Tag Archive | "LGBT"

NCAA And Broadway Star Audra McDonald Share Disdain Over Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” Bill


By Dustin Shrader

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s ill-advised decision to sign the “religious freedom” bill into law has caused quite the uproar with national businesses and celebrity supporters of the LGBT community. This ghastly new legal measure could allow businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers all in the sake of preserving their “religious” rights.

The NCAA are apprehensive about the bill considering the Final Four tournament will take place there next week. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

President Emmert said the NCAA will “work diligently to ensure competitors and visitors at next week’s Final Four are not negatively impacted by this bill.” Emmert also highlighted that the organization, based in Indianapolis of all places, plan to “closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

First openly gay basketball player, Jason Collins shared his own understandable disappointment with the signing of the bill. Asking Gov. Pence in a tweet, Collins wondered if it is “going to be legal for someone to discriminate against me & others when we come” to the Final Four.

Perhaps the most outspoken, prominent figure against the bill would have to be six-time Tony Award Winner Audra McDonald. In  a series of tweets, McDonald gave the Indianna governor a virtual tongue lashing.

Audra McDonald, @AudraEqualityMc:

 

.@GovPenceIN Some in my band are gay & we have 2 gigs in your state next month. Should we call ahead to make sure the hotel accepts us all?

.@GovPenceIN or could you maybe send us a list of where its okay for us to go? Might the law apply to me?(I’m black).

.@GovPenceIN or maybe I should fire my gay band members just to be on the safe side.

.@GovPenceIN Or MAYBE…we need to stick to singing in states that don’t legislate hate?

.@GovPenceIN Or MAYBE I donate the money I make in your state while Im there to organizations that will combat your hateful legislation.

.@GovPenceIN Yep. That’s what I’ll do. Hey @HRC get ready for a little money coming your way from Indiana via me to you! Have at it!

 

Pence still signed the bill in his office Thursday afternoon. In his own statement, Pence hid behind the right to religious freedom as his reasons for his hate.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Pence has yet to comment on Indiana’s potential loss of national business and celebrity support.

Photo Credit: aol.com

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James Franco Comes To Atlanta, Debuts “I Am Michael”


By Dustin Shrader

Indie film Hall-of-Famer, James Franco is bringing his biggest LGBT project yet to Atlanta this coming week! On March 20, James’s newest flick, I Am Michael will kick off the Atlanta Film Festival with a debut screening at The Plaza Theatre with the A-Lister making a personal appearance himself.

I Am Michael stars Franco as a gay journalist-activist turned pastor, who makes a 180 switch denouncing his homosexuality in favor of a “straight Christian” lifestyle. The film follows Michael’s early days with his boyfriend (played by Zachary Quinto) all the way through his conversion and ultimately falling for the young Christian woman (portrayed by Emma Roberts) who would eventually become his wife.

Initially released at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, the true story, indie biopic has received mildly positive reviews, praising Franco for his nuanced performance.

Sure to draw a crowd among Atlanta’s gay scene, Plaza will open doors to I Am Michael at 7:30 PM.

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Show Me The Money Mary


By Dino Thompson-Sarmiento

According to CNN http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/04/pf/money-stress/ , money is at the top of the list causing a hyper-stressed society and it includes the LGBT population. I went out in search of a solution that could potentially provide some relief and I found it in New York City.

As I stepped inside the elevator of a converted warehouse space in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood, I couldn’t help but wonder if banker turned consumer advocate and co-founder of MagnifyMoney Nick Clements would be more banker or entrepreneur.

Chelsea is home to a great number of the latter while the former mostly cluster further downtown in Wall Street.  I was greeted at MagnifyMoney’s door by their four-legged receptionist Goofski, the dog Nick rescued while working in Moscow for Citigroup. The workspace is light and airy with dry erase boards lining the wall and minimalist office furniture scattered throughout.  In addition to Nick and the dog, MagnifyMoney’s team includes co-founder Brian Karimzad, Nick’s his best friend from Stanford and Erin Lowry wunderkind and BrokeMillennial.  Given the evidence before me, it was clear that Nick had left the stuffy bank world behind for the start-up path, but why?

