Friday, January 20, 2017

The Beginning of the End?

In his latest video, Matt Baume tackles the myriad ways Trump could destroy Obama's LGBT progress. Watch HERE.

What spooked me most today, however, is news that the Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit challenging same-sex benefits. This is exactly the path conservatives need to get a case to the U.S. Supreme Court. which could become aggressively hostile to LGBT rights in the years ahead. It was the phrasing that gave me chills:
The motion to rehear urged the court to reject the “ideology of the sexual revolution” embraced by federal judges who found a constitutional right to gay marriage, overturned Texas abortion regulations and struck down a Mississippi law that would have allowed individuals and businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples based on religious objections to gay marriage.
Wow. Full story HERE.

There's no going back. (From HERE.)

Trump Shuts Down White House Office of National AIDS Policy: Source

Well, that didn't take long. The attack on the LGBT community is already under way. Towleroad notes that the White House LGBT page -- -- has been erased. Also scrubbed are pages dedicated to climate change, civil rights and health care. (They've been archived HERE.) While this may be standard transition stuff, I'm not convinced Trump has plans to ever bring them back given that lots of other pages do take you to up-to-date Trump administration policies, like the one reprimanding people for having the audacity to ask the police to not murder people of color for no reason. Even more disturbing to me is that a source in the HIV/AIDS research community tells me Trump has already closed the Office of National AIDS Policy, whose page has also been disabled. Revisionist LGBT activists should note the office was formed in 1993 -- during the Clinton administration at the height of the plague -- to coordinate government efforts to reduce the number of HIV infections in the United States. Amy Lansky was director during the last year of the Obama administration, but tweeted a goodbye from the entire staff on Jan. 4. I've had no luck getting anyone to go on the record to confirm what I've been told, but Lansky's Twitter page seems to corroborate the dire news. 

UPDATE: Lansky contacted me to say: "I have no information on what the Trump administration may or may not do with regards to ONAP."

I would be thrilled to be misinformed about this. But something tells me ONAP is more likely to be replaced with the Office of Conversion Therapy than being restaffed to continue the work it's been doing for decades. Contact me if you know more HERE.

How is this making America great again?

From HERE.

Donald Trump Is Sworn in as 45th President, Promising ‘Only America First’

What kind of country puts ONLY itself first? I told my sister to sit my nephew and niece down today to explain to them that if you demean and sexually assault women, make fun of the disabled, lie, refuse to follow the rules, belittle immigrants and people of different religions and have your daddy give you millions of dollars then they too can rise to the highest office in the land. I never thought I could be ashamed to be an American ... until now.

Damian and our friend Greg went to the oldest gay bar in New York City last night to toast Barack Obama, the president who finally recognized us -- and all Americans -- as equal. Something tells me I will be spending a lot more time there in the next few years. #neverforget

Watch Ellen DeGeneres and 25 other celebrities send a big thank-you to President Obama HERE!

On the Rag, Vol. 442

A weekly look at what's making news in the gay mags:

GT (London): Get the scoop on this Tom Daley shirtless man sandwich HERE.

Get Out!: Get to know Terk Lewis, songwriter, producer, rapper, model and ballerina, HERE.

The Gay U.K.: Am I the only one completely baffled that Austin "The A List" Armcost is a big reality star in Britain? See his leg tattoos HERE.

Metro Weekly pens an open letter from the LGBT community to our new "president." Read HERE.

QX (London): I'll click on anything with a photo of the Human League.

MetroSource: How to lose 10 pounds. Read HERE.

Gloss (SF): Meet 10 Bay Area people worth watching HERE.

Lavender (Twin Cities): Get your romantic dining ideas HERE.

Echo (Phoenix): Trans cyclist's path leads to El Tour de Tucson Victory / Read HERE.

Q Salt Lake's Love and Dating issue is online NOW.

Flame (Detroit): Is that you, Natalie Cole? / Online edition HERE.

Out in Jersey: Philly drag legend Martha Graham Cracker to perform with Opera Philadelphia / Read HERE.

Song of the Day: 'Dictator' by the Clash

God help us all.

Morning Wood

Page 1 Roundup (01/20)

A dark day in U.S. history. 

Please eat more steaks, Mr. "President."

The fall of Novak Djokovic warranted a Page 1 refer in the paper of record.

Would you believe I've never had a McFlurry?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Former GOP House Speaker Wants Hush Money Back From Wrestler He Sexually Abused

This one couldn't wait till Wrestle Wednesday.

Just when you thought Republicans couldn't stoop any lower, the longest-serving speaker of the House drops this bombshell -- from a prison cell -- trying to recoup the money he paid a wrestler he molested (when the boy was 14 and not even in high school) to keep quiet about the abuse. (And kudos to the guy for suing for the remainder of the hush money since it was Hastert -- not him -- who who brought the disgusting event to the authorities' attention by withdrawing the money in huge amounts, thus raising suspicion!)

The Chicago Tribune reports:
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has asked a Kendall County judge to not only reject a sexual abuse victim's breach-of-contract lawsuit, but also to make the man pay back the $1.7 million in secret hush-money payments.

In response to the lawsuit and in his counterclaim, made public Thursday and signed by Hastert, he denied that the oral pact is akin to a valid and enforceable contract and, if so, it would be the plaintiff who breached it when he spoke to federal authorities. Hastert also is seeking "reasonable expenses, attorneys' fees, and costs."

The lawsuit was filed in April by a now middle-age married man whom Hastert coached decades ago at Yorkville High School.

The man, known as Individual A in the federal case against Hastert, said Hastert had agreed in 2010 to pay him $3.5 million if he didn't disclose publicly that Hastert inappropriately touched him in the 1970s, when Individual A was 14, during a wrestling trip while the two stayed overnight in a hotel room. The boy at the time was not yet in high school, but Hastert was close friends with his parents.

The boy went on to become a standout student-athlete in high school. He later suffered panic attacks, unemployment, bouts of depression and psychiatric treatment, according to his lawsuit.

Hastert paid the former wrestler $1.7 million over 41/2 years through 2014, but he stopped making payments that December after the FBI questioned him in his Plano home about the large bank withdrawals. Hastert is serving a 15-month federal prison sentence in Rochester, Minn., for illegally structuring the bank withdrawals to avoid reporting requirements. In his lawsuit, Individual A seeks the remaining $1.8 million.

At his April sentencing hearing, Hastert admitted to inappropriate conduct with the man and some of his former student-athletes before going into politics in the 1980s. In his response this week to the lawsuit, regarding the sexual abuse allegations, Hastert said he had "insufficient information with which to admit or deny the allegations."
Read the full story HERE.

'When We Rise' Examaines LGBT Movement to Date

Although I think a crucial chapter is about to be written -- where we're fighting for rights we have and do not intend to give up rather than aspirational rights -- I'm still very much looking forward to Dustin Lance Black's "When We Rise," which chronicles the entire gay-rights movement. Hear what the Academy Award winner has to say about it and more HERE

Should Dating Apps Display Warnings About Rape, Murder and Child Abuse?

One British lawmaker thinks they should, but I'd say there are bigger threats right there on the surface. Read HERE.

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