#LGBTQ

Céline Dion Collaborates On New Gender Neutral Fashions For Kids

Céline Dion has collaborated with fashion brand NUNUNU to develop a new gender neutral line of children’s clothing.

The concept is to allow children to find their own personal style rather than be boxed into a traditional pink vs blue mindset.

Asserting that “fashion builds concepts deep within our minds,” the company says the new line (titled CELINUNUNU) “aims to free the forces of creativity and imagination in children, nurturing equality and flexibility of thought that enable kids to fully embrace who they are.”

And speaking of ‘embracing who they are,’ the new ad spot for the fashion line casts Céline as a badass binary-busting ninja.

In the video, we see the “My Heart Will Go On” singer enter what appears to be a gender-segregated maternity ward.

Celine provides voiceover narration for the spot: 

“Our children. They are not really our children. as we are all just links in a never-ending chain that is life. For us, they are everything. But in reality, we are only a fraction of their universe. We miss the past. They dream of tomorrow. We may thrust them forward into the future. But the course will always be theirs to choose.”

Reaching into her bag, she finds black glitter confetti (of course) and blows it across the room transforming the ward into a gender-neutral space. The children are suddenly decked out in bold black and white, non-gendered fashions.

Céline explained to PEOPLE that the new line “lets children choose outside stereotypes and norms so they can bring from within their own tastes and preferences.” 

“We help them feel free, creative, inspired, respectful of one another and happy in the world,” she adds.

With that in mind, the line offers ‘fashion-forward’ looks utilizing bold prints (alphabets, stars, plus signs) in a palette of black, white, yellow and denim. The plus sign is meant as a symbol of equality.

Most of the clothing is priced between $50 and $100, although there is a $290 leather jacket available for your 3-year-old to grow out of in a few months.

Back in the maternity ward, though, security has shown up and our heroine attempts to escape. But, curses, she’s felled by a flying tackle.

In a last ditch effort, she attempts to play the celeb card as she’s cuffed and being taken away: “Guys, relax, easy - I’m Céline Dion.”

But, alas, to no avail. The cop replies, “Yeah, girl, and I’m Beyonce.”

Watch the ad spot below. You can check out the new non-binary children’s line on celinununu.com.

 

 

(h/t People)

Orlando Man Claims Uber Driver Requested Sex Act In Exchange For Free Ride

They say you should tip your driver, but this goes a bit far.

Orlando resident Matthew Marston was just trying to get to work early Monday morning when he fired up Uber on his phone and ordered a ride.

What he wasn’t prepared for, though, was the text message he received from the driver once his fare was accepted.

According to local NBC affiliate WESH, the Uber driver reportedly sent Marston a message which read, “Hey, I’ll give you a free ride if you let me (commit a sexual act)” 

Marston was stunned, telling WESH, “I was shocked. It felt uncomfortable.”

Even though it was 3AM in the morning, Marston canceled the ride. But Uber slapped him with a $5 cancellation fine. 

He admits he had to think twice before ordering a new Uber, but he had to get to work, so he tuned up the app once again. This time with no complications.

Marston says he tried to get in touch with Uber, but hasn’t been able to reach anyone from the freelance transit company.

Bob Hazen of WESH called the phone number for the driver but the call went straight to voicemail.

Hazen did speak with an Uber spokesman who said they were aware of the incident and investigating. They also relayed that Marston’s $5 had been refunded.

Uber told WESH that the company was looking into the possibility of whether another person could have accessed the account and sent the offending text.

(h/t WESH)

Out Magazine Releases Their 100 LGBTQ Influencers of 2018!

Out Magazine Releases Their 100 LGBTQ Influencers of 2018!


Billy Porter Is The Performer Of The Year!

One of my favorite LGBTQ publications, Out Magazine, released their yearly list of their top 100 influential members of our community. Many times I have strongly questioned with their decisions on who to highlight, but today I am completely impressed by their collective decision to include more than YouTube personalities, hot white guys, and celebrities in 2018. Now, we are graced with likeable and colorful characters who certainly deserve the recognition and applause from our community.


