J.K. Rowling Isn’t The Champion of LGBT Rights She Thinks She Is

J.K. Rowling Isn’t The Champion of LGBT Rights She Thinks She Is

I loved the Harry Potter books growing up, and even now get a warm cosy feeling discussing the eccentricities and oddities of Hogwarts life with other misty-eyed twenty-somethings.

Even during the scarier moments, returning to the wizarding school felt like a safe refuge, with the quidditch matches, feasts and potions classes providing a magical alternative calendar to be traced alongside my own humdrum, suburban childhood.

More than a book series, more than a ‘franchise’, the world of Harry Potter continues to provide a vast and fully-formed universe where young people can consider weighty issues of justice and media bias, tyranny and freedom.

However, the Harry Potter series – and the subsequent Fantastic Beasts films – cannot be regarded as LGBT-friendly texts, with J.K. Rowling’s latest announcement ringing as hollow as Godrick’s.

As reported by the Radio Times , J.K. made the following comments during a Blu-ray DVD feature for The Crimes of Grindelwald : Their [Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald’s] relationship was incredibly intense. It was passionate, and it was a love relationship. But as happens in any relationship, gay or straight or whatever label we want to put on it, one never knows, really, what the other person is feeling.

You can’t know, you can believe you know. So I’m less interested in the sexual side—though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship — than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationships. This allusion to an ‘incredibly intense’, ‘passionate’ , ‘sexual’ relationship makes for an interesting contrast with the chaste language she has used in years gone by to describe Dumbledore’s sexuality.

Rowling ‘outed’ Dumbledore in October 2007 – to rapturous applause at New York’s Carnegie Hall – before describing his love for Grindelwald as a ‘great tragedy’.

In a 2008 interview with The Student , she described the wizard as having led ‘a celibate and bookish life’ following his heartbreak: And whether they physically consummated this infatuation or not is not the issue. The issue is love. It’s not about sex. So that’s what I knew about Dumbledore. And it’s relevant only in so much as he fell in love and was made an utter fool of by love.

He lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love and I think subsequently became very mistrusting of his own judgment in those matters so became quite asexual. He led a celibate and bookish life. JK Rowling confirms Dumbledore and Grindelwald had ‘sexual relationship’

The author made the revelation after recent prequel film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald teased a long-rumoured gay romance between the pair. pic.twitter.com/SmHhnGqAss

— Potterhead (@AllboutHogwarts) March 13, 2019 Many LGBTQ fans expressed disappointment with the depiction of the younger Dumbledore and Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald , feeling their romance was not made obvious.

Of course – despite the ever-loyal millennial fan-base – these are stories for children and I would not for a second argue that the ‘sexual dimension’ of this relationship should be a focus, any more than the other numerous couples within the wizarding world.

However, what is needed is a real acknowledgement within the remaining Fantastic Beasts films of this apparently significant relationship, differentiating it from the plethora of intensely close, platonic friendships depicted in Rowling’s works. No one:

JK Rowling coming to tell people her characters are gay with zero mention of it in the book/movies: pic.twitter.com/76wWAd3g8Q

— Ben Hall (@MrBenLHall) March 18, 2019 A gay man written into the original books who was also extremely wise, talented and revered within the wizarding world would no doubt have proved encouraging for young readers struggling with their sexuality.

Jeff Ingold, Media Manager at Stonewall, told UNILAD about the importance of greater representation of the LGBT community: Representation is so important, which is why we need the media to better reflect the full diversity and lived experiences of the LGBT community.

Greater representation of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in the media not only ensures LGBT people see themselves reflected in what they watch, it also helps increase understanding and creates a more inclusive and accepting society. Why have we yet to see a gay kiss in the Fantastic Beasts films? Or even another wizard describe someone as his boyfriend and as not – with eye-rolling elusiveness – as simply ‘more than brothers?’ Nobody was asking what kind of sex #Dumbledore & #Grindelwald were having. (Believe me we’ve got enough fanfic to last a lifetime.)
We just wanted Actual Canonical Representation of the gay relationship she swears really existed, rather than excuses defensiveness & faux allyship.

— Q (@quentook) March 18, 2019 As true fans will know, the Harry Potter series is rife with romance, crushes and heartbreak. As well as the most adored ‘will-they-won’t they’ odd-couple since Ross and Rachel: Ron and Hermione.

As the books progress with the characters, there is plenty of ‘snogging’, Valentine’s Day cards and – of course – love potions. Even the ghost of Moaning Myrtle enjoys the occasional flirt with boys who enter her bathroom.

