Courtney Act will host the show (E!) RuPaul’s Drag Race star Courtney Act has posted a trailer for her upcoming bisexual dating show.
The drag queen will host The Bi Life , the first TV show focusing exclusively on bisexual dating in the UK.
It only includes participants who are bisexual, pansexual or questioning and is being filmed in Barcelona.
The series premieres in October on E! will see the cast of 10 living and partying together as they explore queer dating and their identities – some for the first time. Welcome to #TheBiLife , the UK’s first bisexual+ reality dating show, hosted by me! Starts Thursday Oct 25th 9pm on @EOnlineUK pic.twitter.com/tDq5oBrJ2V — Courtney Act (@courtneyact) September 23, 2018 Act posted the trailer to Twitter , with the caption: “Welcome to #TheBiLife, the UK’s first bisexual+ reality dating show, hosted by me!”
In the clip, people can be seen looking at each other dressed in white, before Act throws a bucket of pink, purple and blue paint over them, which is the colours of the bisexual flag.
Act, who has spoken to PinkNews about being pansexual and genderfluid , said: “It’s high time there was a dating show for the large number of young people today, like me, who are attracted to more than one gender. 23 September marks Bi Visibility Day (Mimi Hoang) “In 2018 we know that sexuality is fluid and sharing the stories and experiences, the laughter and the lovemaking, of young bi people is so important,” continued the RuPaul’s Drag Race runner-up.
“So get ready to see the true stories of bisexual singles, who are the largest part of the LGBTQ+ community, but the least known.”
Ros Coward, executive producer, said: “A TV show that better reflects diversity within society’s dating pool has been long overdue.
“The Bi Life is a modern dating show for a modern generation of daters.”
Lee Raftery, who is NBCUniversal International’s chief marketing officer, said: “With the number of British people identifying themselves as bisexual rising by 73% in four years, we are incredibly excited to be introducing this pioneering series to our audiences in the UK and Ireland.”
Many were felt a sense of relief when the New York Yankees announced that they were to celebrate their first LGBTI Pride event in 2019.
One of the last major league baseball teams to still yet to have their own Pride event, many felt it was about time .
But the choice of year carries extra gravitas for the New York team: 2019 will be the 50-year anniversary of the iconic Stonewall Riots.
Given the gravitas of the occasion, the team have begun announcing events and programs which will mark the anniversary, the first of which is a new scholarship program. Scholarships for contributing to the LGBTI community
The Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative will honor graduating school students who have made impactful contributions to LGBTI equality.
‘Through this initiative, we are proud to recognize the profound historical impact of Stonewall and celebrate the many meaningful contributions of the LGBTQ community,’ Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement.
The program will see five $10,000 scholarships distributed among students from each of the five New York City boroughs and will take place from 17-26 June next year, according to USA Today .
‘The Yankees wholeheartedly support equality for all individuals and applaud any efforts which make our society more inclusive and tolerant,’ Steinbrenner added.
‘It is our hope that this scholarship program will serve as a springboard for young LGBTQ student community members and advocates as they continue the pursuit of their dreams, ambitions, and livelihoods.’ Stonewall remembered
The Stonewall Riots are a landmark moment for LGBTI rights.
In 1969, following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay-hangout, members of the LGBTI community began protesting against the prejudice and discrimination they had suffered for years.
The demonstrations spread throughout New York’s Greenwich Village, soon becoming fully fledged riots.
The Stonewall riots, as they soon became known, are considered by many as the event which sparked the modern-day LGBTI rights movement.
The Yankees have said that more LGBTI-themed initiatives, celebrations, and commemorations are planned, and will be announced at later dates.
NY Yankees announce details of LGBTI initiative to commemorate Stonewall Riots Sexy new trailer for The Bi Life. | Photo: Courtney Act . Twitter Courtney Act’s new bisexual reality dating show is going to be hot, hot, hot – if the new trailer is anything to go by.
