All Articles Tagged "LGBT"

On Brittney Griner, AzMarie, And Girl Crushes: Are We Moving Away From A Dependency On Sexual Labels?

April 22nd, 2015 - By Cynthia L. Dorsey
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#NoFilter #Empire Premiere Tmrw night on #Fox

A photo posted by AzMarie Livingston (@iamazmarie) on

 
I was recently listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Read, and they were playing the game F**k, Marry, Kill. This lighthearted social icebreaker game, usually played over a few spirited beverages, asks players to choose whom they would f**k, marry, and kill out of three people. Usually, players are given a list of celebrities, but with added alcohol consumption, over time the names listed can shift from celebrity eye candy to people everyone in the group knows.

Crissle, The Read’s female co-host, was made to choose between Brittney Griner, AzMarie Livingston, and Queen Latifah. Of those three names I was only familiar with Queen Latifah, so I did what any inquisitive mind should do: I turned to my trusty friend Google. I searched for Brittney Griner first and was directed to her Facebook page. Griner, 24, is the 2014 WNBA Defensive Player of Year, stands 6’8” tall with an 88-inch wingspan, and a wears a men’s size 17 shoe. She is the author of the memoir In My Skin: My Life On and Off The Basketball Court.

I went on to search for AzMarie Livingston. Born Ashley Marie Livingston (she has fused her first and middle name together), she is a model and actress standing 5’10” tall. She appeared on America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion and was known for her elaborate tattoos and androgynous style. She recently appeared on the hit Fox show Empire as Chicken, one of Hakeem Lyons’s homies and his designated driver.

Both women are openly gay. Griner is engaged to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson, and Livingston has been rumored to be in a relationship with actress Raven-Symoné.

Reading about these two women, their accomplishments thus far, and their fearlessness to be who they are while standing firm in their beliefs, was inspiring. What baffled me most, however, were comments that alleged heterosexual women posted under their pictures:

“I would go completely gay for this woman!”

“Laaawd have mercy.”

“#WCW hell #WCE” which means “Woman Crush Wednesday” and “Woman Crush Every Day.”

“She is so fine she’s making me sexually confused.”

“You are so hot, my boyfriend would kill me if he saw this.”

“I would date you and I’m not even gay.”

“Big crush on you.”

“porqué eres tan hermosa?” which translates to, “Why are you so beautiful?”

“These women looking like men will have you all messed up mentally. Mmmm.”

“Only if I was a lesbian…she’s sooooo…”

“Just give me one gay night!”

Reading such comments had me thinking, have society’s sexual labels officially been broken? If women are openly fawning over other women, do such labels really matter? Religious author Michael W. Hannon discusses this concept in his article Against Heterosexuality, which gives an in-depth overview of the historical construction of sexual orientation. Hannon writes:

Such thinkers echo Gore Vidal’s LGBT-heretical line: “Actually, there is no such thing as a homosexual person, any more than there is such a thing as a heterosexual person.” True, the firm natural division between the two identities has proven useful to the “gay rights” activists on the ground, and not least of all for the civil-rights-era ethos such power dynamics conjure up. But most queer theorists—and, for that matter, most academics throughout the humanities and the social/behavioral disciplines today—will readily concede that such distinctions are fledgling constructs and not much more.

Writer Rebecca Vipond Brink counters Hannon’s argument in her article, Why Labels for Sexual Identities Are Useful For Everyone. In it she discusses the importance of accuracy when labeling sexual identities. Brink says, “It is accuracy we are looking for when we decide to label ourselves with increasingly complex and specific terms. My feeling is that having a word for our sexual feelings helps us to feel less weird and alone.”

I have no way of knowing if the women who commented under Griner and Livingston’s photos would act on their desires or if their comments were all smoke and mirrors shared anonymously behind a keyboard. Still, these “girl crushes” seem to blur the lines when it comes to how stringent people have been when it comes to sexual labels and orientation.

However, I will say that there were far more disrespectful comments towards these young women than positive ones filled with swoons and lust. Women complimenting and uplifting each other should be the norm. No matter one’s choice of sexual identification, or the choice to be labeled by one’s sexuality, being respected regardless of choice is an inherent right.

