“I’m just so glad I found soul mate,” Boccio says in her Long Island accent and begins to tell us how the two girls found one another. Not surprisingly, Japan played a big role in bringing the two together. During Japan Day in Central Park, the two learned that they were both massive fans of the Japanese “metal” band Dir En Grey. “I basically stalked her and we hung out forever in our group of friends, and I eventually asked her out,” she says. “So, if we win the trip to Japan, we have to see bands play when we’re there, oh and see this island that’s filled with deer!” Boccio says. Hittel looks up from the goings on of her dressers and her eyes light up. “I have to go there,” Hittel confirms nodding her head rapidly, sending her finely placed decorative hair flowers into a tizzy.
I leave the girls who are getting anxious for the big debut. When they appear on the small stage, there is no mention of their gender. Little kids sit around the stage, older men and women munch on Japanese tofu hummus and pita chips, and the woman who dresses them makes no comment either. She discusses the importance of tradition and traditional dress. “Western dress is becoming more and more fashionable, but this traditional style is way more beautiful,” she says finishing up dressing Boccio by sticking a “sword” into her breast pocket and she steps back in awe of herself for dressing these two beautiful soul mates.
In a teaser posted online today, Lady Gaga announced that she will be included in the fifth season of the wildly popular show, American Horror Story. The latest installment of the show, created by openly gay Ryan Murphy, is called American Horror Story: Hotel. Though, we can only speculate exactly what the new season’s premise will be and what role Gaga will play.
Check out the teaser after the jump…
While a new poll shows that a majority of Swiss people support the legalization of gay and lesbian marriage, the European country still doesn’t have marriage equality. But now, a committee in Switzerland’s lower house has advanced legislation. In a 12 to 2 vote, Switzerland’s Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council advanced a “marriage for all” initiative that was submitted by the Green Liberal Party that calls for all couples, regardless of gender, to be legally allowed to marry.
Georgia Equality, an organization working to advance fairness, safety and opportunity for LGBT communities and allies throughout the state, has joined forces with HRC for a project called “Georgia Unites Against Discrimination.” Launched by Georgia Equality in January of this year, Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is a grassroots campaign dedicated to protecting LGBT Georgians from discrimination and ensuring that individuals and businesses aren’t able to use their religious beliefs to harm others.
Georgia Unites Against Discrimination is specifically focused on defeating discriminatory legislation in Georgia that would use religious language to undermine LGBT equality, as well as working to pass a bill protecting state employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Threatening fairness and equality in the state, the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act has officially been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, and Georgia lawmakers will soon consider and vote on this dangerous bill that would grant a “license to discriminate” against LGBT Georgians. The bill essentially allows individuals to use their religious beliefs to harm others, paving the way for challenges to virtually any law designed to protect Georgians from various forms of discrimination.
A press briefing today at the White House has confirmed that President Obama believes that transgender soldiers should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Secretary Carter said at an event in Kandahar: “And I’m very open-minded about…what their personal lives and proclivities are, provided they can do what we need them to do for us. That’s the important criteria. Are they going to be excellent service members? And I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.”
See a transcription of today’s press briefing in which a reporter asks about Carter’s comments.
Q Thanks, Josh. During a military town hall event yesterday in Kandahar, Secretary Carter expressed an openness to the idea of openly transgender service, saying only suitability for service should bar an American from enlistment. Does the President share Secretary Carter’s views on this?
MR. EARNEST: Chris, I’ve seen the reports of Secretary Carter’s comments. I can tell you that the President agrees with the sentiment that all Americans who are qualified to serve should be able to serve. And for that reason we here at the White House welcome the comments from the Secretary of Defense.
But in terms of additional steps the Department of Defense will take to address this matter, I’d refer you to the Secretary’s office.
Q Is there any coordination going on between the White House and the Pentagon right now to coordinate those steps?
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, to talk about what those next steps might be, I’d refer you to the Department of Defense.
by Rich Rubin
I’m going to take you on a tour of several places, places with names like Recoleta, San Telmo, Palermo, and La Boca. They’re all very different in atmosphere and appearance, and to visit these various places feels like you’ve taken a whole series of trips. The thing is, they’re all part of Buenos Aires, for this major metropolis feels more than anywhere I’ve been like a series of small towns in one, loosely connected to form a big city that’s exciting, dynamic, a little daunting, and incredibly satisfying. I could never list all the neighborhoods, so we’ll concentrate on my favorites.
Buenos Aires takes some energy to explore, as it’s spread out, with a semi-workable subway system (I’d suggest a taxi or your own two feet for most explorations) and a frenetic pace that will keep you on your toes. You’ll find plenty of places, though, to relax and take it easy. With an enviable coffeehouse culture, a collection of lovely restaurants, and some surprisingly calm areas amid the bustle, there’s always time to refresh and renew among the chaos.
Only Jimmy Fallon could get Christina Aguilera to impersonate two of the biggest stars in music. Last night on The Tonight Show Fallon played his game “The Wheel of Impression” that pairs a famous artist with a song. The Voice judge got two incredible pairings: Cher and the Foldger’s theme, Britney Spears and This Little Piggy, and Shakira and The Golden Girls’ theme song.
Check it out after the jump…
Michael Sam won’t be competing in the NFL again, but he’ll be taking a stab at the foxtrot on Dancing with the Stars, the gossip website TMZ confirmed. The first openly gay NFL player will take part in the shows 20th season, despite vowing to return to football.
Airbnb hasn’t had it easy in New York City. Home to egregiously high rent and expensive hotel rooms, it would appear that Airbnb would be a natural fit for the city. A Manhattan Housing Court has just sided with anti-Airbnbers (lawmakerts, hotel union operatives, and affordable-housing advocates) when it ordered the eviction of a rent-stabilized tenant who was caught listing the apartment on the website. According to Crains: “Moreover, it signaled the arrival of a powerful ally: the Related Cos., one of the largest owners of luxury residential properties in New York. ‘Related is clearly saying they’re not done going after people who rent apartments illegally on Airbnb,” said one anti-Airbnb operative.'”
Airbnb responded: “We are focused on the thousands of New Yorkers who share only the home in which they live and depend on home-sharing to pay the bills and pursue their dreams. Many communities have been able to address these issues, and there’s no reason why we can’t work together to help regular New Yorkers who simply want to share the home in which they live.”
Randy W. Berry, a veteran senior US Foreign Service Officer, has been selected as the State Department’s first ever LGBT Human Rights Envoy. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry created this new senior-level position to oversee the United States government’s efforts to support the human rights of LGBT people around the world. “At a moment when many LGBT people around the world are facing persecution and daily violence, this unprecedented appointment shows a historic commitment to the principle that LGBT rights are human rights,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “President Obama and Secretary Kerry have shown tremendous leadership in championing the rights of LGBT people abroad. Now, working closely with this new envoy, we’ve got to work harder than ever to create new allies, push back on human rights violators, and support the brave leaders and organizations that fight for LGBT rights around the world.”
Berry’s career with the State Department has taken him to postings in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda (twice), and South Africa, as well as Washington DC. Mr. Berry holds a State Department Superior Honor Award, and is a nine-time Meritorious Honor Award recipient.