The RuPaul’s Drag Race queen will host The Bi Life , the UK’s first-ever TV show focusing exclusively on bisexual dating.
The show will air on E! Entertainment Television UK & Ireland, NBCUniversal International Networks’ pop culture channel.
It will feature single people who identify as bisexual, as well as pansexual and sexually fluid. The show is in Barcelona, Spain.
Act posted the trailer to Twitter this morning (23 September). She wrote in the caption to the video: ‘Welcome to #TheBiLife, the UK’s first bisexual+ reality dating show, hosted by me!’ ‘You bring color to my life’
The trailer starts off with a group of bi+ people standing around sizing each other up, dressed all in white.
Then MNEK’s hit-song Color starts playing, as Courtney Act grabs a bucket of paint and throws it all over the contestants.
The paint is in the bisexual flag colors – pink, purple and blue. Welcome to #TheBiLife , the UK’s first bisexual+ reality dating show, hosted by me! Starts Thursday Oct 25th 9pm on @EOnlineUK pic.twitter.com/tDq5oBrJ2V — Courtney Act (@courtneyact) 23 September 2018 Courtney Act previously said about the new bisexual reality dating show: ‘It’s high time there was a dating show for the large number of young people today, like me, who are attracted to more than one gender.’
She then added: ‘In 2018, we know that sexuality is fluid and sharing the stories and experiences, the laughter and the love making, of young bi people is so important.
‘So get ready to see the true stories of bisexual singles. [They] are the largest part of the LGBTQ+ community, but the least known,’ she said. See also:
Mike Pence is the first sitting US vice president to attend the event (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty) US Vice President Mike Pence has addressed crowds at an anti-LGBT event in Washington DC.
The Value Voter Summit, an annual conservative conference, is sponsored by the American Conservative Union, the NRA and the Family Research Council, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
Pence is the first sitting vice president in the US to attend the event, after Donald Trump attended last year.
He joined a number of anti-LGBT speakers at the summit, including Seb Gorka, a former adviser to Trump.
Another speaker, Elizabeth Johnston, has previously claimed LGBTQ groups are “sneaking into schools” to “rape the minds of children”.
Speaking at the event, Pence commented that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is facing accusations of sexual assault, is “a man of integrity with impeccable credentials and a proven judicial philosophy.” Brett Kavanaugh faces accusations of sexual assault (Chip Somodevilla/Getty) “On the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, he wrote more than 300 opinions that reflect a strong record of support for limited government, religious liberty, and our Second Amendment,” he said.
“He’s a conservative who will interpret the Constitution as written and his record and career deserves the respect of every member of the United States Senate.”
This year’s conference also discussed “how gender ideology harms children”, according to the summit’s agenda.
Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy said: “Paul McHugh, Elizabeth Johnston and others peddling this sort of junk science are doing enormous harm to LGBTQ people and LGBTQ kids.
“The practice of ‘ conversion therapy ’ is abuse and can be life-threatening, which is why a growing number of states are banning it. And the denigrating language they direct at LGBTQ people send a dangerous message — particularly to LGBTQ kids — about their equal dignity and worth.
“Once again, Mike Pence is making clear that he stands with many organizations and leaders who promote hate and fear. We know those are not true American values.”
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the 2018 Values Voter Summit. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key) Vice President Mike Pence counted on Saturday President Trump’s actions in favor of “religious freedom” — considered by LGBT rights supporters as means to enable anti-LGBT discrimination — as reasons for why conservative voters should turn out in the congressional mid-term elections to back Republican candidates and the Trump administration.
Pence made the remarks before attendees at the Values Voter Summit, an annual D.C. confab for social conservatives hosted by the anti-LGBT Family Research Council.
The vice president counted Trump’s actions in favor of “religious freedom” as reasons why voters should support Republicans in the mid-terms as well as with other factors, including a booming economy, lower taxes, support for immigration enforcement and a tougher stance on America’s adversaries across the globe.