Dino: Two years ago you were the Managing Director of the UK Consumer Credit Card Business of Barclaycard where you led the business to re-claim its position as #1 by assets. Why leave so young, at the top of your game?

 Nick: While living in the UK, I witnessed a movement in the UK, led by Martin Lewis and a new breed of unbiased and transparent UK price comparison businesses that held themselves to a higher standard. These sites found ways to make money without selling their souls to the banks and misleading the consumer for profit. I reflected on how much we needed this in the US. I was amazed at how low the standards had become in America. I had become increasingly restless, and realized that my purpose was to start working on the side of the consumer and ignite a pro-consumer movement in the US. So, I quit my job, moved to New York, and set up MagnifyMoney.com with my best friend from college.

Dino: So how is MagnifyMoney different from sites like Bankrate or CreditCards.com?

Nick: We created MagnifyMoney because we felt that consumers were being poorly served by existing price-comparison businesses in the financial services sector. Most web sites display products based upon the commission received. And, the order of the results are generally based upon displaying cards that pay commissions first, rather than displaying the best deals first. So, when searching for the best credit card, you shouldn’t be surprised to see the same 10 – 20 credit cards appearing at the top of every website, because they pay the highest commission.

MagnifyMoney was founded because we believe that:

 

  1. A price comparison website should review all financial products, not just the ones that pay commissions. To-date, we have reviewed over 3,500 products (across checking, savings, personal loans and credit cards), and we will continue to expand our database over time.
  2. The order of the results displayed should be based upon the savings/value to the consumer – not the size of the commission. On all of our product tables, we calculate the savings/value, and rank the products from best to worst (and you can see exactly how much you would save for each product). The only way to get to the top of our table is by creating the best product.
  3. Banking should be simpler, more transparent and cheaper. We have created a Magnify Transparency Score which ranks products based upon set criteria. A product with a lot of hidden fees and traps could get a C (or an F), whereas a simpler product with fewer “gotchas” would receive an A.

 

Dino: How do you avoid selling your soul to the devil, while also paying the bills and keeping the lights on?

 Nick: We raised money to fund the first few years of our existence. We did that on purpose – so that we could build the best possible comparison database without worrying about the commissions paid. In the future, we will have to generate revenue. But we think we will be able to find other ways (for example, optional fee-based premium services). And we will always be transparent about where and how we make money. Right now it is simple: we don’t generate any revenue.

Nick Clements recommends four ways that we can find big savings in boring places, freeing up money for retirement, vacations or just a rainy day.

 

  1. Switch to an online savings account

 

Most financial advisors recommend keeping three to six months of living expenses in a savings account as an emergency fund. However, most savings accounts pay almost no interest. Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo all pay 0.01% interest on their basic savings account, which is laughable.

Meanwhile, there is a deposit war heating up online. Internet-only banks have been increasing their interest rates, and it is now easy to earn at least 1%. If you have more than $25,000 in your account, you could easily earn 1.25%. While you won’t get rich with a savings account, the interest does add up. If you have $20,000 in a savings accounts, that is the difference between earning $2 or $200 of interest. And over your lifetime, that is thousands of dollars in your pocket, rather than the banks.

There is one other benefit of opening an online savings account: you are much less likely to raid the funds than if you had easy access from your basic checking account. You can find the best savings account deals at MagnifyMoney, which updates the rates daily.

      2. Switch to cash back or rewards credit card

Learn how to harness the power of rewards credit cards by maximizing their spending habits for cash back – or other rewards. A die-hard credit card rewards seeker strategizes to have the best card in each category of his or her spending habits: gas, grocery, travel, entertainment, eating out etc.  Others look to take advantage of upfront bonuses, like 30,000 miles for spending $3,000 in three months.

If constantly looking for the best reward card and keeping track of a dozen or more cards doesn’t sound appealing, then identify the best flat-rate cash back card. Currently, Fidelity Investment Rewards and Citi Double Cash Card both offer two percent cash back on all spend. If you spend $30,000 a year on a credit card– that’s a simple $600 in cash back for purchases you’re already making.

