Gay Chat News: The Good, the Gay and the Ugly

Anne Hathaway – who is set to play Catwoman in the new Batman film next year – has spoken out about gay marriage. Being a New Jersey girl with a gay brother, she has called on her home state to follow New York’s lead. Quoted from Interview magazine, the Devil Wears Prada star said; “They need to get on the New York bandwagon and legalise gay marriage.” This is most prevalent as a lesbian was refused a wedding dress in New Jersey last week due to the fact she was marrying another woman.

A noted supporter of gay rights, the Hollywood star hopes other US States will follow suit. As well as her on-going support for gay rights, Hathaway has also recorded a video message for the It Gets Better campaign.

It isn’t very hard to understand why there is still so much prejudice and diversity inAmericawhen you think that there were still fifteen States that outlawed sodomy until 2003. Florida was one of those States and even though they still don’t accept it, they cannot legally enforce their own ruling on sodomy thanks to the government.

It’s strange to think of Florida clinging on to this law for so long, especially as the Sunshine State is home to a very large and diverse group of clusters such as Miami Beach, Key West, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and even Disney World. But it must say something about the mentality and tolerance of some of the heterosexual populous. In fact a once celebrated teacher of Social Studies has recently been suspended from teaching after making anti-gay comments on his personal FaceBook account. “I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York Okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up. And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool as same-sex whatever! God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable???”

I am a big believer in freedom of speech, but this man is a school teacher (for Social Studies… maybe he needs to go back to school himself!) He is shaping young people’s minds and how they will perceive the world as adults. Closed-minded and bigoted people should not be allowed to teach in schools (or be in government… yes, I do mean you Michelle Bachmann!)

For as long as I can remember, gay men have been banned from donating blood in the UK. This has always been a bone of contention and just another shocking blow for equality. To say gay men are at a higher risk is factually wrong. There is a higher infection rate of STIs with heterosexuals, homosexuals are more likely to get checked out at the clinic than their straight counterparts – and we get free condoms and lube in every gay bar and club. The gay community is now more savvy when it comes to STIs and probably more cautious ever since HIV/AIDS hit our community three decades ago.

A new petition is currently online calling for an end to the gay blood donation ban. We here at Gay Chat Towers signed it today and know that there is an evidence-based review underway with an announcement of any changes from the health association likely to be soon.

But this is not the first time a call on the ban has been incited. In 2008 an identical campaign was put forward (bloodban) and still hasn’t achieved its goal of 5000 signatures. This new petition has already reached almost that in a matter of weeks. Maybe people have now realised that this on-going saga is not just about equality, but about saving people’s lives.

My boyfriend, best friend and I were watching old music videos on YouTube at the weekend. Late at night and rather inebriated, we danced around as we watched Club Tropicana and couldn’t believe just howcamp George Michael and Andrew Ridgley look in that video. How did we not know about George back then? (Okay, we kinda guessed.) Even though they are both very flamboyant, they are still surrounded by and flirting with scantily-clad women. It’s a little unsettling to look back at now!

Since the break-up of 80s pop sensation Wham! George began a successful solo career that wasn’t even damaged by his very public, gay outing in 1998. The music video “Outside” which played homage to and glorified his cruising habits was seen by most as harmless fun – all except Marcelo Rodriguez of course, who was the officer that caught George in the LA public toilet.

George has done a lot for gay rights and HIV/Aids charities over the years. Being a close friend of Elton John who runs the Aids Foundation; together they have performed at money-raising galas and many charity gigs. But George has never really being known as a gay activist even though he has been out of the closet for thirteen years. In NME Magazine recently, George addressed this point by saying he plans to release a gay album to make up for “letting the gay kids down”.

It’s pegged to be a dance album and will be a collaboration with gay/gay friendly artists. “I’ll be 48 when the album comes out, but I have to say that gay men’s relationship with dance music probably doesn’t end at the same time as straight people’s does.” Ain’t that the truth George!

Terry Gee

Gay Chat News: Are you proud to be gay?

It’s a very wide and open question, but something that we here at Gay Chat Towers would be interested to hear about.

For me personally, I love being gay. I am an out and proud man, I love my boyfriend and openly show him affection when we’re out in public with no fear or trepidation. But, I realise I am living in London which is known to be more tolerant than most cities. I also have a good network of friends who accept me for who I am without question. I live in a protected, gay bubble where the heterosexual community poses no threat to my lifestyle or whom I love.