First kisses and Yule Ball dates are often integral to the plot, as well as revealing more about the characters; grounding them as normal teens mooning over their crushes in Herbology.

There are also plenty of complicated, grown-up themes of love and relationships in Harry Potter , from the tragic unrequited love of Professor Snape for Harry’s mum Lily, or the short-lived happiness of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks.

But nowhere in the vast, ancient corridors of Hogwarts do we come across any characters who are explicitly written as LGTBQ. There are no gay couples enjoying an afternoon tea together at Madam Puddifoots, or dropping their kids off at Platform 9 3/4 .

Such representation normalizes LGBTQ relationships, and encourages readers to be more accepting. Books – as Rowling herself taught us – hold great, transformative power.

It’s therefore unfair – and ahistorical – to retroactively place the Harry Potter books as an LGBTQ positive series with a gay man as the sagely role model and father figure.

Other young adult writers have included LGBTQ characters in their books long before it was acceptable to do so, and they should be praised for taking this leap. But Rowling isn’t one of them, and to suggest otherwise would be a woeful rewriting of literary history.

The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997, with the final installment published in 2007. This decade encompassed a number of huge strides for the LGBTQ community, including equal adoption rights (2002) and the passing of the Civil Partnership Act (2004).

Culturally speaking, this was quite a different era. Remember, J.K. Rowling published under an initialism due to fears a ‘Joanne’ would put off young, male readers. It would have been rather difficult to toe the line and publish young adult books with openly gay characters.

Furthermore, the original Boy Wizard films – which perhaps give us the most recognizable portrayal of the Hogwarts headmaster – came out way before the discussion of representation became topical, spanning the period 2001 to 2011.

This was the era before groundbreaking films such as Black Panther and Wonder Woman opened up important conversations about who dominates the screen and who remains hidden. She really gonna tell us details about how Dumbledore and Grindelwald banged but won’t even say they’re in a relationship in the movies ABOUT Grindelwald. I see. However, J.K. Rowling arguably now has a larger platform than any living writer and yet her new screenplays do not reflect the gay-positive views she espouses on Twitter and in interviews.

Rowling taught us protagonists didn’t need to take off their glasses to become heroes, that education is power and that people can change their destinies. For many people of my generation, her words shaped our politics and our philosophies.

In many ways, the series taught us to be questioning, accepting – and above all brave – in the face of closed-mindedness and fascism.

The villain of the series was defined by his obsession with ethnic cleansing, a fixation which filtered down to the school bullies whose slurs of ‘mudblood’ and ‘pureblood’ sound more sickening than ever in these divisive times. Yup, Fantastic Beasts 2 was very vague on D&G past relationship

Council member calls for housing funds for LGBT youth, seniors

Council member calls for housing funds for LGBT youth, seniors

D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) wants to add $500,000 to back housing for LGBT youth and seniors. (Photo via Facebook) D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) is calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser to add $500,000 to the city’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget to support nonprofit organizations providing housing-related services for LGBT youth and seniors.

White called for the funds to come from the budget of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, which is headed by lesbian community housing expert Polly Donaldson, one of Bowser’s many LGBT appointments to high-level city positions.

White included the funding proposal for LGBT youth and senior housing as one of 18 specific funding proposals on a wide range of issues, including violence prevention efforts, youth mentorship programs, and home ownership assistance.

He used the term “LGBTQ” as the heading for his youth and seniors housing funds proposal, which he said should be allocated in the form of city grants to support “organizations that are working on housing security to LGBT and homeless youth.”

A spokesperson for Donaldson couldn’t immediately be reached to determine whether Donaldson and the mayor support White’s proposal.

Mardi Gla: Glasgow’s newest Pride event has city council backing

Mardi Gla: Glasgow's newest Pride event has city council backing

Gay pride GLASGOW’S new Pride celebration has won the support of its European peers as well as backing from the city council.

Mardi Gla, run by the LGBT Co-operative, will be Glasgow’s first ever Pride event recognised by the influential European Pride Organisers Association, known as Euro Pride.

Meanwhile, Glasgow City Council confirmed its support for the Merchant City-based event.

City Convener for Equalities and Human Rights Councillor Jennifer Layden said the council had been impressed by the team’s approach, following an uncertain period for Pride events in the city.

Ms Layden said: "Mardi Gla can be the successful, open, welcoming and free celebration of LGBT Pride that Glasgow deserves – and I’m very happy to support the event.

