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National and World Briefs

Cuba says ‘si’ to marriage equality

Cubans voted on a sweeping “family law” code that allows marriage and adoption equality. The margin of approval was low for a country where most elections result in victory margins of over 90%. The measure was approved by 66.9 to 33.1 percent. Because there were over 400 provisions in addition to marriage and adoption, it’s hard to tell what drove the lower percentage. The new code allows surrogate pregnancies, broader rights for grandparents, protection of the elderly, and measures against gender violence.

Wiener at Folsom Street Fair becomes a big deal

Twitter-types criticized California State Senator Scott Wiener for attending the Folsom Street Fair. The annual fetish and sex fair in the last few years has been curtailed or postponed for COVID reasons and that is the subject of most criticism. One Twit posted, “The same politician who kept your kid out of school for two years because covid is attending gay orgies during monkeypox.” Wiener has been a proponent of most things gay and lesbian in the California state legislature and says he’s gotten used to the barrage of criticism whenever he is involved in any LGBT cause or activity.

Wizard of Oz (sigh) remakes

Even though there are no “overt” LGBT themes in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” it is an LGBT classic. Two new remakes of the movie are in the works with one promising to be explicitly LGBT-inclusive. Kenya Barris, the creator of TV shows “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish,” recently told “Variety” the new version will feature a diverse range of characters. Instead of Depression Era and Dustbowl themes and images, Barris says, “Now we’re going to turn a mirror on where we’re at right now and take disparate characters from the LGBTQ community, from different cultural communities, and socioeconomic communities.” The other version will be a more straightforward remake of the original movie, says Nicole Kassell, best known for directing “The Watchmen” miniseries. The 1939 Judy Garland version was also a remake of the first movie, a silent movie filmed in 1925.

Two gay men vie for one congressional seat

The 2022 election has a historic number of LGBT candidates on ballots across the country. According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, 1,095 LGBT people have run or are still running for office at all levels this year. In a first for LGBT politicos, there are two gay candidates going head-to-head for a U. S. Congressional Seat. Democrat Robert Zimmerman and Republican George Santos are running to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Tom Suozzi in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. The district went for the current president by 10 points in 2020, but the race is considered competitive by the authoritative “Cook Political Report.”

NBA star fined for saying ‘queer

The National Basketball Association fined Minnesota Timberwolves star guard Anthony Edwards $40,000 for writing “queer” in an Instagram post. It is unclear if it was the word or the context. The post shows Edwards in a vehicle and rolling down a window and commenting that a group of shirtless men he is passing on the street are “queer.” He immediately apologized on Twitter, “What I said was immature, hurtful, and disrespectful, and I’m incredibly sorry” he wrote.  The NBA has a zero-tolerance policy for posts it finds distasteful, fining the Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant $50,000 for what it called a homophobic and misogynistic private message that was made public.

TERF alienates Mormons

That notorious bigot, the TERF, J. K. Rowling, has now ticked off Mormons. She was defending herself against charges of being a TERF when she posted on Twitter, “It’s like when Joseph Smith found the golden plates and nobody else was allowed to look at them.” “The Salt Lake Tribune” rounded up the usual suspects to show how angry and disappointed Mormons are about her comment. Apparently, they are upset that they no longer can see the “Harry Potter” books as faith-promoting. Many saw their lives in the books. Mormon men started dressing like Harry Potter, at least in hair and glasses. Some thought the “Lord Voldemort” character was based on the deceased Mormon figure, Boyd K. Packer. Packer’s name is no longer spoken in Mormon circles for fear he’ll come back to life.

Students get sassy over Sasse

Comments Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse made about marriage equality in 2015 may queer his appointment as president of the University of Florida. When the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, “Obergefell v. Hodges,” came out he called it a “disappointment” and opined the “sanctity of marriage” is one of his top priorities in Congress. About 1000 U. of F. staff and students stormed a campus building where Sasse was holding a town hall. The crowd was reacting to the announcement Sasse was the sole finalist for the presidential job. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 2022, he had led a small private Lutheran college in Nebraska for several years.

Beloved cartoon character is out.

Just in time for the 2023 National Coming Out Day, a cartoon character is revealed as a lesbian. Non-pre-adolescent observers of ”Scooby-Doo” claim there have been “decades of fan speculation and producer hints,” that the character, Velma Dinkley, was a lesbian. The sapphic portrayal is confirmed in the franchise’s latest movie: “Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo.” So momentous was the portrayal that Google started showering searches for the character with lesbian and progressive Pride and lesbian flags on its search engine. One Twitter user wrote, “Everyone should Google ‘Velma Dinkley’ right now. Just that, just her name, I swear, the payoff is huge.” A small but significant victory in the quest for equality.

Lil Miss Hot Mess versus Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio used the image of a drag queen in a Facebook ad campaign and was immediately slapped back by “Lil Miss Hot Mess,” whose picture he used. In the ad, the senator intoned, “The radical left will destroy children if we don’t stop them. They indoctrinate children, try to turn boys into girls.” Lil Miss intoned right back, “We’re simply out here reading books to children, encouraging them to use their imagination to envision a more just and fabulous world.” Outrage at Rubio’s attack on “Lil Miss,” who hails from Arizona and performs in California, came from some Florida drag queens who perform in Florida and probably could use the publicity.

Griners release may get Biden/Putin talking

With the Ukrainian War, threats of nuclear weapons use, and the cost of oil, it would seem the presidents of the U.S. and Russia would have something to discuss at the G-20 Summit in November. The only thing that will motivate the U.S. president to speak to his Russian counterpart is the fate of WNBA star Brittney Griner. She was arrested for smuggling drugs into Russia and has been sentenced to nine years in the Russian pokey. The U.S. president told a journalist he’ll meet with the Russian President. “Look, I have no intention of meeting with him, but look, if he came to me at the G-20 and said, ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I would meet with him.” Otherwise, it’s apparently a firm “nyet” to avoiding nuclear war or lowering the cost of oil.

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