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Suicide Was Murder

The murder of American Scott Johnson in 1988 in Sydney led to a re-evaluation of policing of hate crimes in Australia. The crime was ruled a suicide by a police department notorious for not investigating hate crimes against gay men. This year, the murderer was convicted of pushing Johnson off a Sydney cliff at Bondi Beach over 20 years ago. The outcry over the lack of police interest in the crime caused reforms in policing in Oz. A movie, “Deep Water,” portrayed the crime and the police non-interest in solving it. The convicted murderer will probably get a life sentence. Australia does not allow capital punishment.

Actor, Pratt, still a Guardian,

“Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn has confirmed that actor Chris Pratt will appear in a third installment of the “Guardians” film franchise. Pratt was criticized for affiliation with a supposed anti-LGBTQ church, voicing criticisms of “Hollywood” culture and “mocking the importance of voting.” Gunn wrote on Twitter, “Chris Pratt would never be replaced as Star-Lord but, if he ever was, we would all be going with him.” Other actors playing characters in the “Marvel Universe”, including Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldaña, and Jeremy Renner voiced their support for Pratt. Coincidentally, Gunn was under fire for some unfriendly Tweets about the Republican party but was reinstated at the urging of Pratt and fellow Marvel heroes. I feel silly writing about this.

Dirty Dancing in Pennsylvania

Some parents liked it; some didn’t. The School Board of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania sided with the frowny parents after a high school LGBTQ+ club hosted a drag show. The after-school event at Hempfield High “featured dancers in tight-fitting and revealing clothing with exposed buttocks,” and it wasn’t the cheerleaders. Lancaster news media reported that the event was advertised as a drag show. The board apologized and promised a thorough investigation. One parent posted, “It wouldn’t make a difference to me if it was a woman doing this. It’s irrelevant that they are drag queens, it’s the type of the performance at the school.” Another parent countered, “If your kids aren’t involved in it, and you’re not giving your permission, why are you getting involved?” Patrick Swayze must be rolling his eyes in his grave.

Blood Donation Ban Ends in Canada

People formerly known as “Gay” in Canada will be able to make blood donations to Red Cross or other blood banks. The country’s federal health agency has lifted the ban on “men who have sex with men” and who are sexually active. Instead, the department will now screen all potential donors — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — for what it calls “high-risk sexual behaviors.” The new regulations would prohibit anyone who has had anal sex with a new sexual partner from donating for three months. No mention as to what “high-risk sexual behaviors” means in Canada.

Ellen Goes Off

It may be hard to remember what a groundbreaker Ellen DeGeneres was in her sitcom in the 1990s. Her character inadvertently announced her love for the character played by Laura Dern via an airport waiting room PA system. She left the ABC sitcom and developed a popular daytime interview show, “Ellen” in 2003. She recently announced her anticipated retirement from that show, “When we started this show in 2003, the iPhone didn’t exist,” DeGeneres wrote. “Social media didn’t exist. Gay marriage wasn’t legal. We watched the world change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.” Her last show will air on May 26

L Speaks for Pres.

Karine Jean-Pierre is a “three-fer” historic pick as the next White House press secretary. Born in Haiti, she is the first Black woman to hold the position. She may also be the first gay or lesbian person to hold the position. She replaces cis-gender Jen Psaki, who leaves for part-time work at MSNBC and to spend more time with family. Jean-Pierre served in the 2020 presidential campaign as chief of staff to the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. She was born in Haiti and grew up in the borough of Queens among what she calls “New York’s Haitian community.”

Josephine Baker Bio Announced

Josephine Baker is a juicy role for Janelle Monáe in a biopic, “De La Resistance.” Baker was an American jazz singer who fled Jim Crow-era discrimination in the U.S. by moving to Paris, France, in the mid-1920s. She was a civil rights activist and, during the 1940s, was a spy for the Allies. The new series coming from A24 will focus on the performer’s life during World War II, specifically when she worked as a spy for the Allies and the French resistance, helping to defeat the Germans during the occupation of France. Born in St. Louis in 1906, she was briefly married to white Jewish Frenchman Jean Lion and helped his family escape imprisonment. Baker’s lovers included the French author Colette and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

Bill to nationalize ‘Don’t Say Gay’ introduced

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Republican from New Jersey, introduced the “My Child, My Choice Act.” The act bars federal funds for elementary schools not obtaining enough parental consent for children to participate in “lessons specifically related to gender identity, sexual orientation, or transgender studies.” The law specifies funds would be withheld if less than 50 percent of the students’ parents agree to the course.

NY Pride grand marshals announced

NYC Pride has unveiled the grand marshals for this year’s NYC Pride March. This is the first fully live event since 2019 due to COVID restrictions. It was canceled altogether in 2020. In 2021 it was a hybrid of virtual performance, a limited attendance, and a socially distanced march. The June 26 LGBTQIAA+ march will feature four “Ts” and one “L” as grand marshals: social media star Ts Madison; transgender former NCAA swimmer Schuyler Bailar; ACLU attorney Chase Strangio; “Saturday Night Live” cast member Punkie Johnson; and Okra Project Executive Director Dominique Morgan. The March will air on WABC-TV, ABC7NY.com, and ABC News Live.

“Dr Who”, What?

The role of Doctor Who in BBC’s long-running Syfy series “Dr. Who” has been portrayed for most of the last 60 years by white British actors. Jodie Whitaker broke the mold three years ago and “female washed” the character. She’s leaving, and the new doctor, Ncuti Gatwa, brings a “gay and BIPOC wash” to the role. He has been cast as the 14th version of the titular “Time Lord.” Born in Rwanda and now a native of Scotland, Gatwa is best known as “Eric Effiong,” a gay high school student on Netflix’s popular series “Sex Education.” Creator of the British “Queer as Folk” and “It’s a Sin,” Russell T. Davies, will be returning as showrunner, a post he’s held since 2005.

Police Blotter

Florida state Rep. Ramon Alexander, who was slated to become the House of Representative Minority Leader, will not stand for reelection after facing a sexual harassment scandal. He is accused of harassing a Florida A&M University employee, sending the man lewd video and texts. The man said the university fired him after he reported the incident.

Andy Dick, thought to be a comedian, was arrested over an alleged sexual assault in Orange County, Calif. The arrest was caught on live stream after a man said the comedian had sexually assaulted him. TMZ reports that Dick lives with a group of live streamers residing in an O’Neill Regional Park, where the assault occurred. No stranger to the police blotter, he was arrested in 2021 for hitting his boyfriend with a liquor bottle. In 2019, he got 14 days in jail for sexual battery. In 2018 he was charged with sexual battery for allegedly grabbing an Uber driver’s crotch.

A civil suit against CNN commentator Don Lemon has been dropped. The assault case has been “dismissed with prejudice.” Lemon was sued for a now-recanted 2018 incident at a bar in New York’s Hamptons area on Long Island. The plaintiff said, “The events that occurred on the night in question when I first met … were not what I thought they were when I filed this lawsuit.” Lemon’s attorney said, “Unfortunately, being a gay Black man in the media, he has had to deal with these sorts of attacks for quite some time.”

Nothing new to report on Jussie Smollett, thank goodness (“Honey, goodness has nothing to do with it.” —Mae West).

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