"I understand how important this is to the city and I’m confident the team have sustainable, realistic plans to ensure Glasgow has a quality Pride event that everyone in the community can feel a part of."

Euan Mcleod, a former Labour councillor, is executive director of the LGBT Co-operative and said the event will include a march and two-day festival.

Mardi Gla will take place on July 20 to 21, using some of the same footprint and infrastructure as the Merchant City Festival.

Its organiser aims to be one of the most accessible, transparent and democratic LGBT organisations in the UK; with one third of board members elected annually by members of Glasgow’s LGBT community.

Will Labate, chairman of the LGBT Co-operative, said: "We are delighted that our ambitious plans for transforming Pride in Glasgow have been recognised at a European level and we look forward to working closely with Glasgow City Council as we work together to deliver a free and educational Pride in Glasgow this July."

Mardi Gla and its organisers have also been granted membership of Euro Pride, with Glasgow only the second community in Scotland to meet entry conditions.

Euro Pride was formed in 1991 and now has almost 100 members across 30 countries.

It promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride across the continent and seeks to empower and support local and national organisations to promote Pride as both a celebration and a vital human rights movement.

The association also aims to facilitate networking and skill-sharing among member cities and is advocate for the Pride movement at a national and international level, including at the European Parliament.

Kristine Garina, President of European Pride Organisers Association, said: "We are delighted to have welcomed Mardi Gla – Glasgow’s Pride to our membership.

"Our Association is growing at an unprecedented rate and it’s great to see another Scottish Pride keen to engage in the international Pride movement.

"We look forward to working with the Mardi Gla team to support their event and ensure Scottish representation on the international stage."

Christian B&B Owner Forced to Serve LGBT Couples After Supreme Court Rejects Appeal

Christian B&B Owner Forced to Serve LGBT Couples After Supreme Court Rejects Appeal

The US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a Christian bed and breakfast owner who was ordered by a lower court to serve a lesbian couple despite it being a violation of her religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal Monday, thus upholding the lower court’s ruling in favor of the lesbian couple. Now, litigation will continue to determine what penalty the Christian business owner must face.

Phyllis Young, the owner of Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Honolulu, Hawaii, refused to rent a room in her home to Diane Cervili and Taeko Bufford in 2007 due to her religious beliefs about marriage. Cervili and Bufford sued Young over her actions and accused her of discriminating against them because of their sexuality.

Alliance Defending Freedom represented Young and argued that because she "only rented 1-3 rooms in her personal home she did not fall under the Hawaii public accommodations law that makes sexual-orientation discrimination unlawful."

The conservative law firm also pointed out that the Constitution protects Young’s right to not promote behavior that violates her faith or associate with people unwilling to respect her convictions.

However, a state court found Young in violation of Hawaii’s Civil Rights Commissions’ public accommodation law. The law applies to hospitality, entertainment, and transportation services. The law makes it "illegal to deny a person access to or to treat them unequally in a place of public accommodation" because of a person’s "religion," "sexual orientation," and "gender identity or expression."

READ ‘Frontal Assault on Religious Liberty’: Why Religious Freedom Advocates Are so Alarmed About the ‘Equality Act’

The ruling comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision involving Colorado-based Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips. Phillips refused to make a personalized cake for a gay wedding due to his religious beliefs about marriage.

The Supreme Court ruled in his favor and blasted the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for showing hostility towards Phillips’ faith. However, the high court did not address the key issue of whether business owners can claim religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.

Colorodo recently dropped a second case the commission had filed against Phillips, targeting him again after an activist tried to force him to celebrate a transgender transition. Phillips had counter-sued the commission which eventually agreed to drop the charges. More about that HERE.

Legislator calls Illinois House mandate for LGBT school lessons ‘Indoctrination, not history’

Legislator calls Illinois House mandate for LGBT school lessons ‘Indoctrination, not history’

Shutterstock.com March 19, 2019, LifeSiteNews — The Illinois House has passed a controversial bill requiring public school history textbooks to include “the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this state.”

Known as HB 246 , the measure passed by a comfortable 60-42 margin, largely along party lines, with three Democrats joining Republicans in opposition to the proposed legislation. No Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

The bill aims to amend the state’s textbook block grant program, mandating the purchase of textbooks that highlight the contributions of all groups protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act.

“There is nothing that prevents the teaching of the lives of historical figures including if they were known to have been homosexuals,” said Rep. Darren Bailey. “But forcing that information on five-year-olds and elementary school children is more of an effort of indoctrination than of learning history about individuals who accomplished important discoveries in science or created great works of art.”

