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Anderson Cooper shilling for Bush

Anderson Cooper, CNN, gay news, Washington Blade

CNN’s Anderson Cooper introduced a faux documentary on George H.W. Bush on Sunday night. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

CNN on Sunday night aired a “documentary” about former President George H.W. Bush on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

It was a glowing tribute to the nation’s 41st president filled with testimonials from notables, including President Obama, Bill Clinton and 39 other friends and family members. What was missing was a warning that what viewers were about to see was propaganda masquerading as journalism.

As noted by the always spot-on David Zurawik, the program —  titled “41ON41” —was paid for by the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and one of its producers worked as a speechwriter for Bush in the White House.

As Zurawik wrote, “Our national history belongs to all of us, and while there is nothing wrong with a rich and powerful family putting up money to create this kind of birthday gift for one of its members, it is not OK for a channel with the word ‘news’ in its title to try and present it to millions of Americans as a “documentary’ or ‘history.’”

If your head hasn’t exploded yet, it gets worse. The whole sorry mess was introduced by gay CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who seemed not to mind being used in a propaganda effort to bolster the reputation of Bush, a former CIA director and the vice president during the Reagan administration’s abysmal response to the burgeoning AIDS epidemic. Bush’s own record on LGBT issues is fairly sparse and he recently attended a gay wedding. But his legacy is more complicated — especially to the gay community ravaged by AIDS during his tenure in office — than was alluded to in CNN’s so-called “documentary.”

Shame on Cooper, CNN and its president Jeff Zucker for blurring the lines so shamelessly between journalism and propaganda. CNN has shown that its programming is now for sale to the highest bidder and its anchors, including the gay ones, will do anyone’s bidding if the price is right.


Congress takes a vacation from what?

vacation, gay news, Washington Blade

The Republicans have changed their mantra to stop any initiatives that could help Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections.

Congress is taking a six-week vacation and many question from what they are vacationing. They clearly haven’t done any work. They are leaving town while much of the world is at war; the Veterans Administration is a mess and even with some new funding needs much more than Congress is willing to fund; immigration reform is still not on their radar; they couldn’t agree on what needs to be done to shore up the nation’s infrastructure so simply passed a stop-gap measure; and ENDA, among so many other bills, is left unfinished.

Some would say that we are better off when they are home because they can’t cause trouble. I come from a background that suggests that people should actually do some work for their pay and that legislation is accomplished only when men and women of good will are willing to compromise. This Congress has a clear dearth of men and women of good will.

From the time Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell stated in 2010 that his only goal was to see that President Obama wasn’t reelected to a second term it seems that Congress stopped working. Despite McConnell, who has his own reelection problems, the president was reelected and now the Republicans have changed their mantra to stop any initiatives that could help Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections. According to The Hill, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the Senate’s current incarnation of Joseph McCarthy, “is urging House Republicans to reject legislation addressing the border crisis, arguing that passing the bill through the lower chamber would play into the hands of Senate Democrats.” In essence the kids be damned let’s keep playing politics.

As the 2014 elections approach there seems little chance that things will get much better. The public is disgusted if you can believe Real Clear Politics average of four recent polls showing Congress with a 13 percent approval rating. Instead of throwing all the bums out the public may just stay home and not vote. That would be sad.

We need to galvanize the public to again to understand that only by voting can they make a difference. The only politician today grabbing a majority of the public’s attention is Hillary Rodham Clinton and she isn’t currently a candidate.

In one of those useless but sometimes interesting polls, CNN recently asked voters if the 2012 election were run today who they would vote for. The result was Romney 55 percent to Obama 44 percent and the same people said they would vote for Clinton 55 percent over Romney 42 percent. That is what you get because neither Romney nor Clinton is currently responsible for making the hard choices a president has to make. But it matches every other poll recently taken where Clinton bests every potential Republican candidate. She is disliked by many but strikes a positive chord in more, including independents and women who make up the majority of the electorate.

What has become increasingly clear is that President Obama won’t get the credit for all his accomplishments until after he leaves office. Less clear is why the electorate is accepting a Congress that does nothing. In a Washington Post column on how the current Congress looks in relation to previous ones, “Not so well, according to the new Vital Statistics on Congress, which shows that the 112th Congress passed just 561 bills, the lowest number since they began keeping these stats way back in 1947.” Maybe we can divine something about Republicans from another piece of information in that same column. “The second lowest number of bills passed in a single Congress — 611 — was back in the 104th Congress, the two-year session that followed Republicans re-taking control of the House in 1994 after four decades of Democratic control.”