 

 

“When Black People Tell Me They Don’t Believe In Gay Marriage…” Kerry Washington On Uniting With LGBT Community

March 23rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Kerry Washington On Uniting With LGBT Community

Source: YouTube

During her acceptance speech from the GLAAD Media Awards for her work as an ally, Kerry said that although her speech may be preaching to the choir, she knew that on Monday morning people were going to “click a link to see what that woman from ‘Scandal’ said at that award show.”

And here you are this morning. Kerry be knowing.

In the opening moments of her speech, Washington explained why the title of ally is one she’s proud to hold.

There are people in this world who have full rights and citizenship – in our communities, our countries – around the world. And then there are those of us who to varying degrees do not. We don’t have equal access to education and healthcare, and some other basic liberties like marriage, a fair voting process, fair hiring practices. Now you would think that those kept from our full rights of citizenship would band together and fight the good fight. But history tells us that no, often we don’t. Women, poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, gay men, bisexuals, trans people, intersex people. We have been pitted against each other and made to feel there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of ‘other.'”

And there’s a problem with that.

Washington continued, speaking about the ways in which we have become afraid of one another and engage in unnecessary competition and even betrayal. Then she said telling the stories of underrepresented groups is still, sadly, seen as a radical act. Which is why people constantly complain about all the “gay scenes” in Shonda’s shows. So, she called for more LGBT people in front of and behind the camera, telling and sharing those real stories, until they no longer seem odd.

But lastly, and perhaps most pertinent to this audience, Washington told the audience how Black people fighting against gay rights is counterproductive to our collective struggle for justice and equality.

“In 1997 when Ellen made her famous declaration, it took place in an America where the Defense of Marriage Act had just passed months earlier and civil unions were not yet legal in any state. But also remember, just 30 years before that, the Supreme Court was deciding that the ban against interracial marriage was unconstitutional. Up until then, heterosexual people of different races couldn’t marry who they wanted to marry either. So when Black people, today, tell me that they don’t believe in gay marriage… *gives a fierce side eye* …the first thing that I say is ‘Please don’t let anybody try to get you to vote against your own best interests by feeding you messages of hate.’ And then I say, ‘You know people used to say stuff like that about you and your love. And if we let the government start to legislate love in our lifetime, who do you think is next?’ We can’t say that we believe in each other’s fundamental humanity and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each other’s existence and the truth of each other’s hearts. We must be allies. And we must be allies in this business because to be represented is to be humanized. And as long as anyone, any where is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake and we are all vulnerable. 

Amen Minister Kerry! Preach that good word! This message was and is so needed and I’m happy she was the one to give it.

You can watch her entire speech in the video below.

Did You Know? Celebrities With Gay Parents

March 10th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock


We thought we knew all about these A-list stars. We bet you can’t name all of the celebrities with gay parents either!

“I Was Not Fun For 3 Years” Terry McMillan Talks About Forgiving Her Gay Ex Husband

July 3rd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Getty

Source: Getty

You don’t even have to have read Terry McMillan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back to know her story. The art inspired by her life that was in a book, on the big screen and then all over television for the world to see when things went left. Most of us remember the episode of Oprah where McMillan confronted her gay ex husband Jonathan Plummer for the deception and betrayal of marrying her when he knew–or at least had an inkling–that he was gay.

The encounter was not exactly comfortable. You may remember that McMillan’s head was on lean the entire interview and there were more eye rolls than a little bit.

Obviously, the dissolution of a marriage is not easy on anyone but the circumstances behind the ending of this one and the way it played out in the public presumably made it even harder to get over.

But in this Sunday’s upcoming episode of OWN’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now,” McMillan seems to have gotten to that place.

In the video below she talks about the process of forgiving her ex husband.

“People do a lot of things to hurt each other but it takes a different kind of energy, positive energy to forgive someone. And I think mostly, It’s forgiving yourself because being angry is stupid. It really is stupid and it weighs you down and everybody around you feels it. I was not fun for three years.”

 

 

McMillan’s episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now” airs this Sunday, July 6 at 9pm.

Digital Diversity: ‘Queer Women Who Tech’ Summit Opens Doors To Tech

June 24th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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lesbians who techFor many women, the technology world can be both a rewarding and cutthroat terrain. It’s no secret that the high-growth industry is run by white, straight males (many hailing from Ivy League institutions), which makes it challenging—if not impossible—to thrive in today’s ecosystem.

