Blackpool Tower to Light Up Rainbow to Welcome Anti-LGBT Preacher

Blackpool Tower will light up rainbow in solidarity with LGBTQ individuals to greet Franklin Graham, a preacher with a history of homophobic comments

The Christian Evangelist from North Carolina has a reputation of being homophobic and Islamaphobic, using insulting language to describe LGBTQ people and Muslims. Graham seems determined to stamp down on therights and freedoms of LGBTQ individuals and Muslims,  He is an ardent Trump supporter and the council of Blackpool, an organization that supports the rights of LGBTQ people, recognized Donald Trump's policies as being harmful to LGBTQ people and other minority groups so what better way to protest than to gay up an entire tower? 

In the past, England has shown their distaste for Donald Trump and his policies by flying a giant balloon with Trump's head on a baby's body. This shows that not just Americans are fighting against Trump and others like him, namely Franklin Graham.

h/t: theguardian

American Academy Of Pediatrics: Trans Care Should Be Supportive, Gender-Affirming

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a new policy paper underscoring the need for “gender-affirming health care” for all transgender and gender-diverse youth (TGD).

The AAP said the proposed guidelines for treating TGD youth focus “on promoting the health and positive development” of those patients while “eliminating discrimination and stigma.”

Just two weeks ago, the AAP released the findings of a three-year study that showed a huge disparity between trans and non-trans youth in regard to suicide attempts.

While 14% of teen admitted to previous suicide attempts, the number jumped to a stunning 50.8% among female to male trans adolescents. Nonbinary youth reported a 41.8% suicide attempt rate, and 29.9% of male to female adolescents admitted to attempted suicide.

The author of the new policy paper, Dr. Jason Rafferty, told NBC News, “the biggest thing right now is a lack of education around this issue.”

Rafferty hopes the new guidance will aid not only trans youth and providers, but parents “in terms of approaching a provider, approaching a situation, knowing what to expect from your provider — knowing what sort of practice the evidence supports.”

The crux of the policy paper is to underscore the importance of a ‘gender-affirmative care model (GACM).

In a GACM, pediatricians approach young trans patients (and their families) as a “strong, nonjudgemental partnership” that allows concerns and questions to be shared in a “supportive environment.”

When adopting a GACM, the AAP encourages specific messaging to be conveyed:

1. Transgender identities and diverse gender expressions do not constitute a mental disorder

2. Variations in gender identity and expression are normal aspects of human diversity, and binary definitions of gender do not always reflect emerging gender identities

3. Gender identity evolves as an interplay of biology, development, socialization, and culture

4. If a mental health issue exists, it most often stems from stigma and negative experiences rather than being intrinsic to the child


(h/t AAP; NBC News)

A Touching Memory Of The AIDS Crisis Goes Viral

A young gay couple holding hands on a train and an overheard comment stirred powerful memories for a gay man who survived the terrifying heights of the AIDS epidemic.

Tucker Shaw, an editor for America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country, took to Twitter recently to share a very personal journey through a time not so long ago.

“I overheard a young man on the train on the way home today, talking to another young man,” Shaw begins. “Holding hands. In college, I guessed. About that age anyway. Much younger than I am.”

“He was talking about AIDS, in a scholarly way. About how it had galvanized the gay community. How it had spurred change. Paved the way to make things better, in the long run.”

“The long run,” he repeated.

“Maybe he’s right. I don’t know. It’s not the first time I’ve heard the theory. He spoke with clarity and with confidence. Youthful, full of conviction. But.”

And with that ‘but,’ Shaw began a look-back with a tone and manner that only experience could inform in order to express so vividly.

Remember how terrible it was, not that long ago, during the worst times. How many beautiful friends died. One after the other. Brutally. Restlessly. Brittle and damp. In cold rooms with hot lights. Remember? Some nights, you’d sneak in to that hospital downtown after visiting hours, just to see who was around. It wasn’t hard.”

“You’d bring a boom box. Fresh gossip. Trashy magazines and cheap paperbacks. Hash brownies. Anything. Nothing. You’d get kicked out, but you’d sneak back in. Kicked out again. Back in again. Sometimes you’d recognize a friend. Sometimes you wouldn’t.”

Shaw’s memories continued.

“Other nights, you’d go out to dance and drink. A different distraction. You’d see a face in the dark, in the back of the bar. Is it you? Old friend! No. Not him. Just a ghost.”

“At work, you’d find an umbrella, one you’d borrowed a few rainstorms ago from a coworker. I should return it, you’d think. No. No need. He’s gone. It’s yours now. Season after season. Year after year.”

Some memories could be even more personal.

