Cultural Arts and Wellness Festival

Black Pride held the outdoor event on Sunday more…

Rabbinical Group Condemns Conversion Therapy

The Dallas Voice reports that in a long overdue ruling, the Central Conference of American Rabbis condemned “conversion therapy”. Read the full story from the Dallas Voice  more…

Fifth Grade Student Says Bus Driver’s Rebuke Left Her In Tears

FOX4 KC reports that a heartbroken 11-year-old said her school bus driver told her she was gay and would burn in hell for it, and now her parents are demanding answers. Read the full story […] more…

Argentine Judges Dismiss Rape Of 6-Year-Old Because Child Is ‘Gay’

The Daily Beast reports that two judges in Argentina decided that a soccer coach who raped a 6-year-old boy shouldn’t be held entirely responsible because the child had already been traumatized by previous alleged abuse […] more…

Groundbreaking Study On Gay Marriage Views May Have Been Faked

The Huffington Post reports that a seemingly groundbreaking and widely publicized study reported in Science magazine this past December may be a fake. Read the full story from the Huffington Post  more…

Under Five Million People School the World

Click for a Great Irish Slide Show By Karel A small island nation of under five million people in the North Atlantic just showed a country of 318 million, and a world over seven billion, a thing or two about equality by becoming the first country in the world to legalize same sex marriage via a referendum vote of the people. Yes, Ireland, a country and people I've had the pleasure of visiting over a dozen times, by an overwhelming margin voted for marriage equality on May 22, 2015 (Harvey Milk Day in the U.S.A., appropriately enough). They become the 20th country to legalize same sex marriage, but the first to do so by popular vote. I knew if the people that I have met over the last 20 years showed up at the polls that the measure would win. Never once in Ireland have I experienced homophobia; well, there was one time in Matt Malloy's pub in the West of Ireland, but the homophobes were from Nashville, TN, not Ireland. And yes, that always surprised me, as much as the Pope may be surprised today; you see, Ireland is a Catholic country -- I mean, really Catholic. This is a country that didn't get divorce until 1992, one that just decriminalized homosexuality in the last three decades and one that just allowed condoms to be purchased over the counter since I've been going. It was a hard felt battle. When I was in Ireland March last, the "Yes" side felt pretty confident. Then the Catholic church poured millions in to the "No" campaign and went the whole family values route. But, the Irish didn't buy it. At least not the younger ones, even many of the older by the amounts of "Yes" votes received. I sat worried on May 22 in the U.S.A.. The New York Times ran an editorial stating what a huge step this would be world wide, an accelerant for GLBT rights across the globe. The converse would mean if it went down in flames, it would be a huge blow. By 2:00 a.m. PST Saturday May 23, 10 a.m. Irish time, it was becoming clear that the "yes" votes would prevail. By 07:00 PST, 15:00 Irish (3:00 p.m.) both sides declared that the "yes" would carry the day with an overwhelming margin. In fact, as of this writing, no district has voted "no" yet. "What do you say to the Catholic Church that wants a 'no' vote from you today," one presenter asked a middle-aged woman on her way to the polls. "I think they should mind their own business, especially as of late," she responded, "I'm taking my country in to the next century," she added as she scurried off. "You must remember, that compared to Americans, the Irish are screaming left-wing liberals," presenter George Hook told me in our last interview. "We are a left leaning nation by far, which is often at odds with our religious roots in today's world," he went on. "And when we decide this, it will be decided. In other words, we won't rehash it every year. It will be done, the law of the land," Hook concluded. And so it will be. It's the season of Gay Pride in America. Long Beach, Calif. just celebrated their Pride festival on May 16 and 17 and Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and many cities in between will continue over the next few months. The festivals were meant to celebrate the spirit of Stonewall, the spirit of oppressed people who had taken enough and stood up for their civil rights. All over Europe Friday, straights, gays, bis, everyone stood up for GLBT rights and yes, it makes me cry right here, right now. Truly, as one of America's openly gay media figures for the last three decades, I've debated this issue a lot on CNN, MSNBC, in print, in other countries, on BBC, RTE. And I've watched homophobia rise, not fall, of late. As singer, Sam Smith, just revealed even he, in the last