Massachusetts restaurant accused of faking homophobic hate mail

Massachusetts restaurant accused of faking homophobic hate mail

Bonefish Harry’s restaurant in Massachusetts | Photo: Facebook A Massachusetts restaurant made the news after allegedly receiving hate mail for flying a Pride flag. However, it’s now come out that the hate mail was potentially faked . The letter

Bonefish Harry’s, a taco restaurant in the towns of Beverly and Lynn, shared a hateful letter they allegedly received from a former patron named Owen Donaldson.

‘Since you opened, my wife and I have enjoyed several meals at Fishbone Harry’s, have received gift cards for other meals and have had family meals there with some of our children and grandchildren,’ the letter reads.

‘Imagine our disappointment when we saw a rainbow flag hanging outside your restaurant. It means, simply, that we will not be patronizing your eating place again because you have chosen to publicly support activity which is immoral (against the “good” for human activity).’

‘Why not keep your options on political issues to yourself? You have no Christian flag, no Italian flag, no Beverly High School banner to suggest pride in these groups. Does this mean you are against Christians, Italian-Americans or high school students? In the absence of flags or political statements, our only concern was whether you food offerings were good for their price. Last time we visited, they were.’ Whataboutism

‘But now you have made a political/moral statement supporting sexual behavior that half of America declares immoral. Why would you purposely choose, from a business perspective, to possibly alienate half of your potential customers? Why have you chosen to declare your morality on this question alone? I see no evidence of other “Month of June” issues that you are celebrating. Why would you ignore, say, Father’s Day or African-American Music Appreciation Month?’

‘The issue of homosexual behavior has been considered by thoughtful people since nearly the beginning of time. The vote of history has always been clearly against this behavior; human biology renders it absurd. Are you thinking you have found a new virtue?’

‘My hope is that you’ll give more thought to the question and take down your flag. Perhaps then we will reconsider Bonefish Harry’s as a restaurant instead of regarding it as a misguided “virtue-signaling” establishment.’ The response

In response, the owners of the restaurant took to Facebook to release a statement. They shared an image of the letter with the following caption:

‘To all of our loyal guests, today we received this letter declaring our restaurant immoral for hanging a Gay Pride flag from our restaurant in support of our fellow humans for Gay Pride Month. We consider this letter an attempt to bully us to remove our flag and to slander our business, we will not stand for this type of behavior. And will never give in to these types of unaccepting bigoted people. We will always stand side by side with everyone in our community! We will continue to fly this flag and we are proud to show our support for all of our community members.’ Was it faked?

Now, the restaurant is under fire for potentially faking this hate mail for publicity.

Local newspaper Salem News could find no trace of a man named Owen Donaldson in the town of Beverly, Massachusetts.

‘The Salem News attempted to locate a person by the name of Owen Donaldson living in Beverly or on the North Shore,’ the paper reports. ‘But a search of public records, including the city clerk’s resident lists for Beverly and several area communities, property records, available phone listings, social media, and a general search of the internet shows no one by that name living in the area.’

Salem News spoke with Gin Wallace, the executive director of Beverly Main Streets, who was tagged in the restaurant’s Facebook post.

‘I think this is an isolated incident,’ Wallace said. ‘I haven’t seen or heard from any other business.’

The possibility of the letter being fake never crossed Wallace’s mind.

‘I’d hate to have to question the validity of the letter,’ she said. ‘That’s not the point. That’s not what we should be angry or unnerved about. I hope people are focusing on the right message here.’ The restaurant denies the letter being fake

In light of the accusation of the letter being faked, Bonefish Harry’s took to Facebook again to deny this allegation.

‘Facebook world, we appreciate the out pouring of support from everyone near and far. We want to make sure the focus of this is on accepting everyone in our community without bias and prejudgement,’ they wrote.

‘We are aware that there are people questioning the validity of the letter, the author and whether our restaurant had written this letter. We have no idea who Owen is or if he really exists. We 100% did not write this letter or know who did. What we do know is that we support everyone in our community and welcome everyone in our restaurants. Now lets get back to tacos and maitais!’

GSN contacted the Beverly location of Bonefish Harry’s and spoke to a staffer named Amanda who said the restaurant ‘100% had nothing to do with the letter.’ See Also

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Israel Folau: The devil is to blame for transgender children

Israel Folau: The devil is to blame for transgender children

Israel Folau targets LGBT+ people again in the video uploaded to Facebook by an evangelical church Disgraced former rugby star Israel Folau has shown no sign of backing away from his anti-LGBT views after launching legal action.

