Just Say YES to Kermit the Frog’s Gay Rainbow Connection Video

Let’s just get this out of the way: clicking on most of the videos below is reserved for adults only, NSFW, and utterly hilarious. All clear? All righty, then.

It’s true: “Same Love” (http://gayagenda.com/same-love-success) is gorgeous, beautiful, lyrical and incredible. Sometimes, it’s good to know we can joke together about marriage equality, too.

Hot on the strappy, red high heels of bawdy, silly or NSFW gay parody video zingers from IT GETS BETTERISH, Jonny McGovern the Gay Pimp (“Lookin’ Cute Feelin’ Cute”) CmaddoxBiitch‎ (Drag Tyra “smizing,”) ANY of Willam’s or Margaret Cho’s gay-themed clips, Sassy Gay Friend, and RuPaul’s “Peanut Butter” (you get the idea…)

…comes a Muppets-esque sing-a-long that’s less kid-friendly, more gay-friendly, and extremely ridiculous.

This “Kermie-inspired” creation by Raging Artist TV is a cleverly veiled spoof of “The Rainbow Connection” song and Muppets movie clip. A Kermit the Frog(ish), sweetly-voiced impersonator sings about marriage equality, divorce’s inevitability, and somehow works in kiddie rants about gay sex in North Korea, as well as controversy surrounding the Pope.

Sounds Ridiculous? It is. Get the idea?

Choice (and less racy)  lyric highlights include:

“Weddings are nightmares/People want them/so who cares/If it’s two girls or two guys?”

And–

“Someday we’ll all get/The Rainbow Connection/And all get divorced, probably” (Then Kermit adds, “Just saying, statistically speaking, it doesn’t look good.”)

The Kermit parody video’s creator Hersh Rephun said he was inspired by his frustration: “My comedy comes from the things that make me cry,”  Rephun said. “If I could write sad and beautiful music, this would be a much more serious video about marriage equality and finally being on the right side of history. Instead, it has Muppets getting divorced.”

We couldn’t find video of Kermit twerking,” he continued. “But I hope the kids and the dirty old men watch anyway.”

With all this snarky, crunchy goodness sung to the tune of the Rainbow Connection, once you take a listen and have a look, you’ll never feel the same about that song again. If you’re looking for a politically correct, feelgood singalong, you’d better keep on looking.

The (of course not officially affiliated) folks at The Jim Henson Company and at Disney have yet to make a statement about it, but the video’s making a strong enough statement of its own.

There are tons of other snicker-inducing marriage equality videos out there, like:

Dustin Lance Black’s Prop 8 The Musical – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug3YkVhkemg

Louis CK on Gay Marriage – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPvVnrV1tow

Pt. 1. Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-YCdcnf_P8

Pt. 2.  Gay Women Will Marry Your Boyfriends – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0Be8LnuG3U

Todrick Halls’ celebrity-packed video, “Cinderfella” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9ZA7bn5ujk

Smurfs For Marriage Equality  – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE_EawP3-h4

(George Takei, Jane Lynch, Alicia Silverstone and more in) Funny or Die’s A Gaythering Storm –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnsG008ntYY

The Lonely Island – Spring Break Gay Anthem – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUw4Qh9uFK8

The Gay “Marry Me” – Eurovision 2013 Parody – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNUN_GLaIjY

And a gaggle of magical Marriage Equality memes for good measure. – http://politicalhumor.about.com/b/2013/03/28/funniest-redesigns-of-the-marriage-equality-sign-on-facebook.htm

So let’s go: let’s laugh our way to the LGBT right to marry (even if you think weddings suck!) and keep fighting the good fight.

Hot or Not? Funny…or just dumb? Do you think Kermit’s gay-friendly Rainbow Connection video gets the message across, or what? Tell us what’s on your mind, Darlings…

 

 

Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back: Why Michael Musto Was Never Really “Fired”

“For better or worse, I’ve always tried to march to my own drum

and tell it like it is, while preserving some integrity and style.

God, I’m fabulous!”

-Michael Musto

 Sorry…Perez Who?

Gay gossip columnist and author Michael Musto is unstoppable. However catty his remarks are (he is, after all, famous for creating the word “celebutard,”), this cat always seems to land on his feet (for nine whole lifetimes).

You would think reporters like him were the kind that “Der Bruno” parodies (http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00025569.html). Musto’s career has been anything but a fly by night affair, or gossip for gossip’s sake. His voice is pointed and distinct, steeped in his own philosophy and musings, and his words come across as being fully fearless.

Ever the consummate party goer, the Columbia University grad began his career by being famous for being famous. You can be as talented as the myriad other geniuses flanking you left and right in this world, but without any buzz, making a name for yourself and your work is infinitely more difficult.