“Our administration has also taken action to protect and promote our first freedom, the freedom of religion and religious liberty for every American,” Pence said. “Last year President Trump chose the National Day of Prayer to announce new policies to protect the religious liberty of every American regardless of their creed. We’ve taken action to protect the conscience rights of doctors and nurses.”
Although the Trump policies Pence referenced on the National Day of Prayer didn’t explicitly contain any language seen to hamper LGBT rights, it directed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to draft further to ensure “religious freedom” is protected.
Sessions ended up issuing guidance that allows individuals and businesses to act in the name of religious freedom — often used as an exercise for anti-LGBT discrimination — without fear of government reprisal. Nowhere in the guidance is there a limiting principle assuring the right to free exercise of religion should be an excuse to engage in anti-LGBT discrimination.
The second policy Pence referenced is the establishment of the Conscience & Religious Freedom Division at the Department of Health & Human Services, which critics say allows medical practitioners to deny abortion-related services and treatment to LGBT people on religious grounds.
HHS followed up with a proposed rule change that allow medical practitioners to invoke a religious exemption to get out of offering abortion-related services and transition-related care for transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery. Other provisions condoning religious counseling were construed as allowing federal payments for widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy.
Pence himself is known for taking action in the name of “religious freedom” to enable anti-LGBT discrimination. As Indiana governor, Pence signed into law a “religious freedom” measure widely criticized for allowing individuals and businesses to refuse service to LGBT people. After an outcry from LGBT rights supporters and the business community, Pence was forced to sign a “fix” limiting the ability to discriminate under the law.
The vice president alluded to further actions in favor of “religious freedom,” predicting Brett Kavanaugh will soon “will soon be Justice Brett Kavanaugh” upon confirmation by the U.S. Senate and issue rulings in line with social conservative thought.
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a man of integrity with impeccable credentials and a proven judicial philosophy,” Pence said. “On the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, he wrote more than 300 opinions that reflect a strong record of support for limited government, religious liberty and our Second Amendment. He’s a conservative who will interpret the Constitution as written, and his record and career deserves the respect of every member of the United States Senate.”
The confirmation of Kavanaugh, which is opposed by progressive and LGBT rights groups, is being held up in the U.S. Senate after the emergence of allegations from Christine Blasey Ford he attempted to sexually assault her in 1982.
Alluding to the allegations without enumerating them, Pence said he and Trump are “confident that Senate Republicans will manage this confirmation properly with the utmost respect for all concerned.”
For these “religious freedom” actions and other efforts, Pence urged attendees at the Values Voter Summit to come out in support of Trump during the upcoming congressional mid-terms and to tell others “we’ve been fighting for the values that make this nation great.”
“With 45 days to go, my fellow conservatives, as you’d heard at this summit, now is the time for the sake of America to pray, to vote, to stand,” Pence said. “And I know you will. The other side is mobilized, and some say they’re motivated as never before. But I say we must match – in fact, I say we must surpass – the energy of the American left and their enthusiasm and passion. And if we do, we will win.”
Pence faced criticism from LGBT rights supporters by agreeing to attend the Values Voter Summit based on the anti-LGBT policy objectives the Family Research Council and the speakers that appeared on stage before and after him.
David Stacy, government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign, said speakers at the Values Voter Summit are known for expressing support for conversion therapy and condemned Pence for appearing with them.
“The practice of ‘conversion therapy’ is abuse and can be life-threatening, which is why a growing number of states are banning it,” Stacy said. “And the denigrating language they direct at LGBTQ people send a dangerous message — particularly to LGBTQ kids — about their equal dignity and worth. Once again, Mike Pence is making clear that he stands with many organizations and leaders who promote hate and fear. We know those are not true American values.”
Dundee welcomes first ever Pride American retail chain Target restored the censored LGBTI terms on their website following backlash. What happened?
People looking to buy a copy of the new book Trans Teen Survival Guide on the Target website this week were met with a censoring of LGBTI terms.
