Sam Smith & Ed Sheeran Sang ‘Stay With Me’ Together, But We’re Not Crying (Okay, We Are)

At a Wednesday night concert in England, Sam Smith brought Ed Sheeran on stage to help him sing "Stay With Me." The crowd was into it.

So was Smith:

We'll be over here crying.

Jon Cryer On His Sexuality: I’m Just An ‘Effeminate Heterosexual Dork’

"Two and a Half Men" star Jon Cryer sounded off on speculation over his sexuality in an interview with HuffPost Live.

Citing his "encyclopedic knowledge of show tunes," the 49-year-old actor nonetheless told host Josh Zepps, "All of the stereotypical stuff that everybody thinks the gay community holds close, I have been a part of, except for the gay sex."

Joking that gay men "don't come onto me...I've never been propositioned," he added, "Everybody just assumed that I was gay" during his high school years.

Calling himself an "effeminate heterosexual dork," Cryer said he strongly identified with the character of Phil "Duckie" Dale in the John Hughes classic, "Pretty in Pink," which became his breakout role.

"He was what I was," he recalled.


Fox News Is Trying To Kill Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance


Fox News helped turn a bogus story about subpoenas sent to a handful of Houston pastors into a national rallying cry for religious liberty. Now the network is helping promote an event that will pit some of the country's most extreme anti-LGBT voices against the city's nondiscrimination ordinance.

In May, the city of Houston made history by enacting the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a measure that prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and several other categories. The ordinance was championed by the city's first openly gay mayor, Democrat Annise Parker.

Opponents of HERO -- led by the Houston Area Pastor Council -- responded by launching an effort to put a repeal of the ordinance on the ballot in November. Their campaign peddled the myth that HERO would allow men and sexual predators to enter women's restrooms -- a myth that was widely circulated by local media. Though opponents submitted the required number of signatures to put the repeal on the ballot, City Attorney Dave Feldman determined that many of the signatures were collected improperly, and the city announced that not enough valid signatures had been collected.

Opponents quickly filed a lawsuit to have the signatures reviewed, prompting the city to respond by issuing subpoenas to five local pastors for a broad range of documents -- including sermons and personal communications -- related to their opposition to HERO.

On October 14, Fox News reporter and serial misinformer Todd Starnes broke the news of the subpoenas, misleadingly characterizing them as an "attempt to deconstruct religious liberty" and describing HERO as a "bathroom bill." Starnes' report relied heavily on spin from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the extreme right-wing legal group representing the pastors in their effort to quash the subpoenas. ADF attorney Christina Holcomb called the subpoenas "an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of [the city's] actions."

Before long, Starnes' report made the jump to Fox News' airwaves. On October 15, Starnes appeared on The Kelly File to discuss the story, describing HERO as a measure that would let "men who identify as women" to use women's restrooms:

Starnes' appearance was followed by a barrage of misleading segments about the story, all of which depicted the subpoenas as an attack on religious liberty. Multiple Fox personalities incorrectly described the subpoenas as part of the enforcement of HERO, suggesting that the ordinance might criminalize anti-gay speech. Others repeated Starnes' lie that HERO would allow men to use women's restrooms. By the end of the week, in just three days of coverage, Fox had spent nearly thirty minutes of airtime peddling its Houston horror story*.

Fox's panicked coverage was grossly misleading and left out crucial details about the anti-HERO lawsuit. But it worked perfectly as a right-wing horror story about Christians being victimized by a city's attempt to protect LGBT people.

Soon, Houston had become -- as one Fox anchor put it -- "ground zero for religious liberty." Conservative media outlets quickly regurgitated the victimization spin from Starnes and ADF. Conservative groups -- led by the notorious anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC) -- began organizing "I Stand Sunday," a November 2 rally in Houston to support the pastors who had been "unduly intimidated by the city's Mayor."

In a press conference on October 15, Parker clarified that she had not seen the subpoenas before they were filed, explaining that they were drafted by outside counsel. She also agreed that the language of the subpoenas -- which asked for any materials relating to the pastors' teaching on homosexuality and gender identity -- was overly broad. Days later, the city narrowed the scope of the subpoenas to only materials directly related to the anti-HERO effort.

But it was too late to stop the tidal wave of conservative outrage birthed by Fox's misleading coverage. Starnes immediately decried the amended subpoenas. During the October 20 edition of his Fox News program, long-time HERO opponent Mike Huckabee urged his audience to bombard Parker's office with Bibles and copies of sermons. The address for Parker's office was displayed on screen, and hundreds of his supporters obeyed his request.


