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Big update, and mostly LGBT related, but I'm trying to catch up on my newsfeeds, and this was what I had.  Not all though, so read on:

Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement, probably for the Rio Olympics.  My mom totally called this.

A hate group leader went to a school who was ready for them.  They all grabbed tickets to his talk just to walk out on him and humiliate him.

Some kind of sorcery allows these jeans to "come out" the more you wear them:

A new bit of Papyrus tells that Jesus may have had a wife.  I'm sure there will be all kinds of gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, but I really don't think it makes much difference (except maybe to the Catholics who use that as part of the reason priests can't marry).

A PA lawmaker will introduce legislation to allow same-sex divorce, which is actually a good thing.  Right now, married couples (From other states, obviously), that move to Pa, have no way of ever divorcing, usually without moving back to where they got married for years of residency, which is usually not really an option.

A gay Scoutmaster in Seattle, now has the support of the city council and mayor, which is actually kind of a big deal.  He's continuing to lead the Troop (although he's on vacation at the moment, with his husband) and their Chartering Partner couldn't be happier with him, he's the reason they even have a Troop.

And the BSA "alternative," Trail Life?  Yeah, they're not only discriminating against gays, but also Jews.

I didn't talk about the Mozilla flap, because if you noticed, the boycott wasn't organized by the glitterati (Dan Savage, Andrew Sullivan, Evan Wolfson, Joe Jervis, Andy Towle, Michelangelo Singorelli, Box Turtle Bulletin, etc), but rather by straight supporters.  Do I think he should have resigned, probably, especially since the facts that surfaced made so many of his employees distinctly uncomfortable.  But just remember, when the gays and our allies call for boycotts, it's fascism.  When the far-right does, it's good and apple pie and Jesus and America!

The other big story is the discriminatory bill in Mississippi.  It's the same bill as what was defeated in Arizona, we just really didn't have a chance of winning in Mississippi.  Basically, segregation has returned, but this time instead of based on race, it's based on perceived sexual orientation.  I can be denied by any business in Mississippi, and all they have to do is claim it would violate their religion to serve me.

And just as a reminder, although sadly this happened here in Pittsburgh, gay men can't donate blood, or organs apparently.  Because you know, we all have AIDS according to the government, even though everything is tested and anyone can have HIV/AIDS.

A new book is due out about the lives of gay steelworkers, although sadly in Indiana, not Pittsburgh.

Okay, that's enough for this depressing update.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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One of my yearly posts, just remember, if you can't laugh with your religion, you're doing it wrong.

 

Happy Easter everyone!

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Alright, fairly big update, let's see what we have today.

A heartwarming story from Sweden, a man facing deportation was saved by the other passengers on the plane, who refused to buckle their seatbelts.

Here's the trailer for the spiritual sequel to "Garden State:"

It's nice when people come around to support marriage equality, it just sucks that they can't figure out how to tap into their own empathy before it personally affects them.

The case before the Supreme Court with Hobby Lobby...is kind of a crock of shit.  They are suing to not provide birth control to their employees...the same birth control they invest in...so yeah, just trying to regulate to their own standard of morality and misogyny.

The Supreme Court also declined to hear a case about a photographer refusing to photograph a same-sex wedding.  Again: if you operate a public business, you cannot discriminate.  Just like you can't have a sign that says you won't serve African Americans, women or the Irish, you can't refuse to serve the LGBT community.  Not a difficult concept.  When you open a public business, you are agreeing to play by the rules of dignity and equality that makes our society function.

The viral campaign for the next X-Men movie is gearing up.  And here's the final trailer:

The stabbings at Franklin Regional are sad from all angles.  A lot of people online jumped to criticize the student who took a selfie from the hospital after pulling the fire alarm that is credited with saving lives.  The Good Men Project and Slog cover it very well, by calling that student the hero that he is.

Honey Maid had an ad showing interracial and gay couples, and they got some hate-mail.  Here is what they did with it:

Just a reminder, if their ideas aren't good enough to win, the far-right will make sure that you can't vote.

And here is the new trailer for Season 2 of "Orange of the New Black:"

A tongue-in-cheek list why it's awesome for straight men to be friends with gay guys.

That's it for now, have a great one!

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Alright, let's see what we have today.  First up, there is an ATM in NYC that dispenses cupcakes!

A new trailer is out for the next X-Men movie:

Here's a cool movie about...movie trailers.

When I talk about fighting for gay youth rights, (especially in the BSA so they have a place they feel welcomed and accepted), this is one of the reasons why.  Have some tissues.

A theory proposed by Alan Turing has been proven correct!  It's called Morphogensis and (if I understand it) is that the shape of organisms is in our DNA.

And the new trailer for Disney's Maleficent:

The Mozilla Foundation's new president supported Prop 8 in California, and while the foundation is trying to backpedal, outrage has taken over and developers are pulling out.

