We Are BuzzFeed LGBT

BuzzFeed LGBT is here, we’re queer, and gurl, listen: We’ve got a lot to talk about. Edith Windsor is taking her historic marriage equality case to the Supreme Court. Drag queens are werking the runway on prime-time TV. NFL players are standing up as LGBT allies in the Super Bowl spotlight. And teenagers are writing kick-ass letters to the president about marriage equality and trans rights. The list of barriers being broken down and ground to glitter goes on and on. (No, really. It’s a long list.)

Of course, it’s not all glitter and rainbows in the LGBT world — and that’s not all we’re going to be thinking and writing about, either. We’re also obsessed with the persistence of LGBT teen homelessness, marriage and workplace inequalities, bullying, suicide, and transphobia. But the common thread in all of this is that whether it’s a story about politics, pop culture or personal journeys, or about trans women, immigrants, or people of color, we believe in coverage that’s as diverse and multifaceted as our readers. From a trans teen in the South to gay lumberjacks in the Northwest, and from the groundbreaking impact of a lesbian comedian to the challenges faced by bisexual women, queer stories are everywhere. And with staff writers and reporters in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, we look forward to meeting you and your stories at every turn.

But even more than physical geography, the social web is where the real conversations are happening, and we’re there — whether on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Vine, or whatever else pops up next week. Remember what Audre Lorde told us: “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood” — so don’t be shy. We will be publishing work by emerging and established LGBT voices, so send us your ideas!

BuzzFeed LGBT is also nurtured and supported by a more robust company than most LGBT publications have available to them. We have the resources and the drive to take risks and shine light on the margins of American culture. We’re here — and we’re here to stay.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/saeedjones/we-are-buzzfeed-lgbt

Illinois Bishop To Perform Exorcism Prayer “In Reparation” Of Marriage Equality Law

Religious activists opposed to marriage equality demonstrated at the Illinois Capitol on Oct. 23. Tony Merevick/BuzzFeed

An Illinois Catholic Bishop plans to perform prayers of “supplication and exorcism” in response to the state legislature’s approval of marriage equality legislation last week and demands that lawmakers repeal the measure immediately.

“It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church,” said Rev. Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of the Archdiocese of Springfield, Ill., in a statement.

“All politicians now have the moral obligation to work for the repeal of this sinful and objectionable legislation,” said Paprocki, a longtime opponent of LGBT rights in the state. “We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church.”

The prayer service is scheduled for Nov. 20 — just as Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sign the bill, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, into law. With his signature, same-sex couples will be eligible for marriage licenses beginning June 1, 2014.

The “exorcism” service is not what it may sound like, said Kathie Sass, director of communications at the diocese. “This is obviously not a major exorcism, it’s a prayer service,” she told BuzzFeed. According to the Appendices to the 2004 Latin edition of the Rite of Exorcism, passages from the text can be used for other purposes at the discretion of the bishop, she explained.

But even so, the service has raised some eyebrows.

“As a practicing Roman Catholic, I find it not only insane but embarrassing,” said Rick Garcia, who has advocated for LGBT rights in Illinois for decades and serves as the policy director at The Civil Rights Agenda, a Chicago-based LGBT rights group.

“[Paprocki] is complicit in promoting the great sin of discrimination and intolerance of his brothers and sisters,” Garcia told BuzzFeed. “There is blasphemy happening in our state and that blasphemy comes from Bishop Paprocki. When you demonize and disparage gay and lesbian people, you are demonizing the body of Christ and this is blasphemy.”

In addition, Garcia found Paprocki’s attacks at lawmakers who quoted Pope Francis laughable.

During the long debate over the bill in the Illinois House of Representatives on Nov. 5, some lawmakers cited recent remarks by Pope Francis in which the pontiff faulted the church for focusing too much on social issues like abortion, marriage equality and contraception.

Even the powerful democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, an Irish Catholic from the Southwest Side of Chicago, quoted Francis, closing the debate.