When asked about Huckabee's campaign, Parker said, "He's doing what he can to pump ratings for Fox News."

Fox's Houston coverage continued through the next week. On the October 29 edition of Fox & Friends, anchor Heather Nauert declared that Houston's subpoena requests were "backfiring now, and in a pretty big way," adding that "[y]ou can thank Governor Mike Huckabee for that." The address for Parker's office was again displayed on screen.

Later that afternoon, Parker announced that the city had withdrawn its subpoenas of the five pastors. At a press conference, Parker explained that she wanted to avoid having a "national debate about freedom of religion":

"I didn't do this to satisfy them," Parker said of critics. "I did it because it was not serving Houston."


"I don't want to have a national debate about freedom of religion when my whole purpose is to defend a strong and wonderful and appropriate city ordinance against local attack."

The move hasn't appeased HERO's Fox News critics. In a report on the subpoenas' withdrawal, Starnes urged his readers to still attend the "I Stand Sunday" rally and advocated for a public vote to repeal the ordinance. During the October 30 edition of Fox & Friends, Huckabee took credit for Parker's reversal and once again took aim at HERO -- which co-host Anna Kooiman described as allowing "40-year-old men to share restrooms with a fourth-grade girl":

FRC has similarly shifted its attention to pushing for a repeal of HERO, declaring that its Sunday rally would be dedicated to mobilizing against "Houston's unfair special rights ordinance that discriminates against religion and endangers locals."

That rally will be a powerful reminder of the tremendous amount of influence that Fox News' spin machine can bring to bear in even local non-discrimination fights. At every stage of the story about Houston's subpoenas, Fox generated controversy by omitting crucial information about the lawsuit, peddling falsehoods about HERO, and actively promoting efforts to pressure the city government.

Fox News didn't merely report the story -- it became the story, using blatant misinformation to spark outrage and then fanning that outrage into a full-on media firestorm that now involves some of the most extreme anti-gay groups in the country. Starnes and Huckabee are both still slated to speak at the "I Stand Sunday" rally on November 2, along with Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and right-wing activists the Benham brothers.

Now that the subpoenas have been withdrawn -- and given the rally's sponsors and attendees -- it's likely that the event will peddle many of the long-debunked falsehoods about HERO that have plagued Fox's coverage.

The campaign against Parker's subpoenas has evolved into a broader effort to repeal Houston's historic non-discrimination law. If that effort ends up succeeding, and the city is forced to once again allow discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, it will largely be thanks to the power of Fox News' misinformation cycle.

LGBT representation in the midterm election

This year, many LGBT-identified individuals are running for government positions. Here at GLAAD, we do not endorse candidates, but rather celebrate the representation of our community in the midterm elections.

According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, there are already approximately 500 LGBT officials working in our government. On November 4, more could be added.

There are LGBT candidates running for Congress in Massachusetts, Colorado, Arizona, California, North Carolina, New York and Texas. The openly gay Richard Tisei is vying for the open seat in Massachusetts. Carl DeMaio, an openly gay man who served on the San Diego City Council, is doing the same in California.

In addition, there are LGBT members of Congress who are looking to get reelected this year. Jared Polis, the first openly gay man in Congress to have a child, is hoping to return to office. As is Kyrsten Sinema, the first openly bisexual woman in Congress.

In Maine, Mike Michaud is running for governor. Should he be elected, he will be the first openly gay man to be elected to the office of governor. In Massachusetts, Maura Healey could be the first LGBT-identified person to be elected attorney general.

There is also LGBT representation in the race for state legislature. In West Virginia, Georgia, and New Mexico, there are LGBT candidates campaigning. Nevada could make history this year if they elect Lauren Scott, the first openly transgender woman to run for state legislature.

Rounding out all of these government hopefuls is American Idol star Clay Aiken, who is running for Congress in North Carolina.

If you know any other LGBT candidates running for the midterm elections, please let us know in the comments section below.

October 30, 2014

Starbucks Is ‘Ground Zero For Ebola’ Because Of Its LGBT Appeal, Anti-Gay Pastor Claims

The pastor of a New York church which sparked controversy after posting a billboard which claimed that "Jesus would stone homos" is back in the headlines.