year, has been hit and called a "faggot" while on tour. It's still not easy being gay.But people of all walks came together, on planes, on boats. Yes, you see, there's no postal vote in Ireland. You have to be in the country to cast a ballot. So the #HomeToVote campaign kicked in and countless Irish emigrants from London, Paris, Germany, all across Europe, boarded boats, planes and trains to go #HomeToVote. In America, it's all we can do to get people to walk to the corner or drive a half a mile to vote. For this referendum, people flew hours, spent hundreds, some thousands, all to cast a vote for marriage equality, most of them not gay themselves. Tears. My lesbian niece in Seattle, WA, just texted me, she's been to Ireland with me before, Uncle Charles, We Won! We Won! and my friend Steven Cabral already this morning, "Karel, we won, it passed; they said yes!" Joy, happiness, true exuberance, it comes from feeling accepted, from winning long fought battles, from not being discouraged for a change. It's a shame America can't do this for all of its people, but Ireland is and that gives the GLBT community around the world hope. Yes, hope that people, including people in our country, their country, wherever they may be, that people can get this issue right. If a Catholic nation can do it, anyone can. And should. Dublin Castle is alive and electric Saturday, May 23, as people from all around the world gather in anticipation of the final victory's announcement (it should come at 10:00 PST, 18:00 Irish 6 p.m.) "I'm a gay Irish-Catholic American and I'm here to bear witness to history," Jay Lassiter told the Irish Times on May 23rd while waiting the final count. And he wasn't alone. The world was literally waiting.An award-winning video directed by Karel about Marriage Equality that uses the Jefferson Quote about changing Constitutions This vote changes the Irish Constitution. That's right -- they changed their document to be inclusive, to grant rights. How Thomas Jefferson of them, the spirit of one of his most famous quotes living and breathing today in Ireland. "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind," Panel Four on the Jefferson Memorial reads in Washington, D.C. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. It appears the Irish agree with Jefferson more than many Americans. The Irish vote is a huge step for GLBT rights around the globe, and it comes at the time the progress of those rights are celebrated here in the U.S. It's a lesson that a country can have faith, and believe me, the Irish have faith. This is not a vote saying they are a godless nation. On the contrary, many Irish believe that god and gays are fine with each other, that god is love and understanding and wants families to come together, not be torn apart -- all families. It's a country that struggles with the confines of its faith, but one that puts human rights tantamount to all else. Because they've suffered. I mean, they've really suffered in that country. Tyrants, plague, famine, Viking invasion -- you name it, they've had it. And yet, their hearts remain open to all people. In 1999, I went to Ireland afraid because of violence in the North and the fact that it hadn't even been a decade since being gay had been made legal. From the first step, the feeling of welcome was felt then, and over the years, I have always felt like a welcomed visitor in their country. I have brought my partner to meet their President, danced with my late husband in pubs all across the Temple Bar in Dublin, and walked the Moors hand in hand with a man. And never once did anyone say anything to me except "Hello!" or "Welcome." A small island nation in the North Atlantic is schooling the world on equal rights. I want every member of the GLBT community, and those allies, to remember Ireland when you are spending vacation dollars. Support this country, these people, who have made such a bold statement to the world, and to their church. Religion and civil rights can exist side by side; good, god-fearing Catholics can be gay or accept them, and devastation won't happen when equality is granted. Thank you to every "yes" campaigner in Ireland. From a 52-year-old gay American, I feel very, very Irish today. As a country and as a people, you have my continued love. As an example to the world today you shine like no other. Sláinte! What you've done is brilliant! I'll see you in September, and until that time, thanks for giving millions hope around the world in your one, simple vote. To hear my shows from Ireland and read many stories from the Huffington Post from my journeys, please go here To hear this or other interviews get the FREE Karel Cast App, subscribe in Spreaker to the podcast or simply go to the most incredible website on all the planet, save this one: karel.media. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. more…

