The famous 21-year-old singer Ariana Grande has revealed that she recently renounced Catholicism for her openly gay brother after he was rejected by the church. She disagreed with the Christian faith’s teachings about her elder sibling Frankie’s sexuality, but they both found a “connection” with Kabbalah, the offshoot of Judaism that has attracted many celebrity followers.
“When my brother was told that God didn’t love him I was like, ‘OK, that’s not cool,’” she said in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph. Grande discovered the Kabbalah religion shorty after because there was a new Kabbalah center in Florida that the brother and sister duo decided to check out.
In a 2013 interview with the UK’s Metro newspaper, she said she lost faith in Catholicism when the Pope said everything she loved was evil. “[The church] said Spongebob Squarepants is gay and he’s a sinner and he should burn in hell,” she said. “And Harry Potter was a sin. And working women. I was like ‘Enough! First the gays, then Spongebob and now Harry Potter? Get out of my house!’”
Grande is very close with her brother Frankie and recently defended him on Instagram after a troll referred to her brother as “that homo.” Ariana responded with: “That ‘homo’ is the fiercest, most incredible, funniest, most intelligent, kind hearted and most LOVED person on the face of the planet! he is incredible and i am SO proud!!!! oh and also ‘that homo’ gets more ass than you’ll ever get in your life. k miss thing?’” It’s obvious that the young singer is very protective of her family; her ability to speak out in defense of her gay sibling will likely inspire many of her younger fans.
Since practicing Kabbalah, Grande says her life has changed for the better and unfolded in a beautiful way. It’s always challenging for young people in the public eye to make personal decisions that escape criticism, but it seems like Grande and her brother are doing just fine.
Many seniors who may have had to hide in their sexual orientation during their youth can now rejoice. There is a newly opened development in Chicago that caters to LGBT elders. It is one of the first LGBT-friendly housing communities for elderly people in the country.
“This feel likes home,” says Ed Lund, who came out as a gay man during the AIDS epidemic. Lund, like many others, lost his job of 15 years in the early 1980s after his boss learned his sexual orientation. “As you get older, it just feels more comfortable to be around people who understand and share your background. It’s also nice not to have worry about letting something slip out,” he says.
Not only are these apartments gaining popularity in Chicago, similar LGBT-friendly housing facilities are also starting to crop up in cities like Philadelphia. The John C. Anderson apartments, a housing community that caters to low-income LGBT seniors, recently opened in Center City, Philadelphia. The federal government also has a broader campaign to address the growing issue of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation. In just one year The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has received 150 allegations of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
These LGBT friendly apartments are very hot on the market since there are so few. The John C. Anderson apartments already have a 100-person waiting list. There are over 1.5 million Americans who are 65 or older who identify as LGBT. “Being out was so dangerous back then that when I attended a protest, the newspapers would only show my pants in pictures because I would get fired by the government if anyone knew I was gay,” said John James, 72, who worked for the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s.
Happily, the times have taken a more progressive shift, and if this trend continues, there will be even more safe communities for LGBT seniors in the future.
A new poll taken in the state of Utah reveals that Utahans are completely torn on the issue of marriage equality. Same-sex marriage cases have been making headlines (and headway) since the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), back in June, 2013. Now, state by state, marriage equality progress is forging on.
According to The Washington Post, “Utahns are split on whether they support same-sex marriage, but a majority says its legalization in the state wouldn’t affect their family,” of the poll findings. Reportedly, a Benenson Strategy Group poll released earlier this week found that 49 percent of Utah residents think that same-sex couples should be allowed to legally wed; 48 percent possess the opposite opinion. Despite how torn Utahns are, when poll respondents were asked whether same-sex marriage would affect their families, 69 percent said it would not.
