Pope Francis Holds Private Audience With Transgender Man

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This weekend at the Vatican, Pope Francis met with a Spanish transgender man, Diego Neria Lejárraga, after he wrote a letter to the Pope complaining that his church discriminated against him following his gender-reassignment surgery. The Washington Blade says Lejárraga complained about the rejection he felt from his fellow congregants, who even went so far as to abuse him with verbal attacks, calling him names like “the devil’s daughter.”

“After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me,” Neria told a newspaper publisher in Spain.

Human rights groups are applauding the Pope’s move, calling it a historic, forward-thinking move for the papacy. Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of LGBT Catholics group Dignity USA told the Blade that the meeting is a “very significant event.”

“For the Pope to meet with a transgender man about to be married, and for that meeting to result in this man feeling more hopeful about his place in the Church, shows a concern for those at the very margins of our church,” she said. “I hope the Pope listened carefully to this man’s experience, and will speak about what he heard.”

17 Gay Things to Do This Week: Jocks vs Nerds Ball, Weird Beard Revue Turns 1, Drag Queens Do Into the Woods and More



INTERVIEW: Out Poet Kevin Killian on His Fascination With Kylie, Visiting Whitman, and the “Tsunami of Genitalia” He’s Bringing to Philly

Kevin Killian is a multi-talented writer who uses his novels, poetry, plays, and stories to talk about LGBT issues from the past and the present. I got a chance to interview him before his reading at Temple’s Tyler School of Art on Thursday, January 29th. I highly recommend going to this event if you enjoy a reading that is “queer and weird.”  You can buy copies of his publications here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow would you define your style of poetry for someone who isn’t familiar with your work?
I am from the East Coast and grew up listening to the poetry of folks like Frank O’Hara and Amiri Baraka, so I have a conversational, some might say musical rhythm to my poems, even down to the level of the line itself, and when later in life I moved to San Francisco I became bitten by the Jack Spicer bug, the theory of poetry as coming from some force outside the lyric self I had spent the first half of my life trying to get to. So I’m like a two-way street, and the two ways of the street don’t even see each other most of the time, they just drive on by.

LGBT themes play a role in the majority of your work. Why did you decide to stick so closely to that genre?
Maybe that was the priority of my generation, men and women born in the 1950s? Our sexualities were completely, or nearly completely, suppressed by the heteronormative majority. When, here and there, we could say something, we did, and resolved never to shut up about it, come hell or high water. I don’t even know that I’d call them “themes,” but they’re formal qualities perhaps.

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Chris Christie’s Anti-Gay Record Gets Spotlighted—and Applauded—at Iowa Freedom Summit

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New Jersey governor Chris Christie was much ballyhooed over the weekend at the Iowa Freedom Summit, with much of his applause generated over his movement to stop same-sex marriage in our neighboring state. More from Time:

At the gathering of Republican leaders, which is regarded as the unofficial start of the presidential primary, Rep. Steve King introduced Christie with a list of the New Jersey governor’s conservative credentials. Among them was his past obstruction of same-sex marriage in the Garden State.

“He vetoed the gay marriage bill in New Jersey,” King said, inremarks reported by Time. “He is pro-life.”

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Snooki to Officiate Gay Wedding

We’ve done our fair share of hating on Snooki, but it’s hard to poke fun at the gal when you hear stories like this: The Jersey Shore alum took to Twitter this week to announce that she’s an ordained minister—and one of the first weddings she’s going to officiate is that of her gay besties, hairstylists Bradley Moreland and Luis Miller:

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Moreland, who works at Vidov Salon in New York posted a photo of him and his fiancé with Snooks earlier this month:

HuffPo’s gay voices reminds us that Snooki has long been an advocate of LGBT rights, once even going so far as saying: “”I’m praying I have a gay little boy one day,” when she spoke at a Trevor Project event in 2013.

Weekend Roundup: Crystal Queer, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, Haus of Ham Brunch and More

FRIDAY

  • Performance artist Sebastian TK performs at Adobe Café on Saturday Night | Photo by Swiger Photography

    Performance artist Sebastian performs at Adobe Café on Saturday night | Photo by Swiger Photography

    Pig Iron Theater Company presents “PIGONOMETRY,” its annual benefit cabaret. Joining the cutting-edge theater troupe will be Brian Sanders JUNK, Magda and Chelsea, Johnny Showcase and his Left Lucy Cabaret, Fantasy Grandma, and of course the one and only Martha Graham Cracker.