However, there’s been an immense movement to change the current stats and fill the tech-talent pipeline with more women. One organization is working to do that and create an inclusive environment for queer women in tech. Founded in December 2002 by Leanne Pittsford, Lesbians Who Tech works to build visibility and the number of queer women in tech and tech-related fields, as well as connect women to socially aware organizations.

Several months after the inaugural Lesbians Who Tech Summit, which gathered 800 queer women and allies, took place in San Francisco, it arrived in New York. More than 140 Indiegogo contributors and the leadership Pittsford helped bring the summit to the Big Apple last weekend. Taking place from June 20-22, attendees gathered at NYU Law School’s Tishman Auditorium to hear speakers such as digitalundivided’s Kathryn Finney, Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani and Politini co-hosts and power couple Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills address gender inequality in the tech industry.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world run by men, “ said Saujani, during her “Social Good Pitch.” That sentiment was reflected among attendees and speakers, and why Lesbians Who Tech’s mission is crucial to changing the way women in tech are perceived.

The diversity data from big tech firms like Google, LinkedIn and Yahoo reveal the lack of African American, Latino and women across the board, but there’s no official reporting of discrimination or numbers acknowledging the LGBTQ community within these firms. But it’s that very reason the Queer Women Who Tech Summit is in existence and working to shift the paradigm.

Guests and speakers both received major takeaways from Queer Women Who Tech.

“This is really essential, and I’m glad that this conference is happening,” says Cheyenne Cook, audio visual content manager at Politini. “We really need to focus on the intersectionality of everyone’s identities and how they shape everything that we do… I’m glad this conference exists because it opens up conversations to talk about women, queer women, to create change and innovation in technology.”

Maureen Erokwu, founder and CEO of Vosmap, who pitched her company that is bringing Google’s Street View technology to businesses across the country, echoed the summit’s value. “I’d like to see more women of color in tech,” says Erokwu. “To increase the level of involvement, we’d simply have to get involved and support these very initiatives that promote the influence of women in tech.” The entrepreneur made sure to connect with attendees, speakers and sponsors, and walked away with meaningful connections, and even secured a meeting with a leading NYC-based tech organization.

Techies also had time to connect during the summit’s after party, sponsored by Gawker, brunch on Saturday, a day-long hackathon held at Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn and a sailing excursion on the Hudson River.

You can follow the movement on Facebook or Twitter (@lesbiantech) or peruse through the hashtag, #lwtsummit. For more, check out the Lesbians Who Tech website.

Going Both Ways: Celebrities You Didn’t Know Are Bisexual

June 18th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Check out this list of celebrities you didn't know are Bisexual

Source: WENN

Y’all seemed to love the gay or bisexual celebs who play straight roles story so much we had to do another one to let you know about the other bisexual celebrities out here, some of which are our favorites and some of which might just shock you. Check out the list and let us know who shocked you. 

Beyoncé’s Pastor Says Her Music Doesn’t Conflict With Christianity

June 3rd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: theGrio.com

Source: theGrio.com

Beyoncé comes under fire from just about everybody. Parents think she’s too sexy. One feminist thinker likened her to a terrorist and conservative news pundits think she and she alone is the reason for teen pregnancy. And then there are the some Christians who’ve accused her of being everything from a hypocrite to a devil worshipper.

But Beyoncé’s pastor is defending her against all of that. In an interview with theGrio, Rudy Rasmus a humanitarian, cultural architect and author of the new book Love.Period.: When All Else Fails thinks that as an entertainer Beyoncé should have the artistic freedom to do what she feels.

The Knowles family and Kelly Rowland have been long-time members of the St. John’s United Methodist Church in downtown Houston where Resmus is co-pastor. He’s also the man who officiated Beyoncé and Jay Z’s wedding ceremony back in 2008.

In a sit down with theGrio, Rasmus shared everything from his thoughts on gay marriage and the black church (Hint: He believes couples of the same gender should be able to get married.), submission between man and wife, the state of Jay and Bey’s marriage, why he doesn’t take issue with the way Beyoncé presents herself in her music and the importance of love over everything else.

 

What are the ingredients for a successful marriage with a power couple like Jay Z and Beyoncé

Trust, love… And love is, in the marital relationship, it’s the same for any friendship. The text says that the wife should respect the husband. The text also says the husband should love the wife as unto the church. Now, a casual reading of that you could miss the fact that for that husband to love that wife as unto the church really means that that husband is willing to die for that wife. But that wife is prepared or capable or willing to respect the husband.