That’s why, mere nanoseconds after it was confirmed Musto was laid off from his position at The Village Voice (“restructuring” was cited), he fired up his telltale tweets, and the WTFs and DM offers came rolling in.

One of the many highlights came from Andy Cohen who tweeted, “The Voice, though? “What’s the point of the Village Voice without @mikeymusto!?! #institution #NYCIcon”

Musto was not the only one fired (http://www.altweeklies.com/aan/restructuring-at-the-village-voice/Article?oid=7079465), and many of the publication’s most prominent editors resigned from the paper to protest the mass-layoffs. Still, the Musto firing was among the most shocking.

“So many people have come out to offer their love (and opportunities),” Musto told Gawker. “I’ll update you on all my new beginnings. My brand will be feistier than ever.”

The “La Dolce Musto” columnist wrote a touching farewell letter to his followers, ending:

“It was a helluva quarter-plus century of partying and protest. I have treasured my time there and have loved guiding you through some of NYC’s (and the world’s) dizzying highs and lows. I am reachable through Facebook and twitter (@mikeymusto).THANK YOU, PEOPLE!!!”

Named as one of the “Out 100’s”  most influential LGBT personalities, Musto’s fans who know him from TV may not realize: the reported clocked 30 years of journalism time at The Village Voice alone—all the while writing tomes both praising and burying celebrity culture, giving cultural commentary about GLBT culture, dish and dignity, and providing seasoned, sharp soundbites for myriad broadcasters around the world.

For anyone in the publishing industry, such a stint is a miracle, as is thriving as an out, gay journalist hobnobbing with celebs and still making time write that next great scoop.

Michael Musto created so much gossip that finally he became it (for 0.5 seconds). For all who knew him, it was immediately apparent the layoff seemed to be out of the blue and felt out-of-pocket.

Don’t you worry about Mike—Mike’s runnin’ shop in NYC. Still writing, still jet-setting, and still “bringing the fab” to nightclub events in the city (http://54below.com/wordpress/?artist=michael-mustos-disco) and beyond.

In essence, Michael Musto was never really fired, because he’s what you’d call in queer speak, “one of the legendary children.”

Musto was never really fired—because his only full-time job, boss and brand is Michael Musto.

 Michael Musto is now a columnist for The Advocate, Out Magazine,  Gawker, and select other publications.

So, uh…got any gossip?

 

Crazy, Sexy Hot: LGBT-Recommended & Approved Netflix Summer Rentals

Popcorn? Milk Duds? Edamame, anyone?

This summer at Netflix, it’s the Summer of LGBTQ Love.

The streaming movie monolith’s original production “Orange Is The New Black” (movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Orange_Is_the_New_Black) has tongues wagging and has acquired brand new insta-fans who are already craving the next season, even while they rave about the first one watching every single episode from back to back.

Netflix is host to myriad gems, treasures and sparkly cinematic jewels that can take a bit of searching to uncover, and that represent queer culture in many iterations from the sublime to the “ridonkulous.” (Hat-tip to RuPaul for this clever turn of phrase). A quick and easy search uncovered some of the selections below, but to find exotic, rare and valued goodies, you’ll have to spend a little quality time at the Netflix search engine, reverse engineer a search at Google, or subscribe to Hacking Netflix or similar.

You’ll find a few ever-so-lovely viewing recommendations below.

Not a Netflix subscriber? Take heart: if these movie delights are available there, you’ll probably also be able to find many of them at Amazon.com, iTunes, YouTube Premium, Hulu or your local rental stop.

Summer (Rental) Lover Recommendations

Margaret Cho: Beautiful – A heartwarmingly cray-cray comedienne, actress, self-confessed “trans* chaser,” and queer in-community advocate. Her comedic set is funny, surreal, challenging, and strong overall. Cho’s comedy shows are forever a don’t-miss-’em situation. movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Margaret_Cho_Beautiful

Red Without Blue   This documentary explores the lives of identical twins Mark and Alex Farley as they come to terms not only with their homosexuality, but also with Alex’s decision to transition from male to female. We witness challenges in the film, and both have since fully come into their own (according to blog posts and news updates). Their bravery shines here and reminds you to summon up your own courage in the tougher times.   http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Red_Without_Blue

Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement This love story spans 42 years, and its echos still reverberate today. In fact, we wrote a little something about them, too (http://gayagenda.com/?s=edie+windsor). Check out the movie here: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Edie_Thea_A_Very_Long_Engagement