I am not giving up on the electorate entirely. It appears they will vote to have Democrats continue to control the Senate and avoid Republicans from taking us back to the 19th century. This has the added benefit of frustrating the goals of Ted Cruz. Voters could still come to their senses before November and turn the House back to Democrats allowing them, with the help of the few moderate Republicans remaining, to try to pass immigration reform, equal pay for equal work legislation, ENDA, legislation to improve the nation’s infrastructure, and reduce the interest rates on college loans. Legislative accomplishments that would both lift the economy and move America forward.


CNN’s Piers Morgan vilified for amazingly pro-transgender interview

Morgan stepped into a minefield for doing what was actually an incredibly pro-trans, softball interview.


Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams anniversary

The gay-owned Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture company celebrated its 25th anniversary on Wednesday with a benefit for the Sitar Arts Center. (Washington Blade photos by Damien Salas) Mitchell Gold 


Gay groups ‘not excluded’ from D.C. parade

Patricia Hawkins, Pat Hawkins, D.C. Center, St. Patrick's Day Parade, gay news, Washington Blade

Patricia Hawkins, who serves on the board of the D.C. Center, said the group plans to march in D.C.’s St. Patrick’s Day parade next year. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Unlike their counterparts in New York City and Boston, no LGBT Irish organization or any other LGBT group has applied to become a contingent in D.C.’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, even though the parade has no policy that would exclude an LGBT contingent.

“We are a non-profit,” said Colleen Cohan, vice chair of the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee of Washington, D.C. “So we don’t exclude any group that wants to participate in the parade.”

Cohan said the D.C. committee does have a policy banning “political campaigning” or commercial advertising by members of parade contingents. But she said contingent participants are free to carry signs or a banner displaying the name of their organization.

The mayors of New York City and Boston chose not to march in St. Patrick’s Day parades in their cities this year as a show of solidarity with the LGBT community because parade organizers ban participation of contingents that self-identify as LGBT.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast Monday morning at the Gracie Mansion mayoral residence but boycotted the parade in Manhattan later in the day.

“I simply disagree with the organizers of the parade in their exclusion of some individuals in this city,” CNN quoted him as saying at a news conference.

De Blasio marched in a separate St. Patrick’s Parade over the weekend in the Borough of Queens, which allows out gay contingents.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh decided early Sunday, March 16, not to march in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Parade shortly before the parade was scheduled to start that same day, saying, “I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city,” according to CNN.

Cohan said she was informed by one of her colleagues on the D.C. St. Patrick’s Parade Committee that an LGBT group contacted the committee about participating in the parade last year but never followed up.

“I believe it was last year that we received an inquiry from an LGBT group,” she said. “And we directed them to apply online, to submit the application online. But we never received an application and that was the last we ever heard from them.”

She said she doesn’t know the name of the LGBT group that contacted the committee.

Lesbian activist Patricia Hawkins, who serves on the board of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, said it may have been the center’s executive director David Mariner that made the inquiry to the parade committee.

According to Hawkins, Mariner indicated the center’s staff and volunteers may not have had the time to organize an LGBT parade contingent for this year’s parade. In an email, Mariner told the Blade a D.C. Center spokesperson would provide a comment on the matter shortly.

“We definitely plan to do this next year,” she said. “I have been at the parade almost every year here in D.C. and sometimes in New York,” said Hawkins, noting that she’s half Irish.


Howard Kurtz right at home at anti-gay Fox News

Howard Kurtz, gay news, Washington Blade

Howard Kurtz (Photo by David Schankbone via Wikimedia Commons)

Howard Kurtz, who fancies himself a leading media critic, ended his CNN run and will now move to Fox News. His final edition of “Reliable Sources” featured predictable and telling praise for Fox’s “call for balance” in covering last week’s Supreme Court rulings on marriage.

As noted by Media Matters, Kurtz said when ”the Supreme Court issued a pair of rulings boosting same-sex marriage, the only real question was how far the media would go in treating it as a victory.” He also questioned whether journalists are “being fair to the other side of this emotional debate.”

Then came the praise for his new masters at Fox, where “there were few outright denunciations of the rulings, but there was a call for balance.”

So he acknowledges that there were, in fact, denunciations of the rulings on Fox, but that’s OK? And does anyone really think “the other side” in this debate has been treated unfairly considering their long history of attacking our families, often unchecked by mainstream media?

