Maryland has banned "gay conversion therapy" for minors

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill into law protecting minors from "gay conversion therapy," a bullshit, discredited, harmful "method" of trying to psychologically change a person's sexual orientation. The new law prohibits health "professionals" from practicing the "treatment."

"I think it's fantastic, because it will save the lives of young people in our state," said bill sponsor Sen. Richard Madaleno (D).

From CBS News:

Mathew Shurka, an activist who has campaigned for the measure and experienced conversion therapy for five years between the ages of 16 and 21, said the new law marks another step toward ending the practice.

"We know 700,000 people in the United States have been through conversion therapy, and 78,000 teenagers will go through it in the next five years, and this is getting us closer to zero," Shurka said.

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington also have laws on the books, as well as the District of Columbia. New Hampshire and Hawaii recently passed similar measures that have gone to the governor in those states.

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Disney has unveiled rainbow mouse ears in time for Pride

June is Pride month and Disney has already rolled out rainbow mouse ears, with a depiction of Mickey's gloves in a hand-heart, in their U.S. parks. I spotted this pair, which is officially called the "Mickey Mouse Rainbow Love" hat, in Disneyland a couple of weeks ago for $17.99.

I bet these ears, along with the rainbow products like trading pins and lanyard pulls, will be a big hit come early October for Gay Days.

photo by me Read the rest

MSNBC's Joy Reid says anti-gay posts on her old blog were 'fabricated', Internet Archive responds

MSNBC news host Joy Reid has been the focus of controversy this week over her old blog, and her assertion that someone may have manipulated the Wayback Machine's archive of that content to make her look bad. Read the rest

Watch Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard play the re-prounouned Beatles song "And I Love Him"

Universal Love is a new compilation of wedding songs reimagined for same-sex couples. It includes the likes of Kesha doing "I Need a Woman to Love," Bob Dylan playing "He's Funny That Way," and my pal Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie singing "And I Love Him." Check out Ben's lovely performance on Conan last night!

More about Universal Love in this New York Times article. Read the rest

Molly Ringwald's brilliant essay about John Hughes is a superb exploration of what it means to love "problematic" art

If you've been paying attention, you might already know that Molly Ringwald is a brilliant writer with smart things to say about the movies that made her famous. Read the rest

Gays who were charged under discriminatory laws in New Zealand will have records cleaned

Great news from New Zealand this morning. According to the BBC, the nation's government has passed legislation that will allow individuals who were charged under the country's old laws against homosexuality to have their records wiped clean.

Homosexuality was illegal in New Zealand up until 1986. Up until that time, it was possible for men who wanted nothing more than to express their love or to enjoy one another to be slapped with charges with names such as "sodomy, indecency between males and keeping a place of resort for homosexual acts." Anyone charged with these offense before 1986 still has the charge on their official police records. According to the BBC, around 1,000 individuals will have the option to scrub these bullshit charges from their records next year:

Justice Minister Andrew Little said the legislation "sends a clear signal that discrimination against gay people is no longer acceptable, and we are committed to putting right wrongs from the past".

"I would like to apologize again to all the men and members of the rainbow community who have been affected by the prejudice, stigma and other negative effects caused by convictions for historical homosexual offenses," Mr Little said.

In instances where an individual charged under the old laws has passed away, the New Zealand government is making it possible for the families of the deceased to apply to have their charges expunged as well.

Given that New Zealand passed laws banning discrimination against homosexuals in 1993, the official apology from the government and the olive branch of purging the records of those charged under the country's old discriminatory laws has been a long time coming. Read the rest

Fantastic video of New York City's Gay Pride Parade in 1989

In the 1980s, Nelson Sullivan was ubiquitous in the downtown NYC art and club scene, documenting his community and culture on his handheld video camera.

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Jen Wang's "The Prince and the Dressmaker": a genderqueer graphic novel that will move and dazzle you

I love Jen Wang's work: her debut graphic novel Koko Be Good was thought-provoking and challenging and beautiful; "In Real Life," her adaptation of my story Anda's Game took the tale to places that delighted and surprised me -- today, Firstsecond publishes The Prince and the Dressmaker, which I believe will be her breakout graphic novel.

