News & Opinions
Mark Betterson, a student at a High School in Florida, was suspended for 10 days after trying to stop another student from beating a gay student, a local news station reports:
“Mark Betterson says he realized he had to do something when he saw a fellow student throw milk in another’s face, use gay slurs, and then start to hit him. James Griffin, 18, is charged with battery. His alleged victim, 18-year-old Jonathan Colon, who is openly gay, walked away with bruises on his head. Many who saw the fight say it could have been worse if Betterson didn’t step in.”
Said Betterson: “Johnathan was just going to stand there and get beat up. And if I didn’t jump into it, it would have gotten serious. I was just trying to break up the whole thing because it’s just not fair for somebody to get beat up for something that he is." [via Towelroad]
NFL draft hopeful Michael Sam came out as gay in interviews on Sunday. Sam said he knew that if drafted, he would become the first openly gay player in the NFL, that he was prepared for the challenge, but that he wanted to be open and honest.
The Daily Show has already weighed in on the situation:
Last October, there was the heartwarming story of 2,000 Swedes who gathered in the Olympic Stadium of Stockholm to sing the Russian national anthem in a statement of solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians. Called "Live and Let Love," the final video of the event is now here and just in time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
"For many Russians the song has been a symbol of oppression," organizers of the event said in a statement. "However, the lyrics of the song were changed in year 2000 and in 2009 a poll showed that 56 percent of respondents felt proud when hearing the anthem, and that 81 percent liked it. Still, there are many people in Russia who are not able to sing the song with pride, among them many millions of LGBT people. It is their anthem too, but the state is criminalizing their lives."
Over the weekend, Rory O’Neill, who is also known as Irish drag queen Panti Bliss, made an impassioned and heartfelt speech about the nature of homophobia following the conclusion of a play at the national theatre of Ireland, the Abbey.
According to Irish publication The Journal, the debate itself stemmed from a television network’s redaction of comments made by Panti Bliss on the air earlier in the week about what constitutes homophobia. In addition to rescinding the drag queen’s comments, the network also reportedly paid off a Catholic lobbying group who was called homophobic by Panti Bliss during his time on the network.
In this impassioned and incredible speech during the Feb. 1 debate, Panti Bliss defends his statements and beautifully articulates why he believes certain actions and intentions can be considered homophobic, and the real life ramifications of homophobia (including internalized homophobia) on queer people.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned gay "propaganda" in June last year, Russia’s LGBT community went from being a stigmatized fringe group to full-blown enemies of the state. Homophobia becoming legislation means it’s now not only accepted in Russia but actively encouraged, which has led to a depressing rise in homophobic attacks and murders.
The main aim of the law, which essentially bans any public display of homosexuality, is to prevent minors from getting the impression that being gay is normal. Which means that, if you’re young and gay in Putin’s Russia, you’re ostracized and cut off from any kind of legal support network.
We travel to Russia ahead of February’s Sochi Winter Olympics to investigate the effects of the country’s state-sanctioned homophobia. We take a ride in Moscow’s gay taxi service, hear about the rise of homophobic vigilante groups, and meet Yulia, who runs LGBT self-defense classes.
This episode sees Stephen visit Brazil, home to the largest gay pride celebration in the world and a place that has some of the best legislation on the planet for gay equality. But it has come at a price. All of the advances have brought about a violent backlash against gay people; on average, one gay person is murdered every 36 hours in Brazil. Stephen sees how this is impacting on the lives of gay men and women there and also confronts the politician leading the fight against gay rights.
Stephen also visits Russia, where gays are now worse off than they have been for a long time. Their rights are being constantly eroded by a conservative government, backed by the disapproval of the Russian Orthodox Church. Stephen then travels to India, where the old British laws that criminalised homosexuality have just been overturned. Modern India is now looking to Hindu traditions as it forges a more positive way forward for its gay citizens, including its once celebrated transgender community.
In the first of this two-part series, Stephen Fry reflects back on just how much has changed for gay people during his lifetime. He meets Elton John and David Furnish, the couple who inspired Stephen to be open about his sexuality as well as many others.
This episode, Stephen travels to Uganda, where the government is considering a new law that would make homosexuality a capital crime – putting gay people to death for their sexuality. Stephen meets the men and women targeted by this proposed law and finds out the impact it is already having on their lives.
Stephen also travels to the USA to explore ‘reparative therapy’, which claims to offer a ‘cure’ for being gay. Whilst in the states, he looks at how Hollywood deals with the gay issue by talking to Neil Patrick Harris, an openly gay man who continues to land leading roles.
Stephen Fry interviews Dr. Joseph Nicolosi of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. Nicolosi’s beliefs are so flatly pseudoscientific and Victorian (Homosexuality caused by parental neglect and emotional trauma, etc) that it’d be easy to make a fool of him–Fry, however, being Fry, lets him make a fool of himself.
Stephen Fry’s documentary “Out There” aired on BBC this week