Does Kurtz think that a few minutes of positive coverage on CNN makes up for 40 years of anti-LGBT propaganda on television, radio and in magazines and newspapers? Forty years or more of portraying us as sick, as pedophiles, as threats to national security, as immoral and worse? He seems very concerned about MSNBC celebrating the rulings, but where was his voice on LGBT media attacks over the past few decades that he’s been covering the media?

And now he’s headed to Fox News, which every casual media observer knows is a mere extension of the Republican Party PR machine. As for Kurtz’s new co-workers, they are a laughable lot known for their phony sanctimony.

As someone who’s appeared on Fox’s leading show “The O’Reilly Factor,” I can attest to the fact that Bill O’Reilly’s schtick is just that — an act. Before the cameras are turned on, O’Reilly is chatty, friendly and even a fan of the Blade. But as soon as we go live, he transforms into an angry faux populist.

From O’Reilly’s faux populism to Shepard Smith’s faux heterosexuality, nothing at Fox is as it seems. Most of us are clever enough to see through the charade, but Kurtz is willing to turn a blind eye in order to collect another paycheck. (How many employers is that for Kurtz? He’s running out of venues willing to pay for his brand of media “criticism.”)

Fox News will make a perfect new home for the so-called critic who has wasted no time in kissing the ass of the new boss. Kurtz should take some time this summer to read one of the many good books chronicling the media’s long anti-LGBT bias.


Latino GLBT History Project has event

Latino GLBT History Project, Heritage Awards, gay news, Washington Blade

Last year’s annual Hispanic LGBTQ Heritage Awards. (Washington Blade photo by Jonathan Ellis)

The Latino GLBT History Project holds its eighth annual Hispanic LGBTQ Heritage Awards Friday night at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Forum (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) from 6:30-9 p.m.

The event celebrates LGBT Latino activism with 100 LGBT Latinas and Latinos who are active in national and local non-profit organizations and honors their accomplishments. It is also a benefit for the Latino GLBT History Project. The reception includes hors d’oeuvres and entertainment with emcee CNN contributor Maria Cardona. The evening will also include a preview of the Latino History Project’s Héroes Latinos LGBTQ photo exhibit.

Tickets range from $30-$150. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


Gay sex scandal rocks Vatican

Benedict XVI, Pope, Rome, Catholic Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Pope Benedict XVI (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

One of Italy’s most respected daily newspapers has reported that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on the same day he learned that an underground network of gay priests assigned to the Vatican organized meetings for sex and may have been subjected to blackmail.

In a development that has caused an uproar at the Vatican, the Rome based newspaper La Repubblica reports it received detailed information about a 300-page Vatican report on the conclusion of a nine-month internal Vatican investigation that uncovered a “faction” within the Vatican “united by sexual orientation.”

The newspaper said it had no confirmation that Benedict based his decision to resign solely on the explosive findings of the investigation. But it reported sources as saying Benedict planned to keep the findings confidential and planned to leave it up to his successor to decide how to address the matter.

“It was on that day, with those papers on his desk, that Benedict XVI took the decision he had mulled over for so long,” La Repubblica reported in its Feb. 21 edition while discussing Benedict’s resignation.

According to La Repubblica, the investigation was conducted by a panel of three cardinals and was launched last May after one of the Pope’s butlers was arrested for allegedly stealing Vatican correspondence and leaking it to the media.

A Vatican spokesperson, Rev. Federico Lombardi, would neither confirm nor deny the reports by La Repubblica and at least one other Italian publication, the news magazine Panorama, about the internal investigative report.

CNN reported on Saturday that another Vatican spokesperson denounced the media for reporting sensational claims that could not be substantiated and were, according to the spokesperson, an attempt to improperly influence the process for selecting a new Pope.

The report prepared by the three cardinals said their investigation uncovered an underground network of gays working at the Vatican who organized “sexual meetings” in several locations, including a sauna in Rome, a private villa just outside Rome, and a beauty salon inside the Vatican, according to La Repubblica.

The newspaper identified the cardinals who conducted the investigation as Julian Herranz of Spain; Jozef Tomko of Slovakia; and Salvatore De Giorgi, the former archbishop of Palermo.

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland based group that advocates for LGBT equality within the Catholic Church, said the unfolding scandal is due, at least in part, to the Vatican’s harsh position on homosexuality.

“They have created a situation where people can’t express their sexuality in healthy ways,” he said. “They can’t even deal with their sexuality in the open. So it creates a climate of suspicion and a climate of fear.”


What a difference a tweet makes


It’s been more than a year since the national uproar ignited by CNN’s Roland Martin — my first cousin — over those infamous Super Bowl tweets perceived by some as insensitive and allegedly promoting violence against gay men.

