t fit in. Fit into the mold that society has told us to live in which is accepted.

‘Let everyone be who they want and don’t make them justify their choices.’




 

Taken from GayStarNews.Com

 

Americans Increasingly Approve Of Gay And Lesbian Adults Adopting Kids

Approval of same-sex relationships also grew, hitting 60 percent among women and 49 percent among men. Given recent major political shifts, like the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide in June 2015, it’s possible that these figures have grown even further since. Many states, like Mississippi, still have laws that prohibit or limit same-sex couples from adopting, so shifting views on adoption are every bit as important as advocates continue to press for equality.




Colorado Fight To End ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ Could Carry National Weight

State will debate legislation this month that would ban the counseling on minors, a practice psychologists say can lead to depression and suicide

 

gayrightsThe day before Brad Allen planned to kill himself, he had an epiphany. It was September 2012, and the then 31-year-old Colorado pastor had spent years learning from his therapist and church leaders that his same-sex desires were a disease that could be cured.

“I was disordered and embodied toxicity to other people … I had a suicide plan, and I was ready to go through with it,” the Denver man recalled. “But I felt this thought: ‘You are not toxic.’ And that resonated deeper than what I had learned in therapy.”

Allen, now an openly gay worker at a not-for-profit organization, is sharing his story in the hopes that it will inspire state lawmakers to pass legislation this month banning therapists from using “gay conversion therapy” on minors.

But Colorado Republicans and conservative religious groups have mobilized against the proposed ban, even though the practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation has been widely discredited as harmful and dangerous, and are expected to defeat it.

Repeating homophobic and scientifically disproven claims about sexual orientation, Republican legislators and backers of “reparative therapy” have argued that this kind of counseling can be effective at enabling LGBT people to live heterosexual lives. And if their efforts to defeat the bill are successful, the state’s licensed professionals will continue to expose queer youth to a methodology that advocates and psychologists say can lead to depression and suicide.

The legislative battle could have national implications as other states explore similar efforts. Some supporters of the ban who have experienced conversion therapy will testify that their parents sent them from across the country to Colorado for the controversial services, which can have long-term negative impacts on mental health.

Colorado Springs, which has a high concentration of evangelical Christian groups, is also the headquarters of Focus on the Family, a Christian conservative organization that does national advocacy work and is a major defender of therapists’ rights to promote what the group calls “sexual orientation change efforts”.

“There are therapists and mental health professionals licensed by the state of Colorado who are harming children,” said Paul Rosenthal, a Democratic state representative who sponsored the bill, which passed a legislative committee this week and is awaiting a vote on the House floor.

“They are still trying to convert people to be a person they are not,” said Rosenthal, who is gay. “Why should we condemn an individual to a lifetime of guilt and shame?”

A handful of states, including California and New Jersey, already ban conversion therapy for minors.

Colorado’s Republican-controlled senate is expected to block the bill from reaching the governor, and Republicans at a recent committee hearing interrogated experts in psychology and LGBT people with a line of questioning that advocates deemed insensitive and offensive.

Representative Kathleen Conti, a Republican, compared being gay to alcoholism, asking psychologists who testified against reparative therapy whether they would help a minor who came to them wanting to overcome the addiction.

Conti further expressed concerns that the bill would prevent professionals from helping LGBT minors who want to “compartmentalize” and suppress same-sex desires, who may say to a therapist: “I feel like I have these homosexual desires, but … I know innately I want to have my own biological children.”

Sarah Musick, 33, said that after she came out, she and her parents in Virginia agreed that she should travel to Colorado Springs for conversion counseling through Focus on the Family – an experience that damaged her for many years. “I felt like I was just this broken, good-for-nothing human that didn’t deserve to be loved,” she said. “I spiraled into a long depression.”



Musick, who still lives in Colorado Springs and is married to a woman and has two children, said she was shocked by Conti’s comments that implied she and others were failures for not successfully completing conversion therapy. “It just triggered so much of the hurtfulness.”

In an interview, Conti defended her comments, saying she was not homophobic and that the bill’s backers are “heterophobic” for proposing a law that would specifically prevent gay youth who want to live heterosexual lives from getting help.

“I have many friends that are gay that I love unconditionally … but I feel there’s a sector of the population that may have these attractions and yet may not want to live that way and would like to follow a different path in their life,” she said. “They have a right, whether they’re a minor or an adult, to pursue their happiness.”