Chely Wright: Wish Me Away  This poignant documentary, filmed over three years, profiles country music star Chely Wright (http://gayagenda.com/tag/chely-wright), and her spiritual coming out journey.  In the film, we see her succeed in the music business while hiding her homosexuality from her conservative family and fans. As our articles detail, she’s doing great now, too. http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Chely_Wright_Wish_Me_Away

Outrage This movie will surprise you. Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick sets out to expose the hypocrisy of gay politicians who passionately criticize the LGBT community in public while concealing their own sexual orientation in private. It IS outrageous. http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Outrage

And because it’s available for streaming (but not at Netflix), here’s one last great one:

Noah’s Arc – SGL African American men are the series’ main creators and main stars. To date, there’s been nothing like this dramedy series—it’s utterly captivating and addictive. You’ll want to watch the whole series, and the accompanying movie before it’s removed from freebie streaming channels. There are many charming scenes and many NSFW scenes, ‘natch. Careful, now….  http://www.logotv.com/shows/noahs_arc/series.jhtml

There’s much, much more where that came from: you can find Alan Cumming’s breakout drama “Any Day Now,” “Small Town Gay Bar,” “Chasing Amy,” “Brokeback Mountain” and other curated selections by visiting Netflix’s “Gay and Lesbian” category page here.  http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?agid=5977

What’s your favorite movie?

Where Kids Can Just Be Kids: Summer Camps For Trans* Youth

Childhood can be as magical as it is challenging. Having parents who care enough to walk you through the highs and lows of life, to tend to your feelings, restore your peace of mind, guide your education and plan your health care helps to ease the stress and eustress that kids go through as they’re finding their way in the world.

Kids, just like adults, need to have survival needs met, to interface with a supportive and growing community, and to enjoy plenty of extra time for play, recess, hobbies and making same-age friends who share their interests. (remember scheduled play dates and slumber parties?)

Because people often confuse sexuality with gender, trans* kids might be introduced to ideas, bullying or teasing comments that have nothing at all to do with what they’re interested in or thinking about in terms of their identity. They won’t even understand the words or concepts in grown-up ways, which is all the more hurtful and confusing.

These reasons among many make summer camp that’s not only trans* inclusive but just for trans* kids a very pronounced need. Kids in school, in both public and private shared spaces where children gather, may be in relatively secure environments, but much of their time might be unsupervised, or not monitored closely. Multiply that by the weeks and months packed into the summertime, and now you’re dealing with formative experiences that have the potential to imprint themselves on children’s innocent  little hearts and minds. So why not set them up to be joyful experience?

Why not set them up for having…just plain fun?

There are many parents and supportive organizations who’ve taken it upon themselves to create trans* inclusive and/or trans* specific spaces where kids can just be kids. Here are a few suggestions below.

Summer Camps for Trans* Youth

Camp Aranu’tiq A week-long, overnight summer camp for transgender and gender-variant youth ages 8 – 15, with locations in New England and California. Also, Aranu’tiq Family Camp is a long weekend event in autumn for the whole family.  http://www.camparanutiq.org

Trans Youth Equality Foundation Youth Retreats Twice a year, TYEF organizes transgender youth

retreats, an opportunity to get away for a little while and enjoy activities like swimming, hiking, boating and arts and crafts. The difference between summer camp and TYEF retreats is that all of the youth who attend TYEF retreats are transgender. http://www.transyouthequality.org/youth_retreats.html

NYC LGBT Center  Y.E.S. Program Summer Community Camp The Y.E.S. Summer Community Camp program is a week-long residential camp designed to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people with the support, knowledge and skills they need to take charge of their own health and well-being.  http://www.gaycenter.org/youth/summercamp

Camp You Are You Camp You Are You  is a four-day camp experience for gender fluid boys and their families. The name and location is private, however Slate.com wrote a piece about it recently, and you can contact Lindsay Morris, who is in touch with the organization, at LindsayMorris.viewbook.com and find out more about the camp at this link:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/07/15/_you_are_you_looks_at_a_gender_nonconforming_camp_for_boys_photos.html

You can find many more trans* inclusive summer camps at Dreams of Hope here: http://www.dreamsofhope.org/page/summer-camps

Do you think trans* only summer school and camps shelter kids too much, or are they absolutely necessary?

A San Diegan Phoenix Rises: The Obelisk Gay Bookstore Reopens

The Obelisk Shoppe Celebrates August 16th Grand Opening

Hillcrest, San Diego has long loved and supported The Obelisk, San Diego’s only gay-owned and operated bookstore.

And “Oh Hillcrest! How we’ve missed you” are the words emblazoned on The Obelisk Shoppe’s official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ObeliskShoppe) today.