Londonis very different from Yorkshire where I grew up, holding hands with a person of the same sex in public could cause quite a lot of animosity and even violence from fellow residents. I find that lack of education; knowledge and exposure are key factors to homophobia. Think about how most parents react when we first come out as being gay. For mine, there were tears, tantrums, arguments and hurtful things said and done. But as time goes on, they saw that this is who I am. I am still their son and what does it matter who and of what sex I fall in love with?

But then I read stories of people in countries where being gay is punishable by death or lifetime imprisonment; people who fear to walk out of their own home in case they are attacked and tortured. Countries where government officials and religious bodies tell the populous that being gay is a choice and it is wrong. How can being gay truly be a choice? Would anyone choose a life of persecution, the loss of friends and family and fear of the world outside because of who they are? No one would put themselves through that if they could help it. Being gay was hard enough for me growing up in Yorkshire, so I can’t imagine just how bad it is in places like Uganda and some major Muslim countries. If being gay really was a choice, there would be no gay people living in those places at all.

But what about you? Where do you live and how has being gay affected your day-to-day life? I imagine the residents of San Francisco are only too happy to welcome another gay person into their protective care; but what about people who live inmiddle Americaand the deep south? From what I have read, these places still have low tolerance from what they consider “the norm”. Were you forced into a heterosexual union or even been sent to one of the clinics that say they can “cure” homosexuality? Maybe you have been fighting who you really are and have only just come out or are you still in the closet?

We all must face challenges in life and sometimes they can feel too hard to bear. We find a brick wall in front of us with no way of scaling it to get over to the other side. But there is more than one way to get over such obstacles. Most of the people on Maleforce will have gone through similar situations and had to face the wall. Just speak to them and ask. I’m sure most will have a story to tell. A lot of people will have pushed and shoved, knocked through the bricks one by one and fought their way to the other side. For me, I had my friends to help me through it and their faith in me gave me the strength I needed. And then there are the few people who don’t have the support of their peers, don’t have the tools to get through the wall and feel trapped in a place they don’t belong in. It is to those people who I say there is always hope and help out there. For the fortunate ones who don’t live in repressive countries where the internet is monitored and blocked, find a local support centre and speak to someone there. These are always confidential and can help with getting your life back on track and give you the tools to break down that wall.

Always try and remember that if you are gay, this can’t be changed – and why should it? You are a loving human being with the same rights as everyone else on this planet. And as terrible and futile as life can feel at times, remember that there is nothing wrong with you, the only wrong in this instance are certain people’s misguided views on homosexuality. This is changing rapidly and I honestly believe that in time, prejudice will be a thing of the past. Try and keep that in mind. They are the ones we should pity, as they are a dying breed whose beliefs are so wrong they are now being exposed for the evil bigots they truly are. Let that thought to spur you on, find people who can help you grow and get past a stage in your life that is being repressed by the smaller man.

I am a gay man and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Terry Gee

Ben & Jerry’s Gay wedding

In September last year Ben & Jerry’s sweetened up the gay marriage debate by rebranding their ‘Chubby Hubby’ ice cream as ‘Hubby Hubby’ in support of same-sex unions.

Back then, In a statement issued by the company, Walt Freese, Chief Executive Officer of Ben & Jerry’s said “At the core of Ben & Jerry’s values, we believe that social justice can and should be something that every human being is entitled to. From the very beginning of our 30 year history, we have supported equal rights for all people. The legalization of marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Vermont (Ben & Jerry’s home state) is certainly a step in the right direction and something worth celebrating with peace, love and plenty of ice cream.”

In honour of the legalization of gay marriage in Wahington D.C last week resident Ben & Jerry’s super-fans Keith Spangler-Vellios and Andreas Vellios decided to return the favour by tieing the knot at their local parlour.

The new law, approved in December, came into effect just last week. Ben & Jerry’s cofounder David Catania attended the ceremony.

“Equal rights and treatment for all people was a founding principle of Ben & Jerry’s when we started the company over 30 years ago,” Jerry Greenfield, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s, said in a statement.

“We are proud that the District of Columbia is recognizing the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry and are happy to celebrate the milestone with an ice cream wedding cake and best wishes for the happy couple.”

The district now joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont as the only places in America where gay marriages can be conducted.

By Gary Cosby

For weekly gay news, chat and dating hook up at www.maleforce.com

Gay church weddings get House of Lords blessing

Gay men and women can now marry in churches after the House of Lords voted in favour of lifting the ban on religious premises hosting same-sex unions.

An amendment to the Equality Bill, tabled by out Muslim peer Waheed Alli, received overwhelming support in the Lords which includes senior clergy in the Church of England.