The former player, who was sacked from Australia’s national rugby team in May after claiming that “hell awaits” gay people on social media, doubled down on his controversial remarks in a church sermon on Sunday (June 16).

In a 20-minute sermon uploaded to Facebook by Sydney’s Truth of Jesus Christ Church, the ex-sportsman rallies against LGBT+ people. Israel Folau: The devil is trying to instil trans kids in this country

He claimed: “The work of the sin, homosexuality, is in disguise to try and take over within this world. You see a lot of it in today’s youths and everything.

They are allowing young kids in primary school to be able to have the permission to change their gender if they want, by taking away the permission of their parents.

“Now they are trying to take control as a government to make those decisions for young kids, who are basically 16 years old or younger. They don’t even know what they are doing.

“This is what the devil is trying to do, to instil into this government, into this world, into society, and it is slowly happening.” Israel Folau targets LGBT+ people again in the video uploaded to Facebook by an evangelical church The rugby player continued: “The sad thing is… a lot of the churches allow those things to happen. “They say that a man and a man should be able to be married and there is nothing wrong with it.” Alluding to his own record, Folau said: “If we’re true believers in Christ, are we going to follow through and confess it wherever we go, or are we going to be too scared because we might be cast out of our workplace because we’re not liked by those around us?

“That’s a real challenge to us. It’s an ongoing journey that we’re trying to walk.” Disgraced rugby star suing for $10 million over claims of anti-Christian ‘discrimination’

The sermon comes a week after Folau filed legal action against Rugby Australian and his former team, the New South Wales Waratahs, claiming he was the victim of discrimination on the basis of religion.

Folau is seeing $10 million in damages over his dismissal, claiming: “No Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion.”

However, Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby said the decision to terminate his contract was made by an independent disciplinary panel due to “a serious breach of the Professional Players Code of Conduct” that included “clear guidelines and obligations regarding player behaviour.”

The two sporting bodies added: “As a sport that is proud of the values of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork that underpin our game globally and our Code of Conduct, we will defend those values and the right for all people to feel safe and welcome in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion or sexuality.”

The country’s employment tribunal, the Fair Work Commission, has ordered the two sides to hold talks later this month in a last-ditch bid to resolve their differences before the legal battle.

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Gay men wrongly think ‘attractive’ guys are less likely to be HIV positive

Gay men wrongly think ‘attractive’ guys are less likely to be HIV positive

The study looked at the judgements men make before having sex (Photo: Posed by models, for Pexels) Gay and bi men believe men they find ‘ physically attractive ’ are less likely to be HIV positive or have other STIs. Because of this, they are also less likely to use condoms when having sex with them.

That’s the conclusion of a study undertaken by researchers at the University of Maryland in the US. The results appeared in the Journal of Sex Research in March.

Given the popularity of dating apps, the authors say exploring physical attractiveness was of particular interest to them. Many men now turn to apps like Grindr to find sexual partners. Judgements about others are made based purely on photographs. Other studies have found we are less likely to discuss sexual health via apps.

The study involved 197 men who have sex with men in the United States. None were in a monogamous relationship and all used apps to meet other men.

It showed them video clips of other guys in both non-sexual and sexual scenarios.

Each man was shown clips of attractive men and clips of less-attractive men. The attractiveness of the men depicted was ranked in advance. Researchers used 22 other gay and bi men not included in the study to do the ranking. Questions asked to determine if they found men attractive

The study asked participants whether they thought the men were attractive, with questions such as, ‘Overall, how sexually desirable is the person in the photo?’

They were separately asked if they were aroused by the men they saw. Questions included: ‘How likely is it that you would have a one-night stand with this person?’.

Participants were then asked, on a scale of one to seven, whether they thought the men had ‘positive partner traits’ (‘trustworthy, responsible, healthy,’ etc).

The study then asked directly about the perceived risk sex with that person might pose. Questions included: ‘How likely do you think it is that you would get HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—from this person?’ and whether they were likely to use a condom with that person. The study’s main findings were as follows:

• On average, when men were rated as more physically attractive, they were also rated as being less likely to have HIV or another STI. This was largely irrespective of whether participants were feeling sexually aroused when they were making their ratings.