As a longtime San Diego landmark in the heart of its gay metro area in Hillcrest, the business suffered a devastating loss just over two years ago, enduring forced closure due to a tragic three-alarm fire.

According to Rex Wockner, on July 6 2011 the Obelisk was instantaneously damaged and “closed when a workman’s torch caused a fire on the roof of an adjacent building, which spread to the Obelisk’s building.  The second and third floors of the structure were gutted, and the fire department has closed the building until it can be repaired.  The bookstore received water and smoke damage.”

Placed smack dab in the middle of the Pride Parade route, the renowned bookstore has always an integral shop-and-rest stop during San Diego Pride, and has hosted such LGBTQ luminaries as RuPaul and many local artists and authors for exclusive book signings, readings, showings and community events.

Nestled in the heart of Hillcrest, the bookseller has long been a location for group meetups, impromptu connections and kikis, and you could always find a mix of the most colorful customers in the store: folks who’d grab a chair and browse through fiction titles, LGBTQ teens checking out freebie magazines and newspapers, canoodling couples deciding on adult video rentals, film lovers perusing their curated collection of queer cinema, tourists eager to peek inside and buy random rainbow stickers and kitschy cards, kink-centric shoppers buying metal jewelry, local respected elders and queer business owners… (and the list goes on).

You’d never hear any stories of people being booted out of the shop if they didn’t buy magazines or books they were reading, or if they took too long to do so.

The feel of the store was homey and lived-in—what with the structure being over 100 years old, the atmosphere lent itself to such familiarity. The store’s proprietors were always on-site or close by, personable and patient.  Though the store ownership has since changed hands, the shop’s new owner aims to carry on the community spirit and launch new revenue models beyond “just books” to keep the store sustainable.

From the pictures on their Facebook page, the redesign is ultra-sleek, modern and inviting, promising to pick up where Obelisk 1.0 left off.

During the Grand Opening, The Obelisk Shoppe will be giving away assorted goodies (including high-priced luxury watches, you lucky San Diegans!) in events surrounding the reopening.

Cheers and congratulations to The Obelisk’s ownership, staff and surrounding community. Thankfully no one was hurt in the blaze, and things are finally back on track.

For more information, visit their official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ObeliskShoppe

San Diego’s known as the ninth gayest city in the United States. What’s the local book nook like in your neck of the woods?

 

The Politics of (Drag) Dancing: RuPaul’s Girls Go Mainstream

On Drag In Public

 

“It’s not personal; it’s drag.”

– Ms. Alyssa Edwards

 

“I get my makeup tips from RuPaul,” says Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the current matriarch of Baltimore, Maryland. “I watch his ‘Drag Race’ show in freeze frame so I can get good tips.”

When the mayor of a major U.S. City can share such easy-breezy chit-chat about RuPaul in the lifestyle section of the Sunday paper, you know something’s gone mainstream. In this case, it’s drag.

Drag goes back…way back. As a mainstay of Western theater since the 1600s,  prior to that, drag performativity appeared in religious and indigenous tribal cultures worldwide, since before we began thinking of drag in as we know it.

The word “drag,” once shortened stage directions for “dress resembling a girl,” (thanks, Shakespeare!) has in our lifetime transitioned from taboo to “fabu.” Since it was illegal for females to perform in historical productions, guys were forced to work in drag (just imagine their absolute creative freedom and luck!).

As for the words “drag queen,” those first appeared in print in 1941. Yet even then, drag queens weren’t akin to LGBT royalty, and the phrase had a much more pejorative, dismissive ring to it.

In our very recent history, doing drag and being a drag queen was anything but trendy. Gay men and transgender people rejected drag artists, feeling drag performers prompted too much attention toward LGBTQ folks who were trying hard to assimilate—much tin he same way we see butch lesbians and so-called “radical feminists” rejecting transgender individuals, tethered to the idea of cultural “scarcity,” and perpetuating the very fears they seek to squash.

Embracing drag is still relatively new, overall. Now, drag’s less of Maury Povich or Springer “otherness” experience, and more of an ANTM “teach me glamour” experience.

It’s happened gradually enough…as typically occurs on meeting drag queen royalty, first folks are shocked or disgusted, then they react strongly (positive or negative), then comes amusement, then finally, a combination of enchantment, deification and acceptance. All the while, these reactions weigh in on a wide spectrum of attraction. These artists are gorgeous, and even in “skag drag,” our culture is attracted to difference, yet hard-pressed to admit it.

Moving from hated to elated, the renowned drag artist RuPaul, had a similar popularity trajectory.