Customers who visited the pre-order page for the non-fiction book (released on 20 September) saw a series of asterisks in place of LGBTI terms like ‘transgender’ and ‘queer.’
‘Frank, friendly and funny, Trans Teen Survival Guide will leave ****** and nonbinary teens informed, empowered, and armed with all the tips, confidence and practical advice they need to navigate life as a trans teen,’ the book’s description at the time read.
Other books affected include Eric Rosswood and Kathleen Archambeau’s We Make It Better: The LGBTQ Community and their Positive Contributions to Society and Jack Halberstam’s Trans: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability. Backlash
Author Cáel Keegan brought this matter to Target’s attention after noticing his book was censored. Various publishers, especially university presses, also brought this issue to Target’s attention . Still, Target did not adequately address their concerns immediately.
‘Transgender’ and ‘queer’ were not the only words blacklisted. In an attempt to monitor offensive language, Target also censored the word ‘Nazi.’ Target’s response
The website has since been updated to include the previously retracted words. A spokesperson for Target blamed the issue on the website’s algorithm. This algorithm is intended to censor ‘profanity and other select words… to ensure a positive shopping experience.’
‘This was an oversight on our part, and they should be included,’ Target spokesperson Jenna Reck said in a statement. ‘We’re working to update our site with the descriptions that were provided to Target by the book publishers.’ Anything else?
Target has previously been lauded for their pro-LGBTI stances. For instance, last year they introduced a gender-neutral line of children’s clothing. Back in 2016, they also announced their intent to install since-stall restrooms in their stores.
Volunteers from Encircle hosted a booth at the Provo Pride Festival on Sept. 15 to share information about the resources Encircle provides for the LGBT community. (Lexie Flickinger) Organizations like Encircle, Understanding Sexuality Gender and Allyship, The Out Foundation and the Queer Meals share a common goal: to provide valuable resources to Provo’s LGBT community.
These organizations had information booths at the Provo Pride Festival on Sept. 15. The festival was made up of performers, artists, vendors and charitable organizations focused on empowering Provo’s LGBT community.
“Pride is a celebration and a place to feel visible and understood,” BYU student Eliza Crofts said. “I’m here because it’s sometimes hard for me to feel like I have a place.”
The Provo Prid e organization was founded over six years ago, according to Rebekah Haws, who has been working with the group for over four years. Haws said the organization’s founders had just left Salt Lake City’s annual Pride Festival and felt a need to start one in Utah County.
According to Haws, the founders thought many people didn’t realize LGBT individuals were all over the state, not just in Salt Lake City. Haws said Provo Pride does events year-round and focuses on creating family-friendly environments and building a supportive community in Utah County.
“We’re here, we’re happy, we have beautiful families just like you do, and we deserve to be seen and to be comfortable living our truths,” Haws said. “I think more love in the world is not a bad thing.”
Provo Pride has consistently seen a growth in attendance, vendors and in organizations every year since its beginning, according to Haws. Luann Hawker poses with her rainbow dog, Padme, at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Provo Pride booth. (Anne Wallace) The Out Foundation is a new nonprofit which focuses on providing scholarships to LGBT students at BYU.
“As an LGBTQ student at BYU, I think its safe to say that the experience is harder than the average student’s,” said John Valdez, the foundation’s treasurer. “If we can relieve a financial burden and take that stressor off, we believe that it will help students have one less thing to worry about.”
The Out Foundation also shares the stories of LGBT alumni on its website and strives to increase awareness and visibility of the LGBT community for current students.
Understanding Sexuality, Gender and Allyship is an unofficial BYU club started in 2010. It hosts events on Tuesdays and Thursdays focused on open and accepting discussion of issues facing BYU students who identify as LGBT, as well as creating a community and a place for students to feel safe and make friends.
“I’d really like to see people be more aware that we exist and that we’re trying to build something,” said Jacob Benfell, the club’s outreach co-chair.