You can find the best cash back credit card deals at MagnifyMoney and the best travel accruing credit cards at MileCards.com.  Both sites update the rates daily.

 

  1. Make sure you aren’t paying high fees on your retirement funds

 

Fees on mutual funds can eat up a big chunk of your retirement funds. Actively managed funds can charge 1% or more on an annual basis. Vanguard led the investment fee revolution keeping costs low and tracksingthe market index. You now have a wide range of low-fee options out there, and Vanguard isn’t always the cheapest. The folks at FeeX created an easy tool that can help you understand how much you pay in investment fees now (it is not obvious), and then they look for the lowest cost mutual fund that can help you achieve the same goal.

 

  1. Shop around for a better deal on your auto insurance

 

Adds for auto insurance companies seem to be all around us. I think we know that 15 minutes can save us 15%. However, to find the best deal, you shouldn’t go straight to an auto insurance company directly. Rather, you should use a price comparison service to find the best rate.  I recommend TheZebra, which uses publicly available information to reverse-engineer the pricing of auto insurance companies.

User friendly MagnifyMoney.com is an excellent and free resource to beef up your wallet and help you have a financially stable life. Check them out today.

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Alabama Supreme Court Puts The Breaks On Same-Sex Marriage


By Dustin Shrader

Looks like Alabama is taking a step back on its surprising progressive nature. Yesterday, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered a halt to all same-sex marriages within the state, regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court order stating otherwise.

This new ruling only adds further confusion, following the roller-coaster month Alabama has had over this issue.

In a statement, the court seemed set in its decision, “As it has done for approximately two centuries. Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman. Alabama judges have a duty “not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”

At this time, Alabama’s next move is unforeseen. An appeal to the federal courts is possible; however, a stalemate seems likely until the nation’s highest court rules on this matter once and for all.

All signs point to a favorable ruling for the LGBT community come June.

 

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President Obama Makes History With Last Night’s SOTU Address


 

By Dustin Shrader

It appears 2015 will be the year of history-making firsts. In regards to the US Supreme Court’s upcoming decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationally, President Obama highlighted his continuing campaign for legal and social equality for the LGBT community in his State of the union address last night. During his remarks, the president used the terms “bisexual” and “transgender,” becoming the first to do so in a live State of the Union forum.

“That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” President Obama stated. “We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.

I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains; from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard,” he later continued. “I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home.”

President Obama has never been shy speaking about his compassion and drive to aid the LGBT community’s fight for equality. In an interview conducted back in October, the president revealed to The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin, he feels the constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry in all fifty states.

And the US Supreme Court’s pending decision, to be announced in June, will ultimately solidify or crumble the president’s opinion.

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PRIDE Kickball – Making The Grade


By Dino Thompson-Sarmiento and Dean Boswell

All of us have memories of elementary school – some of us fond memories; some of us not so much. One particularly bad memory for a number of LGBT adults: recess. As a gay child, I was often terrified of recess myself. Because I wanted to play jump rope (and, please I believe I could double-dutch anyone under the monkey bars even today), I was the object of ridicule for many a playground bully. Where I did excel at recess, however, was in playing the game of kickball. I was lucky enough to be blessed with strong legs, and those legs propelled me around the bases at lightning speed every time I would send an air mail delivery careening out to left field. It got to the point where everyone would back up 10 paces when I approached the plate. And so, I found my playground popularity.

Unfortunately, it seems that many of my gay counterparts were not so fortunate. I have learned that a larger number of gay adults have horrific memories of all things grade school sports – kickball included. When I was approached by Go Kickball to assist them in starting a PRIDE league, I was more than excited. I knew this would be a great way to create a sense of community and offer a place where LGBT community members could come together to network and have some fun. And with Blake’s on the Park sponsoring the flagship league at Piedmont Park, I knew the after-party every week would be great.

I set out to find my players. What I found instead was that a lot of people in the community are fearful of kickball because of their childhood experience with the sport. The idea of playing again dredged up memories of being picked last and then being laughed at because of lack of skill. One man even broke out in hives as I was talking to him about it. I’m not kidding. Hives. Over kickball.

