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Gay? Mormon? Affirmation Can Help

As a junior at Brigham Young University, John Gustav-Wrathall was struggling with his sexuality, he was suicidal, and devastated over the idea of leaving behind the Mormon church that had been his entire life.

20
Apr
2014

Lesbian police chief with 20 years service is summarily fired by new anti-gay mayor

An openly gay chief of police has been fired by a South Carolina mayor who was caught saying he preferred alcoholics to homosexuals.

20
Apr
2014

Re: Lesbian Detroit Bishop Moves To Maryland To Start Affirming Ministry | News One

Six months after resigning as pastor of a small church in downtown Detroit over her announcement that she had married a woman in Iowa, Bishop Allyson D. Nelson Abrams has opened a new church in Silver Spring, Md., with the goal of pastoring the kind of ministry she feels God has called on her to lead.

20
Apr
2014

Gay rights activist Dustin Lance Black claims Pasadena City College…

PASADENA >> Oscar-winning screenwriter, actor and LGBT rights activist Dustin Lance Black has accused Pasadena City College administrators of rescinding an invitation for him to be the commencement speaker because of a scandal involving private photos released on the Internet of Black and a former partner.

19
Apr
2014

What It Was Like to Be Gay in My Secondary School in Nigeria

It was the middle of the night, and I was lying down, half asleep. My eyes flustered and every couple minutes, my hands made an involuntary move to my back to sway away the mosquito that incessantly bothered me. This was one of the mundane nights that dominated my ninth grade experience. At least, it was supposed to be. I was 11 years old at the time and I was to naïve to process what was about to happen. However, my naivety was coupled with something far greater, inquisitiveness.

In the boarding school that I went to, there were about 72 people in one hostel and each person slept on a bunk bed. So, naturally, everyone had a bunk mate and a side bunk mate -- the persons who slept in the bunk beds beside you. It was my side bunk mate that was involved in the event that I am about to reiterate to you, and for the sake of her privacy and that of the other persons involved, I would not reveal anyone's identity.

After about an hour of turning uncontrollably, hoping to drift away to the somber rhythm of the night and the mosquitos buzz, the screaming began. "I have caught two of them, I have caught two of them," someone yelled repeatedly. At that point, everything began to materialize very quickly. I immediately knew what that meant, so the events that followed were no less surprising than the constancy of the mosquito's disturbance, despite the warning attacks by my hands, that it stay away.

Before I continue the story, there is one key thing you should know. I went to an all girls private, catholic school situated in Lagos, Nigeria, and at the time, the boarding house was involved in a lesbian hunt. People were on a sharp look out for gay persons in my school. In my country, the norm was to repress your sexuality if you were homosexual or identified as any sexuality that was not heterosexuality. However, and understandably so, it became much harder to do so when you were in the boarding school of an all girls secondary school. If you were suspected of being a lesbian, hawk-like eyes watched you closely and never gave you a moments break from their judging stares. And, if you were caught in the act, you were immediately expelled from the boarding house. So, when someone yells, "I have caught two of them", everyone is at an alert, running keenly to the sound of the voice, hoping to scope out their next prey.

My side bunk mate at the time was the person that was caught. She was in grade ten at the time and she was very close to a student in grade 12. There had been suspicions about the true nature of their relationship, but on this night, the uncertainties about their relationship proved to be answered. Since one of the persons involved was in grade twelve, everyone that was not in that grade, was expected to return to their beds. At this point I was still lying in bed, my eyes wide open, peering down with unanswered questions, and unanticipated pity.

When everyone one with the authority to be there arrived, the interrogation began. I call it an interrogation because that is the only word that comes close to describing the experience that you face once you have been verified as a lesbian in my school. "When did you to start this relationship, "when did you start feeling this way about each other", "when did you become sexually involved," why did you not seek out help when you found out you were sick," these were a few of the questions that were thrown at my side bunk mate and her partner. For every question that they did not answer or that they stuttered at, they were slapped or hit continuously until they answered. My school thrived on physical and psychological abuse to 'control,' 'dominate,' and 'discipline,' its students, but that is a a story for another day.

Thirty minutes into the interview and they were broken. They had been hit and insulted so many times, that the break down was inevitable. My side bunk mate had broken down in tears and began apologizing for being gay.

When I was starting secondary school, I was nine years old at the time, and my mother pulled me to the side and warned me about homosexuality. She reiterated how evil it was, how homosexuals were animals, how it was against the Bible, and that I should stay away from them. At the time, I did not understand what she was talking about. But, in this moment, my mother's conversation was put into context. It was not simply my mother who felt this way, but as it turned out my school did too, and I would learn later on, that the majority of Nigerians did as well.

However, in that moment, when my side bunk mate started crying, it was not hard to reach in and confront her core humanity. At that point, I did not know anything about homosexuals, but I resigned myself to the thought that no one deserved to be treated in this way. No one ought to be forced to apologize for being who they were. No one deserves to be repeatedly hit and abused for something they did not seem to have control over. I looked into the eyes of the persons involved in their interrogation and they were blank, devoid of emotions. All they cared about was that my side bunk mate and her partner were gay and thus, did not deserve to be treated as anything more than they were being treated now.