There is a church in Harlem that usually posts homophobic signs on their marquee, usually about stoning gays.  And they got spray painted, but now they're claiming gays are the bullies.

The next American Horror Story has been confirmed as Freak Show.  Some of the cast has been announced here.

Earlier this week, World Vision (a charity) announced that they would not have a problem hiring legally married gay couples.  The right lost their shit, and less than two days later, they've reversed course, because it's more important to hate the gays than help starving children around the world, or something like that.

That's it for now, have a great one!

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Alright, fun update today.

You may have seen the video of strangers kissing.  This is a much better version:

 

First up, a GOP lobbyist was trying to write a bill making it illegal for gay men to play in the NFL, specifically targeting Michael Sam.

And a Republican from South Dakota thinks business should be able to refuse to serve gays...and racial minorities.  While many Republicans feel that way, they aren't dumb enough to add the second part to the sentence and expose their bigotry.

Coco Peru plays the new Grand Theft Auto, and her commentary is hilarious:

A bar in South Carolina put up a sign saying no conceal weapons.  Funny, but insulting.  But I like it.

An asshole teacher in West Virginia was suspended after mocking the Gay-Straight Alliance in his school on Facebook.

Randy Rainbow does a great song dedicated to "Adel Dazeem:"

It's weird to think that a Catholic website is giving away guns to entice more people to join.  But hey, maybe Jesus would have wanted us to have semi-automatic guns. 

A man looked at the birds on the wires outside his home and translated it into music, and it's beautiful:

Robbie Roger's team captain made sure to include him in the locker room message, and it's awesome:

The St. Patrick's Day Parade has for years not allowed LGBT groups to march.  In response this year, Sam Adams, Guinness and Heineken all pulled their sponsorships.  The leader of the hate-group, The Catholic League, decided he wanted to test it and applied to march in the NYC Pride parade.  He was granted a space, but like every other group, is required to attend a training session about safety and logistics, which he is now claiming is "gay training" and refusing to attend but blaming it on the gays.  Sigh.

That's it for now, have a great one!

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So Pope Francis, in a new interview, said that he would be open, in certain circumstances, to civil unions.

The way it was worded, I actually don't know if he was specifically talking about same-sex couples.  But even if he was, he framed it in such a way that was insulting to begin with:

“Marriage is between a man and a woman. Secular states want to justify civil unions to regulate cohabitations, mainly to resolve issues involving their finances, such as health assistance. We need to look at different cases and evaluate them.”

The question was posed about civil unions, not same-sex marriage, so it really may or may not be about same-sex couples, I think it's hard to tell either way.

But if it was about same-sex couples, Pope Francis is not recognizing that same-sex couples can be in love.  He is stating he only sees our relationships as means to tax breaks and joint health insurance.  Like our relationships aren't real or don't matter.

And that's hurtful.  And bullshit.

We're not that different, it's not a hard concept to understand two men or two women in love with each other.

Is it progress?  I suppose it is, though.  Just as soon as January, the Vatican denied the Pope would ever be in favor of same-sex civil unions.  So again, yes, it is some progress, but we shouldn't have to beg and scrape for the crumbs that get thrown our way.

And of course, arch-homophobe Cardinal Dolan said in an interview that we're twisting the Pope's words (and many people may be, like I said, I'm still not convinced he wasn't talking about civil unions for heterosexual couples) and Francis is really not in favor or any recognition, and it would make him feel uncomfortable.

Note to self: don't invite Cardinal Dolan to my future wedding, wouldn't want him to feel icky.

And of course, Dan Savage hits it on the head.  It's a long quote, but it's worth it:

Would gay people be willing to accept civil unions in place of marriage? Would we be willing to compromise with conservative Christians? Would gay people be willing to settle for all the same rights, responsibilities, and protections of marriage right now in exchange for leaving marriage for opposite-sex couples? I told my friend we would.

In 1985.

When gay men were dying by the tens of thousands at the height of the AIDS crisis—when gay men were being dragged out of the hospital rooms of their dying partners by homophobic family members, when gay men were being barred from the funerals of their deceased partners, when gay men were being evicted from their homes after the deaths of their partners (many evicted gay men were sick and dying themselves)—conservative Christians could've stepped in then and said, "This is wrong. Whatever we believe about homosexual acts, brutalizing people like this is shockingly immoral and deeply un-Christian. Clearly there needs to be some sort of legal framework to protect people in loving, committed, stable same-sex relationships from these appalling cruelties."

Conservative Christians did no such thing. They celebrated AIDS, they welcomed the plague, they said it was God's judgement and they insisted that gay people deserved this pain and suffering—those of us who were sick and dying; those who were being dragged, barred, and evicted; those of us who were watching our friends and lovers die—and that it was only a taste of the pain and suffering that we would face in hell after our deaths.