“My thoughts regarding this legislation were formulated before the quote that I am offering to all of us,” Madigan said. “The quote that I offer is a quote from Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, who is quoted as saying, ‘If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and he has good will, who am I to judge?’ … My personal thought is for those who just happen to be gay, living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but are illegal, who am I to judge that they should illegal? Who is the government to judge that they should be illegal?”

Paprocki, however, points to Francis’ — then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio — 2010 comments opposing proposed marriage equality legislation in Argentina as evidence his quotes were misused.

“The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex,” Francis said at the time. “The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children.”

As bishop, Paprocki leads 130 parishes in 28 counties in central Illinois and has consistently condemned the marriage of same-sex couples. On Oct. 22, Paprocki warned banned LGBT proponents from visiting his Springfield, Ill., church to recite the rosary.

Praying the rosary for marriage equality is “blasphemous,” Paprocki said at the time, according to The State-Journal Register.

However, Garcia was there and prayed without incident.

“The bottom line is that he lost,” Garcia said. “He should get over it.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/tonymerevick/illinois-bishop-to-perform-exorcism-prayer-in-reparation-of

Sandra Bernhard Officiates Gay Wedding For Manhattan Power Couple

1. Sandra Bernhard officiated a gay wedding last Wednesday.

Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

Actress, comedienne, and Universal Life minister Sandra Bernhard officiated the wedding between Manhattan natives Georgi Dimitrov Balinov and Bradford Shane Shellhammer. “It all began as all good gay-boy relationships do,” Bernhard said as she introduced the couple, “at Equinox on Greenwich Avenue!” According to The New York Times, Balinov (right), 30, is a vice president for investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Shellhammer, 36, is a founder and the chief design officer of the social shopping site, Fab.com. Couple made in gay heaven? Yes. The ceremony, which had a staged mask ball theme, took place with relatives and friends at New York’s Russian Tea Room.

2. Following the ceremony she tweeted this photo with the caption, “my brides”.

6. As this shaky video proves, this wedding was a party for the ages:

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/skarlan/sandra-bernhard-officiates-gay-wedding-for-manhattan-power-c

How Gender Outlaw Kate Bornstein Raised $100K In Less Than A Week To Beat Cancer

Kate Bornstein — cult hero, writer, former Scientologist, and unapologetic advocate for “freaks and outlaws” — is the brassy patron saint to a ragtag collection of bullied and marginalized folks across generations, genders, and sexualities. She’s also a 65-year-old trans woman with modest means and a cancer diagnosis.

Bornstein has insurance and her lung cancer is curable, but she began putting her affairs in order back in February, when doctors told her she would need $100,000 in order to pay for the deductible, cross-country travel to cancer treatment centers, and the cabs she’d need to take to protect her immune system throughout radiation.

Her friend Laura Vogel, a professional fundraiser, stopped her. “I run fundraising campaigns all the time, usually for movies and creative endeavors, but why can’t we do it for this?” Vogel posited at the time. So, on March 20, Vogel launched the “Help Kate Bornstein Stay Alive” fundraiser on the site GoFundMe.

In less than a week and with support from big guns like MSNBC host and writer Melissa Harris-Perry alongside countless $5, $10, and $25 donations from fans around the world, they raised the money $100,000 needed to save Kate’s life.

“It’s a dream come true,” Kate says, reached by phone last week. She’s dog-tired, she says, exhausted from the radiation, nauseous, sick. And yet, “My people are carrying me, my kids are carrying me, my brothers and sisters are carrying me, my ancestors are carrying me. Melissa Harris-Perry is carrying me! GLAAD is carrying me. These are the happiest days of my life.”

To understand how a gender outlaw and queer elder with no family support was able to fund her own life despite a broken health-care system and a transphobic society, you need to understand Kate Bornstein.