Burberry announces new rainbow flag plaid and support for LGBTQ charities

On Saturday at London Fashion Week, Burberry will reveal its new collection featuring a rainbow plaid that the company says celebrates LGBTQ communities. They've also announced support for three LGBTQ charities.

"My final collection here at Burberry is dedicated to - and in support of - some of the best and brightest organisations supporting LGBTQ+ youth around the world," says Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey who is leaving the company after 17 years. "There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength, and our creativity."

From the BBC News:

The Albert Kennedy Trust is being helped by the fashion house. It works to support young homeless LGBT people in the UK.

It says it's overjoyed to be receiving a generous donation from the brand - saying it will make a big difference to them.

"This announcement gives voice to a large and influential community about the importance of raising awareness of LGBT youth homelessness," it added.

The International, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is also being helped by Burberry.

The third charity receiving funding is The Trevor Project - a US organisation that works to prevent suicide among the LGBT community and young people questioning their sexuality.

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RNC backs Trump's military transgender ban: A 'disqualifying psychological and physical' condition

Because of course they do. The Republican National Committee supports Donald Trump's yet-unexecuted order to ban transgender people from military service, because the RNC says being transgender is “a disqualifying psychological and physical” condition. Read the rest

Bigots who swore their religious beliefs would force them to divorce if Australia passed marriage equality renege on promise

In 2015, Nick and Sarah Jensen publicly swore that their religious beliefs would force them to divorce in protest if Australia enacted marriage equality laws that allowed for same-sex marriage. This week, Australia passed such legislation, but the Jensens were evidently lying, and now Nick Jensen told the press (by text-message!) that they meant their "public comments regarding civil divorce never envisaged me separating from my wife, but rather our marriage from the state." Read the rest

Roy Moore is still in the running because "values voters" would support Satan himself if he was anti-abortion and homophobic

The term "values voter" is taken to mean someone who votes for politicians on the basis of their personal integrity and values; in reality, polls and studies show that evangelicals who identify as "values voters" support candidates they know to be repugnant or even monstrous, if they believe that those politicians will promise to take away abortion rights and persecute queers. Read the rest

The PrEP Diaries: A safe(r) sex memoir

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The PrEP Diaries: A Safe(r) Sex Memoir, now available from Lethe Press. The book chronicles the before-and-after of using Truvada PrEP, a recent breakthrough in HIV prevention that has prompted a new sexual revolution--except that most individuals have no idea it exists. Through sex positivity, explicit openness, and fun, I hope to make many more people aware that PrEP is an option for them in not just preventing HIV but having a better, braver sex life.

Chelsea Manning is a free woman

Today, the whistleblower Chelsea Manning stepped out of the Military Corrections Complex at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, having served the longest sentence in US history for whistleblowing; for the duration of her ongoing appeal, she is on "excess leave in an active-duty status" which entitles her to access to military health-care insurance and other benefits. Read the rest

Two gay men in Indonesia sentenced to 85 lashes for having sex

A sharia court in Indonesia’s ultra-conservative Aceh province has sentenced two gay men to public caning. Read the rest

Livejournal's Russian owners announce new anti-LGBT policy, fandom stages mass exodus

Mitch Wagner writes, "LiveJournal is a venerable online community that predates Facebook and even blogging. It got acquired by a Russian company a few years ago, but some of its American and British users hung on, including sf and fantasy writers and fans. Lately, I know one of my friends was scrambling to leave, but I'd been too busy to look into why." Read the rest

Milo Yiannopoulos was taken down by a 16 year old Canadian woman

"Julia" is a 16-year-old Canadian high school student who "leans right" on economics and foreign policy, and is generally disgusted with the conservative movement's pivot to reactionaries like Milo Yiannopoulos who trade in "anti-Muslim, anti-feminism, and general bigotry." Read the rest

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