“I also opposed this legislation because it does not provide an ‘opt-out’ option for parents who do not wish their children exposed to this kind of information for religious reasons or because their child may not be of a mature enough age to fully understand the meaning and implications of what LGBT actually is,” added Bailey.

Another Republican, Rep. Tom Morrison, objected on mostly pragmatic grounds, focusing on how the newly mandated material would unfairly burden teachers who already face difficult workloads.

“We all know that we need to have a well-educated, well-informed citizenry. We have to have that if we’re going to maintain our form of government,” said Morrison. “But we’re already failing to teach history to today’s and future generations. We’re not even covering the basics of our shared history.”

The legislation now goes to the Illinois Senate, where it is expected to pass. If signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the measure would go into effect July 1, 2020.

Some are viewing this as a mostly symbolic act, with little or no impact in the immediate future.

The legislation “only applies to textbooks purchased through the state’s textbook block grant program, which has not received any funding for the last five years, and which the State Board of Education has not requested funding for in the upcoming budget,” according to a saukvalley.com report.

Things to Know About the LGBT Community

Things to Know About the LGBT Community

A 2015 study found that 7.6% of the Japanese population—1 person in 13—identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We talk to Harima Katsuki, a psychiatrist and counselor for LGBT people, about what we know about these individuals, including the difficulties they face. Harima Katsuki Director of the Harima Mental Clinic. Earned his MD from the University of Tokyo. Director of the Japan Society of Sexual Science. He is also a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. Pessimism About the Future

Sugita Mio, a Liberal Democratic Party member in the House of Representatives, made waves with her article in the August 2018 issue of Shinchō 45 in which she claimed that the LGBT community “received too much support.” Similarly controversial was Sugita’s 2015 appearance on a right-wing YouTube channel, during which she slammed as “unjustified” the use of taxes to support “unproductive” gays and lesbians, and even laughed when referring to high rates of suicide among LGBT children.

It goes without saying that suicide rates of any group should never be a laughing matter. As shown in the graph below, the transgender population is marked by a high incidence of suicide-related events. Harima attributes this to the growing discomfort experienced by transgender youth during puberty due to their changing bodies, an inability to come out to their families, which results in a sense that they do not belong anywhere and therefore feelings of isolation, and bullying at school and in the community.

“Then there is the issue of relationships,” says Harima. “For a romantic advance by a gay man or lesbian to be successful, the other party needs to be attracted to the same sex as well. Transgender people find it hard to form relationships at all, and sometimes when they do find a mate, it is only to be dumped on the grounds of realities beyond their control: They are not a ‘real’ man or woman. They cannot get married. They cannot have children. These transgender people suffer a double blow.”

It is not only external factors that can make LGBT individuals feel suicidal, he notes: Sometimes LGBT people evince harmful attitudes toward themselves.

“Take ‘internalized homophobia.’ For example, if an LGBT character on TV is portrayed as repulsive or ridiculous, LGBT viewers may internalize this message and feel that they, too, are repulsive. Some transgender individuals even take their own lives, believing that they will be reborn as a ‘real’ man or woman.”

Something that may be said about all LGBT persons, says the doctor, is that they are inclined to feel like they are not living their lives to the full. “This feeling can result in suicidal behavior. For example, a gay man with a crush on a male pop star might pretend to like a female one instead. A transgender person might pretend to like women despite actually being attracted to men, or vice versa. This may not seem like a big deal, but these people feel they are not being true to themselves—that they are not really alive. Be yourself and risk discrimination and bullying. Live a lie and feel like you don’t have a life. This dilemma makes people despair about their future.”

On a positive note, however, it is becoming easier for these people to be true to themselves, notes Harima. “Nowadays, if you simply pluck up the courage, it’s easier than ever to connect with other people like yourself online. Meeting others in a similar situation can provide a feeling of belonging and make you feel less isolated. LGBT people can also look to an increasing number of out-and-proud role models for inspiration. These role models send the message that it is possible to lead a happy life as an LGBT person. I urge LGBT individuals to be themselves, thereby doing their own bit to stop discrimination and harassment.” Well-Intentioned Outing

However, sometimes when an LGBT individual comes out to a friend, the friend might tell others, thereby “outing” the LGBT individual (disclosing his or her sexuality or gender-identity) on a scale he or she did not intend right away.