Another significant Provo nonprofit is Queer Meals founded by Jerilyn Pool. Pool said she moved to Utah in 2016 to help the LGBT community after a tumultuous and hostile presidential election. Pool works out of her home to provide meals and housing for members of the community in crisis, distress or in need of a safe place.
Pool has also worked with local law enforcement to foster trust between the police and the community. She said her ultimate dream is to start her own gender-neutral housing center for homeless and transitory LGBT youth.
Encircle is another group working to help Provo’s LGBT community.
“Our mission isn’t to tell people who to be or what to do. We focus on getting people mentally healthy,” said Jordan Sgro, the chief program officer at Encircle.
Encircle does this by offering subsidized therapy, organizing support groups and hosting various activities every day of the week.
The ultimate goal of Encircle is to “bridge the gap between conservative communities and LGBTQ+ individuals,” Sgro said.
Tom Christofferson, the brother of Latter-day Saint apostle Elder D. Todd Christofferson, was a key part of Encircle’s founding, according to Sgro.
Sgro said the organization’s name comes from Tom Christofferson’s experience coming out to his family, which initially wasn’t well received. Things changed when Christofferson’s mother gathered her family together and said, “We encircle every part of our family with love.”
“Chances are everybody knows somebody who identifies as LGBTQ+. People need to understand that this group of individuals is at a high risk of suicide because of the messaging around them,” Sgro said. “It’s about saving lives.”
Crisis resources are available to those in need. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text CONNECT to 741741.
China Gay力: From Strength to Strength We moved to the music and sipped woozy mimosas, but it wasn’t all fun and games by any means. Indeed, Beijing’s first Drag Brunch blasted off successfully on Sep 16, serving not only as a chance for us to finally dust off our dancing shoes, but also standing as a testament to how united our community has become, and how fortunate we are as a result. Proceeds for the event went to the Beijing LGBT Center , a non-profit organization that has been working with the LGBT community in the capital since 2010. Here we catch up with two of the center’s staff, Echo and Sachi , to find out what’s been going on behind the scenes. A picture from last weekend’s Drag Brunch Echo is the frontrunner of the development squad. She manages a team of volunteers at the center who dream up and execute fundraising ideas. Aside from last weekend’s inaugural Drag Brunch, the team also recently worked on 9/9, the Sep 9 fundraising campaign, which Echo says is special in part because it is run by crowdfunding platform Tencent Charity Foundation (腾讯公益). “Last year was the first time for us, and we fundraised for three different project areas: LGBTQ+ social work, mental health, and transgender programs. Right now we have achieved the goals for the first two pledges, and the third program is still ongoing,” Echo explains.
For this year’s campaign, Echo says they aim to fundraise close to RMB 300,000, saying, “This program uses professional psychological and social work practices to provide services to gender and sexual minorities. We plan to continue expanding services such as mental health education, counseling, small group discussions, and mentorship programs in order to improve participants’ mental health and help them establish a healthy social support network.” An image from the Beijing LGBT Center’s 9/9 fundraising campaign Sachi is one of the program managers working on transgender initiatives at the center. She is also the host of a LGBT-related podcast called “不直 bù zhí ”(Bent). “Regarding the trans situation in China, there has been a very quick development,” she says. “There are lots of young trans activists coming out and wanting to do a lot. Of the trans hotline that was started in 2015, we can now really say it is ‘countrywide,’ as since July/August we are now collaborating with four organizations in other cities to reach more people.” Sachi also states that the hotline is now open seven days a week and emergency cases can be referred across cities, ensuring people get the help that they need. The hotline has processed more than 1,000 calls since its summer inception.