(During the 2012 Super Bowl, Martin sent several tweets, including, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”)

The tweets caused the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to pounce on Martin like Broadway cats on a hood dog, and it left me thinking, “Wow what a difference a tweet makes.”

When the news broke that GLAAD called for the firing of Roland from CNN and demanded an apology, as a “gay” relative, I asked myself if I should speak out about this and then wondered if anyone would listen. It took me about a day or so to decide to share my initial opinion with a few close friends. Admittedly some of my thoughts were emotional reactions in my social media arena, which were probably perceived as leaning in Roland’s defense. Back then I wasn’t sure on which side of this social and political madness I really stood.

However, in response to a recent “Washington Watch” video from, I am clear about where I stand now and I believe (as a black woman and an advocate for equality for all people and openly LGBTQ), that black people — gay or straight — have no business speaking out against their white counterparts until “the collective” steps up and truly takes care of their own in ALL human rights agendas.

We have the worst history of shunning and ostracizing our own people. I firmly believe the real problem is a racial issue within the black community for not taking full responsibility for this cause.

Advocating for human rights from a global perspective is extremely important and changing the culture of discrimination and violence against the black LGBT community within my own race, within our own families is critical and concerns me the most.

I have been known to support Roland’s political views, but obviously, I am not his typical demographic and I seldom follow his off-color twitter updates.

I will never discount the fact that words can be harmful, I just think we make way too much about what some people say and tweet and end up bringing more attention to that which may otherwise go unnoticed. Ironically, Roland’s twitter following has doubled since those infamous Super Bowl tweets that GLAAD apparently thought were going to start a gay bashing epidemic.

In a Washington Watch segment on TVOne, entitled, “Perspective: At The Table Of Brotherhood, Discussing Differences And Gaining Understanding,” Roland said, “Now, if you’re gay or straight, your voice matters.” Well, I agree, my voice does matter and I would like to hear from more voices that genuinely and actively advocate for me and my sisters and brothers in the entire LGBT community.

If Roland really wants to gain an understanding and help stop violence against gays, he should work more on eradicating homophobia at home before doing a show that appears to demonize GLAAD and others as racist. Really get at the grassroots level in black communities and encourage each he encounters to first understand and accept their own family members, then perhaps collectively we will all have a different perspective and understanding of the LGBT community.

Initially, during the “tweet scandal,” I was a bit harsh on GLAAD, accusing them of being overly sensitive as did many. In the past, I’ve also quietly questioned what, if anything, GLAAD has done for the black LGBT community. In hindsight, I realize GLAAD may have its problems, but so do most black organizations advocating for any community related issue. So who are we to judge GLAAD?

Who’s really to blame here? And who’s really responsible for changing it? I believe since we continue to judge each other, we are all at fault and responsible for changing it. Surely, it’s going to take a whole lot more than surface conversations on a TV talk show to break this perpetual cycle of mistreating those we are called to love. And until then, it is and will always remain just talk.

ReTina Broussard — aka “The Lifeologist” — is a writer, speaker, performer and proud mother of two. She works to inspire, educate and entertain by sharing her real life experiences. Reach her via


Year in review: Better late than never: Anderson Cooper comes out

Anderson Cooper, CNN, gay news, Washington Blade

Anderson Cooper (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A number of celebrities, politicians and other officials came out during 2012.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper publicly acknowledged being gay for the first time in a statement gay commentator Andrew Sullivan posted to his blog on July 2. Sam Champion, weather anchor for “Good Morning America,” announced on-air in October that he was engaged to his long-time partner, photographer Rubem Robierb. (The couple attended a Freedom to Marry fundraiser in Miami Beach, Fla., a few days later.)

Gay singer Ricky Martin was among those who applauded Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz after he came out on Oct. 3. R&B singer Frank Ocean in July acknowledged his homosexuality, while Jamaican singer Diana King came out on her Facebook page in June. British singer Mika told Instinct Magazine in August he is gay.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Fleck, a Republican who attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., earlier this month came out during an interview with a local newspaper. Stefany Hoyer Hemmer, daughter of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.,) came out as a lesbian during an exclusive interview with the Washington Blade in June.

“My father, as you know, just came out in support of gay marriage,” she said. “The momentum in Maryland right now for the adoption of the gay marriage law is fast-paced. I’m 43 years of age, and I’ve been gay my whole life and I just figured this is a good time to lend my name to the cause.”

DC Comics in June announced the Green Lantern is gay as part of its effort to reinvigorate the “Earth 2” series.