“It’s rare for a patient to come to my clinic with the specific complaint of being outed, which is actually evidence of just how common outing is. People come out for a reason: they want to get their secret off their chest or become closer to the friend. Transgender people may come out in order to be treated as the gender they identify with. Therefore, if a friend comes out to you, you should tell them that they are still the same person to you and, importantly, not tell anyone else. Asking them why they decided to come out to you in particular at this time can shed light on the situation they’re facing.”

A separate issue, says Harima, is that of coming out in the context of a romantic advance.

“Among heterosexuals, it’s common to tell your friends if someone asks you for a date. This can be a way of trying to detract from the awkwardness of the situation, or simply because we don’t know what to do. Clearly, having an LGBT individual come out to you because they are attracted to you is an even bigger deal. The gravity of the situation makes us want to share it with others, and it follows that the act of outing an LGBT individual who ‘came onto you’ is not always done out of malice. For that individual, however, the experience of being outed by someone they were attracted to is devastating and may even push them toward suicide.” Harima puts his psychiatry training to use in helping LGBT patients improve their lives. Surgery Is No Panacea

“Outing is not the only problem that can arise innocently,” continues Harima. “For example, for a transgender individual, changing one’s legal gender is the ultimate solution to the problem of being deemed to belong to one’s birth sex in the workplace. If an MtF, or male to female, transgender person is legally female, it’s easier for her to use the women’s bathrooms and changing rooms at work. In Japan, however, one must undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to change one’s legal gender. The thing is, not everyone wants surgery. The prospect is intimidating. And yet surgery is presented as a solution to a problem, which makes transgender people feel that they need to have gender reassignment. This state of affairs makes those who have not undergone gender reassignment feel like ‘frauds,’ and thus reluctant to complain to their workplaces about things like bathroom options.”

This situation can also lead to employer intolerance, warns Harima. “The reasoning becomes that ‘preoperative’ transgender people can fix all their problems with an operation. This unspoken pressure to ‘hurry up and get a sex change’ makes life difficult for those who choose not to. Gender reassignment surgery has become a solution not for transgender people themselves, but for a society that doesn’t know what to do with them. This is frightening. It’s my belief we all need to take a more laid-back attitude to the transgender community. People need to understand that if a transgender coworker, even a slightly masculine-looking one, identifies as female, then she might use the women’s bathroom. Public toilets prevent more of a hurdle, but I think this approach would work in workplaces or educational institutions in which everyone is somewhat acquainted.” Respecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On Internet forums you will find some support for the idea expressed in Sugita Mio’s Shinchō 45 article, that is, that LGBT rights get too much attention. Pundit Ogawa Eitarō’s infamous article in the October 2018 edition of the same magazine (which ultimately spelled the end of that publication) was titled “The Government Can’t Fix Subjective Hardship.”

In it, Ogawa writes, “No hardship is so deep-rooted as that of the compulsive groper, who, upon smelling a woman’s scent in a crowded train, cannot stop himself from touching her. . . . Surely society should defend the right of these men to grope women.”

Harima stresses the need to respect sexual orientation and identity specifically. “I qualify my statement in this way for the reason that there are sexualities that infringe the rights of others, such as pedophilia, and the sexuality of individuals who are incapable of becoming aroused without inflicting violence. Public groping and rape are not acceptable between members of the opposite sex, so obviously unwanted sexual advances between persons of the same sex are unacceptable too.”

The doctor closes with a warning against prejudice. “At the same time, in the same way that we do not condemn all heterosexuals on account of a small number of heterosexuals who commit rape, we should not condemn all lesbians and gay men on account of a small number of people who commit these offences either. We accept all races and religions to the extent that they do not infringe on the rights of others. I believe that the same should apply to the spectrum of sexual orientations and identities.”

(Originally published in Japanese on February 25, 2019. Reporting and text by Kuwahara Rika of Power News. Banner photo: A rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBT pride and the LGBT movement. © TommyX/Pixta.)

Mask comes off: The LGBT left is out to silence Christian voices

Mask comes off: The LGBT left is out to silence Christian voices

March 19, 2019 ( LifeSiteNews ) — There has always been one end-game for the radical left: the silencing of dissenting voices, in particular conservative Christian voices.

The radical left is not simply interested in winning in the marketplace of ideas. It is not simply interested in changing hearts and minds. It is ultimately interested in silencing the opposition, especially all opposition that is based on a biblical worldview.

For years I have said that those who came out of the closet (meaning, radical gay activists) wanted to put us in the closet (meaning those of who identify with conservative biblical values). And for years I (and many others) have documented this, time and time again.