Jeff Johnston, an issues analyst with Focus on the Family, said his organization does not have licensed professionals who currently offer reparative therapy, but said it may refer people with “unwanted homosexuality” to professionals who offer these services.

Johnston dismissed the testimony from those who said the therapy made them suicidal. “Just because a counseling practice doesn’t work for one person doesn’t mean we should ban it for everybody,” he said.


 

Taken from TheGuardian.Com

 

Primary School Stages ‘Gay Play’ To Teach Children About Diversity – But ‘Homophobic’ Parents Don’t Like It

Two parents were reported to police following the homophobic comments they made about the school on social media

Sacred-Heart-Primary-School teacherA headteacher has said she refused to be cowed by homophobic parents who slammed her primary school on social media for staging a “gay play”.

Carrie Morrow, head of Sacred Heart RC Primary in Atherton, near Wigan, was shocked when a gay-friendly workshop aimed at teaching children about diversity was blasted by parents on Facebook.

The comments, posted by a “small minority”, came after a theatre company performed a fairytale where two princes fall in love.

Writing on Facebook, one dad said he was annoyed when his son came home “talking about gays, saying he had learned about gays.”

Two men were reported to the police by another Facebook user, and have since been spoken to by officers in the area, Manchester Evening News reports.

The head of Sacred Heart says she is proud to be one of the first schools in the area to publicly stand up to homophobia.

Ms Morrow, who has worked at the school for 13 years, said: “We are very proud of what we have done.

“I know for some schools it is not an easy aspect of the curriculum to teach, but our pupils handled it with maturity and sensitivity.

“We have been quite bold and it has not been without some negativity from the community.

“We are not intimidated as we know such homophobic attitudes are in the minority.”

As well as the play, children learned about when it was appropriate to use the word gay, and were asked to design a logo for Wigan’s first Pride festival in August.

Yet Mr Marsh accused the school of ‘social engineering” on Facebook.

In a public post, he wrote: “I think people who promote PC sex to kids below 11 border on paedophilia and are depraved.

“It has nothing to do with gay sex that upset us but the lack of parental consent, a bit like finding the school had decided it has the right to vaccinate your kids for you and did it without your consent because it knows best.”

A GMP spokesman said: “Shortly after 10:25pm on Sunday 28 February 2016, police were called to reports that a number of homophobic comments had been made on Facebook.

“This was investigated as a hate incident but it was determined that the comments did not amount to a criminal offence.

“Local resolution officers spoke to all parties involved and advised two men of their future conduct on social media.”


Taken from Mirror.co.uk


Tears Of Joy Mark Gay Inclusion In St. Patrick’s Day Parade

gay irish paradeA celebration marking the first time the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue will allow gay Irish groups to march led some lawmakers to break into tears on Thursday as they spoke of the 25-year fight for inclusion in the event.

“There were many times when we wanted to give up and we wondered if we would ever see this day,” Councilman Daniel Dromm, a Queens Democrat who is gay, said before beginning to cry.

Thursday’s event at the Irish Consulate in Midtown brought together both the parade’s organizers and the Irish gay-rights activists who for decades had been banned from marching behind their own banner.

The result was an outpouring of an emotion rarely seen at news conferences: joy.

“We too are Irish. We are your sons. We are your daughters, your brothers, your sisters,” said Brendan Fay, chairman and co-founder of the Lavender & Green Alliance, the Irish LGBT group that will march in this year’s parade.

Mr. Fay thanked the parade organizers for what he called a “historic gesture of welcome” that “undoes the anguish and pain of exclusion and discrimination.”

Mr. de Blasio formally announced that he plans to march in the parade for the first time, after years of skipping the event along with many other city officials in protest of its ban on gay groups.

“For the last two decades there’s been a blemish on this city,” he said. “Who are we as New Yorkers? It is our nature to embrace and support all peoples.”



The decision by the parade’s board members to include the Lavender & Green Alliance in this year’s event was made in September. Parade organizers, gay activists and city officials said the agreement emerged through months of meetings and discussions, many at the Irish Consulate.

They said the Consul General of Ireland, Barbara Jones, played a key role in the negotiations. Ireland legalized same-sex marriage in a referendum last year.

Francis McGreal Jr., a board member, said parade organizers decided to make the change because “it’s time to move forward. What else can we say.”

