All visionaries have their obsessions. For Thomas Edison, it was electricity. For Elon Musk, space travel. And for Colin Burn, it's a vibrator that costs a million dollars.
Burn, a 53-year-old jeweler in Perth, Australia, who first made a name for himself by devising a process for gilding leaves and flowers in gold and silver, has spent the last dozen years creating wildly extravagant sex toys for the global 1%. These come encrusted with jewels, monogrammed, and custom detailed, made from the world's most precious woods and metals and even human hair. They range from silver nipple clamps for $299, to the "Pearl Mini Vibe" in silver with an actual pearl on top for $3,000, to the Pearl Vibrator in platinum, which includes a necklace made with pearls and diamonds and matching earrings, and costs $36,000. Priciest of all is Burn's Diletto. Made out of 18-karat white gold and festooned with 400 diamonds. Yours for $38,000.
Burn's accomplishments are many, but one thing continues to elude him: the million-dollar vibrator. It's now designed, prototyped, and ready to go, but it took years of hustle, hard work, and enduring the taunts of friends and colleagues to get there.
When the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June 2015, a rallying cry went up for a rainbow flag emoji to celebrate the occasion. Noah Slater, who identifies as a “queer trans feminist nerd,” emailed the Unicode consortium—the organization responsible for approving emoji—to say that “there is a clear need for a rainbow flag that unambiguously symbolizes queer pride.”
More than a year later, that argument is gaining some traction. On Tuesday (July 19), Google software engineer Mark Davis—also the co-founder and current president of Unicode—submitted a formal proposal for a rainbow flag emoji. Davis urged the committee to design and release the flag before the Unicode 10.0 update, due to launch in mid-2017. “Because existing Unicode characters are used, vendors can begin design and implementation work now and can deploy before the end of 2016,” he wrote.
The subject of the gay fascist is, unsurprisingly, a sensitive one. Real-life fascist regimes mercilessly persecuted homosexuals, and any empirical connection between homosexuality and fascism is tenuous, despite what Christian conspiracy theorists and gay contrarians might have you believe. The gay fascist is a real historical figure — for instance, the French critic Robert Brasillach or the SA leader Ernst Röhm — but, more significantly, it’s a cultural trope, familiar from films such as Luchino Visconti’s The Damned and novels such as Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones. In these works of fiction, the gay fascist, who is generally debonair, witty, and well-read, is meant to stand in for the cultural afflictions of the society that produced him: decadence, cynicism, sadism; the narcissism and aestheticism of over-civilization; the worship of death and the loss of hope in the future (associations all courted by Milo with his Twitter name, Nero).
The acronym "RNC" technically refers to the Republican National Convention taking place in Cleveland, Ohio this week. But if the city's current influx of RNC-themed "casual encounters" Craigslist advertisements is any indication, it could just as well stand for, like, Raunchy Nut Cock (or something).
The Daily Dotreports that the classifieds site has become a veritable treasure trove of NSFW hookup ads in recent days.
A new poll has found that only 48% of Australians back a marriage equality plebiscite, casting doubt over the government’s claim the “overwhelming majority” of Australians back the idea.
Galaxy asked 1,000 Australian voters “regardless of your views on same-sex marriage” whether they support or oppose a national plebiscite to decide whether same-sex couples should be able to marry.
The poll, commissioned by the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), found 48% of respondents supported the plebiscite, 30% oppose it and 20% are undecided.
When told the result of a plebiscite would not be binding and “politicians will still need to vote on whether to agree or disagree with what the public has decided, potentially overriding the public’s vote”, support fell to 33%.
When told the plebiscite is expected to cost $160m, support came in at 25%.
Over the past eight years, scientists have tried many ways to replicate what happened in Timothy Brown’s body. On Thursday at the massive International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, a group of European researchers will report that they may have done so in two people with the disease. Since getting bone marrow transplants three years ago, these two patients have cleared HIV from their bodies (though they are also still taking antiretroviral drugs).
The second night of the Republican National Convention saw a “Gays for Trump” rally that showcased a series of militant, xenophobic, anti-Islamic speakers who argued that the Republican party is the real friend of the LGBT community.
The event took place in a ballroom lined with images of scantily clad white twinks in “Make America Great Again” hats.
Vicious, the British-to-PBS sitcom starring Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi as a hilariously bitchy older gay couple, finished up its two-season run in June with a series finale special. The hourlong episode was organized around the four seasons, with each of the characters—the main couple, Violet (Frances de la Tour), Ash (Iwan Rheon), Penelope (Marcia Warren), and Mason (Philip Voss)—receiving a satisfying resolution of one sort or another. As my colleague June Thomas noted in her review, the finale “focused on the love and kindness that Freddie and Stuart … had previously kept hidden under layers and layers of arch putdowns and distinctively gay snark.”
