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Biting the hand that feeds you

The closest thing to church for many gay men is the devotion to the gym. Recently, an investor in Equinox Spinning was found to have given money to the current President’s campaign, which brought out an outraged mob and prompted scores of gym members to signal on social media they were going to cancel their memberships.

The CEO of Planet Fitness is also in the crosshairs because they funded ostensive anti-gay politicians for the past several years. In 2016, he donated $1,200 to the winner of the 2016 presidential campaign. In 2018, he gave to the congressional campaign of former New Hampshire State Senator Andy Sanborn. Sanborn opposed a bill banning gay conversion therapy and voted against updating the state’s existing civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination related to gender identity in housing and employment.

Nibbling the hand that feeds you

Trump wasn’t the first president to mention LGBTQ at the annual October opening session of the United Nations. That was President Obama in 2011. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton made a famous speech to the UN in Geneva saying, “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” However, the current president went a step further with some specific proposals. He discussed the administration’s previously announced global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality in the 70-plus countries where it remains illegal. His speech Twittered some of the LGBT advocacy groups. The LGBT Victory Fund and HRC, when asked for a stand on impeaching the president, said the issue was outside their purview or skated. Other groups like the National LBGT Chamber of Commerce and National Center for Lesbian Rights showed support for the US Congress inquiry but “stopped short,” according to the Washington Blade, of calling for removal of the President.

Money stops talking for WEHO activist

A longtime Democratic donor and WEHO gay activist, Ed Buck, was arrested after two men overdosed in his home in 2017, and a third man nearly died this summer. The Los Angeles County District Attorney says Buck, as part of a sexual fetish, was drugging men to near death. The 2017 deaths in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment created a stir after the district attorney didn’t act, though his fetish was well known to WEHOzians. Charges of favoritism were leveled at the DA, WEHO and LA Mayors, LA County Sheriff, and LAPD chief because Buck was a donor to their campaigns and charities.

Arizona court says yes to discrimination

A stationery shop in Phoenix does not have to create custom invitations for same-sex couples’ weddings, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled. Oddly, no one had asked the Brush & Nib Studio to create any invitations for same-sex anything. Phoenix had amended its nondiscrimination ordinance to include orientation or identity some time ago. Apparently, the shop wanted to make a “Non-Virtue Signal” and get a preemptive exemption for religious reasons. Lower courts had declined the request for an exemption, but the Arizona high court granted it in a 4-3 ruling.

Asylum for Cuban journalist

The U.S. granted asylum to gay Cuban journalist Yariel Valdés González, who fled the workers’ paradise where all people can read, healthcare is free, and all children are above average when the regime began a crackdown on independent journalists and a news website where he was a contributor. He was detained at the Mexican border for five months. The Obama administration ended the decades-old, “Wet Feet, Dry Feet” policy allowing Cubans relatively easy asylum in the U.S., after the president attended a baseball game in Havana with Raul Castro, then Cuba’s maximum leader. Following the protracted asylum process, an immigration judge granted González legal asylum. “I am very happy and extremely grateful to this country for giving me the opportunity to live in total freedom, far away from the persecution of which I was a victim.”

The Buttigieg effect

Another first occurred in the 2020 Presidential campaign: The Advocate, GLAAD, One Iowa, and The Gazette sponsored a presidential candidates’ forum on LGBTQ issues. The forum was held at the Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium, in Cedar Rapids, Michigan.

Watch here: tinyurl.com/y3rtlj2x

In another first the forum was co-hosted by Pose star Angelica Ross, and featured conversations with former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak, U.S Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and author Marianne Williamson. The audience did not get to “feel the Bern” as candidate Sanders did not attend. CNN has another LGBT forum scheduled, and because of health problems, Bernie will miss that one too.

Vatican reviews teacher firing

A Jesuit high school in Indiana was suspended by the Roman Catholic Diocese for refusing to fire a married gay teacher. The suspension has been suspended by the Vatican, and the school can resume holding all-school traditional masses. The suspension, routine in appeal cases, is conditional while a Vatican body considers a request to allow the school to regain its status within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The teacher and his husband are both Catholic school teachers, and the church considers teachers “ministers,” who are required to uphold church teachings, which prohibit same-sex marriages.

High schooler skates out of the closet

A gay man on skates is not a big story unless the skates are of the hockey variety. A Franklyn Park, Illinois high school hockey player posted a coming-out message on social media. His reward for bravery? The school elected him homecoming king. The 17-year-old student-athlete, who played on his school’s team for four years, told “Outsports” it is “surreal” that all of his teammates and other high school kids, “defied the stereotypical ‘athlete’ attitudes toward LGBT people.” He said a social media video from a gay wrestler was his motivation for the announcement. “Seeing someone about the same age, from around the same place allowed me to see a future.” No word as to who was his homecoming date.

Almodovar on screen

Straight-washing of gay director Pedro Almodovar seems okay when the brush is Antonio Banderas. Banderas appeared in many Almodovar films and besides Almodovar directed the film, Pain & Glory, which tells the story of a middle-aged director reconciling his earlier outrageous films with his latter-day comfort and a creative drought. Critics say the film features an excellent performance from another regular Penelope Cruz. Straight or not, Banderas gets more attractive with age.

New Bond Girl, Rami Malek

Rami Malek, who won an Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury, stars as the villain in the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, and got a big smack from his co-star, the hunky 51-year-old Daniel Craig. Malek told an interviewer, “We were rehearsing, and we finally cracked this really challenging scene,” when he says Craig was elated and picked him and kissed him. He wasn’t sure who initiated the kiss, but it was a welcome thing. Said Malek, “I took a moment, caught my breath, and I looked out and said, ‘So, does this make me a Bond Girl?’”

No scrip PrEP in California

California Senate Bill 159, sponsored by state Sen. Scott Weiner and assembly member Todd Gloria, is now law. It authorizes pharmacists to furnish a 30-to-60-day supply of drugs used for PrEP without a prescription. The bill prohibits insurance companies from requiring prior authorization for anti-HIV drugs or requiring a patient to use cheaper alternatives to the medications prescribed.

Ellen likes Bush, Twitter-mob outraged

So, Ellen and Portia were invited to watch a Dallas Cowboys football game. What could go wrong? Well, according to the outraged mob, sitting next to, and being friendly with former President George Bush and wife Laura was enough to read Ellen out of the human race. Many Tweets blasted DeGeneres for socializing with a Republican politician. Others called her a “sellout’” pointing to Bush’s Iraq war, continuing the Bill Clinton-authored don’t ask don’t tell policy, opposition to marriage equality (at the time Hillary and Barack were agin’ it, too) and his more recent support for Brett Kavanaugh’s approval for a Supreme Court seat. Ellen’s response, over Twitter, of course, “Here’s the thing. I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different. And I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different.”

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