“One day you’d get lucky and meet someone lovely. You'd feel happy, optimistic. You’d make plans. Together, you’d keep a list of names in a notebook you bought for thirty cents in Chinatown so you could remember who was still here and who wasn’t, because it was so easy to forget. But there were so many names to write down. Too many names. Names you didn't want to write down. When he finally had to go too, you got rid of the notebook. No more names.”

“Your friends would come over with takeout and wine and you’d see how hard they tried not to ask when he was coming home because they knew he wasn’t coming home. No one came home. You’d turn 24. When he’d been gone long enough and it was time to get rid of his stuff, they’d say so. It’s time. And you’d do it, you’d give away the shirts, sweaters, jackets. Everything.”

And then, there could be details. Specific details.

“Except those shoes. You remember the ones. He loved those shoes, you’d say. We loved those shoes. I’ll keep those shoes under the bed. You’d move to a new neighborhood. You’d unpack the first night, take a shower, make the bed because it’d be bedtime. You’d think of the shoes. For the first time, you’d put them on. Look at those shoes. What great shoes.”

“Air. You’d need air. You’d walk outside in the shoes, just to the stoop. You’d sit. A breeze. A neighbor steps past. ‘Great shoes,’ she’d say. But the shoes are too big for you. You’d sit for a while, maybe an hour, maybe more. Then you’d unlace the shoes, set them by the trash on the curb. You’d go back upstairs in your socks. The phone is ringing. More news.”

“The long run. Wasn’t that long ago.”

The touching Twitter thread has had over 70,000 likes and been retweeted more than 19,000 times.

And readers did more than just click.

Several added their own remembrances of the epidemic.

One man, RacerXJax, shared, “This had me in tears. I used to go down to THE hospital and seek out the dying brothers who had no one. They would tell me their story. I was with so many when they died.”



Another reader, Randy X Ochoa, wrote, “Once read about a man who worked in a gay bar. Everyday he’d come in and this group of men would be huddled around a local gay newspaper looking at the reported aids related deaths. One day he came in and they were crying not bc someone died, but because no one had that day.”



Amalia Morris was clearly there: “NYC - 1985-91. St.Vincent’s hospital, Gary’s bedside, middle of the night. Nurse down the hall singing, ’see the pyramids along the Nile…’ hearing her walking into rooms, ‘goodnight angel.’ Fluorescent lights and beeping monitors. Memories are never far.”



And Andrew Wortman expressed his thanks, saying, “This is beautifully written and heartbreaking. Thanks for enlightening a millennial gay about this.”



You can find the full thread on Twitter here.

(h/t Gay Star News)

(image via Flickr/Elvert Barnes - CC License)

Diocese Of Brooklyn Will Pay $27.5 Million To 4 Survivors Of Sex Abuse

The New York Times reports that the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn has agreed to pay $27.5 million to four men who were sexually abused by a religion teacher when they were children.

According to the settlement, each of the men will receive $6.8 million, making this one of the highest figures paid by the Catholic Church to survivors of sexual abuse.

According to New York Law Journal, Angelo Serrano, a volunteer and director of religious studies at St. Lucy-St. Patrick’s, abused the plaintiffs between 2003 and 2009 when they were between the ages of 8 and 12 years old.

Serrano pleaded guilty in 2011 and is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence.

This comes in the aftermath of a stunning grand jury report in Pennsylvania which found more than 1,000 children had been the targets of sexual misconduct by hundreds of priests over decades.

Sparked in part by that grand jury report, the New York State Attorney General announced two weeks ago a statewide civil investigation into sex abuse allegations within the Catholic Church and its possible cover-up by church leaders.

The New York AG has reportedly issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in the state.

(h/t New York Times)

Romanian Referendum May Permanently Criminalize Same-Sex Marriage

Romania, one of the European countries that bans same-sex couples from marrying, may prevent gay couples from marrying permanently with a referendum vote to be held on October 6th and 7th.

According to US News, the referendum's goal is to change the definition of marriage in the Romanian constitution to a union between one man and one woman. This would effectively deny same-sex couples the right to marry as their union would not be recognized under the law. 

Over three million signatures in favor of this change have been collected and with three million more, the referendum will be valid.

Romania is an eastern European country with a strong Orthodox Christian influence, which creates obstacles for people in favor of marriage equality. However, there are human rights groups that protest this referendum, saying that "human rights should not be put up for a vote."

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom are the European countries that recognize same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, if the referendum passes, Romania will never join those countries in regard to marriage equality.  

