National & World briefs

Queer Olympics — Tokyo 2020

Starting with the moniker, Tokyo 2020, the 2021 Olympics, delayed by COVID 19 for one year, were bound to be different. No spectators, a weird Opening and Closing, and all the hijinks in between. Some notable queer activity brought a sense of normal to the Games.

New Zealand Weightlifter

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard finally got to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. Hubbard didn’t complete any of her first three lifts, ruling her out of medal contention in the women’s over-87-kilogram division. It was a significant outing even though, a pioneer for transgender athletes, she is now among the first openly transgender athletes to compete at the Olympics.

Canadian Soccer Player

Canadian Mid-field soccer player, Quinn, was the first openly transgender Olympic Gold medalist after Canada beat Sweden on penalties in the women’s soccer final taking the Gold. Quinn uses one name and prefers gender-neutral pronouns.

Tom Daley, Swimmer/Knitter

Britain’s Tom Daley got his long-awaited gold medal in diving and addressed LGBT youngsters, “I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone.” Daley paired with Matty Lee to capture the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform. He is a previous bronze winner from 2012 and 2016. He also knitted while waiting to compete and completed a sweater as a memento of the Tokyo Olympics. He is the husband of Utah Fav, Dustin Lance Black.

Diver’s Gay Dad

Jerry was a single gay man in Florida 20 years ago and read a magazine article about a gay man adopting a child from an orphanage in Cambodia. He liked the idea and was able, after some hoop-jumping, to adopt an 18-month-old boy he named Jordan. Jordan Windle, now, is a seven-time U.S. national champion, six-time U.S. junior nationals champion, two-time Junior Pan American Championships medalist, a diving World Cup competitor and this year competed in the Tokyo Olympics. Jordan stated, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him [his dad].”

Raven‘s Gesture Caused Trouble

Shot putter Raven “Hulk” Saunders earned the silver medal in her event, putting the shot at a distance of 19.79 meters. It was her first Olympic medal. At the podium, Saunders raised her arms overhead to form an X, a gesture she said represented “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.” She said it was a “shout out” to Black people, the LGBTQ community, and those dealing with mental health. At first, the IOC thought it was a violation of Olympic rules. After some investigation, it was determined that Saunders was “respectful of all communities, competitors, and spectators.”

Italian Archer Outs

Italian archer Lucilla Boari won a bronze medal and then came out in a press conference. She is the first Italian woman to ever win an archery medal. While speaking with the Italian media, Boari got a message of congratulations from Sanne de Laat, a Dutch archer. De Laat wrote, “I can’t wait until you’re here so I can give you the biggest hug there is. I love you so much. Great job.”  Moved by the message, Boari appeared to tear up. “That’s Sanne, my girlfriend,” she explained, somewhat surprising the Italian media.

Polish Rower

Katarzyna Zillmann, a rower competing for Team Poland, won silver along with her team in the quadruple sculls. She was very brave to thank her girlfriend publicly at the press conference. Poland’s political and social culture does not welcome open homo-ness. Zillman surprisingly said that she not only has been out, but that she’d even spoken to the press about it previously — the news just never took off. “The conversations with you after the medal race were not groundbreaking for me,” she said. “I’ve already talked about it in interviews before, but for some reason, it wasn’t published.”

Napolitano and Kudlow

Allegations from a Fox News employee have ended legal analyst and former judge Andrew Napolitano’s tenure as a Fox News commentator and launched an investigation of former White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s program on Fox Business. Kudlow is accused of making racially charged comments off-air. A lawsuit alleges Napolitano had “sexually harassed numerous young male employees during his tenure at Fox News.” The employee claims in the suit, Napolitano stood “awkwardly close” to him in an elevator and began stroking his arm. The bad conduct was reported to the network’s HR department. The network and Napolitano have since parted ways. Fox has not taken any action about Kudlow.

Gay Muppets

Various characters on “The Muppet Show” set off “gaydar” alarms over the years. A new YouTube series about the kid-friendly variety series explains that gaydar was not wrong. In the series, docu-journalist Matt Baume, says, “Since Hunt’s face never appeared on camera, he became one of the most famous gay men in the world who nobody recognized.” Hunt was hired at 18 years of age to control and voice puppets on “Sesame Street”. The 1976 debut of Jim Henson’s “The Muppet Show” allowed Hunt to put more of his personality into the on-screen characters. That gave Hunt’s characters like Scooter, Statler, Janice, and Beaker a distinctly queer sensibility. Hunt lived with HIV until 1992, dying at age 40.

Priest Revealed Using Grindr Resigns

A conservative Roman Catholic publication, “The Pillar,” used a combination of tech tracking sites to cause the resignation of a top administrative officer of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The allegations of “possible improper behavior,” are based on the publication’s tracking of Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill’s activity on the dating site, “Grindr”. Burrill was USCCB’s general secretary, a position in which he coordinated a variety of administrative matters. “The Pillar” published an article based on data saying it had, “correlated to Burrill’s mobile device” and indicated he had visited gay bars and private residences based on Grindr coordinates.

If Maddow Leaves, Whither goest MSNBC?

Rachel Maddow, one of the most prominent hosts in cable TV and host of the highest-rated show on MSNBC, is considering leaving her nighttime program when her contract expires early next year. Co-workers report the journalist and author is fatigued as she has been hosting her show 5 nights a week since 2008. She is also well known as a hands-on host and producer and diligent researcher for show content. Recently she has expressed a desire to spend more time with her wife at their home in rural Massachusetts. Maddow also has written two well-received nonfiction books since 2019, including last year’s “Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House,” about former vice president Spiro Agnew.

LGBT vaccinated v COVID

Ninety-two percent of LGBT respondents to a new survey by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation report they have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. The research surveyed more than 15,000 adults through the Community Marketing & Insights 15th annual LGBTQ Community Survey. Vaccination rates do vary within the LGBT community, according to the survey results, but the rates were still higher than the general U.S population. Though not specifically researched, the report’s authors think the reasons for higher vaccine acceptance in LGBT are the mostly liberal political views of LGBT people and living in urban areas. The report shows LGBT individuals at all levels of education have high levels of vaccination and “COVID isolation significantly impacted LGBT people and may have motivated quick vaccination to allow re-entry into the community.”

HRC Implicated In Cuomo Resignation

The new president of the Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, was an adviser and legal counsel to embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo before taking the HRC job. The NY State Assembly impeachment committee targeted David for an appearance before the committee. The impeachment effort has been paused after the Governor announced his resignation in light of the NY Attorney General’s report that the Governor harassed and assaulted women on his staff. The New York AG connected David to retaliation against women who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. David may still get to testify as the State Assembly investigates Cuomo’s policies which may have led to 15,000 COVID deaths in NY care facilities at the beginning of the COVID shutdown in 2020. 

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