Still pending House of Commons approval, the amendment gives religious venues the option to host civil partnership ceremonies.

Currently legislation forbids religious premises to conduct gay unions; however various liberal denominations have been blessing gay partnerships once a civil ceremony has already taken place.

In an interview with The Independent Lord Alli rebuked suggestion that the amendment means churches will be eventually forced to accept gay marriage.

“Religious freedom cannot begin and end with what one religion wants,” he said. “This amendment does not place an obligation on any religious organisation to host civil partnerships in their buildings. But there are many gay and lesbian couples who want to share their civil partnership with the congregations that they worship with. And there are a number of religious organisations that want to allow gay and lesbian couples to do exactly that.”

Although the amendment was backed by senior bishops in the Lords it has been strongly opposed by conservative Christians.

Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre told The Times: “What is being advanced as an issue of religious freedom today will be used to remove religious freedom in the future.

“Homosexual activists have made clear that this is not the end. It is a step towards forcing churches to conduct same-sex unions that would go against their beliefs. Changing the law will further blur the distinction between marriage and what the Government put forward as a purely secular ceremony.”

The Quakers, Liberal Judaism and The Unitarians have welcomed the amendment.

For weekly gay news, chat and dating hook up at  www.maleforce.com

By Gary Cosby

Related Link: 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7037062.ece

Elton John: Jesus was Gay!

Elton John has upset religious fundamentalists by inferring that Jesus Christ was a gay man.

In a new interview the 63 year old pop star said: “I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.

“On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East – you’re as good as dead.”

His comments have sparked a row with high profile evangelical minister Ian Watson, who recently led a campaign against gay clergy men in Scotland.

Watson told The Daily Record: “There is absolutely no truth whatsoever in what Elton John has said about Jesus being gay.

“Jesus was a Jew and Jewish law regards homosexual practices as a sin. When Jesus challenged his enemies to prove him guilty of sin, they couldn’t do it. Therefore, I have no doubt whatsoever that he was not a gay man.”

In the interview with Parade the Rocket Man singer talks candidly about his previous addiction to drugs and how he “lost the plot” during the period he was addicted to Cocaine.

“For some people a gram of cocaine can last a month. Not me. I have to do the lot, and then I want more. At the end of the day, all it led to was heartache.

“Just about every relationship I ever had was involved with drugs. It never works. But I always had to be with someone, good or bad, otherwise I didn’t feel fulfilled.

John who has been clean for many years goes on to say how he’s grown tired of being a celebrity.

In support of his religious ‘gaff’ the chaplain for Church of Scotland group Affirmation Scotland, the Rev Lindsay Biddle, said: “I think it’s wonderful for anybody, including Elton John, to imagine Jesus as being like them.

“This is very common, and in the Western world we do it all the time, imagining Jesus to be white when, in fact, he was a man of colour.”

 By Gary Cosby
 
For weekly gay news, chat and dating hook up at www.maleforce.com

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Pope’s stance on gay equality laws sparks protests

A comment by the Pope believed to be aimed at a proposed bill amendment, whereby the church would be forced to employ gay people, has caused a media sensation and protests over his forthcoming state-funded visit.

The Equality bill, which protects against discrimination in employment on grounds of sexuality, was criticized by the pontiff as imposing unjust limitations on the freedom of the church to act in accordance with its beliefs.

New provisions in the bill would have narrowed the special exemption enjoyed by churches allowing them to exclude people whose lifestyles do not fit in with the religious ethos of an organisation when hiring staff.

In a communiqué to Catholic bishops in England and Wales the pontiff said: “Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society.

“Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.”

He goes on to urge bishops to defend the church’s “moral teachings” and says “Fidelity to the gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others – on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth.”

The statement has caused a media storm in the past week with a petition protesting against a state-funded papal visit, scheduled for September, attracting over 7,000 signatures.

The National Secular Society predicts the visit could cost the tax payer up to £20 million. President Terry Sanderson told PinkNews.co.uk he expected to see 10,000 signatures on the petition by the end of this week.

He said: : “I don’t think the government and the church have realised the level of anger from the public – not just over the Equality Bill but also the child abuse scandal. There has been no apology to victims, no compensation.

“And the Catholics in the pews just don’t abide by what the Pope says. They are appalled at the aggressiveness of the church towards homosexuality and also over the church’s pronouncements on condom use against AIDS in Africa.

“This is a PR disaster for the Pope, and he specialises in them. His reactionary nature drives people away.”

For weekly gay news, chat and soundbites visit www.maleforce.com

by Gary Cosby