Big Gay News: 490
BigGayNews from Virginia:
Second Virginia Legislator Announces He’s Gay
The Blue Ridge Muse reports that the Commonwealth of Virginia now has two members of the General Assembly – one delegate and one senator – out of the closet and acknowledging they are gay.
Delegate Mark Sickles (Democrat), said that the blatant homophobia that he sees repeatedly demonstrated on the floor of the Virginia legislature prompted him to come out of the closet and make his sexuality public.
Sickles stated in an Op-Ed column: “hearing such caustic remarks yet again on the House floor, coupled with the overturning of the marriage ban, has motivated me to state publicly here what many close friends and family have known for decades: I am a proud, gay man.”
BigGayNews from New York:
Jason Collins, First Openly Gay NBA Player, Signs With Nets And Appears In Game
The New York Times reports that Jason Collins, a 35-year-old center, signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon and played against the Lakers hours later, appearing in an NBA uniform for the first time since last spring, when he announced that he was gay.
This milestone represents the first time that an openly gay player has appeared on the court; the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NHL have yet to have an openly gay player compete within their ranks.
Historically, it should be noted that Brooklyn was also the setting for another sports first when the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson as the first black player in a national sports team.
BigGayNews from Florida:
‘Dear Abby’ Shuts Down Homophobic Couple With Gay Neighbors
The Huffington Post reports that beloved advice columnist “Dear Abby” received a letter this week from an anti-gay couple who have a pressing questions: “Who is the true bigot here?”
The letter was from a couple who had moved to Tampa, and who were concerned that although they had previously been welcomed by neighbors, they began to be shunned in the social circle when they refused to extend invitations to gatherings to the gay couple and lesbian couple. The couple wrote to the columnist, upset that they were being painted as “bigots” by their neighbors because they disapprove of the “gay lifestyle.”
Abby’s answer to the couple, which ran in the nationally syndicated column, was that they had no room to complain about being unwelcome if they were being unwelcoming themselves, and that they should use this as an opportunity for growth by getting to know people who are different from them.
BigGayNews from Arizona:
Pizzeria Reserves Right to Ban Lawmakers After Anti-Gay Bill
NBC News reports that an Arizona pizzeria threatened to ban lawmakers who passed a bill allowing shopkeepers to refuse service to gays on religious grounds.
Customer approval for the Tucson-based restaurant’s action has been “overwhelming.”
Pizzeria owner Rocco DiGrazia said he reserved the “right to eject any State Senators we see fit to kick out.”
BigGayNews from Uganda:
Uganda President Signs Anti-Gay Bill
Aljazeera reports that Museveni has signed into law a bill that sets life imprisonment as the penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”.
According to a presidential spokeswoman, Museveni wanted to sign the so-called “landmark” bill into law in public, to show international media that Uganda is standing firm in the face of Western pressure in regards to their stance on homosexuality.
First-time offenders can be punished with a sentence of 14 years in jail, while the penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is a life sentence. While popular in Uganda, the bill has been widely condemned by various rights groups as being overly strict in a country where being homosexual is already illegal.
BigGayNews from Gambia:
Gambian President Says Gay People Are ‘Vermin’ And Should Be Tackled Like Malaria-Causing Mosquitoes
The Independent reports that the Gambia President has described gay people as “vermin” and warned the government will tackle them in a similar way to malaria-causing mosquitoes, as part of a renewed crackdown on same-sex relationships
Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in the heavily Islamic nation in a 1994 coup, has referred to homosexuality as one of the three “biggest threats to human existence”, and compares gay people to diseases.
In a recent speech on state television, Jammeh said that he is not concerned by threats of Western nations to cut aid to nations that pass anti-gay laws.
BigGayNews from Uganda:
Desmond Tutu Condemns Uganda’s Proposed New Anti-Gay Law
The Guardian reports that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has condemned Uganda’s proposed law against homosexuality, saying there is no scientific or moral basis ever for prejudice and discrimination – and accusing the Ugandan president of breaking a promise to not enact the law.
Tutu spoke out against the bill, which would prohibit even such acts as “suggestive touching” in public to discrimination perpetuated by the German Nazis and by supporters of apartheid in South Africa.
The former archbishop then appealed to Museveni to instead work on ending sexual exploitation in Uganda rather than sexual orientation, asking the president to strengthen laws against those committing sexual acts with children, those who commit rape, and those who are involved with commercial sexual transactions and trafficking.
BigGayNews from Iran:
Iranian Pop Queen Googoosh Promotes Gay Rights In New Music Video
The Raw Story reports that Iran’s queen of pop, Googoosh, has released a video in support of her country’s gay and lesbian community, becoming the first prominent Iranian with such a huge following to speak out against homophobia.
Her latest song “Behesht” (Heaven) appeared on her Facebook page, and features a fictional lesbian couple in a relationship that builds over the course of the video, despite the women’s relationship being banned by society and their families.
Although the singer has been denounced by many for promoting “obscene” and “hideous” acts, there has also been a very positive reaction from many who applaud her for standing up for the GLBT community in a country where homosexuality can be punished by severe fines, heavy jail sentences and even the death penalty.