I asked them both about what they thought were the center’s biggest achievements over the past year. Echo is particularly excited about the counseling department in part because it now has the technology needed to offer online counseling, reaching more people no matter where they were in China. Sachi, meanwhile, is proud of the center’s capacity-building opportunities for Beijing’s growing pool of young local trans activists, who she describes as being highly passionate but in need of tools. Such tools include practical leadership training in management and other skills as well as specialized meetings. One such event included a recent medical health conference that brought together isolated surgeons performing gender reassignment surgeries from all around the country to discuss gender diversity. Medical health conference for doctors working with transgender patients The duo doesn’t shy away from the challenges involved in such work. “The pressure is much bigger now,” says Echo, adding, “Support from overseas is harder to get and because the LGBTQ+ community is not listed as one of the designated charitable areas, it also means that it is hard to get support inside the country.”
That is specifically in reference to the NGO law that came into effect last year that prohibits local NGOs from receiving money from organizations outside of China. They must also avoid "difficult dates" such as diplomatic summits when planning an event because police and other authorities are more likely to disrupt large gatherings during such occasions.
Echo laments the ambiguity of what is allowed and what is not, and the instability that such vague rules create. Because of this nebulous state of affairs, she and her LGBT Center cohorts have to be extremely careful, for fear of their social media posts being removed, or worse still, an event being canceled at the last minute. This can bring not only frustration but also impede event publicity, attendance, and therefore, awareness.
Sachi agrees that such hurdles also affect her work, before highlighting an equally troubling issue: discrimination from within and outside the LGBTQ+ community: “There is a lot of stigma too, with people only recognizing trans-men and trans-women, but not the whole spectrum of gender diversity." I ask, has the popularity of drag helped bolster the public’s understanding of gender diversity? In Echo’s eyes, it has, as it encouraged more people to challenge gender norms and experiment in a safe space, something that can only lead to greater understanding. A picture from last year’s capacity building training with trans activists And what of the future? “The media can be more open,” Echo says, before expressing her hopes about freer expression and depictions of gender diversity, because, "that way, more people can understand more about it.”
Sachi is hoping for more groups to emerge. She describes the capital’s trans community as small and short on resources but is also therefore tight-knit and highly supportive. She hopes more activists will join the community and allow it to grow. Sachi also dreams of holding more diversity training sessions for important stakeholders such as doctors, lawyers, and government officials. She says this would have a considerable ripple effect on other parts of society.
So what can we do to show our support? Coming to the affiliated events, not to mention paying a visit to the Beijing LGBT Center in Liufang , all, of course, makes a difference. More importantly, though, we should make sure to spread the word about the center’s work, events, and campaigns, so that more people have the opportunity to hear about and support them. One such opportunity will take place this coming Monday, Sep 24 at a Beijing LGBT Center event ( click here for full details ). This Mid-Autumn Festival outdoor picnic in Dongfeng International Sports Park is perfect for children, pets, and a great place to make friends in the community. Among the fun happenings will be six different competitions (think tug of war), along with chances to win prizes like vouchers to popular local pro-LGBT restaurants like Tube Station, The Local, Ganges Indian Restaurant, and Q Mex Taqueria. Bring your own snacks or drinks, or alternatively, buy drinks and food at the barbecue. Arrive at 2pm, and try not to dally because the games begin at 2.30pm, and you don’t want to miss the chance to win some of these prizes!
Photos courtesy of the Beijing LGBT Center, Uni You
Sesame Street / Youtube screen grab NEW YORK, September 21, 2018, ( LifeSiteNews ) – The series of breaking news stories at the LGBT-oriented The Advocate Magazine’s website says it all about the LGBT world’s push to normalize homosexuality through the appropriation of cultural icons: At 1:29 PM Tuesday, an Advocate headline blared: “‘ Sesame Street’ Writer: Bert and Ernie Are a ‘Loving Couple .’”
Two hours later, at 3:34, a follow-up story was headlined, “ Despite Writer’s Revelation, Sesame Street’ Denies Bert & Ernie Are Gay .”