John Waters To Receive Honorary Degree From Rhode Island School Of Design

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — When the Rhode Island School of Design offered iconic filmmaker John Waters an honorary degree, he was surprised. After all, he got thrown out of every school he ever went to.Known for quirky films that push the boundaries of good taste, including 1972's outrageous cult classic "Pink Flamingos," Waters is the keynote speaker at the prestigious art school's commencement next weekend.Waters will also receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree; recipients are chosen by the RISD community, and nominations are reviewed by a committee of students, faculty and staff."I don't even know if I got a high school diploma. It's very peculiar. I feel very flattered," said Waters, who attended New York University briefly in the 1960s before getting kicked out for smoking marijuana on campus. "I feel like the scarecrow in the 'Wizard of Oz' when they give him a brain."RISD's 2015 Honorary Degree Committee cited Waters' body of films as an "enduring inspiration for RISD students seeking to break boundaries, challenge conventions, and define an expressive style," said RISD President Rosanne Somerson."In the words of one nominator, he 'embodies the RISD 'tude galore'," Somerson said.Waters will share a stage with three members of the band Talking Heads — two are RISD alumni — and New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik.Waters has written and directed more than a dozen films over his decades-long career, many of them low-budget movies featuring a cadre of unconventional characters, including drag queen Divine, Waters' longtime friend and muse. Waters saw mainstream success with 1988's "Hairspray," another cult classic that was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2002. He is also a published author and photographer."I shouldn't have been in school. You go to school to figure out what you wanted to do. I knew what I wanted to do," Waters said. "I wish I had gone to RISD. They would have encouraged my ideas. I could have made 'Pink Flamingos.'"Waters does more writing these days than filmmaking: The paperback of his 2014 memoir "Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America" debuts this month. Waters said he was inspired to hitchhike from his native Baltimore to San Francisco because his life is so scheduled and controlled."My inspiration has always been the same, which is human behavior I can't understand, which is always my interest, always has been," Waters said.The filmmaker is looking forward to accepting his honorary degree, "Without irony, for one of the few times in my life." -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. more…

George W. Bush sought to officiate same-sex wedding: report

Former president once backed fed'l amendment against gay nuptials more…

Ireland gay marriage vote spurs emotional celebrations, in photos

Ireland held a historic referendum on same-sex marriage on Saturday, with a resounding majority of voters backing legalization. The result makes Ireland the first country in the world to adopt gay marriage through popular vote. Around 62 percent of cit... more…

‘Inside Out: Portraits Of Cross-Gender Children’ Beautifully Documents Transgender Kids

For the past 12 years, Dutch photographer Sarah Wong has documented the lives and experiences of a group of children who have transitioned -- or are in the process of transitioning -- to live as their authentic selves. Wong captured these images of children involved with VU University in Amsterdam, where they engaged in a type of therapy that aimed to support children who experience gender dysphoria. A number of these kids took or have taken puberty blockers in order to delay the effects of puberty until they decide how they want to live their lives. However, the photos were taken at the kids' homes, schools, ballet classes -- spaces where they felt most comfortable. Wong shared the images with the world through a book called Inside Out: Portraits Of Cross-Gender Children, published in 2011. A medical research journalist from the Dutch Volkskrant newspaper, Ellen de Visser, wrote the book's text. The Huffington Post chatted with Wong this week about the children in these photos, as well as her own experiences documenting the lives of these kids.Ballet Girl, 2005The Huffington Post: Who are the children captured in these photographs? Sarah Wong: These are Dutch, cross-gender children aged 5 up to 17. I photographed them since 2003 by request of their parents. I worked as a photographer in health care and had just finished a photo book about a children's hospital. We met, and the cross-gender children immediately touched my heart. Ballet Girl, 2010Boy with swimming suit, 2009"At the end we’re all the same -- souls who want to be happy and live compassionately." What was your goal/intention with photographing these children? My goal was to help them to find happiness. With their portraits I wanted to empower them -- no sensational journalistic approach. Not a boy in a dress or a girl with a football. When people saw the portraits they said, "lovely children, but who are they?" The photographs showed lovely children, with a strong consciousness: this is who I truly am. At the end we’re all the same -- souls who want to be happy and live compassionately. Boy with boxing trainer, 2010Girl, 2003Boy, 2007What were the experiences of these children like at this European clinic? The children had very good experiences at the VUmc because of the puberty blockers. The greatest nightmare from a cross-gender child is your body growing the wrong direction. A boy doesn’t want breasts and girls don’t want to have a beard. The puberty-blockers gave relief and thinking time, and they could grow up like "normal" teenagers. Boy, 2009Girl, 2015Why, as a photographer, is providing these stories and experiences visibility so important? As an artist your work can have a great impact on public opinion. I was always very interested in identity and compassion and felt sometimes more like a psychologist or detective-profiler, than a photographer. I realized very young, at age 21 in art school, that as an artist, your photographs can have a great impact on the public opinion. I was very much inspired by Robert Capa and Henry Cartier Bresson, Magnum photographers. It's very important for society to see these images -- theres nothing sensational about transgender kids. Again, at the end we’re pretty much the same: we’re all souls who want to live happy and give meaning to our life and others. It was during the project that I suddenly understood why these photos were incredibly important for the kids. They showed who they really were. The photographs were almost forensic proof for them. Mostly, photography is about the emotions and ego from the artist. Well, during this project my ego shrunk every photoshoot because I was in service of them. And I liked very much the idea that the photographs we made were for a greater purpose. Unfortunately, I could never expose them in a museum because of the integrity of the children. Now that they're older I’m looking for a great spot. Society and public opinion has changed. Girl, 2003Girl, 2009Princess on white horse, 2012What do you hope viewers take away from these images? I truly hope The Huffington Post audience will take the compassionate way of looking. This means a way of looking with the heart -- free from personal emotions. If you get emotional with someone's suffering you are not in a position of empowering someone. The very first doctor who helped these children was a pioneer as well. During the weekend he was a deacon in a church. The reason he wanted to help transgender gender people was because of this compassionate way of looking at them -- not as a doctor but as a human being. Butterfly tableau, 2010Butterfly tableau, 2012 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. more…