 

The marriage advice he’s given the Carters

I haven’t given them any advice. They are friends. Their relationship is healthy and life has been good.

 

Do Beyoncé’s lyrics and message contradict the purity of Christianity?

“I’ve been asked that question many times over the past 22 years, many times. And the answers is always the same. Beyoncé is a consummate entertainer, and an entertainer entertains. Is the entertainer’s entertainment an expression of that person’s life and reality? I don’t know. But I know when Arnold Schwarzenegger straps on a 30 caliber cannon and blows planes out of the sky, nobody asks the question, ‘Arnold why are you walking around for those 90 minutes in that suit with that 30 caliber cannon? What kind of person are you?’ I don’t think I’ve heard that question. But at the end of the day, Arnold Schwarzenegger is an entertainer. I think a person has the right to earn a living in the way that they are gifted, and I think that she is tremendously gifted and I think she expresses that gift in some amazing ways. I think the world would be void an extreme talent if we silenced her or censored her. I wouldn’t want my art censored.”

 

Will the LGBT community be embraced in the black church?

It’s gonna happen. As a matter fact, it’s an idea whose time has already come. It’s just taken the church a while to catch up. About 30 percent of my crowd is LGBT. And what I’ve realized is that there is one basic, common human need that every human being has, regardless to their sexual orientation, and that is acceptance.

 

Would you marry a same sex couple?

My denomination actually has a prohibition against doing so. It does, in the ordinances. But do I feel that same gendered people should be able to choose for themselves who they want to spend their lives with? I believe every human being deserves the opportunity to make that choice.

 

Love and what he wants readers to take away from his book

I want readers to understand that love never fails. The ancient text, we can call it the Bible says that you can know everything, you can even give everything, you can have everything but if you don’t have love, you have nothing.

 

You can watch Pastor Rasmus’ full interview in the video below.

 

“This Is What’s Wrong With The Church Now” Tank Blasts Gay Minister On Instagram

May 13th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Tank++rb

We told you Instagram’s Direct Message feature was going to cause some trouble. And though this is certainly not the first example of someone being put on blast, this one says quite a bit. Recently, one third of TGT, singer Tank, took a screenshot of one of his Instagram direct images and posted it on his account for all to see.

It was a man, who Tank says claimed to be a minister, exposing himself in a video. Tank didn’t delete the video or keep it to himself, he took a screen shot and posted this lengthy message on Instagram.

tank blasts gay minister

 

I first apologize for this image to all my fans and anybody who sees this! This man is claiming to be a minister and sends this to my DM!! This is what’s wrong with the church now! Misrepresentation of God and who he really is!! This is the devil operating in our sacred place! We can’t allow this ANYWHERE!! I have no problems with homosexuals BUT I do have a problem with this!! What message were you trying to send a straight man “minister”? I hope ur bishop everybody in ur congregation become aware of your actions! If you’ll send this to a celebrity God only knows what ur sending to kids and etc!! The devil is working and this is what it looks like! I won’t stand by and allow it to happen! I will take this down soon, BUT this serves as a warning to you perverts infiltrating our churches!! You’re not welcome!! I pray that God deals with you swiftly and accordingly!!

If you’ve ever been the recipient of an unsolicited genitalia picture, you know the disgust and violation Tank feels. And we don’t have to tell you that someone who claims to be a  man of God shouldn’t be sending video–not photos–but video of his wang to strangers. That’s wrong on a whole ‘nother level.

But we have to say that Tank took things a bit too far when he made the assumption that just because the man was gay and completely inappropriate, that he was automatically a pedophile. That’s a stretch and an unfair characterization to place on someone without proof. Literally, it’s one of the worst things you can call a person.

I will say he does bring up a good point about the church. Gay, straight or somewhere in between there is no part of the “church” game–or the common decency game–that would make it ok for you to send an unsolicited, unwanted picture of your junk. It’s no bueno. Still, I feel a way about Tank putting this man on blast like this. Was the man wrong? Sure. But Tank doesn’t know what type of scrutiny this man might suffer in this alleged church, if he is indeed outed in this way. Basically, I don’t know if Tank should have taken it upon himself to expose this man in what could potentially be a physically or emotionally damaging situation. Revealing his sexuality to his church members should have been a decision he made on his own, if he ever decided to do so.

What do you think about Tank’s comments? Do you think it was right for him to expose the man?