As Ken Mehlman, a conservative marriage equality activist, explained to OUT Magazine, “as people see what happens when people are treated equally under the law, when there is the opportunity for civil marriage, they see their family values being enhanced, they see their community values getting stronger,” of the positive outcomes marriage equality has in communities across the country. Mehlman, along with HRC’s Chad Griffin, Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, and thousands of other marriage equality and LGBT rights activists, know that the road to universal marriage equality will be a long and challenging one, but are positive that America can get there.
“I think there’s a real sense in America that this is happening everywhere,” remarked Joel Benenson, founder of the Benenson Strategy Group, in reference to the poll results in Utah. Last December, a federal judge in Utah ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, the first of many steps towards achieving marriage equality in the state. With more and more Utahns coming around to same-sex marriage, hopefully gay and lesbian couples there will soon have the opportunity to legally marry.
Learn more about the recent poll, the current state of marriage equality in the U.S. and more by visiting Freedom to Marry.
One gay couple faced overt homophobia last month when a bystander began shouting slurs during their outdoor wedding ceremony. According to The Huffington Post, “Oscar De Las Salas and Gary Jackson decided to have their wedding beside the water at Centennial Park dear San Diego, California,” of the Arizona couple’s California wedding ceremony. “What should have been a dreamy ceremony turned into a nightmare when an individual began yelling anti-gay slurs like ‘homos’ and ‘go home, fags’ from a nearby luxury condominium complex.”
The couple, surrounded by supportive friends and family on their special day, was shocked that such blatant homophobia would be present in their ceremony. “It’s just sad that that is now ingrained for the rest of our lives in our wedding day,” Jackson told a local news outlet. “That person took a chunk of what should have been a beautiful day and turned it into something nasty and full of hate.”
After the wedding, De Las Salas penned an article for Gay San Diego about the unfortunate incident. The recently published article sought to rally the LGBT community and its allies in an effort to raise awareness about the need for change and tolerance of all people. After the article was published, the story was picked up my various local media outlets and quickly went viral.
Happily, despite the homophobia the couple faced on their wedding day, the outpouring of love and support for De Las Salas and Jackson since their story was shared has been overwhelming. People from all over the country have written to the newlyweds in hopes of raising their spirits and standing in solidarity with them. Some have even offered to throw them another wedding ceremony as a way to reclaim the moments that were stolen from them on their wedding day.
This incident proves that homophobia is still present even in more progressive states like California that have paved the way for marriage equality. It is inspiring to see De Las Salas and Jackson standing strong and proud beside many allies who hope to eradicate homophobia and create social change.
Authorities in Detroit are now investigating the recent shootings of three men to see if the motive for the brutal act of violence had anything to do with their sexuality. The three shootings, one of which was fatal, all happened within a week of one another; police are now working to determine whether or not these shootings are connected.
The police first found the body of one man in the parking lot of Palmer Park in Detroit and said he had been shot in the head. Within a week, two more gay or transgender men were shot in the same area of town, an area commonly associated with the gay community. “There was a car chase as a result of the Aug. 15 fatal shooting,” Sgt. Michael Woody told local media. “The officer did not know if it was connected to the homicide. The car rolled, the driver bailed and was never caught. A weapon was discovered when the car was processed.”
The police are trying to see if the two incidents are tied to each other and have still not designated these events as hate crimes at this time. Mark Erwin, the director of community development at the Ruth Ellis Center, a LGBT youth advocacy center in Highland Park, said that unfortunately, these cases are not rare. “This type of thing happens on a routine basis to many transgender women here in Detroit. The Ruth Ellis Center has lost four member of our community in the last 2 1/2 years due to violence on the streets [...]Yes, I would say it’s tied directly to their gender identity,” said Erwin.
Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera said that they have identified a “person of interest” but remains at large. The first victim’s name has also not been released. Whether or not these violent attacks were the result of homophobia or transphobia has yet to be determined, but it has sparked an important conversation among the local LGBT community, which is understandably shaken.