You might wonder how the radical left wants to silence us. How, exactly, does it want to put us in the closet?

By intimidation. By ridicule. By legal action. By expulsion. By exclusion.

Anything to avoid civil, respectful debate. Anything to avoid a genuine discussion of differences. Anything to avoid true dialogue.

Instead, those who differ with the radical left are to be demonized, stigmatized, marginalized, and silenced.

Back in 2012, the gay activist organization GLAAD launched its Commentator Accountability Project. Its purpose was to discourage media outlets from having people like me on their broadcasts. (I was one of their initial list of 36 commentators. The list has greatly expanded now .)

Again, GLAAD’s goal was not to provide useful information for the liberal media to refute our arguments. Instead, their goal was to discredit us and convince the media not to give us any platform.

In short, GLAAD’s operating principles were simple. Exclude people; don’t examine their ideas. Demonize them; don’t dialogue with them.

That’s why I said that GLAAD was not the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (their original acronym; now they’re just GLAAD). Instead, I suggested, they should be known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Disagreement.

In that same spirit, it is the radical left which seeks to block conservative speakers from college campuses, even with violent protests.

It is the radical left which seeks to shame people on their jobs and humiliate them in their schools.

As for freedom of speech and expression, that must be a one-way street.

Only the ideas of the left are worthy of dissemination. Dissenters are no better than the Taliban, than ISIS, than the Nazis, than the KKK.

That’s the way the radical left seeks to win.

And that’s why a high school student was recently suspended for posting Bible verses in her school in response to LGBTQ pride displays. The displays were perfectly welcome. The Bible verses were not.

As I said, freedom of expression only goes one way.

The student, Gabby Heisinger, explains that she was called into the principal’s office and “was asked why she posted the Bible verses. “And I said, ‘Because I wanted to spread the word of God,’” she said. “And [the principal] goes, ‘Well did you have permission?’ And I said, ‘No.’ I didn’t know you had to have permission because people do it a lot — putting Post-It notes on people’s lockers, so I just did it.” Gabby then asked the principal why any material that mentions God or Jesus, it gets removed “straight away,” while “gay pride stuff” can be put up all over school and openly discussed with no repercussions at all. Enough said.

Or consider the unrelenting attack on Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States. He is a vile person. An ugly person. A person to be shamed by visiting dignitaries and ridiculed by outspoken celebrities . And his wife, Karen, is to be vilified as well.

Why? Because he has the audacity to believe what virtually all branches of Christianity have believed for the better part of two millennia (namely, that marriage is for a man and a woman) and because his wife has the audacity to teach at a Christian school.

Such views can no longer be tolerated.

Forget about tolerance and acceptance and diversity.

Those were just code words used to win over those in the middle. They were nothing more than Trojan horses through which intolerance and exclusivity could be smuggled in.

Once in place, the real agenda now comes to light. And make no mistake about it. It is an ugly, vile agenda. (Yes, I call things like drag queens reading to toddlers ugly and vile, all the more so when one of the drag queens is a registered sex offender .)

How then should we respond to this attempt to silence us? How should we respond to attempts to intimidate us and marginalize us?

Simple. We speak out more loudly and clearly. We take our stands more firmly and boldly. And the more we are hated and slandered, the more we respond with love and truth.

The darkness will never succeed in snuffing out the light.

Supreme Court refuses appeal from Hawaii B&B that rejected lesbian couple

Supreme Court refuses appeal from Hawaii B&B that rejected lesbian couple

Taeko Bufford (L) and Diane Cervelli (R) (Lambda Legal’s YouTube channel) The US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a B&B owner who refused to accommodate a lesbian couple in 2007 because she thought their relationship was “detestable.”

Last year, the Hawaii Supreme Court also rejected her appeal, which has been dragging on since the couple filed a lawsuit in 2011.

Supreme Court justices rejected Phyllis Young’s appeal, which argued that she should be allowed to turn gay couples away because of her religious beliefs, according to the Washington Post . Phyllis Young told the couple she was uncomfortable letting to lesbians

Young – who runs Aloha Bed & Breakfast in Hawaii – told the couple in 2007 when they tried to book a room that she was uncomfortable letting to lesbians . She then cancelled their booking.

The women – Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford of California – then filed a complaint to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, who found that Young had illegally discriminated against them.

Young’s attorney, James Hochberg told the Washington Post in a statement that she is willing to rent rooms to anyone – including LGBT+ people – but that she won’t rent to romantic partners unless they are married and heterosexual.

