With the Olympics a little over a month away, the Human Rights Campaign has pledged a sizeable donation hoping to support and inspire the LGBT community in Russia during the holiday season and into the New Year. The $100,000 announcement is featured in a video holiday card to the Russian LGBT community, compiling support and solidarity for their cause across social media. The video is set to singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson’s song “Blood Brothers.” The impressive donation is the result of hundreds of individual donations from the “Love Conquers Hate” campaign and will go to Freedom Fund. The campaign has been bolstered by participation from a diverse group of prominent celebrities, athletes and politicians with Matt Damon, Robin Thicke and Sarah Silverman joining the campaign this week.
“With less than two months until the Sochi Olympic Games, it’s time to harness the tidal wave of support for Russia’s LGBT community emerging around the world,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Now more than ever, we must expose the Russian government’s hateful campaign against its own people and support LGBT Russians enduring oppression and violence every day.”
Sweetie, Dahling! Grab a pack of smokes and a good bottle of Bollinger and get ready for a movie version of the hit British comedy Absolutely Fabulous. While out on the road promoting her book Bonkers, Jennifer Saunders revealed to Gay Times that she is all for either a movie version or a return to television, but says her partner-in-crime
Patsy Joanna Lumley is gung-ho about a movie version.
Well Joanna really wants a film. I don’t think she’s up for a TV series. I think she wants… “Lovely film, South of France, darling. Lovely film in the South of France.” I’ve just got to think of a really, really good plot because that’s where films fall down, when they haven’t quite got the plot worked out and it’s just a series of sketches. Really good plot. Really good actors. And a fucking good lighting/camera man.
One Duck Dynasty star is in murky waters after a magazine reported bread-crumb-sized tidbits about his deep-seeded anti-gay beliefs. Phil Robertson, who stars on the hit A&E show, revealed to GQ that he believes homosexuality is a sin and that it is similar to bestiality. ”It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical,” he said. The reaction was quick from the LGBT community calling on Robertson to apologize and A&E swooped in and suspended him from the show. “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty,” the network said in a statement Wednesday. ”His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
The show, which is set to premiere in January, follows the lives of duck callers in Louisiana and has proved wildly successful for the network, bringing in nearly 12 million viewers for last year’s premiere.
Taking place at New York’s 80WSE Gallery, there is a live excavation of unknown photos by legendary photographer Bob Mizer, whose work spans five decades starting in the 1950s. Mizer’s images and films were produced by his company Athletic Model Guild and they were often featured in his publication, Physique Pictorial. He is widely known as a pioneer in erotic male photography, but much of his other work was put aside by Mizer and went unseen until now.
A gay military couple has released an emotional video that takes viewers on a romantic journey that chronicles their proposal and their feelings on the modern-day zeitgeist that has allowed their love to be legalized. The video, “Jonathan & Dwayne: A Story of Love” is narrated by the couple, Jonathan and Dwayne Beebe-Franqui, who made headlines when they became engaged during San Diego Pride 2012, the first time in US history when gay and lesbian military persons were able to march in a Pride.
Watch video after the jump…
Last night’s The Voice finale had an unexpected surprise during Lady Gaga’s scheduled performance when big-haired and big-voice judge Christina Aguilera filled in for R. Kelly during Gaga’s “Do What U Want.” The two disproved a long-running rumor that there was a feud between them. After the performance, host Carson Daley asked the women how the collaboration came about. ”I was really excited because The Voice called and said they wanted me to perform on the finale, and I obviously can’t refuse,” Gaga said. “Such an amazing show! And I said I want to know if Christina wants to do it with me!” ”This is the first time we’ve ever met,” Christina said. “When I heard she wanted to collaborate, I said of course! She’s such an innovative artist and a risk taker. And as a fellow female, I have so much respect for that. And I just have to say guys, she’s the most down-to-earth real person I’ve met. So I love you girl, and you deserve everything you’ve earned.”
Video after the jump…
In a calculated move, President Obama is delivering a message to Russia through his choice of sending gay athletes to represent in the United States of America at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Also, it was also announced yesterday that Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President will not be attending the Olympics, the first time the United States has skipped the games since 2000, though his press secretary gave no specific reason for his absence. The gay athletes who will be attending include Billie Jean King who will watch the opening and closing ceremonies and hockey player Caitlin Cahow who will attend the closing ceremonies. In a clear sign that the US will not tolerate Russia’s controversial anti-gay propaganda laws spokesman Shin Inouye said the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama “knows they will showcase to the world the best of America—diversity, determination, and teamwork.”
“I am equally proud to stand with the members of the LGBT community in support of all athletes who will be competing in Sochi and I hope these Olympic Games will indeed be a watershed moment for the universal acceptance of all people,” said King. [AP]
Ikea has been deemed gutless by several of its shoppers after the furniture retailer removed a feature story about a British lesbian couple from the Russian edition of its magazine. Since then, a protest has been launched globally with over 33,000 people signing a petition and at-store protests in both Russia and the US, consumers around the world are demanding that the socially liberal Swedish furniture store stand as a friend to LGBT Russians not ignore them. ”As the international community shows support for LGBTQI Russians, it’s upsetting to see IKEA take such a cowardly, anti-gay visibility stance,” said Luke Ellenberg, RUSA LGBT activist. “Despite repeatedly being named as one of the ‘most ethical companies’ in the world, we’re seeing the IKEA brand being tarnished in an effort to comply with Putin’s intolerance. We’re simply asking IKEA to reconnect with the company’s core values, and to stand with LGBTQI Russians as a matter of both corporate and human compassion.”
Be sure to sign the petition at tweet @ikea.
“I Hear A Symphony,” is one of the dozen or so Diana Ross songs that singer-actress LaChanze reinterprets in Love Hangover, her cabaret show, coming to Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco December 20 and 21.
It nods to both LaChanze’s past as “a little brown girl, snapping my fingers and swinging my hips to Diana Ross records on the radio” and a future in which she hopes to expand on her musical theater career—she won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Performance by a leading actress in a musical for the role of Celie in The Color Purple—by performing as a concert artist, something fellow stage stars Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel have done with great success in recent years. (LaChanze will star with Menzel in Broadway’s 2014 If/Then by Tom Kitt and Bryan Yorkey [Next to Normal]).
“I’d love to do some of this material backed by a full orchestra,” says LaChanze, of her cabaret show’s dramatically rearranged Ross hits. “I’ve done a couple other cabaret acts—Broadway tunes, a Great American Songbook set. I’m building up material to work into concerts.”
This year’s Human Rights Day marked the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948, and to continue to fight for equality around the globe Free & Equal and the United Nations encouraged famous LGBT people from around the globe to share their stories at an event called “Sport Comes Out Against Homophobia.” Speakers at the event included Navratilova, NBA star Jason Collins, MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović, and human rights activists from Russia, South Africa, and the USA. “When Jason Collins came out this year he got a phone call from president Obama congratulating him. 1981, President Reagan was in power, so I did not get that phone call,” said tennis legend Martina Navratilova at the United Nations on 10 December, Human Rights Day.
Check out an inspiring video of the event after the jump…