Update: Pastor Porsha Apologizes To Gay Community, Cynthia Calls Her Fickle

May 6th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 12.34.09 PM

 

UPDATE:

Porsha recently released a statement about comments made in the sermon saying this: “God loves all of His children. The sermon was shown not in its entirety, therefore the message was omitted. I apologize that those words hurt the LGBT community, my fans and my supporters. Life is a journey and I’m growing every day.” 

Seems fair, but it’ll be interesting to see how people respond to it. (I’m sure it’ll blow over soon.)

Cynthia on the other hand, doesn’t find Porsha to be too sincere. Cynthia says Porsha needs to pick one team or the other. She accuses Porsha of playing both sides, condemning them to hell one day and performing a gay clubs the next. Well, isn’t this poetic. Just this past Sunday on “Watch What Happens Live,” Porsha was saying Cynthia was the flip flopper who needed to get a mind of her own

Tables have turned. 

Thoughts on Porsha’s statement? Do you think she’s taking the LGBT’s community’s money while suggesting they need to be saved from themselves?

 

Porsha has lived quite a few lives. From video girl, to preacher, to reality tv star and now singer. What a whirlwind! Personally, I’d never heard that Porsha used to be a pastor, so I found this video TMZ recently dug up to be quite interesting, just for the simple fact of seeing Porsha behind the pulpit delivering God’s good news in that high-pitched squeaky voice of hers.

This three year old video from the High Praise Christina Center Ministeries in Georgia shows Porsha preaching, quite emphatically about the love God has for us and how we as Christians need to be sure to show that love to others. But the message became a little controversial when Porsha said Christians need to save hookers, drug dealers, suicidal people and gays and lesbians.

Her exact words:

“…And he did that because of our inequities. So don’t let the devil tell you, you ain’t worthy of God’s blessings. He wants to use you no matter what. That’s why we Christians supposed to be telling the hooker on the street, the drug dealer, the person in the hospital who’s trying to commit suicide, the gays the lesbians. We’re supposed to be trying to save them and tell them ‘You are worthy!’ God can use you. God can use me…”

So the issue obviously is that Porsha is equating being gay or lesbian as a sin and people who identify as such needing to be saved. Naturally, this type of thinking, though it’s blanketed in a message of acceptance and love is still problematic and being interpreted by some as clandestine hate. I can also see the argument that since the gays and lesbians have historically been regarded as unworthy, it’s time for us to start spreading a new message, period. Still there’s that saved part. People are arguing that Porsha, a southern girl, has probably been raised all her life to think and believe that homosexuality is a sin but at least she’s not saying these people should be condemned, just you know saved from themselves…so they won’t end up eternally damned.

Yikes.

It doesn’t look good but the only out Porsha has here is that this video was made three years ago and she can claim she no longer believes this or that she was arguing that we should no longer condemn this community and skip out on the saving them from themselves aspect of her message. She might not speak on it at all actually and pretend it never happened. TMZ said they reached out to her and no one responded. I wonder if Andy Cohen has seen this tape…

What do you think about this mini sermon? How do you interpret the message? Was Porsha saying being gay is a sin and these people need salvation or was this just a message against hate? Furthermore, do you find it strange that Porsha used to be a preacher? Do you think she needs a little saving of her own these days?

Watch a snippet of the sermon in the video below.

‘My Daughter Is In Her Religion:’ Monifah Says Daughter Still Disapproves Of Her Sexual Orientation

April 29th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

Last season of “R&B Divas: Atlanta,” Monifah Carter’s daughter made it clear that she doesn’t approve of her mother’s sexual orientation. The reality star recently revealed to Wendy Williams that not much has changed.

“You know, my daughter is in her religion, into her Christianity and she is a 22-year-old who hasn’t experienced life yet fully,” she explained. “I had to just be a parent and be an example of the human being that I’d like her to be.”

Monifah also discussed exposing her life and her relationship to reality TV cameras.

“Not at all.It’ First of all, it’s real. It’s a part of my life,” she said. “I think it’s time to bring some normalcy. Love is love and that is it [as long as it’s healthy].”

As for how her daughter feels about her relationship being displayed on national television:

“She’s fine, it’s personal stuff. We respect one another and we love each other through. My life is going to continue. I’m going to live it how I see fit. I respect her, but she’s not the ruler.”

Watch Monifah’s interview below.