"I think coming out...is really about coming out as your authentic self, coming out as the person you always knew you were but no one else may have known, and now you're sharing that honestly with people for the first time."
Such is how Rodrigo Lehtinen, the trans son of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, explained to CBS Miami last month what it meant for him to now be open about who he is.
It's as simple as that, whether you're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or some fluid combination of any of them. But it's certainly an act of courage in a world where LGBTQ people face obstacles in marriage, employment, and even basic acceptance. In many places, the status of being 'out' about one's sexual orientation or gender identity is dangerous, even life-threatening.
In 2014 thousands, perhaps millions of people came out all over the world. They all made a difference. The folks featured here are just a few who happened to make a big difference and caught our eye on Towleroad this year. Some are well-known, some are little-known: the CEO of the largest corporation in the world, an NFL player, a Kenyan literary figure, fashion models, the foreign minister of a Baltic state, country singers, Mormon pop stars, a few of the stars of your favorite television shows, and unknowns from the world of YouTube.
When it comes to coming out, 2014 was certainly the year of the athlete.
Of the 80 people on our list this year, more than 1/3 come from the sports world — football, baseball, boxing, tennis, long distance running, hurling, basketball, rowing, and diving. Many of these athletes are making a name for themselves in college sports, many in conservative places. Twenty-one come from the entertainment world. And they are from all over the world — Japan, Peru, Ireland, Uruguay, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Finland, Canada, Spain, Chile, and more... Also, the leader of a company worth more than all the world's airlines combined, worth more than the entire Russian stock market.
It's quite an impressive group of folks. We're proud of all of you. By choosing to come out as L, G, B, T, queer, or whatever label your sexual orientation or gender identity is telling you isyours, you've made life easier for all those who haven't come out yet, and all those who are currently struggling for their civil and human rights.
Please enjoy reading their stories. And share this post with your friends, family, and anyone in the closet to whom you'd like to offer a bit of courage or support.
Hi, my name is Tim and I just learned I'm HIV positive. Not me personally, but, as the character Tim I played in I'm Positive, a short interactive narrative about living with the human immunodeficiency virus. It started out simply enough: I was shooting baskets when a phone call interrupted my jump shots. It was an ex girlfriend telling me that she'd been diagnosed as HIV positive after giving blood, and she urged me to get tested as soon as possible. Maybe it's because getting tested has been on my mind anyhow or possibly because I shared a name with the protagonist (there aren't any custom-name options; everyone plays as Tim), but after I "hung up" the phone I felt a weight in my chest and an all-too-real sense of panic.
For longer than I’ve wanted to be a scientist, I’ve known that I’m gay. When faced with diving into science as an undergraduate, I worried about academic science’s reputation as an old boys’ club. I worried I’d always be marginalized for my sexual orientation, or that with no allies I’d have to keep it a secret. As I sat in my first freshman chemistry lecture, surrounded by 400 classmates, I worried about a future being lonely in the lab.
Mr. Jonas stands out by embracing the homoerotic undercurrents inherent to pop superstardom.
“Nick is the first straight male in the past few years to let himself be sexualized by gay men and not just be O.K. with it, but promote it,” said Mitchell Sunderland, an editor at Vice who recently wrote an article for the magazine about Mr. Jonas. “Although there is a profit-based motive, it’s still pretty revolutionary.”
As the year comes to a close, I, like many others, find myself in a state of reflection. Am I, as a bisexual transgender woman, exiting the year in better condition than I entered it? Is the state of LGBTQ rights in a better place than it was this time last year? Where do we stand in our fight for equality and acceptance?
Until recently, consensual sexual intercourse between men was a capital offense in Iran. After a change in the country’s penal code, the “active” person in the act can now be punished with up to 100 lashes, but if he’s married, the death penalty may apply. The “passive” person can still be sentenced to death, regardless of marital status. Sexual interaction between two women is punishable by flogging.