Young allegedly told the women that she thinks homosexual relationships are “detestable” and that they “defiled the land.” “I was in disbelief, because this has never happened to me before … So now I’m facing discrimination just by being with someone I love.”

Cervelli previously opened up about being rejected from the B&B, saying Young asked her: “Are you a lesbian?”

“I answered truthfully, and the next thing out of her mouth was, ‘you can’t stay here.’” She continued: “I was in disbelief, because this has never happened to me before.

“So now I’m facing discrimination just by being with someone I love. Taeko Bufford (L) and Diane Cervelli (R) (Lambda Legal’s YouTube channel) “Some people continue to use their religious beliefs to discriminate and find ways around it. It’s really important that we are protected and we have our rights.” The couple’s attorney said LGBT+ people deserve to live life free from fear of discrimination

In a statement, counsel for the couple, Peter Renn of Lambda Legal, said that freedom of religion “does not give businesses a right to violate non-discrimination laws that protect all individuals from harm, whether on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

“The Supreme Court declined to consider carving out an exception from this basic principle when a business discriminates based on the sexual orientation of its customers. LGBT people deserve an equal right to go about their everyday life without the fear that discrimination waits for them around the corner.”

He also explained that the Masterpiece ruling of last year, in which the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a baker who refused to sell a cake to a same-sex couple, did not change that principle. “LGBT people deserve an equal right to go about their everyday life without the fear that discrimination waits for them around the corner.”

“Instead, that case was decided on fact-specific grounds of whether there was hostility to religion by the agency that initially decided the case,” Renn said. “There is no evidence of that here, and the Cervelli case was decided by a court, rather than an agency.

“The Masterpiece case also involved a freedom of expression defense, which the Supreme Court did not rule upon, and in any event, there is no freedom of expression defense at issue here in the Cervelli.”

Eight questions straight people should quit asking gay people

Eight questions straight people should quit asking gay people

‘You’re gay! That’s so cool!’ (Photo posed by models, via Unsplash) Whether well intentioned or not, straight people can sometimes ask gay people awkward, crass or offensive questions.

If such questions come from a genuine desire to learn more, we may be understanding. If they come from a place of bigotry or intolerance, it’s a different matter.

Either way, here’s a handful of the more common ones, along with reasons for why people should think twice before asking them.

Can you think of any others? Post your own suggestions below. 1. ‘When did you decide to be gay?’

Apparently, this still needs explaining. Imagine if someone asked you, a heterosexual, ‘When did you decide to be straight?’ You’d probably struggle for an answer.

For gay people, it’s just the same. It makes it sound like being gay is a choice, which it is not.

Perhaps the person asking actually means: ‘When did you decide to come out and embrace your sexuality?’ If that’s the case, that’s how it should be phrased, but again, asking someone ‘When did you decide to embrace your gayness?’ might not sit well with some people. We wouldn’t ask: ‘When did you decide to embrace your heterosexuality.’

Sexuality is individual and unique. It’s something that tends to dawn upon us in late childhood or early adolescence. For some people, awareness comes later, but it’s not something we choose or decide.

Sadly, there are still gay people who ‘decide’ they will try and be heterosexual in order to keep families or friends happy. It only leads to a whole heap of unhappiness . 2. ‘What do you actually do in bed?’

Or ‘How does butt sex work?’ Or ‘How do lesbians have sex?’

If we want to talk to you about our sex lives, we will bring it up in conversation. If your best friend is gay and then want some relationship or sex advice, then granted the conversation may go down this route… but let’s be honest: Often times it’s just invasive curiosity. It’s also none of your business.

If you are so curious about what gay people do in bed, there is no lack of videos online which will demonstrate. Just google it instead of putting a gay person on the spot.

Oh, and if you’re a straight guy, asking two women, ‘Can I watch?’ is also a big no-no and not amusing. 3. ‘Are you the man or the woman?’

This question shows you presume same-sex relationships can only work if they ape a heteronormative template: a template loaded with centuries of societal expectations over who does what according to gender.

Just don’t ask. Instead, question why anyone needs to be seen as the ‘man’ or ‘woman’. 4. ‘Do you know my gay cousin, John?’

Being gay doesn’t mean we know every other gay in the world. 5. ‘Do you have to be so in-your-face about it?’

Or, ‘I don’t mind gay people, but why do you have to parade about it and shove it down people’s throats?’