• When men were rated as being less likely to have HIV or another STI, participants were less likely to intend to use condoms were they to have sex with those men

• Evidence supported the role of two thought processes to explain why physically attractive men are seen as less likely to have HIV or another STI. So what’s the explanation for this?

The authors speculate the thought processes at play include the ‘ halo effect ’: In short, if someone possesses one positive trait (such as attractiveness), this leads others to believe they have other positive traits, such as perfect health.

Also, if you find someone physically attractive, there is more chance you will want to have sex with them. Therefore, you may potentially remove or overlook psychological barriers that might deter you from this goal. This includes considering whether someone has an STI or not.

The study says other factors could have also impacted condom use, such as whether someone was using PrEP. Study limitations and further ‘attractive’ research suggestions

They also acknowledged the limitations of their study. For example, what men say in a study may differ compared to real-life bedroom situations. They also think they looked at a narrow sample of men (those who are HIV negative and not in relationships).

More of us rely on photos on apps to meet other people (Photo: David Hudson)

Also, on dating apps, users often offer more details than just photos alone. These can include information on HIV status and condom use.

They say they cannot fully explain some of the findings. They note, ‘Some scholars have proposed that rational decision-making processes become impaired when individuals are sexually aroused.’ ‘Arousal … may override intentions to use condoms’

Commenting on the findings, Dr Tom Nadarzynski , a social scientist with London’s University of Westminster, told GSN, ‘Arousal associated with perceived physical attractiveness, especially in the context of sexual intercourse, may override intentions to use condoms.

‘Nevertheless, the findings of this research demonstrate a specific bias in thinking that sex with an attractive person could be less risky, which is unlikely to be accurate. Also, physical attractiveness is highly subjective, therefore it cannot be a reliable determinant of HIV status.’

The study’s authors suggest further research to determine what issues are at play, and whether other factors can influence the findings, such as alcohol or drug use.

Based on their results, they also conclude that dating apps are a great way to share information about sexual health to users. Idea for study on attractiveness came from HIV testing

Dr Elissa Sarno , one of the study’s co-authors, formerly worked as a HIV test counselor. She says her experiences influenced her decision to undertake the survey.

‘I was interested in understanding how people make decisions about when to use a condom with a new sexual partner,’ she told Gay Star News.

‘My experiences as an HIV test counselor inspired me to study physical attractiveness. People getting tested told me that their sexual partners’ physical appearance influenced their beliefs about whether they may have HIV or another STI.

‘Future research is needed to support our results, to gain a better understanding of why we found these results, and lead to interventions that address the role of partner perceptions in condom use decision-making.’

‘This study illustrates that people often don’t make rational choices,’ says Matthew Hodson , Executive Director of HIV information organization, NAM.

‘There is no reason to suppose that people who are considered to be more attractive are any less likely to be HIV-positive or to have other STIs. From my personal experience, some of the sexiest men I know are living with HIV.

‘It’s easy to make a faulty risk analysis when emotions come into play. We’ve observed this throughout the course of the epidemic. In the heat of the moment, love or lust can alter our perceptions of risk, as can drugs or alcohol.

‘I hope that not many people genuinely expect to correctly identify someone with HIV just by looking at them.’ See also

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Gay man’s moving tribute to his female best friend goes viral

Gay man’s moving tribute to his female best friend goes viral

US Embassy office in Tel Aviv celebrates Pride despite Trump Administration ban on Pride flags Beau Neal and his friend Bonnie Slater (Photo: Courtesy Beau Neal, via A US man’s moving tribute to one of his best friends, Bonnie Slater, has prompted an outpouring of comment online.

Beau Neal posted his words to The AIDS Memorial Instagram page.

The AIDS Memorial runs photos and stories from friends, families and partners of those lost to HIV-related illness.

Neal’s posting is slightly different in that Slater was not lost to HIV. However, her life was still impacted by the virus. Remembering Bonnie Slater

‘Bonnie Slater (1942 – 2018) didn’t have HIV but was greatly affected by it,’ Neal begins.

‘She was the first person I met when I moved to Key West. I was on the dancefloor and had come out of a bad relationship ready to meet the man of my dreams. I didn’t meet him that night but I met the best friend I ever had.

‘Bonnie came up to me and started dancing too. She said she thought I was the Marlboro Man because of my boots, tight jeans and Stetson.