Grindr, the popular gay social networking app, recently ended a study in which a subsection of users were targeted to receive and utilize HIV self-testing kits for a quick diagnosis. Of the 56 men who were tested and answered survey questions, two learned via the kit of their infections.
The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea may be becoming resistant to the only two antibiotics left to treat it. The disheartening news comes from a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which yesterday reported that the STD’s resistance rates have increased in 2014.
As Slate met delegates in and around the Republican National Convention, one of the less expected was Colton Buckley, a young Republican from Texas who came out as gay shortly after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Fresh faced and cheerfully strident, he told us more gay Republicans need to come out, why LGBT people should never support Hillary Clinton, and how he reconciles the GOP’s anti-gay platform with his support for the party.
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and new LGBTIQ advocacy group, just.equal are calling for LGBTI Australians to take part in a survey canvassing their opinions on marriage equality and the way forward , including whether they support a plebiscite or free vote in parliament.
The survey has been put together by marriage equality researcher Dr Sharon Dane who says it will provide the most comprehensive picture of how the LGBTI community wants to progress the issue.
Toye de Wilde is an important figure in the early days of the AIDS epidemic and the formation of the Queensland AIDS Committee and is Patron of QuAC. As a showgirl and activist, she spread the safe sex message and told Brisbane’s gay men the facts about the epidemic. At 71, she tells Andrew Shaw it’s a message that needs reviving.
Dan Savage, renowned author, LGBT activist and media pundit, had a few harsh words for the Log Cabin Republicans, a pro-LGBT Republican lobbying group. In an editorial this week Savage was highly critical of the group, calling their efforts to promote acceptance of the LGBT community from within the Republican Party an "Utter Failure," and "most ineffectual political advocacy org this side of NAMBLA."
Less than half of Australians want a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, a poll has found, with support for a national vote plummeting once voters are aware that the Turnbull Government's proposal will cost $160 million but not compel members of Parliament to respect the result.
Earlier this year, Vice published an essay that posed the question “Can Straight People Be Queer?” The article includes an image from Jaden Smith’s Facebook page of the musician looking petulant in a skirt, alongside the caption “My mood when they try to hate.” It also makes reference to the model Lily Rose Depp, who once compared sexuality to dietary habits: “You could think peanut butter is your favorite food for, 5,000 years and then be like, ‘I actually like burgers better,’ you know?” Vice, unsurprisingly, never settled on an answer, but a reader captured the article’s sentiment in a succinct and sarcastic comment, writing, “Queer is SO HOT right now.”
The speed with which modern society has adapted to accommodate the world’s vast spectrum of gender and sexual identities may be the most important cultural metamorphosis of our time. Facebook, which can be seen as a kind of social census, now offers nearly 60 different gender options, including “questioning” and “bigender” — or no gender at all. In a new commercial for Calvin Klein, Young Thug, a slender rapper prone to wearing dresses, states that he feels “there’s no such thing as gender.” The Oxford English Dictionary recently added Mx, a neutral replacement for titles like Mr. and Mrs. The video game “The Sims” has even begun allowing players to create same-sex relationships and lifted gender restrictions on characters’ clothing and hairstyles. Plainly, we are in the midst of a profoundly exhilarating revolution. And “queer” has come to serve as a linguistic catchall for this broadening spectrum of identities, so much so that people who consider themselves straight, but reject heteronormativity, might even call themselves queer. But when everyone can be queer, is anyone?
Ray Cook is an openly gay HIV+ photographer, who was already open about his sexuality when it was still illegal. He began taking pictures when HIV started affecting his circle of friends and himself in the late 80s and had actually never thought of becoming a photographer before that. He usually works with medium and large format cameras.
The big mistake that many people in the LGBTI community and its allies make in responding to these diversions, is that too often we allow ourselves to be pulled from our discussion ground onto the playing field of our opponents.
Suddenly we find we are discussing marriage equality on their terms and not on ours. As a community we need to get smarter about this. When our enemies set traps, we mustn’t walk right into them.
For too long, when anti-equality campaigners claimed that same-sex couples are not good parents or that children in LGBTI families are deprived, our response is to rush out all the arguments, data and evidence to show they are wrong.
In doing so we have entered the trap. A debate about equal marriage suddenly becomes one about gay parenting and our enemies have scuttled the discussion and avoided scrutiny of their weak arguments. This has to stop.
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