The vast majority of media reports about homosexuality in Iran are based on accounts of torment and oppression from gays and lesbians who have fled the country. And while their experiences are representative for some of Iran’s homosexuals, they are hugely different from those of the people who choose to stay in the country, or don’t have the opportunity to leave.
Gays from lower classes and rural areas, where stigmatization is often most severe, rarely have the ability to move out of the house before marriage, let alone leave the country. Even in more affluent communities in cities. there is generally little acceptance of homosexuality, but some middle- and upper-class Iranians have the means to create parallel lives, out of sight of their relatives or friends.
Only about 5 percent of the companies in the Fortune 500 are run by women; double the sample size, and the proportion is the same. Compensation levels for female CEOs appear to lag as well, though it’s hard to tell because there are so few of them. On a recent list of America’s 200 highest-paid CEOs, only 11 were women, and their median pay was $1.6 million less than their male peers. Certain of these women are already household names: Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, No. 34 on the list, who earned $25 million last year, and Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman, No. 95, who earned $18 million. But the highest-paid female CEO in America is not nearly as well known. She is Martine Rothblatt, the 59-year-old founder of United Therapeutics—a publicly traded, Silver Spring, Maryland–based pharmaceutical company—who made a previous fortune as a founder of Sirius radio, a field she entered as an attorney specializing in the law of space. But what’s really extraordinary about Rothblatt’s ascent is not that she has leaned in, or out, or had any particular thoughts about having it all. What sets Rothblatt apart from the other women on the list is that she—who earned $38 million last year—was born male.
Sexual orientation seems to affect earning prospects and job satisfaction, a study shows.
Research by Nick Drydakis at Anglia Ruskin University found gay men on average earn 9% less compared to heterosexual men.
However, lesbians on average earn 12% more compared to heterosexual women.
Even in countries in the EU, Australia, Canada and the US, which have the strongest anti-discrimination laws, gay and lesbian people experienced more obstacles in getting a job, earning bias and harassment than their counterparts.
Reporting for TIME on transgender issues (particularly for what became the cover story “The Transgender Tipping Point”), there was one maxim that pretty much every person I interviewed seemed to agree on: there is no single story about being transgender that sums it all up, much like there’s no one story about being Hispanic or blonde or short or straight that sums that experience up. But I also came to learn that there are some good rules of thumb to follow when it comes to language.
For instance, if you meet a trans person—someone who identifies with a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth—it’s generally a good idea to ask which pronouns (he or she, him or her) they prefer and to use whatever that is. If you meet a trans person, you should not ask about the particulars of their body, much as you would likely prefer strangers not to inquire about yours. And if you meet a transgender person, you should not refer to them as “a transgender” or “transgendered.”
Longtime partners Elton John and David Furnish have officially tied the knot.
The couple, who formerly had a civil partnership in 2005, shared photos of their Sunday nuptials on social media, using the hashtag #ShareTheLove. Together for the past 21 years, the couple has two sons together: Zachary, 3, and Elijah, 1.
On Monday, the 9th Circuit ruled that a Los Angeles ordinance requiring adult film actors to wear condoms during shoots does not violate the First Amendment. Although the court acknowledged that filming sex qualifies as constitutionally protected expression, the judges unanimously decided that the condom mandate imposed “only a de minimis effect on expression” and could be justified on health and safety grounds.
An old new power struggle is underway in Europe. With Russia on one side and the United States and the European Union on the other, the struggle is geopolitical—in Ukraine, violently so. But it is also ideological, a clash of values and cultures at the heart of which is the question of whether societies should integrate or ostracize their LGBTQ citizens. It is Europe’s new gay Cold War.
For some reason, dangerously, the gay community has calcified around the condom – a method of HIV prevention – as opposed to the idea of HIV prevention, and what a complicated, difficult beast it is that we are called to fight. By framing conversations on HIV prevention and PrEP around condoms, our community is committing one of the original sins of HIV prevention – looking at the epidemic as a largely sexual epidemic. And, yes, I know the numbers on how much HIV transmission happens sexually.