Being open and honest about who one loves or is attracted to does not equate to shoving it in people’s faces. As for Pride parades, demonstrating pride in one’s sexuality is important when large sections of society continue to tell you that your sexuality to be something shameful.

Reclaiming the streets – if only for one day – is empowering for anyone who feels threatened or unsafe on those streets at other times of the year. 6. How do you know if you have never been with someone of the opposite sex?’

Let’s turn that question around. How do you know you’re straight if you’ve never had sex with someone of your own sex?

How would you respond to that question? Feels a little ludicrous now, right? 7. ‘Am I cute? Would you date me if I was gay?’

For some reason, lots of straight people are really keen to be validated by people they have no sexual interest in. 8. ‘Have you heard of our Saviour? Jesus Christ?’

We know where this conversation is going, so let’s stop you right there… See also

‘I am 50 years old, gay, married, living in New York City in 2016 and still this sight, of two men or women holding hands in public, it brings me up short every single time’

Gay porn stars in peril: Is Knife+Heart the best queer horror movie ever made?

Gay porn stars in peril: Is Knife+Heart the best queer horror movie ever made?

Three Knife+Heart cast members | Photo: Altered Innocence Take a pinch of the The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s bawdy humour; add a dose of Stranger By the Lake’s eerie eroticism.

Mix in a campy dash of lovingly bad cliched trash, a la A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge.

Finally, finish with a thick layer of colorful absurdity, like the original Suspiria or a Pedro Almodóvar thriller.

The end result? Something vaguely resembling the supremely queer Knife+Heart.

In truth, this pulpy horror, helmed by French director Yann Gonzalez, is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Set in and around a 70s gay porn studio in Paris, it’s unforgettable, and not just because of the many curly-haired, angel-faced actors playing adult models who fill the screen for much of its 90 minute running time.

Indeed, one performance stands out above all others. She even upstages the dildo-switchblade-wielding, sex club-frequenting madman who drives the plot.

Yes, French actress Vanessa Paradis is utterly fascinating as the main character: adult filmmaker Anne. Not to mention painfully cool, with her bleached blonde hair and sex-worker-chic bottle green plastic trench coat.

Embarrassingly, I better knew Vanessa for her personal life until this film, and had never seen her act before. (I only heard her 1989 number one Joe le taxi for the first time this morning, too. It’s great). ‘Vanessa’s Anne is the Miranda Priestly of gay porn’

Hats off to her: in Knife+Heart, she’s electrifying. Anne is an uncompromising artist and tastemaker, the Miranda Priestly of gay porn, and really, who knew such a role could exist?

Making Anne’s context evermore specific is the fact that she’s apparently exclusively into women – while motherly and protective of her gaggle of guys.

It may all sound rather implausible, but it doesn’t feel so on screen. Besides, I’ve heard real-life stories of verbally abusive straight men calling the shots on gay male porn shoots – this scenario seems far preferable. Without the man in the leather gimp mask bumping people off, obviously… And while Anne’s a ball-buster, she exudes a pixie-faced vulnerability, squelchy with emotion throughout, after the demise of her 10-year romance with producer Lois (Kate Moran) renders her an emotional wreck.

As her love turns obsessive – part Tinkerbell, part Alex from Fatal Attraction, part Chucky from Child’s Play – you’re left wondering if she is in fact the killer. ‘There’s a plucky trans woman, an elderly lesbian bartender…’

The second-tier characters are in equal parts juicy, unique and totally relevant to 2019.

There’s a plucky trans woman; an elderly lesbian bartender; a talented fluffer who happens to be overweight; police officers suffering from extreme cases of toxic masculinity.

Many inspire the characters in Anne’s latest (utterly ridiculous) blue movie Homocidal – thus, a film-within-a-film narrative unfolds. Things get complex and meta, and while that’s interesting, it’s a slight shame some of the most random characters aren’t more fleshed out.

My only other criticism – and I’m really showing my age here – is the violence shown. Particularly one scene, which goes further than the strongest moments of sexuality and nudity.

Forgive my 30-something pearl-clutching, but it occurred during dreamlike-sequence saturated with colour. By the time I realized what I was witnessing, it was too late to look away! Otherwise, full marks.

5/5

The film opens in New York City on 15 March. This is followed by screenings in LA on 22 March, San Francisco on 29 March, Chicago on 5 April and Denver on 19 April. Additional dates to be announced. For more information visit See also:

Here’s the trailer for Sauvage – the gay prostitute film people walked out of at Cannes