The next day, they were reported to the school authorities, and in the days that followed, they were effectively expelled from the boarding house. My side bunk mate kept to herself the next couple of days, as she parked her bags in lonely despair. Her parents were waiting for her outside, and one could only wander what waited for her at home. As she was walking through the door of the hostel, everyone looked at her with judging eyes, others looked passed her as though she did not exist, and many looked away from her saddened eyes. By all accounts, she was a good person, and her sexuality did not reduce her to the 'animal' that everyone seemed to think she was. As she walked away, she looked back at the life she was leaving behind, and then, all of a sudden, she was looking at me. The sadness in her eyes was immeasurable, and so, as an act of protest, I smiled at her, and as a last act of deviance, she smiled back at me. And then, she was gone.
19
Apr
2014

Web Soap ‘Beacon Hill’ Reunites Daytime Stars

Fans of daytime drama were shocked when the long running soap opera "The Guiding Light" was cancelled in 2009.

19
Apr
2014

What Type Of Pot Smoker Are You?

Like snowflakes or THC crystals*, no two pot smokers are truly the same.

But even in a group as diverse as marijuana users, certain patterns do emerge. For example, does your pot use lead to endless pontification? You might be what we call the philosopher smoker. Or does your mind wander alone when you're stoned? If so, you're probably more the loner-artist type.

Being as it's 4/20 weekend, what better time to discover where you land on the stoner spectrum? Take our quiz below to find out.

Quiz widget by



*OK, OK, THC crystals tend to look pretty uniform up close, but you get where we were going with it.
19
Apr
2014

SC mayor fires lesbian police chief, says rather have drunks than gays protecting children

"I would much rather have somebody who drank than somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children."

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19
Apr
2014

Lez in the Dez: Club Skirts the Dinah Brings 20,000 to Palm Springs

The flash of cameras light up the rhinestones on my vintage Studio 54 T-shirt as I skirt the edge of the red carpet at the Palm Springs Convention Center .

19
Apr
2014

Queer New World: Radically Creating And Existing Together

This is the twenty-fifth and final installment in an ongoing series that explores drag culture and the nightlife scene in Brooklyn, N.Y. Over the past several years, following the large-scale exodus of artists across the East River and into northern Brooklyn, those engaged in drag culture in this outer borough have created a new, queer world entirely their own. Accompanied by a larger movement to understand drag culture outside of the pageant circuit, many individuals engaged in the drag community in this borough approach drag culture through a nontraditional lens of "alternative" drag or performance art, enabled largely by the malleable and queer nature of this part of New York.

Over the past six months, HuffPost Gay Voices Associate Editor James Nichols sought to provide a platform for the spectrum of artists, performers and events that collectively form the Queer New World of the drag and nightlife scene in northern Brooklyn, N.Y.

Having been both restructured and extended at points, the project aimed to evolve alongside the narrative of Brooklyn drag and mirror the nature of performance in this part of New York City. In the end, Queer New World involved the contributions of 21 different performers with a wide-range of styles, including self-identified drag queens, drag kings, one cisgender female drag queen and various embodiments of drag artists.



Queer New World also brought visibility to four specific events in the Brooklyn nightlife scene that in some way represent the aesthetic of many major events in this outer borough. Bushwig drag festival served as the first featured event, a groundbreaking new festival that both builds on the legacy of Wigstock and forges a new space for radical, artistic queer expression and new practices in community culture.

In contrast, Alotta Stuff Live Auction followed this feature several weeks later -- a uniquely Brooklyn event that provides community members the chance to snatch eclectic and low-cost clothing at a live auction within a safe, queer space.

The Brooklyn Nightlife Awards immediately followed, a massive community effort curated by Merrie Cherry that serves as an important opportunity to recognize, honor and celebrate both collaborative and individual accomplishments within Brooklyn nightlife and the cultural production occurring throughout this outer borough.

Finally, Mr(s) Williamsburg functioned as the last featured event, a round-robin, nine-week tournament inclusive of all forms of artistic expression and performance.

Separate from these events, HuffPost asked each artist and performer featured in Queer New World to be a part of this series because of their specific role in evolving and augmenting the drag and nightlife scene in northern Brooklyn -- all of which owes a massive debt to the rich history of drag and artistic performance in New York City over the past several decades.

In an effort to step back from the singular installments of Queer New World and formulate a larger perspective about the radical potential for queer identity, experience and new practices in community culture in this scene, we reached out to each individual featured in this series to hear their thoughts on one final question:

"As an artist and performer, what do you consider to be the most important thing that you've personally contributed to the Queer New World that is the Brooklyn drag and nightlife community?"





While the Queer New World of northern Brooklyn isn't new in a lot of ways, the radical potential for a world that queers actually want to live in feels more tangible than ever within this scene. In many ways, the intersecting factors of a thirst to create and perform, the necessary resources, gentrifying neighborhoods and a community of people that want to live, exist and thrive outside a world of mainstream cultural expectations are really what allows this idealistic sentiment to be a reality.

This community is remarkably important for what it means to be queer in the age of gay marriage and the gradual folding of LGBT identity into cultural consciousness. There are queer people that don't have these same, more mainstream values, ideals or conceptions about what makes life meaningful, fulfilling or important, and this scene is acting as both a preservation of those ideas and a platform to push them further through expression, performance and identity.

While all things are impermanent and the factors enabling the scene right now aren't sustainable forever, what is happening in the queer community in northern Brooklyn in this moment is notable and will, at some point, have a place within the history of queer performance and identity. For now, it's important to at least recognize the radical potential invested in living outside of cultural boundaries and expectations, and what is means to create and exist, together, in a Queer New World.
19
Apr
2014