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday ended the lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men.
But the agency said it would continue to bar donations by men who have had a sexual encounter with another man in the previous year, disappointing prominent gay rights groups and HIV/AIDS researchers, who called the yearlong waiting period medically unnecessary and unscientific. The FDA said the change "will better align the deferral period with that of other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection."
“The one-year deferral notion constitutes symbolic progress, but is not any more warranted than a lifetime ban," wrote Dr. Eli Adashi, professor of medical science at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School, in an email to HuffPost.
BuzzFeed’s viral arm is infamous for trying just about anything to unearth traffic gold, but in recent weeks the video team has alighted on a particular … let’s say content sub-vein … that’s caught Outward’s interest. Which, given that the series of videos all involve straight (or seemingly straight) guys doing kinda gay stuff, is not surprising. So far, BuzzFeed has had dude-friends looking at each other naked, straight guys judging the attractiveness of male celebrities, and most recently, dudes making out with other dudes. These have all done relatively well sharing-wise, which raises the question: Why does BuzzFeed think we want to see this? What is it about watching straight guys doing gay things that’s so appealing?
From politics to the arts, here - in no particular order - is our fourth annual list of 25 talented, intriguing and compelling people to watch from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities in Australia in 2015.
HUMANS caught AIDS came from the chimpanzees of Central Africa. Their salvation may lie in the camels of South America.
Scientists have found that llamas are capable of developing four separate antibodies which, acting in concert, can neutralise dozens of HIV strains.
Reporting their findings this morning in the journal PLOS Pathogens, the researchers say the antibodies are not generated in sufficient quantities to constitute a vaccine on their own. But the study yielded a set of broadly effective antibodies induced by vaccination — something never achieved before in any species.
This shows it is theoretically possible to vaccinate mammals against HIV, the paper says. “Our results show that immunisation can potentially induce protective antibodies in llamas. (They) provide a method to more extensively evaluate immunisation studies.”
In years past, the existence of a critical hit like Amazon’s gorgeous, funny, and deeply humane Transparent would have felt like a massive step forward—but now we find ourselves in the fantastic (in both senses of the word) position of hardly needing to cling to a single sign of progress. For one thing, the queer brilliance of Orange Is the New Black continued, despite Laverne Cox’s character having a relatively minor part of the second season’s storyline. (You could, of course, easily find her at America’s newsstands on the cover of Time.) MTV took a break from catfishing in October to broadcast The T Word, a powerful documentary hosted by Cox, and this fall AOL brought musician Laura Jane Grace’s great profile series True Trans to the world. This short list can’t begin to account for all the smaller inclusions of trans characters, actors, or themes in other programs, like The Fosters’ Cole, American Horror Story: Freak Show’s Amazon Eve, or South Park’s excellent episode on gender-neutral bathrooms. And the television influx isn’t over; as the Advocate recently noted, we could see as many as seven trans-oriented shows on the air at once in 2015.
It was a complaint that gay men in Gympie were afraid to put their name to. So it became a job for two gay women.
After an eight-year legal saga taking them all the way to the high court and back, Richelle Menzies and Rhonda Bruce have won a judgment against a gun lobbyist who, while serving as a local councillor, invited their regional Queensland town to share his contempt for gay people.
A state legal tribunal on Tuesday found Ron Owen broke state anti-discrimination laws by expressing his contempt towards homosexuals in a council report, a community newsletter and a website posting in 2005.
Civil and administrative tribunal member Ann Fitzpatrick ruled that Owen went beyond expressing his own views to the point he was urging others to hate those he called “sodomites”.
Menzies, a lesbian, and Bruce, a transgender bisexual, were not Owen’s only constituents who felt dismayed and vilified by his public pronouncements.