Pastor James David Manning of the ATLAH Worldwide Missionary is now taking aim at Starbucks, claiming that the coffee giant is "ground zero for Ebola" because franchises, particularly in urban areas, are meeting places for "generally upscale sodomites" interested in "clandestine sexual activities," Towleroad is reporting.

"I am now on the Ebola watch, warning people to stay away from Starbucks," he says in a new "Manning Report" clip. Starbucks locations, he adds, attracts "a large number of sodomites and the [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] crowd that usually, and continue to, approach the idea of sex, intercourse and dating on a lower, less visible, less social scale because of the nature of what they want to do."

Manning's argument also takes shots at President Barack Obama, too: "Remember, I told you back in 2007 that Obama was a homo."

The pastor's remarks come on the heels of a release of the first Starbucks commercial geared toward the LGBT community, starring "RuPaul's Drag Race" veterans Adore Delano and Bianca Del Rio.

Starbucks, of course, has a history of being an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community. In 2012, the Seattle-based coffee chain joined a then-growing list of major corporations in publicly endorsing same-sex marriage legislation in Washington state.

Earlier this year, officials raised raised a Pride flag over the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.


The 29 States Where You Can Still Be Fired For Being Gay

Tim Cook came out as gay in an essay in Businessweek on Thursday. He said that the unequal treatment LGBT employees face all over the country was a critical factor in his decision.

"I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences," Cook wrote. "Not everyone is so lucky."

Indeed, there is no federal law protecting LGBT workers against discrimination based on their sexual orientation. And while some states and cities have passed their own protections, there are still 29 states where you can actually be fired for being gay, leaving more than half of all total workers vulnerable to employment discrimination.

Most Americans incorrectly think that this problem has already been solved. A 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 69 percent of Americans think that firing people for being gay is illegal.

A proposed federal law called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would provide protections for all LGBT Americans working for employers with at least 15 employees. It's been introduced in nearly every Congress since 1994, but has never passed.

Apple's home state of California has some of the most robust anti-discrimination laws in the country, and the company itself is an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights.

"If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy," Cook wrote in his essay.

PHOTOS: GLAAD Atlanta launches new program, hosts advocates and stars

All eyes were on the South last night as the LGBT community assembled for GLAAD Atlanta, a celebration of national and local leaders advancing LGBT equality through the media.

The event served as a launching pad for GLAAD’s Southern Stories Program. Southern Stories aims to drive cultural change in the American south by sharing first-hand accounts of family, faith, sports, patriotism and more. The project will work with statewide and on-the-ground advocates' ongoing initiatives to elevate the experiences of LGBT people in six of the nation's southern states by amplifying the stories of LGBT people thriving and struggling in the south.

GLAAD Atlanta, hosted by comedian Fortune Feimster of Chelsea Lately, and feautring a musical performance by Frenchie Davis, was filled with community building, exceptional honorees, inspiring speeches, and special guests. The event, which raises critical funds in support of GLAAD’s year-round work to rewrite the script for LGBT equality, featured a special surprise appearance by football player Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL.

Wilson Cruz was also in attendance, who first became known for his portrayal of Rickie Vasquez in My So-Called Life and now appears in Fox's Red Band Society.

Among the star-speckled crowd were the evening's recognized activists. One such guest was Daniel Pierce, a 20-year-old gay man who has turned the horrific reaction to his coming out into a drive for advocacy. He is now on the Board of Directors of Lost-n-Found Youth in Atlanta

Other recognized guests were David and Tina Long, anti-bullying advocates, and Sage Lovell, transgender student trailblazer and homecoming queen.

To see more photos from GLAAD Atlanta, check out this morning's article from the Georgia Voice.

October 30, 2014

History Lessons: My Coming Out Party at the State Department

This month, we've celebrated a cultural milestone in America as more states began conducting same-sex marriages. But we don't have to look back too far to see how far we've come.

My journey began as a student at Monmouth College, now Monmouth University, where my psychology professor taught me that homosexuality was a serious mental illness. In the 1960s, the American Psychiatric Association's recommended cure for the condition included electroconvulsive therapy and frontal lobotomy.

Days after graduation, I boarded a plane for the first Peace Corps training session in Washington. The priest sitting next to me tried to put the make on me. Had he succeeded, the religion we both were practicing would have condemned us both to eternal damnation.

Upon arrival, President John F. Kennedy welcomed me into federal service. Had he known my sexual orientation, Kennedy would have been forced to fire me, as I was a criminal under American jurisprudence. The only crimes more serious than homosexuality were murder, rape and treason.