Same-sex marriage map Europe detailed

1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.  (wikimedia.com)

h/t: US News

Tokyo Proposes Ordinance Prohibiting LGBTQ Discrimination Ahead Of 2020 Olympics

As Tokyo prepares to host the upcoming 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the city’s local government is looking to polish up its image on LGBTQ rights in order to more closely align the Japanese capital with the spirit of the Olympic Charter.

According to the Japan Mainichi, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will propose new legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ folks.

The ordinance would be the first in Japan to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.

Established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Charter defines the “Fundamental Principles of Olympism” as the “enjoyment of the rights and freedoms” being protected “without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

While the proposed ordinance is certainly a positive step forward for LGBTQ people, some activists are concerned about what, if any, punishments would come from violating the new ordinance.

Currently eight cities in Japan recognize same-sex relationships through civil partnerships, although Tokyo is not included on that list.

In 2015, a survey of 1,259 people in Japan (admittedly a very small sample considering the population of the country) showed a slight majority (51%) of support for marriage equality.

The poll also showed, however, that 72% of those who responded said they would “feel reluctant to accept the fact that their child is gay.”

No wonder Tokyo is trying to improve its outlook on LGBTQ social positions.

(h/t JoeMyGod)

YouTube & Instagram Star Kyle Krieger Shares His Journey For National Recovery Month

With September being National Recovery Month, Instagram celeb Kyle Krieger (1.5 million followers) shared a YouTube Q&A about his own journey with alcoholism, drug use, and getting sober.

Proudly 11 years sober, Krieger shares in frank terms how talking about his addictions literally saved his life as several of his friends he used to do drugs with are now dead.

Asked about any valid associations between addiction statistics and the LGBTQ community, Krieger says the data he’s read shows LGBTQ folks can be twice as likely as heterosexuals to suffer from drug and alcohol abuse.

Krieger sees the stress gay folks experience from dealing with coming/being out to family, coming/being out at work, discrimination in the workplace and more as a significant trigger for ’self-medicating’ with drugs and alcohol.

Krieger admits he turned to crystal meth and alcohol to help him “break down” the stresses in his life.

Asked what led him to finally seek recovery, Krieger shares that it was when he had lost just about everything in his life: dropped out of college; was losing friends at a quick rate; and stopped communicating with family.



The hardest thing about maintaining his sobriety was sticking to the principle of ‘no drinking no matter what.’

Swapping one addiction for another is common for folks with substance abuse, and Krieger says ‘vigilance’ is the key to avoiding that trap.

Whether it’s calling a friend, calling a sponsor, or just sharing on a regular basis, he says those things help him address his personal issues of the moment, and the interaction with others provides feedback and dialogue that helps battle the personal demons back.

Krieger also addresses more questions including whether he believes he’ll ever be able to drink socially again and how siblings can be most effective in in recovery, healing and sustaining sobriety.

Definitely worth the watching.

If you or someone you know is coping with addiction, a valuable online resource is the Los Angeles LGBT Center which offers anonymous online chat every weekend day from 1pm-5pm, as well as one-on-one in-person therapy and therapy groups.

There’s also the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline (1-800-662-4357) and Alcoholics Anonymous.






listening to my iDunes

A post shared by Kyle Krieger (@kylekrieger) on


Hillary Clinton Cut From History Lessons In Texas Public Schools

The Texas State Board of Education voted last week to remove former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, from the state’s history curriculum.

According to DallasNews.com, the move came as part of an effort to “streamline” educational materials for millions of students who attend public schools in the Lone Star state.

The vote came after considering recommendations from volunteer work groups who say the state requires students to learn about too many historical figures.

In addition to Clinton, other historical figures like Helen Keller didn’t make the cut.

Members of the volunteer work groups came up with a 20-point grading scale to determine which figures in history warrant being included. According to reports, Clinton scored a 5; Keller, a 7.

In removing Clinton from the mandatory curriculum, it was estimated teachers would save 30 minutes of instructional time.

Apparently, 30 minutes was too much time to spend on the first female presidential candidate of a major political party.

It’s worth noting that the state school board is made up of 15 members - 10 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

This is cause for concern on a couple of fronts.

First, clearly there will be no education on the contributions of LGBT pioneers like Harvey Milk (the first openly gay person elected to public office), Edith Windsor (who sued the U.S. government for the right to have her marriage recognized) or Barbara Gittings (the mother of the LGBT civil rights movement).

So, LGBT kids in Texas won't learn of important contributions from people like them throughout history.

Second, due to the millions of students in Texas, the state orders millions of textbooks.

That makes the state incredibly influential on national publishers, and means the state school board is in a position to request hundreds of changes to textbooks to suit the state’s right-leaning requirements.