The way gay people were treated at the height of the AIDS crisis made the importance of marriage rights—the importance of being able to declare your own next-of-kin—scaldingly apparent. Some of the most impassioned fighters for marriage equality, like Andrew Sullivan, cite what they witnessed in AIDS wards as their primary motivation. If Christians had looked at the suffering of gay men in AIDS wards in 1985 said, "The lives, loves, and rights of these couples must be protected," and if conservative Christians had proposed civil unions then and gotten a civil unions statute signed into law by the conservative Christian president they helped elect, that might've halted the push for marriage equality before it could even get off the ground.

But now that we're winning marriage—now that victory is assured—the pope is willing to maybe think about supporting some type of civil union scheme. I'll say to the pope what I said to my evangelical Christian pal: that fucking ship has fucking sailed. What the pope is saying to gay people in 2014 is this: "Okay, now that you're winning marriage, here's an idea: give marriage back and we will give you civil unions... which we once opposed with the same intensity and in the same apocalyptic terms that we oppose marriage today. Is it a deal?"

No deal, Francis.

All my best,

Mike

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I'm Lebanese, and from most outside perspective, Beirut (the capital city), is a partially-Westernized, big city, in the middle of a volatile part of the world.  I was trying to convince my boss of this, and then of course they went and had two car bombs the next week.  Stable, it may not be, but from pictures I've seen, it's a beautiful city on the Mediterranean.

Lebanon, also has a large LGBT community, and as far as that part of the world goes, they have more freedoms than most.  Recently, the Lebanese court ruled that homosexuality is not a crime:

The court ruled that homosexual relationships do not “contradict the laws of nature” and therefore cannot be considered a crime....The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.

It's a step forward, and it's great to see in Lebanon, of all places, so hopefully it is thinking that will continue throughout all the corners of the world.  You can read more about the court ruling at the Good Men Project.

All my best,

Mike

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Been a while since I've written about the BSA, so I wanted to take a minute and discuss the current state of things.

January 1 the new policy went into affect, allowing openly gay, lesbian and bisexual youth to join (girls are able to join Venturing at age 14).  And of course, the sky has not fallen.  From all views, it has been a total non-issue, just like we kind of figured it would be.

Now, the policy itself is hypocritical, since it tells youth that it's okay that they're gay (or bi), but once they become an adult, 'we don't want you anymore.'

And it also creates the problems, that in the above mentioned Venturing program, youth is defined as a member under the age of 21.  Meaning a gay Scout can earn his Eagle in a Troop, be forbidden from being an adult volunteer, but could at the same time have three more years in a Crew as a youth member.

And we knew this going into it.  My best guess is that national knew it too, and sees it as an easy out.  It's an easy fix, and once enough of the country realizes how crazy and two-faced this policy is, it's a quick and easy fix.  Add to that, the fact that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is the new President, considering he is man who implemented the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, I don't think we're far out from full equality.

And this is not hypothetical.  A youth in Maryland, Pascal Tessier, became the first (known) openly gay Eagle Scout under the new policy in February.  And while this was the more important part of the change, it's still incredibly important to all full equality: otherwise we're telling LGB youth that they're broken and they're not worthy, and we don't give them role models to look up to.  And companies will continue to pull back funding, such as Walt Disney World, which will not donate to the BSA until the policy is fully inclusive.

Scouts for Equality continues their great work, and I'm happy to keep supporting and working with them behind the scenes:

Here in Pittsburgh, I volunteered last year at MountainFest II after enough people begged me to.  Even though I was uncomfortable, it was nice to be back at camp, and most of the camp volunteers are freaking awesome and I was happy to see them again.

I'm also working with the Camp Staff Alumni Association, which is a separate non-profit, so while I can't be a registered member of the BSA, I can still volunteer through the CSAA.

And I know this policy will change, and probably faster than I imagine.

All my best,

Mike

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Alright, let's see what we have today.  First up, over the weekend Sam Adams and Heineken both pulled out of South Boston's iconic St. Patrick's day parade, due to the organizers continued insistence that no LGBT groups may march.  Guinness has not, and so many bars, including the Stonewall Inn are now boycotting the Irish beer.

Pentatonix is back with a version of "Say Something"

For all the Star Wars fans out there, this is kind of awesome, Sarlacc decals to put in your toilet bowl.

The Good Men Project has a great article about what it's like to get engaged more that once: once when you're in love, and once when it's legal.

HBO's new movie, "The Normal Heart" has a new trailer, and holy crap:

Oh People of Public Transit, it's funny and sad because it's true.

The Episcopal Church of Pittsburgh went through a long legal battle over parishes leaving and property rights, now it looks like Virginia is doing the same.  But the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

That's it for now, have a great one!

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For those unaware, the LGBT community is great at commandeering technology.  Case in point, the myriad of hook-up apps available for smartphones.  The most well known one is grindr, and a new comedy video features women reading real messages from the app.  Warning, not safe for work, but funny (and a bit sad):

All my best,

Mike

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