‘After the disco closed, she invited me to Claire’s Restaurant for breakfast. We ate then she said she was going to take a taxi home. I had a car and drove her instead. We got to her place and I ended up staying for a year.

‘Bonnie grew up on the island and knew everyone. She wasn’t bashful and went up to everyone and introduced herself. She always referred to herself as, “The Welcome Wagon Lady.” Everyone else called her Ms B.

‘Bonnie was loved by the gay community. In return, she gave them a place to stay if needed, food if they were hungry and lots of motherly love. She was a proverbial matchmaker.’ San Francisco and the arrival of AIDS

‘Bonnie and I lived together for 10 years,’ continues Neal. ‘In 1980, she moved to San Francisco. I arrived six months later and she already knew half the men in the Castro. She had me a date on my first night in the city!

‘In 1981 the party stopped . Everyone was afraid. People were being seen around town gaunt or with purple lesions on their body.

‘Everyone was afraid to touch them. Bonnie was the exception. She never lost sight of the fact that a hug can mean more than anything else in the world and Bonnie had lots of hugs.

‘Bonnie watched a generation of men she loved disappear. She did all she could for her sick friends and would ultimately marry one, Lee Slater, putting him on her insurance and nursing him. When he died she returned to Florida.

‘We stayed in touch but I could tell Bonnie was hurting. She never recovered from the heartbreak of losing so many to AIDS. Her health deteriorated and she became reclusive.

‘Bonnie died last year. She was a true friend to the gay community and impacted by AIDS as much as as any person I know.’ ‘What a beautiful soul’

The posting has prompted hundreds of comments. Most offer sympathy on Neal’s loss.

‘You’re so right,’ said @deevyjane . ‘There were many casualties of AIDS among people who never had the disease. Talk about PTSD. It’s hard to survive so many losses. Thank you for telling us about your kind, loving friend.’

Another, @jesseonthebrink , added, ‘So many of us wouldn’t have survived high school without our Bonnie’s, let alone the plague. Thank you for sharing, and thank you Ms B.’

‘What a beautiful soul … ‘I’m sure she is out in the heavens dancing with all of her friends now and will continue matchmaking,’ added @reachaladdin . ‘Deeply touched’

Neal told Gay Star News the response to the posting ‘deeply touched’ him.

‘I was happy so many people took the time to read the post and get to know a little about her. She was an amazing lady who gave so much of herself during a time of great need.

Neal says he turned 70 in March.

‘I was 27 when I met Bonnie. We didn’t always live close to one another but we always stayed in touch. I’m originally from East Tennessee and lived in various cities across the country. I lived in San Francisco throughout the 80s and transferred to Nashville in 1990 to be close to my parents and to escape endless memorial services in San Francisco.

‘In 1994 my dad died and I moved back to take care of my mom, who died in 2002. My partner and I have been together for 19 years in September. He moved to Clearwater, Florida for work and I will be moving there in the next year or so.’

‘When I turned 70 I realized all but one of my long time friends have died. I became very reflective and realized I was the only one left to tell their stories.’ See also

An animated Spice Girls movie is in the works

An animated Spice Girls movie is in the works

Last time the Spice Girls were animated, it was for the Viva Forever video | Photo: YouTube Great news for Spice Girls fans: an animated movie about the group is in the works. Tell me more

According to The Hollywood Reporter , all five members of the group are on board for this project. The movie will feature classic Spice Girls songs as well as new tracks made just for the film.

The film will be released by Paramount Animation. It will be produced by Simon Fuller. The screenplay will be written by Karen McCullah and Kiwi Smith. This writing team is behind other hit films like Legally Blonde and 10 Things I Hate About You

According to Paramount Animation president Mireille Soria, The Spice Girls ‘had an idea that we’ve been developing. They are very involved.’

Mireille Soria is known in the industry as someone progressive when it comes to hiring women.

Fuller has stated that the Spice Girls will be working on the movie as soon as their UK reunion tour ends. Who is the movie for?

‘It may be tempting to write off news of a new Spice Girls animated feature as a cynical cash-in of 1990s millennial nostalgia, but there are signs that the Spice Girls are using this moment to do something new,’ writes Rhodes Murphy for Slate.