Then at 4:58, less than an hour and a half later, the Advocate put the final nail in the homosexual Muppet rumor coffin: “‘ Sesame Street’: Bert and Ernie Are ‘Best Friends,’ Not Lovers .” In a photo illustrating the first piece, the two celebrity Muppets hug each other. In the next, they are pictured side-by-side. In the third — which delivered the gut-wrenching bad blow to the LGBT world — they are seated far apart enough on a couch that Elmo can squeeze in between them. Set up for disappointment
A former Sesame Street writer set up the LGBT world for disappointment when he said he based the characters of Muppet live-in buddies Bert and Ernie on his own homosexual relationship.
Mark Saltzman wrote scripts and songs for Sesame Street from 1985 to 1998, and told Queerty* magazine Sunday he patterned Bert on his live-in long-term lover, film editor Arnold Glassman, and Ernie on himself.
But while Saltzman’s admission evoked cries of vindication from the LGBT movement that the longstanding rumors were true, Sesame Street Workshop and Muppet creator Frank Oz swiftly denied that Bert and Ernie are “gay.”
“I created Bert. I know what and who he is,” tweeted Oz , the actor and puppeteer who, along with the late Jim Henson, co-created many Muppet characters, and who played Bert to Henson’s Ernie.
And Oz dismissed a Twitter observation that “characters often evolve beyond their creators intentions, though” with: “Oh come on….”
In the ensuing heated Twitter discussion, Oz felt the need to clarify further: “When I wrote “They’re not, of course”, did you think I was saying something like, ‘They’re straight like everyone else.’? What I was actually saying was ‘They’re not, of course. Jim [Henson] and I never created them to be gay’. Just a misunderstanding. Thanks for for [sic] the discussion.” When I wrote “They’re not, of course”, did you think I was saying something like, "They’re straight like everyone else.” ? What I was actually saying was “They’re not, of course. Jim and I never created them to be gay”. Just a misunderstanding. Thanks for for the discussion. https://t.co/148yb3BuUk — Frank Oz (@TheFrankOzJam) September 19, 2018 Likewise, Sesame Workshop countered Saltzman’s revelations by tweeting that Bert and Ernie are “puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.” That tweet appears to have been deleted . But they have to be ‘gay’!
A 4th article — a commentary — appeared on The Advocate website the following day: The Problem With Saying Bert and Ernie Are Not Gay , lamenting assertions from Oz and Sesame Street that the famous Muppets do not suffer from same-sex attraction. By repeatedly insisting their characters are not gay, like Liberace publicists of yesteryear, Sesame Workshop has inadvertently fallen into these culture wars of politicizing LGBTQ inclusion. This is perhaps why the organization deleted its remarks from Twitter and replaced them with another with more carefully worded language . Sesame Street went from being rainbow heroes to straight zeros in the space of a single day, and now find themselves being accused of being on the politically incorrect side of the culture wars. Even Abe Lincoln was ‘gay’
Over the years, the LGBT world has tried to paint not only puppets but many historical figures as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian,’ based solely on wishful thinking and flimsy evidence. The goal is the normalization of homosexuality.
The Advocate commentary cites Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet which claims many of the celebrities from Hollywood’s glory days were ‘gay.’
The FBI’s famous first director, J. Edgar Hoover, was popularly portrayed as not only homosexual but as an occasional drag queen.
And an entire book — The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln — devotes 343 pages to outing President Abraham Lincoln as a closeted ‘gay.’
Homosexual writers have asserted that the Old Testament’s David and Jonathan were homosexual lovers
And Fr. James Martin, SJ, an outspoken proponent of the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism within the Catholic Church famously sent out a Tweet last year, saying, “Some saints were probably gay or lesbian. Which ones? Hard, even impossible, to say. But if a certain percentage of people are gay or lesbian, then some are surely among the Communion of Saints.” Some saints were probably gay or lesbian. Which ones? Hard, even impossible, to say. But if a certain percentage of people are gay or lesbian, then some are surely among the Communion of Saints. From the Revised and Expanded edition of "Building a Bridge": https://t.co/L5yEGibjOd pic.twitter.com/WKCJxYCtjj — James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 6, 2018 LGBT world in first stage of grief: Denial
The Advocate commentary concluded: There is nothing strange about coming to the conclusion that Bert and Ernie might be a gay couple. In fact, it’s logical. They are two male characters who have lived together and felt comfortable bathing in front of each other for decades. Connect the dots. What is strange are the repeated denials, which tap into a sad history of erasure and suggest a discomfort with having queer characters in children’s entertainment. The truth is that Bert and Ernie are gay, because that is how they have been embraced by LGBTQ culture. And no amount of press releases or denials will change that. For now, the LGBT world appears locked in the first of the five stages of grief : Denial. Expect ‘Anger to erupt any day now.