After training, I joined the first Peace Corps program in Ethiopia. We were welcomed by His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I. Had the emperor known of my orientation, I risked summary execution.

By 1968, things were starting to change. New York police made a routine raid on the Stonewall, a gay bar patronized largely by black and Puerto Rican drag queens, who for once, decided to fight back - setting off riots that shut down lower Manhattan for three days.

During the riots, I was serving at a diplomatic post in Nigeria. I found a Newsweek cover story on Stonewall and something called "Gay Liberation." I'd never heard the word "gay" used in any context other than "happy." The article quoted activist Don Kilhoefner as the head of the Gay Community Services Center of Los Angeles. Don, a friend from the Peace Corps, didn't tell Newsweek that the Center consisted of nothing more than a Monday night meeting in a laundromat - and a dream.

During two State Department assignments to Los Angeles, I visited Don's center, which had recently moved from Sunset Boulevard to a dilapidated Hollywood Boulevard shack populated by lesbian hookers, transvestite prostitutes and bearded hippies, with names like Morning Glory and Strawberry, who wore lipstick.

I'd never seen anything like that at the State Department. I loved it, and I joined the center as director of counseling. I resolved to never again deny being gay in any social situation where my sexual orientation was relevant.

Coming back to Washington, D.C. in 1972, I joined the Gay Activist Alliance, which was organizing the first national conference on the relationship between the gay community and the federal government. As a federal employee, I had something to say, and I volunteered to speak. I assumed I'd be fired: I had no money in the bank, no alternative employment, and I did not wish to humiliate my mother.

After my speech, someone asked what the State Department thought about my sex life. I called this my coming-out party, leading to a standing ovation. Coverage of my comments in The Washington Post confirmed that this career was ending, and I opted to resign from the job I'd wanted since fourth grade. I moved to San Francisco, spending the next 20 years doing social work with homeless people and AIDS patients.

In the early 1990s, President Bill Clinton ended the policy of firing gay people from diplomatic corps. I returned to the State Department, thinking that discrimination had ended. How wrong I was. My reappointment was delayed seven months by the security service. One of my friends reported that I was gay, and officials weren't sure if she meant I was a homosexual or that I was carefree and frivolous. I'm all three.

Our movement has come a long way a lot faster than other civil-rights movements. Three Irish civil-rights organizations have invited me to help campaign for gay marriage in Ireland. Polls indicate that up to three-fourths of Irish people now support gay marriage.

But the fight is not over. Being gay still merits the death penalty in a dozen or so countries, and Saudi scholars debate whether it's more Islamic to stone or behead homosexuals. Brunei, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa and Uganda recently took big steps backward.

This month, I shared my life's chronology with a new group of Monmouth University students. I'm comforted to know that what's "normal" for them is legalizing gay marriages and Monmouth University professors who support - and study - LGBT issues. This is, indeed, a transformational change from my own undergraduate experience. Perhaps most, I'm amazed by the surprise the younger generation expresses when hearing my tale; many don't truly realize how far we've come.

‘Halloween New Orleans’ Draws Sexy Gay Revelers From Around The World (PHOTOS)

LGBT revelers from around the world pulled out all the stops this year as part of Halloween New Orleans, a spectacular Big Easy event with a beneficent cause.

All proceeds from the annual event (now in its 31st year) go toward Project Lazarus, a New Orleans advocacy group which aims to "help, heal and empower people living with HIV/AIDS."

For a gallery of over 150 photos of Halloween New Orleans, head to Towleroad here. Meanwhile, check out six shots from the festivities (courtesy of Towleroad) below.


Boy George: ‘I’m Catholic In My Complications And Buddhist In My Aspirations’

Boy George offered an eloquent explanation of his evolving spirituality during a conversation with HuffPost Live on Wednesday.

The music icon, who is set to reunite with his band Culture Club for a tour this year, is a mix of many ideas. He had a "strong Catholic upbringing," he eventually became a vegetarian thanks to preaching from Hare Krishna devotees, and he's practiced Nichiren Buddhism for the last four years.

"I always say I'm Catholic in my complications and Buddhist in my aspirations," Boy George told HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani.

Embracing Buddhism, which includes "morning gongyo," has made a significant impact on him.

"It's a practice that improves my life on a daily basis," Boy George said. "It changes the way I behave. It changes the way I behave towards myself, towards other people, and I would highly recommend it."

Watch Boy George discuss religion in the video above, and click here for the full HuffPost Live conversation.

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