‘Though the film is still in early stages of development, it offers the women of the Spice Girls an opportunity to define “girl power” for a new generation and, to amend the words of Kathy Acker, transform society, not only with “lightness and in joy,” but also through representationally conscious creative and business decisions.’ See Also

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Bakery creates bread and flour tributes to LGBTI icons for Pride Month

Bakery creates bread and flour tributes to LGBTI icons for Pride Month

US Embassy office in Tel Aviv celebrates Pride despite Trump Administration ban on Pride flags A RuPaul inspired loaf of sourdough for Pride Month from the MarieBette Bakery in Charlottesville, VA ( A gay-owned bakery business is paying awesome tribute to LGBTI icons for Pride Month. Bakers at MarieBette Café and Bakery , based in Charlottesville, VA, create flour stencilled designs on bread to highlight some of the owners’ most inspiring queer icons and allies.

The first icon they selected was Ellen DeGeneres. Posting on Instagram last weekend, the bakery included a quote from DeGeneres herself alongside a photo of the loaf: ‘I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.’ MarieBette Café and Bakery

Underneath, they posted their reasoning for deciding to honor Ellen and the others who have followed.

‘June is LGBTQ Pride Month and as a gay-family-owned business, we would like to do our part to recognize and celebrate LGBTQ individuals and allies who have been instrumental in the fight for equality in our community.

‘Some of these persons may be well known while others may be less well known, some may identify as LGBTQ while others may not but are in the fight nonetheless. All are important and worthy of recognition.’

Since then, bread and flour designs of RuPaul, Oscar Wilde, Laverne Cox, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Harvey Milk, Elton John and Frida Kahlo , among others, have appeared on their Instagram feed . Who is creating this bread?

MarieBette Café and Bakery is run by husbands Patrick Evans and Jason Becton. They named the business after their two young daughters, Marie and Bette. They have been running for bakery for the past four and a half years.

‘My husband Patrick Evans handles the bakery side of our business and makes all the stencils by hand,’ Becton told Gay Star News.

The men bake the stencils on to the bakery’s distinctive Virginia Sourdough.

‘Before working in the culinary field we both had lives in different careers,’ Becton continues. ‘Patrick is an artist and worked in the art world in New York City.

‘The stenciled breads are a kind of temporal art and has become his main creative outlet. One of our employees, Daniel Chen ( @syllabusbakeshop ) also got on board and has added to our stencil collection.’

‘Patrick finds or creates a picture or drawing and, using a plastic quart container lid, sharpie and x-acto knife, creates the stencil by hand.

Tan France from Queer Eye is among those to be featured (Photo: @mariebettecafe on Instagram)

Becton says his husband comes from a family home minutes south of Charlottesville, while he heralds from Jersey City, NJ. The men met in New York City.

At least one of the icons depicted has already praised the designs. New York cabaret artist Justin Vivian Bond was delighter to see themselves included. They posted to their Facebook yesterday, ‘Isn’t this the most fantastic tribute ever?’ See also

Deli owner throws out lesbian couple for kissing, claims all kisses are banned

Deli owner throws out lesbian couple for kissing, claims all kisses are banned

Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles ejected a lesbian couple on a date (Creative Commons/Josh Lim) A deli owner who ejected a lesbian couple on a date for sharing a kiss has claimed that both gay and straight kisses are banned.

Two women claim they were thrown out of Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles on June 8, during the weekend of the city’s Pride celebrations. Lesbian couple were told to leave for kissing

In a Facebook post, Rachel Curry alleged: “My date and I had finished eating and we shared a kiss in our booth. Suddenly a man with a walkie-talkie was standing at our table.

“He introduced himself as Norm Langer and told us that he ‘can’t have this in his restaurant because some of the customers don’t understand.’” Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles ejected a lesbian couple on a date She added: “He told me I was being selfish and inconsiderate of how other people felt as he stood there with his walkie-talkie waiting for us to pay our bill and leave.

“I was in shock, this experience felt violent and wrong and was traumatic for both of us. “I just want to raise awareness that this space is unsafe for LBGTQ+ people in an effort to prevent future harm to others.” Deli owner: I’d do the same to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

In a statement, deli owner Norm Langer hit back at the allegations, claiming that the “family restaurant” has a long-standing no kissing policy.

He claimed: “We treat all customers equally and never discriminate.

“We have a long-standing policy against anyone from ‘making out’ whether straight or same-sex couples, it does not matter.