RuPaul wasn’t the first drag queen to rise to prominence (see: Sylvester, Warhol’s featured Factory drag queens, Divine, Lady Bunny, Miss Coco Peru, and many others). But, RuPaul was the first Drag Queen/Supermodel Glamazon to cross over. No one does drag quite like him, keeping it classy, enjoying multimedia international exposure, and educating as much as he entertains. He has yet to be displaced or overthrown.

While longtime drag queen artists such as The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been the most activism-driven queens, drag has long been an underground “phenom,” and has continued to influence and drive culture from the margins.

Drag royalty such as Chad Michaels and myriad impersonators doing Cher, Barbra, Liza, Diana and the like used to make most of their money in Vegas or resorts, in private shows for select celebs, or in underground or lower-profile LGBT clubs and bars.

Drag queen acceptance has finally become a part of our lexicon, with more and more Hollywood stars from Sally Jesse Raphael to anyone who’s made guest appearances on RuPaul’s various shows since the 90s continually co-signing, legitimizing drag in the mainstream.

We see this on a daily basis as Vanessa Williams and Solange Knowles light up their Twitter accounts, “Yes Miss Thing!’ing up the Internet and snagging queens to do their makeup for them. All the while, if Amanda Bynes even tries it with an anti-drag ding or a diss, her vitriol is shut down “with a quickness.”

So okay, UK Royals, you can have your royal baby. That’s all fine and well. We’ll keep our drag queen royalty and crown them happily—thanks ever so much.

Make Dat Money: Drag Is An Art And A Job

 “Scam money don’t make money, but freak money do.”

re:  “RT @LionsInMyHead: how do I make quick money Ru?”

– RuPaul’s recent tweet

 

Yes. Drag is popular entertainment, no doubt. Dressing up in drag is still, however, an entirely political act, onstage and off.

Queens such as Mykki Blanco, Heidi Glum and countless others continue to expose the horrible ritual of “drag-fag” bashing that’s still all too customary.

Though drag is often performed for laughs, drag changes lives. RuPaul’s Drag Race alone does indeed change the life course of formerly underground performers who might have have had very different realities. Though non-Drag Race performers have complained that RuPaul’s girls demand more money and steal their jobs, Drag Race’s popularity increases the value of drag art in general. If you’re listening closely, RuPaul continues to advise all drag performers to take advantage of this open door while it’s still open, warning us that the tides could change at any time, and likely will change.

Massive props are due to RuPaul, the ultimate drag mother, as before he created his “RuPaul’s Drag Race” empire and spinoffs (“Drag U,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” “Untucked,”), he insisted that all the girls on his show would never be the overall the butt of the joke for the program. Even his sisterly contemporary Lady Bunny said reality show producers approached her, forcing her drag sisters to be more bitchy and awful to one another than they would be in real life. (http://www.tgforum.com/wordpress/index.php/tvocalizers-lady-bunny)

RuPaul’s Story

As an actor, renowned drag queen, model, author, and recording artist, RuPaul rose to the ranks in the early 1990s as one of the first major drag queens to appear on mainstream TV and in movies, nabbing a major label deal with Tommy Boy Records. His chart-topping single “Supermodel of the World” just celebrated its 20th anniversary.

RuPaul’s career began where many queens’ careers remain: in underground clubs, gigging from town to town, not knowing where the next bit of money would come from. Though RuPaul jokes about tricking on a regular basis (he doesn’t profess this was his reality), sex work is common for many queens trying to pay the bills between gigs.

Not Just Cat Fights: Sisterly Drag Controversy

“You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care! Just as long as you call me.” – RuPaul

Despite the ease and fluidity with which RuPaul moves back and forth between appearances in and out of drag, rigidity in drag community still exists. There’s still a solid line of demarcation between drag performers and transgender or transgender-appearing individuals.

Publicly, RuPaul continues to make it crystal clear: he does drag for money, not for kicks, not for getting off. Traditionally, drag queens have staved off extended scrutiny or harassment with this through-line whether or not it’s true for them in private. Contemporary queens break even those taboos, playing with kai-kai (drag queen on drag queen) sexual role play much more (see: “Let’s have A Kai Kai” video). Even if such gender play’s done for titillation’s sake, it forces us examine and get rid of discriminatory ideology that makes little sense. It forces us to find drag queens doubly sexy.

Drag culture saw to blooming in the 70s, but it was much more exoticized. Though RuPaul himself began with a “genderfuck” aesthetic (playing with gender assumptions), his drag evolved into glam-specific artistry, and he demands that his drag mentees follow suit.

Genderfuck artists rarely make the cut as RuPaul’s Drag Race winners. (Winner Raja Gemini is an extremely high-glam model, hence was able to win with genderfuck presentation in tow).