Rick Hinshaw, a spokesman for the Catholic League, said it has decided not to march because of the decision. He said the League isn’t opposed to including gay groups but that other advocacy groups should be able to march under their own banners.

“If you’re going to allow groups marching under advocacy banners, you should allow like pro-life groups which are in line with the church’s teaching,” he said.

The ban was protested for decades through civil disobedience. Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former state Sen. Tom Duane were among dozens arrested for protesting the parade’s policy over the years.

So was Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who attended Thursday’s ceremony. He teared up as he spoke about finally being able to attend the event as a participant.

In 1991, Mayor David Dinkins was booed while marching in solidarity alongside gay-rights activists at the parade. Mr. Fay said on Thursday that he was thinking of Mr. Dinkins, “who way back then walked with us, stood with us.”

Mr. Fay said he was also thinking of those who had died of AIDS over the years, as well as Father Mychal Judge, the New York Fire Department chaplain killed in the Sept. 11 attacks and was regarded by many gay New Yorkers as a powerful ally.


Taken from WSJ.Com

 

California High School Students Wearing Anti-Gay Stickers On Their Name Tags Are Asked To Remove Them ‘For Now’

rainbow smiley
Response to the homophobic stickers

High school students, who sparked outrage after they started wearing anti-gay stickers on their identity badges, have been told to take the images off ‘for now’.

The symbols in question show a rainbow pattern crossed out with a red circle and a line.

They started popping up in the hallways three weeks ago, prompting concern by classmates and teachers.

Both anti-gay stickers and pro-gay rights symbols were allowed as a matter of free speech at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, California, according to The Desert Sun and FOX News.

But Superintendent Gary Rutherford said new information instigated an additional review he said on Monday but didn’t say what the new information was.

‘Recently some information has been brought forward that requires additional investigation and follow-up to determine a proper course of action.

‘Pending further investigation, we are going to ask students who are displaying the symbol showing a rainbow pattern with a circle and a line, at least for now, to remove symbols while at school,’ Rutherford wrote.





Faculty at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, California, had insisted they couldn’t force the teenagers to remove the labels because it would violate their right to freedom of speech.

However, federal courts allow some limits on student speech, allowing schools to prohibit items like banners and T-shirts that mentioned drug use.

People also slammed the labels as homophobic when images of them were uploaded to Facebook.

The school initially released a statement to the Desert Sun when the symbols started cropping up saying: ‘After consulting with district level personnel and our legal counsel, it was determined that these students do have the protected right to freedom of speech, just as students portraying rainbows in support of the LGBT would.

‘If at any point students are interrupting class time to express their beliefs, they are to be sent to the discipline office with a referral for disruption.

‘We all have a right to freedom of speech, but students also have a right to be educated without fear. This has always been our policy, and we will continue to enforce it.’

In response to the anti-gay stickers, students including eighth-grader Paige Labayog started coloring in rainbow smiley faces to wear on their ID badges.

Some teachers have also gone against their school district, insisting they aren’t happy with the decision.

Amy Oberman, an AP U.S. History teacher at Shadow Hills, told the newspaper: ‘Yes, there is freedom of speech established by Tinker, but at least in my view, it’s a hate crime because a group was targeted.

‘I’m Jewish, and if that had been a little swastika on my window, what’s the difference?’

Michelle Bachman, a senior at Shadow Hills and vice president of the Gay Straight Alliance, said she feels the anti-gay symbols ‘rise to the level of bullying and intimidation.’

‘This group of students was publicly displaying an intolerance and hate for the LGBT community when a large portion of our students at SHHS are part of the community or close to people a part of it as well,” Bachman said on Twitter through a direct message conversation with The Desert Sun. “This is definitely hate speech, but legally, we can’t do anything until these students start to physically harass us, which I believe is an injustice.


Taken from DailyMail.Co.Uk

Gay Music Video Makers Defend Raunchy Song

After the Kenya Film Classification Board banned a music video depicting same sex relationships by Kenyan band Art Attack, the band members have come out to defend themselves.

KFCB banned the video titled Same Love (Remix) because “it does not adhere to the morals of the country”.

In an email interview with Word Is, Art Attack said: “Obviously, someone alerted KFCB about the video. It’s that simple, really. Either that or they stalk me. And were among the first people to watch it after it dropped. Kidding, they must have heard it from the grapevine, really. And then sprung to action.”

