National & World Briefs

Halston, straight washed

During his heyday, fashion designer Halston dressed A-list stars who included Anjelica Huston and Liza Minnelli. He also was part of the glamor of the Studio 54 era in New York City in the 1970s and 80s. He died of AIDS-opportunistic lung cancer at age 57 in 1990. Netflix and Ryan Murphy are bringing the era to the streaming screen with a biopic, “Halston,” starring Scottish actor Ewan McGregor. The limited series will show Halston’s relationships with his LTR, Victor Hugo, and other trysts, but it won’t be the focus. That gives McGregor comfort in his concern that a straight man is playing a person who made no secret of his queer sexuality during his lifetime. “Halston” began streaming in May.

Jenner: no to transgender girls

Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic champion and reality TV personality now running for California governor in the Newsom Recall election, said she opposes transgender girls competing in girls’ sports at school. Jenner, a 1976 decathlon Olympic gold medalist in the men’s decathlon and came out as a transgender woman in 2015, said it’s “a question of fairness.” Jenner thinks there is an unfair physical advantage allowing transitioned girls to compete against cis-gendered girls. The statement is at odds, a bit, with Jenner’s declaration of “transgender kids, I have your back” made while accepting the “Arthur Ashe” Courage award from ESPN in 2015. Current polls show 6 percent of Californians and 13 percent of California Republicans support Jenner’s bid to replace Gov. Newsom.

WNBA Nuptials

WNBA star Breanna Stewart, the former league MVP, announced she’s engaged to girlfriend Marta Xargay, a Spanish professional basketball player. Already the recipient of a WNBA championship ring, Stewart presented her betrothed an engagement ring and showed a pic of the proposal with Stewart on bended knee on Instagram with the caption, “Did a thing. Another ring. She said YES.”

Don’t fly Rainbow Flag at Embassies

That irrepressible congressional scamp, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), is co-sponsoring a bill that would ban U.S. embassies from flying Pride flags, a practice started in 2014 but discontinued in 2019. Embassies were allowed to fly the rainbow flag with special permission from the Secretary of State. In 2021, the new Secretary of State Anthony Blinken decided such decisions could be made by the resident ambassador — no permission required.

SF: First lesbian married couple home a city landmark

San Francisco designated the Noe Valley cottage belonging to a lesbian couple who were the first same-sex partners in the city to legally marry as a city landmark. It is the home of the late lesbian activists Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin. According to architectural historian Shayne Watson, the home provided a place for lesbians to hang out and dance and have holiday potlucks beginning in the 1950s. Watson specializes in LGBTQ heritage conservation and was active in getting the home landmarked. Martin and Lyon co-founded the “Daughters of Bilitis,” a political and social organization for lesbians.

Ellen says “Bu-bye”

Ellen DeGeneres announced her eponymous daytime talk show will end production of the multiple Emmy-winning show in 2022 at the end of its 19th season. The talk show was groundbreaking but has encountered some bumpy publicity ranging from staff complaints of Ellen’s behavior, unsafe working conditions during the COVID lockdown, and her championship of comedian Kevin Hart during criticism of troubling tweets which kept him from hosting the Oscar ceremony. Ellen cited creative burnout as her reason. “When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged — and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres said. Her spouse, actress Portia De Rossi, pushed for Ellen to “move on” from the show. She did in the spirit of “happy wife, happy life.”

Mayor Pete runs U.S. Department of Transportation

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is now the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. He was a historic pick for the job. Recently he toured the country pushing for an infrastructure bill, testified before the U.S. Congress, and has been the spokesperson for the Federal government’s response to a temporary gasoline shortage on the East Coast due to cyber hacking. Tellingly, no official, politician, or media figure has mentioned he’s a happily married, gay man when discussing this activity.

Gay Bachelor an unreal reality

Colton Underwood left the hereto-normative “Bachelor” series because he was afraid of being “outed” as a gay man. The former football player said a visit to a gay spa in Los Angeles last year and a blackmail attempt started him thinking about coming out. With a straight face, Underwood said in 2019 he visited the spa “just to look” and he “should have never been there.” A spa patron photographed the nude Underwood while he was “just looking” and threatened to send pics to the media. He also admitted to using Grindr with a fake profile in 2016. Whether he was just looking or not, he was concerned one of his hook-ups would out him. His hook on “The Bachelor” was his virginity and Christian upbringing. He says going forward his friend, out-Olympian Gus Kenworthy, will be his “guide” to living life as a gay man. Raffy Ermac, the editor of “Pride,” noted the problematic stalking allegations from Underwood’s ex-girlfriend, writing, “We shouldn’t be glorifying someone who has this history of allegedly stalking a woman.”

Montana federal judge: enough is enough

A federal judge ruled a man convicted of having gay sex would not have to register as a sex offender. The man, now 45 years old, was convicted under Idaho’s “Crimes Against Nature” law when he was 18 years old for gay sex with teen friends. After serving seven years in prison and being released on probation, he was required to register as a sex offender in Idaho. He moved to Montana in the mid-2000s and the requirement to register followed him across state lines. The federal court ruled the requirement to register is unconstitutional and that someone who is having consensual sexual contact with someone of the same sex does not pose a threat to public safety. The Montana Attorney General is appealing.

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