Such glam-only strictness is a blessing and a curse in terms of drag performance. It took many years for drag queens to begin to accept transgender folks into the fold, since there’s a stigma surrounding doing drag for pleasure, rather than just for money, let alone even having sex in drag, or wanting to present as a woman. Thus, even in community, there’s a clinging to a “sissy for pay only” mythology. So even effeminate gay men cling to the elusive myth of butch superiority.

The issue here is not whether or not drag artists derive pleasure from the act, but has to do with defensiveness around it, not wanting to be confused with cross-dressers who are generally (at least in terms of the psychology field) straight men.

Drag performers themselves are still slowly warming up to the idea that there are trans performers among them—performers who are becoming more and more fearless about coming out as trans.

Regardless of the inner workings of drag art and commerce,  drag’s here to stay.

You’ll find a list below of some of the RuPaul’s queens (and others, non-affiliated) who have hit the big-time, including early drag queen forerunners enjoying newfound popularity.

Drag Queens Redux – New Royalty and Real-Life Residuals:

* Tyra Sanchez – Featured appearance, Spiritualized’s “Hey Jane” video

* Raven – Featured appearance in MDNR’s “Feed Me Diamonds” video

* Continued mainstream TV and film guest spots with Willam [spelling is correct, “Willam”] and Shangela

*Sharon Needles’ music collaboration with Ana Matronic (Scissor Sisters)

*Jinkx Monsoon’s off-Broadway success (“Hedwig,” “The Vaudevillians,” and more)

*Carmen Carerra’s trans-consciosuness raising appearances on “Cake Boss” and “What Would You Do?”

*Coco Montrese – Guest judge, “Toddlers and Tiaras”

*Alyssa Edwards’ new production deal (RuPaul producing)

*Latrice Royale’s redemptive story (escaping history of jail time, enduring popularity in spite of her confessed past)

*Newfound popularity for artists (many who are no longer with us) like Divine, Sylvester, Candy Darling, the “Paris Is Burning” cast,“Wigstock” the movie, Drag City DC

*Drag performers joining cisgender female trophy girls at awards shows for MTV,  Logo TV

*A brand new Battle of the Seasons U.S. Tour starring past Drag Race winners

*Popularity of YouTube celeb franchises like “Sh*t Girls Say,” Chris Crocker,” Gregory Gorgeous

*Celebrities like Jared Leto and James Franco, rocking cover spreads in drag to little or no controversy

*Continued drag inclusivity and exposure in international art exhibits, Vogue magazine cover shoots, music productions, mainstream art/fashion photography and so much more.

Now, there are even “spinoffs of the spinoffs” on YouTube, including popular drag webcasters CMaddoxBitch and the Throwinshade girls.

The list goes on and on: you would think these appearances are low rent. You’d be wrong: earning legit, non-club gig coin means these performers (including YouTubers) enjoy residuals, more mainstream attention, and a wider opportunity for promotion and distribution (read: income).

The biggest weave snatch of all has to do with RuPaul, informing people in all media outlets possible, all about the many Hollywood actresses (and yes, actors) who glue, tuck, primp, make up and doll up more than you’d ever know. The entertainment industry has always cashed in on selling dreams and creating illusions.

That’s why, even when it seems like it, the art of drag ain’t just no joke.

Don’t get it twisted: just like CMaddoxBitch says, the real winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, every single year, is RuPaul.

Have you ever dressed in drag yourself—you kings and queens, you? Why…or why not?

Transphobic Tragicomedy: Paris Lees Chats With Jonathan Ross

Are Transphobic Jokes Ever Funny? On Paris Lees’ Trans-Empowerment Chat

Have you seen the YouTube dialogue between Paris Lees and Jonathan Ross?

Have a look and check it out: it comes highly-recommended.

In the video created for META,  Lees calmly and compassionately extends a hand to Ross in regard to prior insensitive remarks he’d made about transgendered individuals. First, he’d made a “lady boy airline” joke, then he mishandled social media responses with yet another quip he thought was funny. (When a fellow tweeter called him out on Twitter, he’d answered, “Lighten up. Sir. Madam. Whatever,” prior to making a quick knee-jerk apology.)

As we walk through Lees’ and Ross’ shared and very public video chat, we do see Ross searching for understanding about as he finds ways to personalize what being trans* means. (Example: citing the fact that his daughter is gay – it’s closer to but somewhat wide of the mark).

Paris Lees talks him through the proper way to communicate with and about LGBTQ folks, and trans* folks in particular, from a place of agency, and from her own knowledge and lived experience. All the while, he’s allowed the space to, essentially, brain dump as he moves toward fully embodied accountability.