Topping the list with Performance of the Year is Billy Porter in Pose. Literally everyone should be giving Porter a standing ovation due to his raw character of Pray Tell, an emcee to the New York ball scene. His storyline includes losing a love to HIV while dealing with the news of his own infection, and that of his friends. In general, Pose is a groundbreaking series which should be recognized nationally as perhaps the greatest LGBTQ television series for a particular urban niche within our community. The love for Pose was well received by Out: Creator Ryan Murphy, Actresses Indya Moore, Mj Rodriguez, Dominque Jackson, and Director+Adviser Janet Mock (who I believe is sole reason the series saw much success) are also honored.


Newsmaker of the Year went to Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting turned Activist, who continues to interrogate NRA advocates. The *new* Queer Eye, Fab 5 (Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van Ness) earn the title of Entertainers of the Year. A Musician who I haven’t heard of, Sophie, scored big as Artist of the Year. Thankfully an easy Google search gave me her website. ABC Reporter, Karl Schmid, is recognized after revealing he is HIV-Positive, while Cynthia Nixon AKA Miranda from Sex and the City, received Hero of the Year after her failed race for Governor of New York. World of Wonder’s moguls: Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, gain the title of Media Pioneers, rightfully so. Rupaul’s Drag Race has drag queens in mainstream media.Llike, small town nowhere has drag race parties. How mind blowingly awesome is that?


My favorite stand out of the crowd is Anthony Rapp. If you don’t know Rapp from his acting credits (RENT, Road Trip) then you should definitely know him as the person to publicly come forward with allegations of child sexual abuse at the hands of infamous Kevin Spacey. Rapp debatably incorporated the LGBTQ community within the #MeToo movement and it’s been downhill for any sexual predator since. There are still dominoes waiting to fall…


Other honorees include Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon, RuPaul’s Drag Race girls Peppermint and Aquaria, Will and Grace Executive Producer (and smokeshow!) Max Mutchnick, and Comedian Wanda Sykes. But of course, that’s only the beginning of the list of influential community members. To see the full list of community activists, artists, medical professionals, students, and so much more, head here!

Joey Suarez Doesn't Mind 'Dancing By Myself' To The Top

EDM/Pop musician Joey Suarez recently hit #5 on the UK Upfront Club Chart with a remix of his club favorite, “Dancing By Myself.” 

The song, remixed by chart-topping UK-based HausUnited, puts him in the same chart neighborhood as superstars Calvin Harris and Sam Smith.

Suarez says the song is about “the feeling of being alone at a club, content with the idea that you are now alone.”

“The song grows and changes a lot like our emotions do when we are heart broken,” he explains. “With that said, I hope this song finds those who feel alone and are trying to dance away their troubles.”

The young musician has never worried about dancing to his own beat.

A survivor of sexual abuse by his grandfather at a young age, Suarez spent years diving into his music as he hid that secret. 

“Music is responsible for saving my life,” shared the handsome artist in an interview with I’m From Driftwood.

As music and performing became more and more important in his life, he decided he was done with exiling a part of himself.

Most musicians choose to hide their sexuality at the beginning of their career for fear of rejection, but Suarez consciously decided to flaunt it. 

“I was about 14 when I decided secrets weren't worth it,” he says. “From then on, I vowed never to lie and never to hide who I was from anyone and most of all myself.”

Fans might be surprised to learn the artist now climbing the EDM/dance charts spent over 10+ years studying classical vocal training. But the strict, regimented approach to classical music wasn’t going to work for an artist who needed to fully express himself.

In an interview with FocusMidTenn,   he was “so sick of getting criticized in choirs for being ‘too loud’ or ‘not blending’” that he shifted his focus to other kinds of music and artist outlets. 

“Suddenly, all the constrictions and criticisms went out the window and I could freely explore my inner urges and talents,” he says.

His first two singles, “High in the Sky” and “Love Me Back” have garnered over 200,000 streams collectively on Spotify. A feat not easy for an independent LGBT musician. 

He is currently in the studio writing and recording more songs for an upcoming project.

Check out Suarez’s “Dancing By Myself” below.

For more info, head over to his official website here, and follow him on Instagram here.

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by NEW MUSIC VIDEO! (@joeywsuarez) on

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#9 on the commercial UK POP CHARTS! New music in the making!!! :D

A post shared by NEW MUSIC VIDEO! (@joeywsuarez) on

 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My new music video is on @revrytv! Who’s seen it!? Picture by @birdlambrophotography

A post shared by NEW MUSIC VIDEO! (@joeywsuarez) on

 

(lead photo: Richard Gasparro)

(h/t FocusMidTenn)

Annual Hate Crimes Report Shows 3rd Consecutive Increase In Bias Crimes

Just weeks after a lone gunman entered a Pittsburgh synagogue killing 11 people and wounding 6 more, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has released its annual report on hate crimes in America.

And the news isn’t good.

A hate crime is defined by the FBI as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

The FBI says hate crime incidents surged in 2017 by 17 percent. That is the largest increase since 2001 when the 9/11 attacks gave way to a big jump in violence aimed at Arab Americans and Muslim Americans.

There were 7,175 hate crimes reported in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016.

The year was the third consecutive annual increase.

Now, let me think, what happened about three years ago that would fuel ethnic/religious rage?

It was in 2015 that Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign with a speech trashing Mexican immigrants. He has publicly sided with white nationalists and neo-nazis who rallied in Virginia; railed about African American football players for kneeling during the national anthem; and demonized the Central American migrant caravan of asylum seekers as an “invasion.”

While 1,303 of the reported incidents in 2017 were driven by bias regarding sexual orientation, the vast majority - 4,832 incidents - involved animus due to race or ethnicity.

Almost half of those reports involved African Americans, and anti-Latino bias was found in 11% of hate crimes in 2017.

Religious bias was responsible for the second largest segment of hate crimes with 1,679 reports of religion-motivated incidents.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes saw a small decline (273 in 2017 versus 314 in 2016), but historically speaking that’s still very high.

The annual report shows there were 131 hate crimes related to gender identity, barely edging out incidents regarding bias based on disability.

The category with the fewest occurrences were hate crimes motivated by gender (53).

(h/t Voice of America)

Michael Henry Spoofs The Power Of The Beard

Comedian Michael Henry loves to hold up his magic mirror to the gay community to show us how ridiculous we can sometimes be.

In his new video short, “Wow, You Have a Beard,”  Henry bumps into his buddy Daniel (played by Clint Keller) and is immediately aware that Daniel is somehow ‘different.’

Could it be the new wardrobe? (No.)

Maybe the new Pilates workout routine? (No.)

Perhaps it’s the peace Daniel’s found from meditating? (No.)

Henry zeroes in on the issue: Daniel’s new manly facial hair. 

Henry immediately feels betrayed: “I thought you were one of us - I thought you were femme!”

Clutching his pearls, Daniel assures Henry he’s still a member of the bottom bunk club.

But it's too late. 

As Henry points out, “They’ve already found you - the gay bottom mafia!” Cut to a shot scanning the park with several gay men (“the hungry, hungry bottoms”) in beckoning positions.

“They can smell your exhuming testosterone now,” says Henry.

Even though Daniel doesn’t think he’s that “masc,” Henry quickly runs down the checklist: hairy chest, deep voice and an ability to curse like a sailor.

Check, check and check!

Worse yet, the ‘TopFinder’ app has found Daniel (“Top located - has beard!”).

Be that as it may, Daniel is flummoxed by his situation. 

“What am I to do?,” asks Daniel. “I can’t top all of these men, I have errands to run.”

While Daniel is amazed a beard could hold so much virile power, Henry explains, “It’s your entire sexual persona now - you’re straight-passing.”

How could this be? Daniel is a proud bottom, a Bravo TV watcher, and a ballet instructor.

Finally, though, Daniel does find the one way to defuse his new macho status.

Hit the play button below to find out how Daniel gets out of this hirsute headache.

Henry does raise a good question (in his lighthearted way) about how gay men label and identify based on choices like dress and grooming. 

Do beards really make us more appealing? And do gay men assume fur automatically makes us more ‘masculine?’

Let us know what you think in the comments. You can find more of our coverage of funnyman Michael Henry here.

 

(h/t NewNowNext)

LGBTQ Migrants Who Seek Freedoms Encounter Discrimination Among Others

A caravan with close to 80 LGBTQ individuals arrived in Tijuana, Baja California on Sunday only to be welcomed by opposition from the residents of the area. The caravan is comprised of people who separated from the main caravan of Central American migrants because of discrimination among the other travelers reports NBC.

Loly Mendez, a 28-year-old trans woman from El Salvador shared her experience:

In my country there is violence, a lack of work and opportunities. In the caravan there is also violence — against the LGBTQ community.

I am going to a country where I know I will achieve my dreams.

The group has traveled more than 1,000 miles, many of those miles have been on foot, others hitching rides on trucks, buses, or any vehicle they can. Many will charge a small fee to transport migrant groups, but the price goes up for the LGBTQ. They have even been kicked out mid-ride by transporters.

Lady Perez, a 23-year-old from Honduras said:

In our country the rights of the LGBTQ community are not respected, and anti-social groups take advantage of that. They have denigrated us. Supposedly you're emigrating from your country because of the violence, the discrimination, the homophobia, and it turns out that in the very caravan you face this kind of violence.

Those LGBTQ individuals who joined the separate caravan wanted safety in numbers since they were being threatened and ridiculed since they left their homelands. Those who arrived to Tijuana are staying in an Airbnb that is being financed by a group of unnamed American lawyers as you will see in the video below captured by journalist Jorge Nieto. In the video you can witness residents of the Playas de Tijuana area opposing the group of LGBTQ individuals for fear that they will be persecuted and bring more issues to the area.

The neighborhood association made a Spanish public post on Facebook reading. Translation of the statement reads:

We spoke with Efrén González, coordinator of human rights and César Mejia, leader of the LGBT community, members of the migrant caravan, commenting that they were guided and supported by US lawyers to solve their immigration status, they estimate that their stay will be one week in the house they rented on Olas Altas street. They will be presenting themselves 15 people at a time to the United States border to resolve their immigration status, there are 77 people, are organized as follows; CDH staff supports them to make their food purchases, they will avoid walking around the streets, talking loudly, avoid making noise at night. They were warned that the area is patrolled, that there is insecurity, that they avoid being confused. We agree that respect should prevail, since this section is continually affected by crime and we do not want both them and us to be harmed.

César first, apologizes because he asserts that he was upset when he was approached by some neighbors and considers that if he does not manage to resolve his issue in a week they will look for a shelter. Neighbors, we ask for tolerance, and tomorrow I will seek to speak with the Delegate to give us security given the conditions of the section.

 

 

José Martínez, a resident of Playas de Tijuana shared his perspective with Spanish media outlet Desastre.mx. Translation of his statement reads:

We have nothing against them, but we also don’t want them to come out with their colorful flags to provoke us…I’m not against gays or anything like that, but it’s not fair that I have a small daughter and I don’t want to her to see any of that. Why? Because men kissing other men should be done in the privacy of their own home, they shouldn’t bring that to our community.

The LGBTQ caravan includes many individuals who are escaping unbearable and dangerous conditions in Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. They seek asylum in a place where there is hope and resources for their community. Just days ago Trump signed an executive order that states that applicants for asylum will be ineligible unless they are coming to a designated port of entry. Tijuana borders San Diego, a designated port of entry, but asylum seekers could face problems during the process.

Watch the video of the interaction between members of the LGBTQ migrant caravan and the Tijuana community who opposes their presence.

h/t: NBC, Jorge Nieto, Desastre.mx, Ricardo Peralta

Gay High School Senior Speaks Out About 'Nazi Salute' Prom Pic

Yesterday, Instinct reported on the prom photo that went viral from Baraboo school district in Wisconsin.

The photo appeared to show about 30 male members of the Baraboo High School Class of 2019 giving the Nazi salute before their junior prom last spring.

The photo, taken on the Sauk County Courthouse steps, includes nearly 50 male students, though not all are holding their arms outstretched. 

 

As noted yesterday, one student was not having the moment.

Eighteen-year-old Jordan Blue can be seen in the top right of the photo with his arms down, his face showing only a neutral expression while most of his classmates are pictured laughing.

Today, CBS This Morning spoke with Blue about the internet controversy.

The high school senior tells CBS This Morning the photographer came up with the idea of telling the boys to "wave goodbye to their parents," but didn't specifically tell the boys to “raise your hand in a Nazi symbol way.”

It's interesting that 'raise you hand' to these young men meant doing so in Nazi fashion.

Blue added that he felt his classmates did understand what the symbol represented, and that the moment was "scary" and "uncomfortable."

Photographer Peter Gust has issued a statement which reads, "I didn't tell them to salute anything... it was waving goodbye to their parents, having a good time."

"There was nothing that diminished the quality of anyone's life," said Gust in defense of the photo. "There was nothing that diminished anyone's stature in society, there was nothing that was intended to point a finger at anyone in their class who may have some kind of difference. There was none of that."

 

 

Blue admits making the gesture makes no sense to him, saying, "Some of these people have bright futures ahead of them, so why’d they do it?”

Speaking to CNN, Blue says if he'd known the direction the photo opp would go, he wouldn't have taken part in the pics at all.

“I knew what my morals were, and it was not to salute something I firmly didn’t believe in,” he said.

He also says that while the community is a 'phenomenal' place to live, people are "hurt and very distraught" over the scandal. And he makes a point to say the photo doesn't represent Baraboo as a whole.

 

 

Blue, who came out as gay earlier this year, shared with Vice reporter Jules Suzdaltsev yesterday that he's been the target of bullying by these boys since middle school.

Suzdaltsev later tweeted that, after receiving more than 100 messages from students and parents from Baraboo High School, "nearly all of the stories echo the same basic theme: the community as a whole has a lot of casual & jokey racism, homophobia, and transphobia that is accepted as a part of life."

"The school (and other schools in the area) do little to nothing to address these issues," he added.

The American Defamation League reports the number of anti-semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 57% in 2017. That's the largest single year increase on record.

 

(h/t CNN, CBS This Morning)

Former Rabbi Pleads Guilty To Sexting What He Thought Was 16-Year-Old Boy

A former Rabbi in Minnesota pleaded guilty last Friday to engaging in electronic communication describing sexual conduct with a child.

Aryeh Leiv Cohen thought he was exchanging messages with a 16-year-old boy on Grindr back in January, but in reality, he was chatting with an undercover cop.

According to court documents, the undercover agent told Cohen several times he wouldn't turn 16-years-old until August, to which Cohen responded, “It’s a little illegal…” but would then go on to describe the sex acts he was hoping to engage in.

On February 1, a meeting was setup between the former rabbi and the ’16-year-old’ at an apartment building in North St. Paul.

Upon his arrest, the 44-year-old reportedly told the police, “I sort of deserve it.”

He also allegedly told the officers that he didn’t “think much would happen” when he arrived at the apartment because the person he believed he was meeting was 'sexually inexperienced.'

The arrest was part of a sting operation aimed at combating the online solicitation of sex with minors. Several others were also arrested in conjunction with the undercover operation.

Cohen had been working as a rabbi and director of youth outreach for the Minneapolis Community Kollel, a Jewish learning center.

The center immediately issued a statement upon learning of his arrest that he’d been relieved of his duties.

Local ABC News affiliate KSTP reports that Cohen is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on January 16.

(h/t KSTP)

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Projected To Become First Openly Bisexual US Senator

The Cook Political Report is projecting that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema will win her US Senate race in Arizona.

According to the latest vote counts, Sinema has expanded her lead over anti-LGBTQ Republican Martha McSally to 31,666 votes (1,075,579 vs 1,043,913).

McSally held a small lead on election night with partial returns being counted, but the next day many mail-in ballots were still uncounted in Democratic leaning areas of the state.

Sinema's campaign released a statement today calling her current lead "insurmountable."

In order for McSally to overcome the current vote deficit, she would have to win the remaining 162,000 votes in Maricopa County by 22%, even though she has been losing that county so far.

Sinema will be the first ever openly bisexual US Senator, the first female senator from Arizona, and the first Democratic senator since Sen. Dennis DeConcini left office in 1995.

She will join out lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin as the only two LGBTQ members of the US Senate.

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