Undeterred, I continued to look for players. I’m certainly glad that I did. I am happy to report that the inaugural season of PRIDE kickball has been amazing. With more than 100 players taking to the active oval every Monday night for the last few months, Piedmont Park has been alive with PRIDE all summer long! More importantly, everyone has been having fun and forgetting all about the bad memories from the playground. One player even approached me after the first game to say how thankful he was I talked him into playing. He said that the experience on the field actually erased all of the negative memories associated with the game. That comment alone verified for me that the establishment of a PRIDE league is a great thing for our community. Beyond that comment though, the positive responses have been overwhelming. Every player I’ve spoken with has reported having a great time, and several players have already started recruiting additional players for the upcoming fall season.

I would like to personally thank the good people at Go Kickball for creating a welcoming and fun environment for our community to come together and be kids again – nicer kids without the side of judgment, of course. Also, I would be remiss if I failed to thank the Atlanta institution, Blake’s on the Park, for recognizing the potential of this league and for supporting our community as always.

I would love to see more of you on the field. If you missed out on the summer league, be sure to register for the fall league. I promise you – you’ll kick yourself if you don’t. To register for the fall season, click here, you may also contact Spotted Dog Agency or call us at 404.428.0497 for additional information. Want to see some of FENUXE’s pictures from PRIKE Kickball this season? Check them out here.

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UFC Fighter Shows Support For LGBT Community In Unexpected Way


By Dustin Shrader

UFC light-heavyweight fighter Kyle Kingsbury is quite the social activist and a man of few words. Two words to be exact.. At his weigh-in on Friday July 25th, Kyle made his assets… er public in support of the LGBT community.

In front of the audience, the 32-year-old fighter stripped down to a pair form-fitting, pro-gay baby-pink briefs with the words ‘Legalize Gay’ written oh so playfully across his derriere.

His Ultimate Fighting Championship bout with Patrick Cummins on Saturday July 26th, turned out to be Kingsbury’s last. Kingsbury has decided to end his UFC career. Unfortunately, the retiring fighter lost the match against Cummins.

However, the loss did not seem to damper Kingsbury’s spirits. Following his defeat, he posted a very heart-felt message on his twitter account: ‘In my run it felt like peaks and valleys but in the end I am completely grateful for it all- every beating I delt out & every beating I took … I’ve learned more about life in the small window I’ve fought than in any other venture. Life only continues to get better. I love you all ’

Despite the final loss, Kingsbury’s show of solidarity for the LGBT community is one that is wantonly welcomed. Nothing makes a stronger statement or even saying a final goodbye quite like dropping your pants and bending over for gay rights.

 

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Demi Lovato Shows Her Pride And Dedicates Video To Equality


By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

This guy has a ‘Burn In Hell’ poster. You don’t have to hate, because my Jesus loves ALL“. The words come from pop sensation Demi Lovato who performed at the L.A. Pride parade just weeks ago, and they open the video for her new hit song  ‘Really Don’t Care’.

Demi Lovato has always been an avid supporter of the LGBT community and with this video she steps it up a notch by showing lots of footage from the parade showcasing everything from leather bears, bulges and french-kissing boys and girls to drag queens, unicorns, rainbows and sexy go-go boys. Celebrities like Perez Hilton, FENUXE favorite and Vampire Dairies star Kat Graham and even beau Wilmer Valderrama make brief appearances in the clip, and, of course, the interluding rap is undertaken by Cher Lloyd.

The video and song both ooze of confidence, carefree attitude … and of course PRIDE. Which is why we love it already. And we’re so digging the cool undercut ms. Lovato is flaunting on stage!

Take a look at the video below and tell us that you won’t be singing along to this tune on a dance floor some time soon? And if you’re not or of the message of the song and video don’t agree with you? Well, as the song says: We really don’t care!

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HBO Tackles Prop 8 In Award-Winning Film Airing Tonight


By Dino Thompson-Sarmiento

The riveting HBO documentary “The Case Against 8″ takes an in-depth look at the historic federal lawsuit filed in an effort to overturn Prop 8, California’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage. Shooting over five years, with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the powerhouse legal team of David Boies and Ted Olson and the four plaintiffs in the suit, directors and producers Ben Cotner and Ryan White have created a powerful emotional account of the journey that took the fight for marriage equality all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Case Against Prop 8″ won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award in the U.S. Documentary category and the SXSW Audience Award in the Festival Favorites category.