Photo by Terence McCormack

Kate’s big-hearted, big-brained books on gender, Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us and My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely, are some of the LGBT community’s most beloved. Making no secret of her own struggles with self-harm and attempted suicide, she eventually turned her attention to her “Stay Alive” campaign, which included a book full of alternatives to suicide for “teens, freaks, and other outlaws.”

Last year she released a brilliant, funny, deeply humane memoir about her life pre-transition, which included a 12-year stint deep in the heart of the Church of Scientology. Though she expected retaliation from the Church and was extremely frightened upon its release, she wrote the book for her grandchildren, who — along with her family — are forbidden from contacting her. Though Kate was embedded in a religion that makes everything about her “wrong,” the book is a testament to her belief that everyone is worthy of love, her stubborn refusal to allow anyone — even herself — to succumb to less.

“All the stuff I write about gender, and about bullying, and about ‘stay alive’ — they’re good ideas for getting together and being family, and being inclusive, but they’re ideas, they’re theory,” she says. “To know that people have held me in their hearts as much as I’ve held them, that’s overpowering.”

“The thing that has been really powerful for me has been watching Kate go through a radical acceptance of herself,” Vogel says of Kate’s reaction to the support she’s received. As of this writing, people have donated $104,000 to Kate’s campaign. Many messages on the GoFundMe site credit Kate with saving lives: the donor, or their partner, or their child.

But a lot of the money has come from people who’ve never heard of Kate’s work, Vogel points out. A lot of pretty mainstream folks — including Vogel’s old middle-school friends — were outraged that someone with insurance, who’d “followed the rules of health care,” could still die from lack of treatment. “We’re told that the American Dream is ‘pick yourself up by your own boot straps,’” Vogel says of Kate’s predicament. “That’s levitation.”

Now that they’ve met their initial goal, Vogel’s turning the campaign’s attentions to keeping Kate alive after this round of treatment, encouraging people to continue donating to help Kate manage her next year of fighting to keep the cancer away — flights to and from medical centers for checkups, expensive supplements, and a restrictive diet. “A huge number of our donors have been giving five dollars. Think about the power that giving five dollars has. You literally have saved Kate’s life,” she says.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/thomaspagemcbee/how-gender-outlaw-kate-bornstein-raised-100k-in-less-than-a

“On Loving Women”: A Collection Of Comics That Perfectly Captures Coming Out And First Love

1. On Loving Women is a book of short comics focused on sexual identity and first instances of love as told through the lens of animator Diane Obomsawin.

Diane Obomsawin/ Used With Permission From Drawn & Quarterly

2. Using simple storytelling, the book explores significant moments in queer women’s lives; from holding a girl’s hand for the first time to a drunken one-night-stand.

Artwork by Diane Obomsawin / Via Drawn And Quarterly

4. Diane Obomsawin’s minimalist style is reminiscent of Jason or Keith Haring, mixing animal and human traits on her sparely-drawn characters.

5. Here is Diane, alongside her self portrait:

Rehab Nezal

Diane Obomsawin

 

6. The collection of stories actually stems from Diane’s personal experiences with that strange “Aha!” moment of finally understanding your own sexuality.

The inspiration for my comic novel came from a book I read by Michel Tremblay (a famous Quebecois author). The young protagonist of this book had a revelation at the age of 16 when he realized that he always unconsciously identified himself with the woman when he saw a kiss in a magazine or in a movie. It was a sudden revelation of his sexual identity. It made me thing of my first semi-conscious attraction to other girls when i was 6 or 7 years old. I changed school 14 times and the first thing I did when I started in each school was choose a girl with whom I wanted to fall in love. I focused almost all my attention to that girl until the day I moved to another school. I put my own stories about my first experience of feeling attracted to women under my name in my book and then I realized I wanted to hear the voices of my friends about their first love or desire too … all the chapters are named after the person whose story they tell.