Musician Nick Jonas has always embraced his gay following. He welcomes the attention and is thrilled by it. He recently appeared at a number of gay clubs in New York while promoting his new single “Jealous” and even did a cheeky striptease after his performance at one venue.
Jonas has always been fit but recently has upped his game for an upcoming DirecTV series Kingdom, where he plays a boxer. The 22-year-old singer is known for his abs and has every right to flaunt them. Jonas recently revealed in an interview with Pride Source that it wasn’t his idea to keep showing them off.
“They kind of made me do it, so I had to! But as far as my shows go, I keep it fully clothed,” he told Pride Source’s Chris Azzopardi, adding, “It was a few drinks in at that point. All bets were off.”
There have even been critics who claim the star is using his body to “bait the gay community.” Jonas responded to this saying, “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I think it’s unfortunate that some people have to find a negative in every situation. Clearly my heart is in the right place, and more than anything, if they just looked at my life and my gay friends and the authentic nature of where my heart is, they’d just see that they’re kind of ignorant.”
Appearances at gay clubs in New York have made critics question Jonas’ sexuality, but it appears the star simply wants to appeal to more LGBT fans. The singer even admitted to NewNowNext that the Jonas Brothers didn’t do enough to acknowledge their gay fans.
“Queer-baiting,” described by journalist Rebekah Bailey as “the practice of television shows and movies putting in a little gay subtext, stirring up interest for queer fans, and then pulling a No HOMO, MAN on the viewers,” is an issue that the LGBT community takes very seriously. There is already such poor representation of LGBT characters in film, television, and music, and many are hopeful that Jonas won’t add fuel to the fire.
In interviews, Jonas seems to be more progressive than queer-baiting rumors would suggest. “The nature of where we are today is, we’re in a time where we need to make strides and step forward as a society and embrace all people from all different walks of life,” he has said.
The most recent polls for San Diego’s 52nd Congressional District election are showing a dead-heat among voters. The results currently show Democratic Rep. Scott Peters at 47%, with Republican Carl DeMaio trailing by just 1%, at 46%. “This is a real fight to the finish and a battle to see which of these two are better able to turn out their supporters in better numbers,” said Jay Leve, SurveyUSA founder.
While Republican Carl DeMaio also trails slightly in fundraising from PACs compared to Peters, he’s found a different way to collect over $150,000 in contributions: joint fundraising committees (JFCs).
DeMaio, an openly gay Republican, has much of his JFC money coming from the GOP gay rights movement, which includes high profile GOP LGBT supporters. DeMaio is involved in the joint funding committee called the Equality Leadership Fund. This JFC includes DeMaio and Richard Tisei, another openly gay Republican who represents Massachusetts. This exclusive fund has generated over $143,000 since its formation in 2013.
Big names are contributing to the funding, such as founder and CEO of hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation Paul Singer donating to the cause. While not gay himself, Singer has contributed over $1.8 million to a super PAC created to back gay marriage by Republicans and in December of last year, he has donated $5,200 to the JFC fund.
Ken Mehlman, a former campaign manager for President George Bush’s 2004 reelection who came out as gay in 2010, has made four contributions totaling $7,000 to the Equality Leadership Fund. And political action committee The Log Cabin Republicans contributed $500 to the fund, with the LCR advocates for gay rights. The committee has donated $1,125 directly to DeMaio’s campaign.
DeMaio’s campaign spokesman Dave McCulloch stressed the importance of DeMaio’s broad support base, and noted that while their commitment to the LGBT community is an essential factor, a varied group of supporters are also vital to the campaign.
“I’d say that Carl’s support of LGBT issues stands strong, and I’d say that he’s willing to work with different coalitions of people to further that and it seems to be that people are receptive to Carl’s ideas [about LGBT equality],” McCulloch said.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, the progress that DeMaio has made as a gay candidate who openly advocates for LGBT rights signifies progress. With the poll results still so close, there’s no telling yet if the additional financial support from JFCs will help DeMaio come out on top.