In 1987, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) raised eyebrows after recognizing the Lesbian/Gay Student Union (LGSU) as an official campus organization, to which a commuter representative of USG responded: “By recognizing the LGSU, [USG] is basically sanctioning a group that is not morally justifiable.”
Since then, the LGBT community on campus has seen it all; from bigotry to open support, the University finally dedicated its LGBT Center in 2010. The Center stands not only as an educational resource and safe space but as a bastion of progress and the school’s dedication to inclusion.
The LGBT Center, located in the Tinkham Veale University Center (TVUC), provides several services for the campus community. On its website, it is described as providing “an inviting home,” where its members and other students can have open dialogues through educational programs and facilitated conversation groups, which are run by the Center’s staff.
“Many student organizations, including QGrad, Spectrum and Theta Pi Sigma, also collaborate with the LGBT Center to put on events and programming or simply to use the Center for their meetings,” said the LGBT Center Director Liz Roccoforte and Assistant Director AmariYah Israel.
With a television, desk space, couch and other amenities, the Center is also a relaxing place where students can get together and study or have casual conversations. Additionally, the Center offers a library with resources such as books, periodicals and brochures that are focused on LGBT topics. Perhaps above all else, though, they want to ensure that the Center acts as “a supportive, fun and engaging space where they can bring their full self and be accepted and valued.”
While the Center’s objectives have stayed largely the same—to provide support for the LGBTQIA+ community—Roccoforte and Israel announced the Center’s first-ever strategic plan last year and have been working on it since.
“The plan involves stakeholders from across campus, including alumni and community members working together to shape the future of the LGBT Center,” they said, “building on its successes and identifying places to improve our service to the campus community.”
When asked as to how the campus community can further increase the inclusivity of the Center, Israel and Roccoforte touched on the need for policies and procedures that will advocate transgender students.
“We are working to ensure surveys or forms that students fill out have options for gender beyond [male or female], and these options should be consistent across forms and surveys,” they explained.
Other suggestions the Center received to broaden inclusivity efforts include making sure that there are gender-inclusive bathrooms throughout most buildings on campus and ensuring that professors refer to students by their correct pronouns, both of which would honor the University’s commitment to supporting non-binary students.
This is not to undermine the efforts that CWRU has already instated; Roccoforte and Israel cited various faculty and staff members’ support of students in the community, including President Barbara Snyder’s attendance to LGBTQIA+ events such as the Lavender Graduation. The Center’s staff also gave the student community praise for perpetuating inclusivity.
“The students at CWRU are passionate, outspoken and vibrant,” they said. “They are the heart and soul of the LGBT Center and we want them to keep doing everything that they’ve done—from challenging our assumptions, to pushing forward initiatives, to filling the space with dynamic conversation—we are grateful.”
The Center will be holding several events in the near future. Its first ever Professionals with Pride: Northeast Ohio LGBTQIA+ Collegiate Career Fair will take place on Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is open to everyone. The LGBT Center is also working on a collaborative program called Found Families.
“Found Families exists to bring together people in the LGBTQ+ community of many ages, religions, socioeconomic statuses, races, everything you can think of,” said Roccoforte and Israel. “We want people to be able to be their whole selves while learning with and from each other, offering support through everyday life.”
The next LGBT Center Found Families meeting will be on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 1 to 3 p.m. in its TVUC office.
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