  • Brand new Philly LGBT film organization qFLIX kicks off a monthly screening series at Tavern On Camac with a showing of Capital Games.
  • Head to South Philly’s Adobe Café for Kickstarter Kick-Off Party hosted by local performance artist Sebastian to raise funds for his latest project, “Showbiz.”
  • Lascivious Jane is hosting Mama’s Hose: Philly’s Tastiest All-Female Cabaret. Drag, burlesque, live-singing and just about everything else from some of Philly’s best female performers. There’s even Girl Scout Cookies on sale for those who get there early.

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Invisible Boyfriend: Order A Fake Boyfriend For When The Real Thing Is Just Too Much

Via Shutterstock.

Shutterstock.com

Invisible Boyfriend gives you real-world and social proof that you’re in a relationship—even if you’re not—so you can get back to living life on your own terms.”

So claims the creators of Invisible Boyfriend, a digital subscription service that helps potential single gay men “create credible, reasonable stories that you can bring home to curious mom, your buddies, and coworkers. These stories are backed by virtual and real-world social proof.” (Sorry, but I’m LOL’ing over the phrase real world social proof). Read more »

5 Hottest Male Movie Villains

This weekend, the new Jennifer Lopez thriller The Boy Next Door is set to stalk theaters worldwide. The film plays like an erotic Lifetime movie, but with lots of violence and sex. In any case, the biggest selling points are the two gorgeous stars—especially Ryan Guzman, even though he plays a character on the brink.

This got me thinking, who are some of the sexiest male psycho killers that have terrorized the movie screens in recent years. These characters are supposed to make your blood run cold, but instead you need to call an ambulance from the hot flashes. Let’s take a look at five of the sexiest psychopaths that have headlined the silver screen in recent years.

Ryan Guzman, The Boy Next Door

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In honor of The Boy Next Door, which opens in theaters this weekend, we kick off the list with its star Ryan Guzman. If you’ve seen the trailers for the movie, you know Guzman—a former dancer—and J.Lo get hot and heavy during a scandalous sex scene. Sadly, the boy goes psycho soon after, but those abs still glisten and the ass shots are aplenty. The movie may never reach the heights of Fatal Attraction (or Swimfan), but at least it’s giving women and gay men what we all came to see: sweaty Ryan Guzman fixing a carburetor in a dirty white t-shirt.

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HRC Releases State Equality Index; Pennsylvania Fails Miserably

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

It’s time to re-take Equality 101, Pennsylvania.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) just released its State Equality Index, and things aren’t looking too good for Pennsylvania: They’ve ranked our state in the worst, most embarrassing category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.” States that rank in this area are described by HRC as having “bad laws undermining LGBT equality, from criminalization of HIV and sodomy, to religious-based discrimination. None have explicit statewide non-discrimination protections for sexual orientation or gender identity.” Read more »

PHILANTHROPY FRIDAY: Kevin Burns Talks ActionAIDS and the Opening of the West Annex Clinic

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, Kevin Burns tells us about ActionAIDS‘ first HIV primary care clinic, which opened earlier this month, and other ways the local nonprofit is making sure no one in Philadelphia has to face AIDS alone.

Ken Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

Kevin Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

Who are you? I’m Kevin Burns, executive director of ActionAIDS.

When was ActionAIDS founded? In 1986, at a time when governmental and philanthropic support for HIV/AIDS services was nearly non-existent. A group of 84 committed volunteers came together in Philadelphia and formed a community of care for their partners, family and friends with AIDS. ActionAIDS was the result, with a mission statement that read simply: “ActionAIDS believes that no one should face AIDS alone.”

What’s ActionAIDS’s shining moment, to date?: The opening of our West Annex Clinic earlier this month. After many months of planning, we’re excited to have launched our first HIV primary care clinic, in partnership with the Family Practice and Counseling Network. This clinical service will be coordinated closely with our medical case management services, also provided at the West Annex and focused on our clients at high-risk to be lost to care. Our medical case management services are highly effective in retaining clients in care, and the West Annex Clinic will increase our ability to do that. The initial effect of case management services is particularly dramatic: Average viral load drops 76 percent during the first six months.

One-sentence mission statement? ActionAIDS is committed to creating an AIDS-free generation through a combination of proven strategies, including medical case management, HIV testing, prevention education, supportive housing, HIV treatment as prevention, and volunteer services.

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