7. Each individual chapter feels like peeking into someone’s personal diary, each story more entrancing than the last.

Artwork by Diane Obomsawin/Drawn Quarterly

9. The book will be in stores February 18th, but you can pre-order a copy here.

Artwork by Diane Obomsawin

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/skarlan/on-loving-women-a-collection-of-comics-that-perfectly-captur

A Look Inside HBO’s “The Out List”

“I would get off stage and someone would say, ‘You didn’t really make a statement, like, gay rights!’ And I would say, ‘I just did a whole hour about my wife — you can’t get much gayer than that!’” Wanda Sykes lets out an exasperated laugh as she leans toward the camera. She is just one of the many individuals interviewed for the upcoming HBO documentary The Out List. The film, directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, is set up as a series of interviews, almost as if you are peering into a therapy session. Neil Patrick Harris shares his thoughts on gay parenting, while Lupe Valdez explains how she found herself as the first openly lesbian sheriff in Dallas, Texas. Some of the anecdotes are humorous, and others are heartbreaking, but all reflect upon what it truly means to grow up “out” in America.

The film debuts on HBO during New York City Pride Week on June 27, the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

BuzzFeed spoke with the director of the film, renowned documentary film director and photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders:

What sparked your desire to make this film?

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders: This is really a continuation of the last two years of work on identity — a series of films I did starting with The Black List and then The Latino List. So this was an obvious continuation of that. I think it certainly came to a head for us after the Prop 8 decisions. That’s what really ignited us to get funding and get the film going.

We had been thinking about this film from the very beginning. When we did The Black List, it was pretty obvious that with its success there was more to be done here in the area of LGBT. My friend Sam McConnell and I were very disturbed by the Prop 8 vote in California, so that was enough to push us towards starting a film on gay rights. Actually, in the beginning we called it Generation 8 — that was the title. It was focused on marriage equality in the post-Prop 8 world. As we began filming, it became more obvious that it wasn’t the only important issue out there.

You photographed all the interviewees for portraits that go along with the film. Did you also conduct the interviews?

TG: No, I did not do the interviews; Sam McConnell did the interviews. I did end up doing two of them because he wasn’t available. He is gay himself and he wanted to do them… I thought he could do it.

Going into the interviews, did he know what he was going to ask?

TG: The way we’ve done these always has been that there is a conversation. You have questions, but you don’t have a list you read. It goes organically in any direction the subject wants it to go in. Different people took it different places.

Was the result of this project different than you had originally envisioned going into it?

TG: Going into a film, you always have a sense of what the film will be. I don’t think I realized how powerful the film would be, and also that the timing of it would be so fortuitous. We’re airing on HBO on the 44th anniversary of Stonewall and possibly on the day that the Supreme Court announces the two major decisions.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Sam McConnell pose with some of the individuals featured in the film:

What do you hope people walk away from the film with?

TG: I think there are a lot of takeaways. I think that certainly if you’re a straight audience member, you get a much better sense of what it’s like being gay in America. … Sixteen different people have 16 different realities. If you’re gay, it really supports a lot of what you’ve been feeling your whole life. You know, we screened it in Dallas the other day, and a 12-year-old girl was there and she came up to me afterwards and I asked her who her favorites were. She said, “All of them,” and then she kind of burst into tears. I think for her, she was struggling with coming out; her mother brought her to the film. I think it was a very powerful film for her to see and…it answered a lot of questions for her.

Was there any one interview that spoke to you personally?

TG: I grew up in New York in the ’70s and ’80s and I lost a lot of friends to AIDS. So, Larry Kramer really was an important figure of the film for me, and I think to Sam McConnell as well, because it’s easy to forget about AIDS, because a lot has gone on, and people focus on marriage and financial equality. People can easily forget the nightmare of what happened to people in the ’80s and ’90s.

Sam McConnell and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders pose with former NFL star Wade Davis:

Was it a conscious decision to include not only celebrities but also normal, everyday individuals?