For instance, the New York Review of Books reports that in one instance, publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston was asked to make 400 revisions to a health textbook. Part of those changes included deleting toll-free numbers for gay and lesbian groups as well as teenage suicide prevention organizations.

See where this is going?

Once changes like these are made, schools across the country in other states may be buying them for their students without knowing how some of the decisions were made regarding what is or isn’t included.

And one more thing to consider: remember those “volunteer work groups” in Texas making the recommendations about curriculum?

The non-profit Texas Freedom Network took a look at just who made up those panels, chosen by the Texas Board of Education, in 2014.

It turned out that of the 140+ individuals appointed to the panels, only 3 were current faculty members at Texas universities or colleges.

The review showed that political activists and individuals without educational or teaching degrees were selected for the panels.

And those folks were deciding what did or did not go into the textbooks that would educate millions of children across the country.

So, yeah, what happens in Texas, doesn’t necessarily stay in Texas.

The final vote on curriculum recommendations takes place in November.

(h/t DallasNews.com)

President Miguel Díaz-Canel Of Cuba Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

American LGBTs saw the power of the presidency in action when President Obama announced his ‘evolution’ and support for marriage equality in May 2012.

His statement made an enormous impact on the fight for marriage equality. And three years later, same-sex marriage came to all of the United States.

Now, Cuba is preparing for a nationwide referendum on changing the language in its constitution from defining marriage as a “voluntary union of a man and a woman,” to recognizing marriage as “between two people.”

And the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has publicly announced his support.

According to the BBC, Díaz-Canel said in an interview with Telesur he favors recognizing “marriage between people without any restrictions.”

He added that embracing marriage equality is “part of eliminating any type of discrimination in society.”

The Cuban president acknowledges that Cuba has “been going through a massive thought evolution and many taboos have been broken.”

Much of the credit for Cuba’s ‘evolution’ on marriage is due, in great part, to the efforts of Mariela Castro, daughter of former President Raúl Castro.

Ms. Castro, who leads the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education, has spent years speaking out on behalf of LGBTQ rights. And those efforts are clearly paying off today.

Cuba bears a long, hideous history regarding the treatment of LGBTs.

In 1959, after the rise of Fidel Castro, 25,000 gay men were rounded up and sent to labor camps.

And during the height of the AIDS pandemic, those with HIV were quarantined in government-run sanitariums. That practice ended in 1993.

But even with the country’s “thought evolution,” it comes as no surprise that there are still hills to climb in the form of Cuba’s religious leaders.

Cuba’s Catholic Church, Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical League and Methodist Church all vigorously oppose the idea of marriage equality.

Cuban citizens head to the polls in February to cast their votes on the new constitution.

(h/t BBC)

First Look At David Schwimmer On Upcoming Season Of 'Will & Grace'

ET gives us our first preview of the upcoming season season 2 (really season 10 if you’re counting) of NBC’s Will & Grace.

Not only do the ‘Fab Four’ - Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally - chat on what we can expect, but we get our first look at former Friends star David Schwimmer, set for several appearances this season as Grace’s new boyfriend, “Noah.”

"Just playing at the level of this cast, who are at the top of their game, it was kind of like this great, wonderful gift," says Schwimmer, who knows a little something about sitcom ensembles at the “top of their game.”

"He's as far away from Ross as he can possibly get because he's already mastered Ross," Messing tols Variety earlier this year about Schwimmer's new role. "I think people will be excited to see him in our world playing a different part." 

The first thing we learn is all four lead characters are looking at big changes in their personal lives this season.

“Grace” looks to be jumping into the political arena, while “Will” is heading to the classroom as a teacher. “Karen” is divorcing her husband, “Stan,” as Sean Haye’s “Jack” is prepping for his walk down the aisle with fiancé, “Estefan.”

We also see glimpses guest stars Chelsea Handler, Alec Baldwin, Jon Cryer, Minnie Driver and hunky Matt Bomer. Plus, “America’s sweetheart” and Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon.



But wait - there’s more!

The show also shared an exclusive scene from the new season that apparently takes place after the wedding of Grace’s dad (played by Alan Arkin) and Will’s mother (the always brilliant Blythe Danner).

The scene opens with Jack and Karen having a hilarious kiki over drinks, remembering the senior couple exchanging marriage vows.

“The look on Will and Grace’s face when his mother and her father said, ‘I do’ was priceless,” laughs Karen. “It was like, it was like…what was it like? Oh, it was like that.”

Cut to shell-shocked Will and Grace sitting stoically at the bar.

Watch below. Will & Grace premieres Thursday, Oct. 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.