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National & World LGBTQ News Briefs

Christian churches have a gay agenda

Three mainstream Christian churches — Roman Catholic, Church of England, and Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) — issued a joint statement that, though they consider it a sin, homosexuality is not a crime. The leaders of the three churches, each in fabulous frocks, were in South Sudan assisting a peace process. They decried the criminalization of homosexuality prevalent in Africa, Islam Dominated Countries, Asia, and some Orthodox Christian countries in Eastern Europe, like Russia. Roman Catholic Pope Francis had made the same unofficial announcement a month ago, telling the media, “God loves everyone,” and told Catholic bishops to be welcoming to all people. The Church of England announced that same-sex marriages will not be celebrated in their Churches. In the same statement, the Church leaders apologized for the past treatment of gays and lesbians. 

Star’s gay show canceled, insipid straight show renews

The Netflix gay comedy “Uncoupled”, starring Neil Patrick Harris, has been canceled after one season. The comedy, created by “Sex and the City” creators, Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman, premiered in 2022. Harris played a New York gay man whose life is upset when his partner of almost 20 years decides to leave him. The show had strong reviews but weak viewership. Star’s other Netflix offering, “Emily in Paris,” a really insipid, straight romantic comedy, has been renewed.

 Portia and Ellen renew

Portia de Rossi celebrated her 50th birthday by surprising Ellen DeGeneres, her wife of more than 14 years, with a renewal of their vows. The surprise must have been convincing as Ellen was dressed as if she had been working in the garden. The humble, surprise ceremony guest list included Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry. With that guest list, how the party was a surprise is a surprise. De Rossi wore the same Zac Posen gown she wore to her 2008 wedding. Brandi Carlisle performed the Roberta Flack hit, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” The wedding was officiated by Kris Jenner. No mention of any other of the ubiquitous Kardashian social media hogs.

Aussie men prefer straight acting males

A study out of the University of Sydney (Australia), showed that both heterosexual and gay men discriminate against men with feminine characteristics. The survey methodology: 256 gay and straight men were invited to watch casting videos and identify an actor who would be viewed as a “leader” and someone to be “admired” by the audience. The University’s School of Psychology found gay and straight men prefer masculine to feminine men for a high-status role. The report concluded, “Gay men are potentially blocking each other from positions of power and leadership due to this implicit bias.”

RIP: ‘Joy of Gay Sex’ Author

Dr. Charles Silverstein

Dr. Charles Silverstein, 87, the gay man and psychiatrist who convinced the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 1973, has died. Silverstein was also a co-author of the “The Joy of Gay Sex,” a landmark publication akin to the “Boy Scout Manual” for many gay men in the 1970s and 80s.

Mayor Pete Says “No” to Senate Seat

Michigan’s Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced her retirement in January. Last year former South Bend, Indiana mayor and current U. S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, bought property in Michigan to be closer to his husband’s, Chasten, family. Mayor Pete was asked if he would be a candidate. The well-spoken and usually loquacious Buttigieg said, “No.” The boyish and media-savvy politician has become one of the most prominent spokespersons for the current administration and was a candidate for president in 2020. He has a high enough profile and is so winsome that he leads the preference polls in the New Hampshire presidential primary election, even against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He made a non-denial denial about running for president in 2024, “I don’t have any plans to do any job besides the one I’ve got. It’s taking 110 percent of my attention and energy.”

Grammy awards

Lost in the tumult of the 2023 Grammy telecast, which included the first transgender woman to ever open the show, there was a notable, counter-intuitive, award. Overshadowed by Beyonce winning everything but the big awards and a Muppet-like appearance by Madonna, Dave Chappell won for his Netflix special, “Closer.” The woke members of the Grammy committee must have forgotten the controversy surrounding the release of the GLAAD-condemned movie. It caused a Twitter firestorm, decrying “phobia” for transgender people. Netflix transgender and allied employees walked out in protest and were invited to quit by Netflix management. Chappell’s comedy was blamed for a subsequent assault on him during a show at the Hollywood Bowl. He won a Grammy anyway, and there was some Twitter blowback, like, “The same industry that’s patting itself on the back tonight for making Kim Petras the first trans woman to win pop duo/group performance at the #Grammys also gave Dave Chappelle another Grammy for his transphobic special ‘The Closer,’ so it’s nice to see hypocrisy is alive & well.” This is Chapelle’s fifth Grammy.

States move against drag shows for kids

Bills in at least 11 states are working their way through legislatures looking to restrict drag show performances in the presence of children. Proponents of the legislation say performances expose children to sexual themes and imagery that are inappropriate. Bill opponents say proposed measures are discriminatory against the LGBTQ community and could violate First Amendment laws. No restrictions have become law yet. Tennessee and Arizona would limit “adult cabaret performances” on public property. Texas restrictions would affect restaurants and bars that host drag performances under the state’s definition of a “sexually oriented business.” West Virginia targets parents or guardians who permit their children to attend a drag performance. They could be “required to complete parenting classes, substance abuse counseling, anger management counseling, or other appropriate services.”

India and marriage equality

In 2008, two men from India met and fell in love at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Homosexuality was not accepted in their native and deeply conservative India. Returning to India, they kept their relationship private, waiting for laws and attitudes to change. After 15 years as a couple, they have joined three other gay couples to petition the Indian Supreme Court for marriage equality. Legal rights for LGBTQ people in India have been expanding over the past decade, with most changes coming through Supreme Court intervention. A 2014 court ruling recognized non-binary or transgender persons as a “third gender.” Another ruling granted privacy rights based on sexual orientation. In 2018, the court struck down a colonial-era law that made gay sex a crime. A court ruling in favor of marriage equality would make India the second Asian country, after Taiwan, to provide marriage equality.

Three states ape “Don’t Say Gay”

Florida legislation, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay law,” that bans classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in K–6 grades is being copied by three other states, each with something different. Missouri’s bill would only allow licensed mental health care providers to talk to students about gender identity and LGBTQ issues in K–12 public schools, and only with guardians’ permission. The North Carolina State Senate approved legislation prohibiting instruction about sexuality and gender identity in K–4 public school classes. The law would also require schools to alert parents prior to a change in the name or pronoun used for their child. Kansas legislators are focusing on helping parents remove their children from public schools over what is taught about gender and sexuality.

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