TG: Absolutely. You want to make a film that people are going to see. One of the ways to get people to sit in front of the TV and watch it is to have famous people in it that they’re interested in. So, of course, you want Ellen and you want Neil Patrick Harris. Those are obvious guests because that’s going to bring up your audience. But, I think as you get into the film, you want to hear about Lupe Valdez and Wayne Davis because they’re equally as interesting.

Do you think after this film you will start another identity-style documentary, or is this the final one?

TG: I would be thrilled if HBO wanted to continue this. I would urge people to write in and say, “We want more!” It’s not up to me totally.

10. Watch the trailer:

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/skarlan/a-look-inside-hbos-the-out-list

Michelle Rodriguez Addresses Rumors And Comes Out As Bisexual

1. Actress Michelle Rodriguez spoke openly about her sexuality in an interview for Entertainment Weekly’s latest issue.

Fred Prouser / Reuters

2. Her sexuality has been a point of controversy for years, but never before has she spoken so openly on the topic.

She once down-played the rumours by stating, “I’m not a lesbian….yeah. Michi likes sausage.”

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

3. In reference to the media’s prying questions she said:

4. I don’t talk about what I do with my vagina, and they’re all intrigued.

6. I’ve never walked the carpet with anyone, so they wonder: What does she do with her vagina?

8. Plus, I play a butchy girl all the time, so they assume I’m a lesbo.

10. Eh, they’re not too far off…

12. I’ve gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f—-ing curious to sit here and not try when I can.

14. Men are intriguing. So are chicks.

16. The interview comes from the October 4 issue of Entertainment Weekly.

17. Well played, Rodriguez.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/skarlan/michelle-rodriguez-address-rumors-and-comes-out-as-bisexual

Chick-Fil-A Makes “Fruitcake” Joke In Ad

As a commenter on Towleroad says, the “fruitcake” copy on this coupon ad may just be limited to the Chambers Plaza franchise location in Georgia. If you’ve seen it elsewhere, let us know in the comments.

Fruitcake” of course also means “nuts.” But because of the advertiser, I think we can pretty safely assume that they didn’t just mean “nuts.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/copyranter/chick-fil-a-makes-derogatory-gay-joke-in-ad

Seattle’s Favorite Bearded Gay Couple Cleans Up Real Nice

1. Remember Larry and Randell?

Meryl Schenker/ZUMAPRESS.com

2. On Sunday they were officially married at the First Baptist Church in Seattle.

Meryl Schenker/ZUMAPRESS.com

Congrats!

All photos from Meryl Schenker.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-awesome-bearded-guys-from-washingtons-wedding

Immigrant Groups Lose Catholic Funding Over Gay Marriage Support

Joe Raedle / Getty

Nine Illinois immigrant groups have lost nearly $300,000 in grants from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development after joining a statewide coalition that backs same-sex marriage, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development awarded more than 40 grants this year to groups that work with those in poverty. All groups had to sign a contract agreeing to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“Donors to the (Catholic Campaign) give to this anti-poverty organization with the understanding that their money will be passed on to organizations that respect the teachings of the Catholic faith,” Cardinal Francis George, Chicago’s archbishop, said in a statement in July. “Organizations that apply for funds do so agreeing to this condition.”

Groups that lost grants report they have had to scale back their services.

“It was difficult to settle into our decision and live with it, but it wasn’t that hard a decision to make,” Leone Jose Bicchieri, the executive director of the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative told the Chicago Tribune. “It was not the moment to splinter off from a statewide immigrant rights coalition. It was not the moment to not be united around immigration reform. That was the overriding consideration.”

Several groups have created an emergency fund to help them raise the money they lost. So far, they have raised $91,000 of the $300,000 lost in grant funding.

“We don’t have a formal stance on marriage equality,” Jenny Arwade, executive director of the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, told the Chicago Tribune. “Our organizational values are that we believe in equal rights for all people. We were disappointed in the decision. We also believe it’s the church’s decision to do what they want to do.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/hunterschwarz/immigrant-groups-lose-catholic-funding-over-gay-marriage-sup