The fact that the conversation has to do with comedic comments and Ross’ impressions about them provides a teaching moment that could have easily become inflamed, but Lees’ focus in her advocacy work has to do with centeredness, harmony and education. She’s been quoted in the press as being desirous to advocate for others in encouraging ways, making activism relationship-focused, easy as ‘having a chat and a bit of tea,’ and more accessible than accusatory (paraphrased).

While Lees’ viewpoint doesn’t provide others any wiggle room or space for excuses, it puts people at ease who could become unwitting allies and widen the platform for advocacy work simply by correcting themselves in public.

Kudos to Paris and to Jonathan as well—not only for having this conversation, but for sharing it in a public medium.

By video’s end, one does get the feeling that Ross has left the conversation changed—or that, at least, he’ll do double-check before he pens and delivers his next barbs.

To find out more about UK trans* resources or Paris Lees’ advocacy and creative work (additionally, she’s the editor of META magazine), please visit the links below.

Paris Lees’ Trans Empowerment Recommendations

Paris Lees’ Advocacy Site, All About Trans

META Magazine

Paris Lees at YouTube

Trans Media Watch

The Gender Trust

Trans Media Action

TransLondon

To discover and learn more about trans culture in the UK, please visit Paris Lees’ official homepage – Note: website resources in this article were also sourced from Paris Lees’ official homepage – ParisLees.com.

When’s the last time you heard a transphobic joke, and what was it? How did you react?

Opposition to Conversion Therapy Bill-Waiting for Governor Christie

Bill A3371, the bill prohibiting licensed psychotherapists in New Jersey from providing “conversion therapy” to minors passed in the New Jersey Senate on June 27, 2013. The bill does not affect religious organizations that may still provide “conversion therapy” to minors. While Governor Christie has publicly stated that he does not support “conversion therapy,” the bill is still awaiting his signature.

The Garden State Equality gay rights organization lobbied for the passage of the bill making New Jersey the second state in the country to pass such a law. The executive director of this organization voiced his opinion that the new bill “will save lives and protect our youth.” One of the sponsors of the bill called “conversion therapy” a form on child abuse.

The American Psychological Association (APA) as well as most other national mental health organizations has denounced “conversion” or “reparative” therapy. The APA in 1997 was one of the first mental health organizations to declare that homosexuality and heterosexuality were normal human expressions of sexuality and speak of the lack of scientific evidence to support any assumption that sexual orientation could be changed.

California the only other state in the United States that has passed a ban on “conversion therapy” for minors but is also waiting for a ruling to determine if the hold on the ban will be lifted. The bill was passed on October 2012 and was to be effective as of January 1, 2013. However, the law has yet to be enacted. The Liberty Counsel filed an emergency appeal in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; on behave of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH) and other proponents of “conversion” therapy to block the law from going into effect. The Federal Appeals Court heard the appeal argues in April 2013 and have yet to issue a final ruling.

In February 2013, State Representative Marko Liias of the state of Washington proposed a new House bill to investigate the effects of “conversion” therapy rather than ban it in the state. One of the stumbling blocks to the California “conversion” therapy ban is that some lawmakers are not convinced of the harmful effects of the therapy. State Representative Marko Liias has recommended having a work group of up to 15 people to evaluate the research that exists regarding the potentially harmful effects of “conversion” therapy.

Senators Deborah Glick and Michael Gianaris of New York state introduced legislation to ban “conversion” therapy in April 2013.

Straight Allies Spotlight: Why We Love Chris Kluwe

“Society’s trending towards more equality, and you see that in the locker room.”

– Chris Kluwe (to Larry King, on “Larry King Now” broadcast)

 

Oh, Chris: how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.

First off, few people can bring themselves to hate him.

As the Oakland Raiders’ American NFL football punter, Chris Kluwe comes off as a fresh-faced, cheery, potty-mouthed and an unabashedly proud “gamer geek.” Kluwe’s spoken up—loudly—about everything from NFL labor disputes to honesty in the media. Now, he’s championing gay rights and marriage equality—and it’s not his first time rocking the mic for LGBTQ inclusivity.

The UCLA alum combines dashing good looks and dorky gamer references (he owns a fantasy gaming store for goodness’ sake), and let’s just say his wife Isabel isn’t the only one who finds him easy on the eyes.

Hm…male model? Athletic cover boy? What? Okay, losing track of the numbers here.

Still, there are so many reasons to adore him.

As articulate as he is awkward, Chris recently appeared on “Larry King Now”  to promote his  book, “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football and Assorted Absurdities.”

On the show, he briefly mentioned his personal protest of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment and his ever-expanding record of LGBT advocacy, which started hitting its stride last year.