LGBT Wellness Roundup: May 24

Each week HuffPost Gay Voices, in a partnership with blogger Scout, LGBT HealthLink and researcher Susana Fajardo, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness visit our page dedica... more…

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings, Inc, Chicago, Illinois

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding. Heather Vickery, Owner and Event Director of Greatest Expectations has been planning weddings and special events for more than 20 years. Her diverse background in event design, marketing, hotel sales, […] The post Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings, Inc, Chicago, Illinois appeared first on Marriage Equality Watch. more…

Everything You’ve Secretly Wanted to Ask a Trans Person

Ever had a question about transgender people that you were too afraid to ask? A new clip released by BBC Free Speech sees a number of people who identify as trans tackle questions they are always asked. The participants point out that despite perceptions, there is no such one thing as “the op” – usually […] The post Everything You’ve Secretly Wanted to Ask a Trans Person appeared first on Marriage Equality Watch. more…

Marriage Equality Round-Up – May 24th

Here’s our daily round-up of the marriage equality / LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy! POP CULTURE: Mans Zelmerlow, the Swedish Eurovision contestant who had […] The post Marriage Equality Round-Up – May 24th appeared first on Marriage Equality Watch. more…

Dan Savage Points Out Hypocrisy Of Duggar Family Values

LGBT advocate Dan Savage noted the hypocrisy inherent in the Duggar family's anti-trans agenda in light of Josh Duggar's apparent admission that he molested five underage girls when he was a teenager. "Particularly when religious conservatives want to talk about it, they want to point a finger at non-family. They want to point a finger at people that they define as the enemies of families or not from or having families of their own -- LGBT people, particularly trans people increasingly with these anti-trans bathroom bills,” Savage said on Friday night's episode of "All In with Chris Hayes." “That is what the Duggars have dug in on,” Savage continued, “is attacking trans people and opposing this LGBT civil rights bill in Fayetteville, where they were out there arguing that the threat to little girls in Fayetteville were transwomen when they knew, when they were covering for someone who had demonstrated, at least at that age, was a threat to little girls himself.”Josh Duggar, executive director of FRC Action, speaks at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock on Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File) In August 2014, the family's matriarch, Michelle Duggar, campaigned against an anti-discrimination bill in her home state of Arkansas. In a robocall, Duggar is recorded saying:Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of northwest Arkansas women and children. The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men -- yes, I said men -- to use women's and girls' restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only. I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child. Parents, who do you want undressing next to your daughter at the public swimming pool’s private changing area? After the sexual abuse allegations surfaced this week, Josh Duggar resigned from his position as executive director of the conservative and anti-LGBT group Family Research Council Action, the Washington Post reported. TLC pulled the Duggars' "19 Kids and Counting" show in the wake of the controversy. The network did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post. H/T Advocate-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. more…

Pop And Broadway Diva Melba Moore Hits New York With Cabaret Show, ‘Forever Moore’

Pop and Broadway songstress Melba Moore is back on the New York stage. The 69-year-old Tony Award-winning singer-actress, best known for the radio hits "This Is It" and "Love's Comin' At Ya," will offer a retrospective of her lengthy performing caree... more…

Ireland Said ‘Yes’ To Gay Marriage And ‘No’ To Catholicism

The Telegraph reports that the Irish referendum on gay marriage was about more than just gay marriage. It was a politically trendy, media backed, well financed howl of rage against Catholicism. Read the full story […] more…

Major League Baseball Shows Us Their Gay Pride With LGBT Pride Shirts, Hats

Major League Baseball has been making major strides towards creating an inclusive LGBT-friendly environment for players and fans this year. The League has just launched... The post Major League Baseball Shows Us Their Gay Pride With LGBT Pride Shirts, Hats appeared first on The Gaily Grind. more…
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