“I have stopped heterosexual couples from making out, and I would do the same if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were making out.

“We are a family restaurant, and I apologise if some people do not like our policy.”

However, Curry questioned his version of events, and said that Langer never mentioned a ‘no kissing’ policy during the incident.

She told the LA Blade : “It was perfectly clear to both of us that when he approached our table in an authoritative manner and told us that he ‘Can’t have this behaviour in his restaurant’ because his ‘customers don’t understand’—he was saying that his customers and/or himself did not want us being visibly queer in that space and that we weren’t welcome there because of it.”

Earlier this month, a restaurant in New Jersey agreed to pay a $20,000 settlement after allegations of homophobic discrimination against an employee.

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Gay sports reporter Israel Gutierrez speaks about Tyson Fury homophobia

Gay sports reporter Israel Gutierrez speaks about Tyson Fury homophobia

Israel Gutierrez on ESPN’s Around the Horn Gay ESPN reporter Israel Gutierrez has opened up about dealing with the attention lavished on anti-LGBT boxing champion Tyson Fury.

Gutierrez, an ESPN sports reporter who came out as gay in 2015, spoke out ahead of Tyson Fury’s much-publicised boxing match against Tom Schwarz.

During an appearance on sports panel show Around The Horn , Gutierrez referenced Fury’s previous claim that homosexuality and paedophilia will bring about the apocalypse. ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez: Watching Tyson Fury makes me feel like I don’t matter

The reporter said: “I just wanted to let you guys know what it feels like to watch Tyson Fury, a man who has been very open about his beliefs, including the fact that homosexuality and the acceptance of it is a sign the world is ending.

“It makes me feel like I don’t matter. It makes me feel like my friends don’t matter. It makes me feel like my partner doesn’t matter. Israel Gutierrez on ESPN’s Around the Horn “It takes me right back to my teenage years and childhood, when I looked around and thought that everybody was looking down on me, thinking that I’m lesser-than, just because of this way I was born.”

He added: “But I’m still going to watch, and I hope that it strengthens me. ICYMI: In the midst of #PrideMonth , @IzGutierrez used his FaceTime today to deliver a powerful message about how watching Tyson Fury makes him feel… — Around The Horn (@AroundtheHorn) June 14, 2019 “It’s because of guys like that, that I have to fight every single day. Happy Pride, everyone.” Tyson Fury hasn’t distanced himself from anti-LGBT rhetoric

Although he has never directly apologised for his history of anti-LGBT comments, Fury has been welcomed back into the boxing world.

In 2018, Fury stormed out of an interview after he was asked directly about his views.

The boxer spoke to ITV reporter Nick Wallis for just 30 seconds before storming away when asked to address his comments.

The boxer has previously claimed that sex with children was legalised by a fictional “Gay Rights Act 1977.”

He claimed: “There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home.

“One of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other one’s paedophilia.

“Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised?

“When I say paedophiles can be made legal, that sounds like crazy talk doesn’t it?

“But back in the 50s and early 60s, for them first two to be made legal would have been looked on as a crazy man again.”

He added: “I have newspaper evidence that suggest that the Gay Rights Act of 1977 backed in favour of paedophilia being legalised in the UK. So how dare I say that, but how dare it be on the national paper…. These are the people, these are now politicians or whatever in the country.”

Pete Buttigieg to be the first ever gay candidate in the Presidential Debates

Pete Buttigieg to be the first ever gay candidate in the Presidential Debates

US Embassy office in Tel Aviv celebrates Pride despite Trump Administration ban on Pride flags Buttieig at a Des Moines, Iowa event | Photo: Facebook/Pete Buttigieg Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is set to make history as the first openly gay candidate to take part in the US Presidential Debates.

In what is a packed field of Democratic candidates, Buttigieg will join 20 of his contemporaries on the debate stage.

The First Democratic Presidential Primary Debate will take place on 26-27 June in Miami, Florida.

Buttigieg has seen a surge in popularity since announcing his intention to run for president in January.

Recent polls have also found that 70% of voters would be willing to vote for a gay candidate for president .

However, the same polls found that most US voters do not expect to see a gay person become president any time soon. Buttigieg ‘double-qualifies’

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was one of the candidates who ‘double-qualified’ for the debating stage, The Advocate reports .

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) states that candidates must meet one of the two criteria to take place in Presidential Debates: either by polling at a certain level, or securing enough grassroots funding.

Candidates must poll at least 1% in three separate recognized polls before 12 June to qualify. Alternatively, the candidates must receive donations from 65,000 individual donors, with 200 coming from 20 different states.

Despite starting out as an unknown, Buttigieg has gone on to poll consistently at third or fourth place in the list of Democratic candidates.

His campaign also met the donor quota in March, thereby ‘doubly-qualifying’ Buttigieg for participation in the debates. Not the first openly gay candidate

While Buttigieg’s appearance in the debates will be a huge milestone for LGBTI representation in the US, the 37-year-old is not the first openly gay candidate to run for president.

That title went to Fred Karger, who ran as a Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential elections.

However, Karger never made it to the debate stage.

In an essay for The Advocate , Karger said that during his 2012 run he experienced widespread backlash and alienation from fellow Republicans because of his sexuality.

Despite polling alongside candidates who did participate in the presidential debates, such as Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum, Karger claimed he was denied entry into all of the Republican debates.

Karger has since endorsed Buttigieg’s run for president. Movement in the polls

Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the clear favorite to take on current President Donald Trump in 2020, with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders consistently polling at second place.

However, both Biden and Sanders have dropped in the polls in recent weeks.

In turn, Buttigieg and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have both seen their support increase.

Recent findings from the CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa poll showed Biden in front with 24%, followed by Sanders at 16%, Warren at 15%, and Buttigieg in fourth place at 14%.

A Quinnipiac University poll from earlier this month suggested that at their current standing, the five leading Democratic presidential candidates would beat Trump in an election .

The full list of the other candidates to make the debating stage are: Former Vice President Joe Biden

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

California Senator Kamala Harris

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker

Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro

Former Maryland Representative John Delaney

Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

Ohio Representative Tim Ryan

California Representative Eric Swalwell

Marianne Williamson, author

Andrew Yang, philanthropist

My Little Pony introduces same-sex couple to coincide with Pride Month

My Little Pony introduces same-sex couple to coincide with Pride Month

Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty in the episode The Last Crusade | Photo: Discovery Family Given the prevalence of rainbow colors and an emphasis on love and acceptance, My Little Pony was effectively primed to be a children’s show featuring LBGTI inclusivity.

And this week, American audiences saw the show do just that.

In the episode The Last Crusade, which aired on Saturday (15 June), My Little Pony viewers were introduced two the show’s first same-sex couple: Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty.

The timing was no coincidence – the introduction of the characters was done to coincide with this year’s Pride Month. Introducing Aunt Holiday (ginger hair, voiced by me!) & Aunt Lofty, the lesbian pony couple debuting today on on ‘The Last Crusade’ episode of My Little Pony Season 9! #mylittlepony #proud — audiosirenvo (@audiosirenvo) June 15, 2019 ‘It’s fantastic that we can show that what truly defines a family is love’

The episode has been making waves on social media.

One Twitter use wrote: ‘We live in the best of all possible worlds’

Another commented: ‘Love. It isn’t just for breakfast anymore! I get more and more proud of season 9 with every episode. Way to go’ UOUUUUUHUHHHH MY LITTLE PONY INTRODUCED A LESBIAN COUPLE IM SO HAPPY? ‘My Little Pony has always been about friendship and accepting people (or ponies) that are different from you,’ writer and producer Michael Vogel told BuzzFeed News . ‘So it just felt like something important to do.’

Showrunner Nicole Dubuc echoed her colleague’s sentiments, saying: ‘I think it’s fantastic that we can show that what truly defines a family is love — that, to me, is the core of My Little Pony.’

While this was a first for American audiences, the had already aired in Europe.

But even then, this wasn’t the first appearance of the couple.

As some fans noted, Aunts Holiday and Lofty have appeared in the My Little Pony books for some time. Hey hey!!! @NicoleDubuc , @joshhaber and I doin what we can to bring more EQuality to EQuestria!! #PrideMonth — mktoon (@mktoon) June 10, 2019 Following on from Arthur

My Little Pony’s same-sex couple follows on from another popular children’s cartoon introducing same-sex relationships into the line-up.

The season 22 premier of Arthur revealed that recurring character Mr Ratburn was gay .

The Arthur episode ended with the school teacher wedding his partner, Patrick.

My Little Pony, which airs on Discovery Family, is in its ninth and final series.