Sharing a viewpoint with Larry King that’s rarely been shared by celebs publicly, Chris went on to express a bittersweet regret about the Prop 8 decision, saying  we could have pressed even harder to get more mileage from the opportunity to make permanent changes.

“I liked the DOMA decision,” said Kluwe, “Because obviously it extended federal benefits to married couples. Not a big fan of the Prop 8 decision, because while it allowed gays to be married in California as soon as they vacate the stay, the problem is, the Supreme Court had a chance to extend those rights across the entire country…whereas they could’ve made a statement.”

“They have a precedent,” he continued. “They have Loving v. Virginia—that says

marriage is a human right. They could’ve extended that out to say, ‘Same sex marriage, that is a human right, and you can’t discriminate against that.’”

Trying to keep realistic, he tied things up by saying, “So now we’ve just got to go to all the other states that—right now—gay marriage is illegal in, and get that passed.”

Earlier this month, in what could have been a media disaster, Kluwe shared a stinging truth (citing ex-New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s murder charges) in the following exchange with Conan O’Brien on the “Conan” show:

“Now what about the NFL? Where’s the NFL in all of this?” Conan O’Brien asked.

“They pretty much just left me alone,” Kluwe answered, “As long as you’re not out shooting people…”

Here’s the deal: straight allies often put their foot in their mouths, no matter how good their intentions may be. Chris Kluwe’s using his “big-mouthed” persona to our advantage. You just can’t hate on somebody for that.

Chris Kluwe loves World of Warcraft, loves the game of football, loves to raise consciousness and awareness, and is all about a message of transparency, fairness and equality.

In his “Larry King Now” appearance and his Out of Bounds blog, Kluwe rants on with this through line: if we are not honest with ourselves and protecting our own, our civilization is doomed. He simply won’t back down from the idea, and his new book likely puts that sentiment on full blast.

Well-played Chris Kluwe—and play on.

What’s your take on Chris’ mouthy antics? Do you think he’s trying to co-opt Gay Rights to get attention? Does that matter, either way? Wait…you’re too busy looking at his “Out” magazine cover spread, aren’t you?

Don’t leave us hanging, y’all—what’s the T? Let us know what’s on your mind, and you can holler at your boy Chris Kluwe @ChrisWarcraft on Twitter.

Will Phillips Ends His Silence: The Pledge from A Historic Young LGBT Activist

After more than three-and-a-half years, Will Phillips finally got to say the Pledge of Allegiance in a nation with greater equality.

Will’s journey as a young gay rights activist started when he was 10. In his 5th grade class in the West Fork School District in Arkansas, Will decided that he couldn’t in good conscience stand for the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, which got him in trouble with the entire school. On the original CNN interview he did with his father in November 2009, the reason that he decided to stay seated was because, in his words, “I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be a lawyer… I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”

He took the stand, or more aptly kept his seat, because he thought if gays and lesbians couldn’t get married, then he didn’t want to repeat a dishonest pledge. His parents are straight and married, but the family was working to be an ally to the lgbt community, had attended pride parades, and were dismayed by what was going on in the country on the subject of equal rights. He was constantly bullied by peers after this declaration, but has since never backed down because of them. When responding to comments about being un-American, he said that being an American means, “Freedom of speech. The freedom to disagree. That’s what I think pretty much being an American represents.”

Since his protest, he’s been recognized internationally. The National Center for Lesbian Rights awarded him with the “Fierce Ally Award,” the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) awarded him a Media Award for “Outstanding TV Segment,” and he has spoken at several Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) events encouraging people to stand up for protecting equal human rights and for denouncing hate groups’ efforts against gay marriage legislation.

To honor him, Will got to be the Grand Marshall in both the 2010 Fayetteville, and then the 2011 San Antonio, Arkansas Gay Pride Parades. Social conservatives saw this as “brain-washing” and using a child as a spokesperson for immoral subjects, while Will’s parents constantly denied this point, saying it was his idea and his design.

On Saturday June 29 this year, after the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, Will got to recite the Pledge of Allegiance publicly after the Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade.

During his speech before the pledge, he stated that there is still more work that needs to be done throughout the country. He mentioned bullying in schools, job discrimination, marriage discrimination in the remaining 37 states lacking or banning marriage equality, women’s rights, reproductive rights, immigration reform, and exercising everyone’s important obligation to vote.

Even with everything that needs to happen, Will reminded the crowd to enjoy the historic time. “Spread rainbows around the world and make it a more beautiful place. Today is a day to celebrate. We’ve earned this. The court decision on DOMA and Prop 8 is a huge step in the right direction and opens the door to so much more change.”

You can see his speech and recital of the Pledge of Allegiance here

If you want to relive the words or see from where he’s come, you can watch the original 2009 CNN interview below: