Monday, June 26, 2017

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Marches In Toronto Pride Parade And LGBTs Everywhere Go Wild

While President Trump may be ignoring Pride Month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rocked the world as he marched in Toronto's Pride Parade this past weekend.

Let's check the boxes in this one pic (above):

1. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
2. At Pride
3. Wearing rainbow socks
4. High-fiving a little girl dressed as Wonder Woman
5. Rainbow flag Canadian maple leaf on his left cheek

And the crowd goes wild...

Congressional Budget Office: Senate Republican Healthcare Bill Would Increase Uninsured By 22 Million

The numbers are out from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office regarding the current Senate Republicans' healthcare bill:

CBO and JCT estimate that enacting this legislation would reduce the cumulative federal deficit over the 2017-2026 period by $321 billion. That amount is $202 billion more than the estimated net savings for the version of H.R. 1628 that was passed by the House of Representatives.

The Senate bill would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to the number under current law, slightly fewer than the increase in the number of uninsured estimated for the House-passed legislation. By 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

Bolding is mine.

The bill also calls for cuts to Medicaid to the tune of $772 billion over the next ten years.

And premiums for a 64-year old with middle income go from $6,800 under current law to $20,500 under the Senate Republicans legislation.

Click image to enlarge

So, good news for those conservatives looking to see deficit reduction, but 22 million uninsured isn't much better than the 23 million uninsured predicted for the House Republican healthcare bill.

Happy Marriage Equality Day! Support Reaches All-Time High Approval Of 62%

Hubby Michael and I getting married a second time in Palm Springs in 2008

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the historic Obergefell v. Hodges ruling from the Supreme Court which brought marriage equality to all fifty states. I think it was one of the happiest and joyful days of my life.

And, according to a new Pew Research poll, support for same-sex marriage among U.S. adults has reached an all-time high of 62%.

Pew has been tracking the opinions of Americans on marriage equality for two decades and found the biggest jump in support came during this past year with a 7-point uptick in support.

Terrific to see these numbers today, but there's still work to do on LGBTQ rights.

We need to see The Equality Act passed into law. The legislation would ensure no one could lose their job, their home, or be denied services because of who they are or whom they love.

The bill has been introduced in Congress and enjoys bipartisan support, 242 members of Congress and more than 90 corporations now back the legislation. But sadly, it's not enough. It's highly doubtful the current Republican-controlled Congress will pass the bill.

Behind The Scenes Of ESPN Body Issue Photo Shoot

Out Olympian Gus Kenworthy

Check this sneak peek into the nude photo shoots for ESPN's upcoming Body Issue featuring out Olympic Freeskier Gus Kenworthy, New England Patriots’ Julian Edelman, Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez and the US women's hockey team.

In one clip you can hear the hunky Kenworthy exclaim, “Oh my god, what did I sign up for? I have to get naked right now?”

It's not as though nudity is something new to Gus. You know what I mean if you follow his Instagram account ;)

Happy Monday!

New England Patriots' Julian Edelman
Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott

Trump Tweets: Obama "Colluded Or Obstructed" In 2016 Campaign

Donald Trump

It wouldn't be a Monday morning without President Trump taking to Twitter to assert some nutty theory.

Now that he's heard the word "obstruction" so much in regard to himself being investigated by a Special Counsel, it seems like it's his favorite word.

This morning, Trump accused former President Obama of colluding or obstructing during the last months of the 2016 presidential election in regards to interference with Russia.

"The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win...and did not want to "rock the boat." He didn't "choke," he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good. The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia...under a magnifying glass, they have zero "tapes" of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!"

Of course, it's complete nonsense that the Obama administration did "nothing." Obama expelled Russian diplomats, seized their compounds, and set sanctions in place for Trump to trigger.

Former spokesman for Obama's National Security Council, Ned Price, pushed back saying Trump's latest tweets were "nonsensical" blame-shifting.

"He’s attempting to pin on the Obama administration the very serious charges—namely collusion and obstruction—that federal investigators are examining in the context of his behavior and that of his associates," Price said.

He added, "This 'I’m-not-you-are' strategy tends to be a hallmark of elementary school, not presidential strategy."

Supreme Court Will Decide Colorado/Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case, Strikes Down Arkansas Birth Certificate Law

The Supreme Court decided today, on the second anniversary of the Obergefell ruling which made marriage equality the law of the land, that it will review and rule whether a Colorado baker must sell a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage.

Via The Advocate:

The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which a baker named Jack Phillips told a same-sex couple — David Mullins and Charlie Craig, pictured above — that he could sell them brownies but not a cake for their wedding. Phillips contends he’s an artist and that the First Amendment protects his business from having to bake a cake for a wedding that he opposes.

LGBT rights supporters say his refusal amounts to discrimination against same-sex couples, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission agreed, which is what sent the case all the way to the Supreme Court. A ruling could have far-reaching effects on the myriad of ways LGBT opponents are trying to undermine marriage equality by claiming religious exemptions. Bakers, florists, photographers and more have claimed their religious beliefs give them the right to deny service.

I think it's important to note that Colorado's anti-discrimination law specifically states that businesses open to the public may not deny service to customers based on their race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.

It's the same as if the baker refused to make a cake for an African-American couple or a Jewish couple. It's illegal.

The high court will hear the case in October.

In related marriage equality news, SCOTUS also ruled that an Arkansas law intended to stop birth certificates from listing the names of both parents in a same-sex couple was unconstitutional and summarily struck down.

Also from The Advocate:

“The Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision, we conclude, denied married same-sex couples access to the “constellation of benefits that the State has linked to marriage,” the justices wrote.

“As already explained, when a married woman in Arkansas conceives a child by means of artificial insemination, the State will — indeed, must — list the name of her male spouse on the child’s birth certificate.

And yet state law, as interpreted by the court below, allows Arkansas officials in those very same circumstances to omit a married woman’s female spouse from her child’s birth certificate.

As a result, same-sex parents in Arkansas lack the same right as opposite-sex parents to be listed on a child’s birth certificate, a document often used for important transactions like making medical decisions for a child or enrolling a child in school.”

It's telling that newly installed Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the dissent joined by Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees To Review Trump Muslim Travel Ban

The Supreme Court announced today that it will review the constitutionality of President Trump’s revised Muslim travel ban this fall.

The decision includes allowing part of the ban to go into effect.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Trump’s revised executive order, issued in March, limited travel from six mostly Muslim countries for 90 days and suspended the nation’s refugee program for 120 days. The time was needed, the order said, to address gaps in the government’s screening and vetting procedures.

Two federal appeals courts have blocked critical parts of the order.

The administration had asked that the the lower-court ruling be stayed while the case moves forward. The court granted part of that request in its unsigned opinion.

“We grant the government’s applications to stay the injunctions, to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of” Mr. Trump’s executive order “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., ruled last month that the limits on travel from the six countries violated the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion. Relying on Mr. Trump’s statements during the presidential campaign, where he called for a “Muslim ban,” the court said the order “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, recently blocked both the limits on travel and the suspension of the refugee program. It ruled on statutory rather than constitutional grounds, saying Mr. Trump had exceeded the authority granted him by Congress.

So, if you are a foreign national in one of those six Muslim-majority countries with a close family member in the United States, or a job offer from an American company, or an invitation to lecture an American audience, or an offer of admission from an American university, you can obtain a visa.

If you have no concrete ties or true business connection to the U.S., the Trump ban can keep you out of the U.S.

What I don't understand is: the purpose of the ban was to give the Trump administration 90 days to examine immigration processes. I'm assuming they've been doing this review anyway? By October we'll be long past 90 days. By October shouldn't the review be concluded and immigration rules adjusted?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Trump White House Is First In 20 Years To Not Hold A Ramadan Event

For the first time since 1996, the White House has not held a celebration to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended at sunset on Saturday.

Via ThinkProgress:

President Donald Trump did issue official statements for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, a festival that marks the end of the month-long daytime fast. Even those statements, however, lingered on terrorists and terrorism that many felt held all Muslims responsible for the actions of a few.

“I reiterate my message delivered in Riyadh: America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it,” the Ramadan statement read, in part. “During this month of Ramadan, let us be resolved to spare no measure so that we may ensure that future generations will be free of this scourge and able to worship and commune in peace.”

The Eid statement, while brief, was more conciliatory, commemorating a holiday with Muslims “carry on the tradition of helping neighbors and breaking bread with people from all walks of life.”

Unlike other recent administrations, however, the White House did not hold a dinner or reception to mark either holiday — despite Trump telling ABC News last year that he’d be fine with continuing the Ramadan dinner tradition.

The Trump White House also took a pass on holding a White House seder during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

But he has played golf 30 times since taking office.

The Pride Is High At NYC Pride

Just a few of the snaps on Instagram from NYC Pride March today.

A post shared by Michael Halden (@mikehalden) on

A post shared by Michael Halden (@mikehalden) on

A post shared by Women's March (@womensmarch) on

A post shared by Rahul (@thefasttraveler) on

A post shared by Nick Tan (@thetandiaries) on

A post shared by Lindsey Roberts (@linni1324) on

A post shared by Rachel Levi (@levirs89) on

New York: Gov. Cuomo Unveils LGBT Memorial Monument Design

As NYC Pride marches on today, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the design chosen for New York’s official monument honoring the LGBT community and the victims of the Orlando shooting.

The governor commissioned the monument in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016.

The design chosen was created by artist Anthony Goicolea.

Via the governor’s office:

“This stunning design complements the landscape and communicates a timeless message of inclusion, and this monument will serve as an enduring symbol of the role New Yorkers play in building a fairer, more just world,” Governor Cuomo said. “From Stonewall to marriage equality, New York has always been a beacon for justice and we will never waiver in our commitment to the LGBT community and to creating a more just and inclusive society. This new monument will stand up for those values for generations to come.”