FENUXE Magazine chats with Ryan White, Atlanta native and “The Case Against 8″ film director and producer.

Ryan WhiteHow do you expect or desire to impact society with this documentary?

Our goal in making the film isn’t to impact society or change people’s minds — our goal was to make a character film about the journey that these four incredible plaintiffs took part in for five years, and hopefully by the end of the film our audience feels like they went on that journey too. If we’ve done that, then we’ve done our job well. And our audience can decide in the end when they watch the two couples get married if they feel like it’s a right that they deserve.

In your opinion what are the top two reasons that folks refuse to support same sex marriage (SSM) even when they have LGBT family and friends?

I think there are many reasons people don’t support same-sex marriage, and what’s important is to keep those conversations going. Don’t close people off, because as David Blankenhorn exhibits in our film, there’s a lot of power in someone changing their mind. I have seen a lot of my own friends and family change their mind on the issue over the last few years, and I think we’re at an incredible tipping point in the country as we watch public opinion polls continue to move.

Does the issue of raising children within LGBT families strengthen or weaken arguments for SSM?

I think it strengthens the argument. Kris and Sandy are wonderful mothers of four great boys. All they want is for their family to be treated equally under the law. As Justice Kennedy pointed out in the oral arguments, someone has to speak up for these children with LGBT parents, because often their voices are lost in the politics surrounding the issue.

What can individuals do to help the movement of equality?

I wasn’t particularly active in the No on 8 campaign, probably because no one really thought that it would pass and I took that for granted. Following the lawsuit the past 5 years has given me a whole new perspective on activism, and the biggest way that manifests I think is by telling our stories. Kris and Sandy and Paul and Jeff lived openly and honestly about who they are — and they were willing to do it in a very brave and public way — and I think that humanity holds a lot of power in winning people over on marriage equality.

Prop 8 is California-centric, how exactly will it help or hinder other states decisions?

Some version of Prop 8 still exists for 31 states around the country. Each of those states currently has a lawsuit waging challenging the ban. So, while Prop 8 was California-specific, the arguments that were made in court — that this violates the 14th amendment and the human dignity of LGBT people — are the same principles that LGBT people nationwide are experiencing and deserve to be heard.

Can you describe why SSM is not the same as domestic partnership and why the more than 1,138 federal rights to civil marriage are so important to same sex couples?

I think the word marriage is a lot more than a word. Benefits aside, when LGBT kids grow up feeling different because they and their relationships are classified in a different way by their government, they can’t help but feeling the weight of that discrimination.

Tune in to HBO tonight (June 23 at 9 p.m.) and watch this informative documentary. For a sneak peek take a look at the trailer below:

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June Is Officially LGBT Pride Month


By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Just as pride season commences all over the world, President Barack Obama gave LGBT rights another push in the right direction during a Presidential Proclamation on May 31, where he declared June the official LGBT Pride month of 2014.

In the declaration he urges Americans to eliminate prejudice “everywhere it exists”, but also asserts that even though we have moved forward there is still work to do.

“As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect – our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains,” President Obama states in his declaration.

The President also writes that last year saw substantial victories with the Defense of Marriage Act being repealed paving the way for marriage equality in many states, but “… despite this progress, LGBT workers in too many States can be fired just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; I continue to call on the Congress to correct this injustice by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And in the years ahead, we will remain dedicated to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community by implementing the Affordable Care Act and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.”

The President also mentioned the 45 anniversary of the Stonewall riots and acknowledges the nascent movement it spawned saying: “following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity — because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.”

So, with those words, we urge you to get out there and celebrate LGBT Pride Month! You could do that by visiting one of the many pride festivals here in the U.S. or abroad – so make sure to pick up the new issue of FENUXE this coming Thursday which includes a guide to pride festivals all over the world.

Source: whitehouse.gov

 

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