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10 things you should know

Local fragrance company releases Equality scent

PS Fragrance Inc. released the new fragrance, EQUALITY, just in time for Pride season. The fragrance is available at Cahoots and Mischievous Pleasures. The scent was designed to highlight the nuances of male and female balances, a company press release read. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Equality Utah and the Human Rights Campaign. PS Fragrance Inc. is locally owned and operated in Salt Lake City with distributors both domestic and international; and the company hails an eclectic staff who embrace the company’s mission statement of “Live and Let Live.”

Rhode Island passes gay marriage bill

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed a bill legalizing marriage equality shortly after the state legislature approved the measure by a wide margin. Rhode Island became the 10th state to allow same-sex couples the right to wed. The law will go into effect Aug. 1.

Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Their combined populations, based on U.S. Census estimates for 2012, represent more than 16 percent of the U.S. population.

Delaware becomes 11th state to pass gay marriage

Delaware became the 11th state to legalize gay marriage after a lengthy debate and a close vote in the state Senate. The senate voted 12-9 to pass a bill legalizing marriage equality, and Gov. Jack Markell signed the legislation shortly after. The law will go into effect on July 1 and Delaware joins the rest of New England in marriage equality. Delaware already had a strong civil-unions bill and all previous civil unions will be converted to marriages on July 1.

Russian man murdered for being gay

The body of a 23-year-old man was found in the Russian city of Volgograd. The man was the victim of an apparent hate crime. He was raped with beer bottles and had his skull smashed with a stone, according to local police. The man was celebrating Victory Day on May 9 with his two attackers when they started beating the victim after he told them he was gay. Russian government officials have a dubious past in support of gay rights and most LGBT activism is squashed. 

3 transgender women of color murdered in April

Three transgender women of color were murdered in April and the cases are still unsolved, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Kelly Young, 29, was shot to death inside her home in Baltimore, Md., on April 3. Then on April 4 Ashley Sinclair, also a black transgender woman, was found shot to death in the Oak Ridge section of Orange, County, Fla. On April 30, Cemia Dove, 20, was found stabbed to death and tied to a concrete block in a retention pond in Olmsted, Ohio.

Jason Collins comes out

NBA player Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete from a major American team sport. The 34-year-old Washington Wizards center wrote about his sexual orientation in the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated.

“I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different,’” he said. “If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

He said the Boston bombings convinced him to come out now because, “Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?”

Collins also wrote about the impact his coming out is likely to have:

“I go against the gay stereotype, which is why I think a lot of players will be shocked: That guy is gay? But I’ve always been an aggressive player, even in high school. Am I so physical to prove that being gay doesn’t make you soft? Who knows? That’s something for a psychologist to unravel. My motivations, like my contributions, don’t show up in box scores, and frankly I don’t care about stats. Winning is what counts. I want to be evaluated as a team player.”

Mormon Church OKs controversial new Boy Scouts policy

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorsed the Boy Scouts of America’s proposal to allow gay scouts to serve but continue to ban gay leaders. The BSA will submit its proposal to the National Council on May 20 and the Mormon church’s support could be an indicator of a new policy. The Mormon church is the BSA’s largest sponsor of Scout troops.

According to The New York Times, the Mormon church sponsors 25 percent of all local Cub Scouts and Mormon Boy Scout groups accounts for 15 percent of the group’s 2.7 million members.

‘Kinky Boots’ leads Tony nominations

Kinky Boots, the stage adaptation of the cross-dressing comedy film received 13 Tony nominations. The film was originally based on a book by Harvey Fierstein and the musical was scored by Cyndi Lauper. The musical was joined by “Matilda,” “Bring it On,” and “A Christmas Story” as nominees for best musical.

Man accused of using dating apps to rape, steal

A Washington man is accused of seven charges, including rape at gunpoint, after meeting men he met on gay dating apps GROWLr and SCRUFF. Leverne Maxwell, 32, is accused of targeting bears and using the dating apps to gain entry into victims’ homes where he stole various items and sexually assaulted his victims. Maxwell is being held on $750,000 bail; and he says he is innocent and all sex was consensual.

TV to get a lot less gay

As major networks announce next season’s lineup, it’s becoming readily apparent that TV will be a lot less gay. Among the shows that won’t be back next year are The New NormalGo OnSmashThe Office, 1600 PennHappy EndingsDon’t Trust the B___ in Apartment 2390210Emily Owens, M.D.The L.A. ComplexPartners and Southland, all of which featured gay or lesbian characters. With the exception of The Office, these shows were all canceled because they didn’t attract enough viewers.

Zambian men repeatedly arrested for alleged gay sex

After being arrested twice for allegedly having gay sex, authorities are refusing to release two Zambian men on bond. Amnesty International is calling for the release of the men who were arrested for allegedly having sex “against the order of nature.”  Homosexuality, sodomy, or any “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” is illegal in Zambia, along with many other African nations.

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