What went through your head when they banned it? “Nothing. I expected a ban anyway. I was actually surprised it took that long — a week — for them to eventually ban it. So I wasn’t surprised. Bans happen all the time. These are the same guys who banned 50 Shades of Grey, right? And still allow us to watch Empire, Haves and Have Nots and other shows with a strong gay narrative? Hmmm. OK.”




 

The group of rappers under the Art Attack umbrella are not featured in the music video. It features known LGBT faces like Noti Flow, Joji Baro, Binyavanga Wainaina and the late South African music legend Brenda Fassie.

“I was inspired by Michael Jackson’s decision not to feature in music videos for his social conscience songs ‘Cry’ and ‘Heal the World’. I followed the same pattern. And stayed away from the video myself,” he said.

They added that KFCB has not seen the last of them, as they have ‘big plans’. “We can’t divulge what’s in store. Surely, you will have to wait and watch it happen. KFCB’s ban is not the end of the narrative. But the interesting start. We’re emboldened. And will be rolling out hotter stuff in no time.”

In conclusion, the group noted: “What adults do in the confines of their bedroom is their own business. Not anyone else’s. Not the government’s. Nor the public’s. And certainly not the business of Twitter users. Live and let live. As for the Bible-quoting bigots, start a church. We are not listening.”

By the time we went to press, the banned video had more than 110,000 views on YouTube.


Taken from The-Star.Co.Ke

Novelty ‘Gay Bar’ Soap Gets Business Park Boss In A Lather

pride chairmanA business park boss sparked anger after he got himself in a lather over a pink novelty soap left in a men’s toilet with the words ‘gay bar’ on it.

Danny McLaughlan fired off an email to firms at Rainton Bridge Business Park with an image attached telling workers he found the bar of soap to be “inappropriate”.

The novelty £5 bar is available for sale in numerous gift retail outlets, including Amazon and eBay.

Mr McLaughlan’s email informed workers the offending soap had been removed – and told staff to contact him if they wanted it back.

He also called for a cull of other toilet products that had been left by staff members in Alexander House on the Houghton park, where the Echo is based.




But the call backfired because staff and gay rights campaigners found the email and stance “offensive”.

It is understand the soap had been given to a gay staff member at the park as a gift and they put it in the toilet for everyone to use.

One worker said: 
“How can this be inappropriate?””

“It’s just ridiculous. We found his email inappropriate and offensive.”

“Why is he offended by the word gay on a bar of soap?”

“The whole ‘soap police’ thing is just barmy anyway.”

“It’s jobsworth attitude and over-zealous.”

“Who has got time to worry about soap and deodorant left in a toilet?”

When contacted by the Echo, Mr McLaughlan declined to comment and asked us to contact his manager.

James Millson, associate director of CBRE Ltd, which manages the building, said: “The park manager’s email makes reference to a number of items, the bar of soap probably being the most easily identifiable.

“The point being made in the email is that the items being left in the common toilets, which are shared with other users of the building, are not in keeping with consistent and corporate image that we aim to provide across the estate.

“We would have been removing any items ‘bars of soap’ irrespective of the slogan, brand or design and the point being made here is that the ‘random products’ being dispersed around the common parts are not in keeping with the management strategy for the building.

“In short there is no discriminatory agenda here, only a desire to provide premises to our tenants that are clean, smart and in keeping with the expectations of our client, tenants and visitors.”

Mark Nichols, chairman of Northern Pride, said: “It’s a bit like anything when it’s taken out of context, it could be used perfectly well, but could be taken to be insulting. It’s like saying ‘I’m gay’ and then ‘You’re so gay.

“The LGBT community use the word gay, there’s nothing wrong with saying gay.

“Everybody uses it all the time, so there shouldn’t be a problem with it.

“If he had just said ‘Please don’t leave personal items’ then fine, it would have been a bit petty.

“He doesn’t say the word gay is offensive but the fact is he has singled it out, that one item.

“He could have sent a picture of the make up bag and said this shouldn’t be left in the bathroom.”

Alisdair Cameron, North East-based Pride in Mind, a mental health support group, said: “Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or any other sexuality or sexual identity is ordinary and a healthy part of life.

“Humour and self-mockery is also ordinary and again a healthy part of life.

“Somewhere down the line in this story, someone lost sight that both of these things are true, and that 
one does not negate the other.”




 

Taken from Sunderlandecho.com