Following the tragic shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 158, establishing the LGBT Memorial Commission, with the mission to design and build a new memorial in honor of the LGBT community and the victims of the Orlando shooting. The Commission issued a request for proposals in October 2016, and all submissions were judged on their interpretation and clarity of the theme, creativity and originality of depicted theme, quality of artistic composition, site compatibility, and constructability, among other factors.

The site specific design works in harmony with the existing attributes of Hudson River Park and promotes thought and reflection while encouraging people to unite in a communal environment. It will feature nine modified boulders, some of which are bisected with a clear, laminated, borosilicate-glass with refractory components that act as a prism to create subtle rainbow patterns on the surrounding lawn and nearby objects.

Hillary Clinton On LGBT Pride 2017

Just a friendly reminder that there are folks who maintain there's "no difference" between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when it comes to the LGBTQ community.

Feel free to send me a pic of President Trump marching in an LGBTQ Pride parade, ok?

Watch: Livestream Of NYC Pride Parade

It's NYC Pride Day! And this year you can watch the parade/march via streaming video from local ABC affiliate, ABC7.

The NYC Pride March started in 1970 as a civil rights demonstration on the 1-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

Today, it is one of the world's best known LGBT events, with 350 marching contingents and more than 2 million spectators in 2016.

WABC-TV will broadcast the annual trek down Fifth Avenue from Noon -3 p.m. on Channel 7 and also stream the event on its website,

This year's theme, "We Are Proud," speaks to the LGBT community's unwavering ability to rise and be proud, even in the face of the existing political environment. The American Civil Liberties Union, Brooke Guinan (trans woman, FDNY firefighter), Krishna Stone (Director of Community Relations, GMHC), and Geng Le (Founder, Blued) will helm 2017's iconic March.

The livestream has ended but ABC7 has posted the entire broadcast in segments here.

I really encourage you to check it out. Amazing, beautiful job capturing the tone and size of the march

Fake Campbell's Account Trolls Haters For Complaining About Gay Dads Commercial

This goes back a couple of years, but someone just brought it to my attention and I think it's hysterical.

You may recall in 2015 when Campbell Soups shared this adorable commercial with two dads and their son:

Apparently, a very funny jokester decided to chime in as "Campbells ForHelp" when haters would complain to the company on Facebook about the ad spot.

Read the hysterical responses below.

It clearly took people a long time to figure out the responses weren't coming from Campbells LOL...

(h/t RearFront)

LGBT Ally Cyndi Lauper: "I Couldn't Stand On The Sidelines Anymore"

Cyndi Lauper accepts 2017 Logo Trailblazer Honor

Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner Cyndi Lauper was honored at the 2017 Logo Trailblazer Honors earlier this week for her work on behalf of homeless LGBT youth as well as her overall commitment to equality.

Speaking to the crowd at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, “I never set out to be a trailblazer. I was a friend and family member who couldn’t stand on the sidelines anymore and be a bystander. I always felt that since I do have a big mouth, I might as well use it to help people who aren’t being heard.”

Also honored this year were Cleve Jones, Alvin Ailey, and Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan.

Stonewall Riots: Newspaper Reports "Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad"

Click to enlarge pic

Props to JoeMyGod for finding this newspaper report on the Stonewall riots 48 years ago.

As we all celebrate Pride Month, it's always important to remember why we "pride" and who's shoulders we now stand on.

You'll note how condescending the writing is: "She was a he;" "lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting;" "do whatever little girls do..."


-by Jerry Lisker, New York Daily News, July 6th 1969

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. “We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over,” lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

“We’ve had all we can take from the Gestapo,” the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. “We’re putting our foot down once and for all.” The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

The Raid Last Friday

Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.

All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.

Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.

The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn’t protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn’t want him to see her this way, she wept.

Queen Power

The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.

Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get ’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.

Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.

Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.

Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”

Bruce and Nan

Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20’s. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.

“I don’t like your paper,” Nan lisped matter-of-factly. “It’s anti-fag and pro-cop.”

“I’ll bet you didn’t see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn’t have a liquor license.”

Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan’s trembling hands.

“Calm down, doll,” he said. “Your face is getting all flushed.”

Nan wiped her face with a tissue.

“This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too,” Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.

“What wedding?,” the bystander asked.

Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. “Eric and Jack’s wedding, of course. They’re finally tying the knot. I thought they’d never get together.”

Meet Shirley

“We’ll have to find another place, that’s all there is to it,” Bruce sighed. “But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later.”

“They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular,” Nan said bitterly. “I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that’s the real reason. It’s a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn’t they leave us alone?”

Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.

“Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there,” she said. “The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don’t know what they did inside, but that’s their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”

A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premises.

Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. “They had the tightest security in the Village,” a First Division officer said, “We could never get near the place without a warrant.”

Police Talk

The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.

“They were throwing more than lace hankies,” one inspector said. “I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn’t miss, though, “it hit me right above the temple.”

Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall’s cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.

The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.
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