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  • November, 2023

Playbill Honors World AIDS Day With Remember the Ribbon

On the poignant evening of November 13, Broadway luminaries united for a momentous occasion—the fourth annual Playbill’s “Remember the Ribbon: A Tribute to World AIDS Day” concert. This extraordinary event transcended the boundaries of entertainment, seamlessly blending the power of storytelling and the magic of music to not only raise funds for Broadway Cares but, more importantly, to pay heartfelt homage to the lives lost in the relentless battle against HIV and AIDS.

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Russia declares ‘international public LGBT movement’, which does not exist, an extremist group

Russia’s supreme court has declared LGBTQ+ activism illegal, in a culmination of a continued crackdown on the community.

The declaration by the nation’s top court effectively outlaws LGBTQ+ activism by branding as “extremists” what it calls the “international public LGBT movement” – which does not actually exist.

A request into the non-existent entity was filed by Russia’s justice ministry in November without defining what the term actually meant.

It argued that authorities had identified “signs and manifestations” by LGBTQ+ people, which it claimed to be part of the movement, that were of an “extremist nature” which included what it describes as an “incitement of social and religious discord”.

There is no evidence for these claims.

The ruling was handed down less than a month later following a closed-door hearing with no defendant for the vaguely defined entity present.

It could leave all Russian citizens who identify as LGBTQ+ in danger of lengthy prison sentences, if they are deemed to be part of the so-called movement.

‘Gay propaganda’ laws silencing LGBTQ+ people in Russia

Human rights groups in Russia and beyond have widely condemned the declaration as another example of blanket prejudice in the widely homophobic country.

Igor Kochetkov, the head of the Russian LGBT Network, said the ruling means that queer activism will effectively be impossible in the future.

Additionally, human rights lawyer and LGBTQ+ activist, Max Olenichev, told the Associated Press: “In practice, it could happen that the Russian authorities, with this court ruling at hand, will enforce it against LGBT+ initiatives that work in Russia.”

The ruling follows years of attacks on LGBTQ+ rights in Russia, including a range of homophobic laws. In 2013, the country adopted legislation censoring what it described as “gay propaganda,” which it vaguely defined as content endorsing “non-traditional sexual relations” to children.

The law has since been extended with amendments that outlaw same-sex marriage, as well as extending the censorship rules to content for adults.

Russia has also implemented laws banning gender-affirming procedures for trans people and prohibits what it described as “medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person.”

Speaking to Reuters, LGBTQ+ activist Alexei Sergeyev described the latest development as very alarming, adding that he does not “remember the threat ever being so serious and real”.

The post Russia declares ‘international public LGBT movement’, which does not exist, an extremist group appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.

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Untethered: I Have To Stop Getting Engayged or Married on Holidays

My ex and I mutually proposed to each other on Christmas last year.

The post Untethered: I Have To Stop Getting Engayged or Married on Holidays appeared first on Autostraddle.

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10 seriously queer animals – from gay dolphins to gender-switching lizards

Animals can most certainly be gay. From ostriches to penguins, we highlight some of the gayest animals out in the wild.

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  • Ostriches

That’s right: ostriches have been known to engage in same-sex behaviour every now and then – and who could blame them?

    • Bearded dragons

    Research suggests that some male bearded dragons can develop with a female brain, which can only mean one thing: trans dragons.

    • Bears

    From brown bears to black bears, various species have been seen hunkering down for the winter with same-sex partners.

    • Chickens

    Chickens also join this queer old list. In 2020, one viral Twitter thread even showed an owner sharing how she realised her two chickens were in a lesbian relationship during lockdown.

    • Penguins

    These birds are famous for their same-sex relationships, with Humboldt penguins Ronnie and Reggie nestled up as sweethearts at London Zoo for many years. Likewise, New York City’s Central Park Zoo was home to Roy and Silo, both born in 1987, who were observed performing mating rituals by staff in 1998. One of the duo even attempted to hatch a rock – as if it was an egg.

    • Tortoises

    Tortoises have been seen mating with members of the same sex, with one 186-year-old male having spent 26 years with a fellow male – instead of breeding with a female.

    • Dolphins

    Male bottlenose dolphins have been known to mate with both males and females. They’ve been known to be exclusively homosexual, too.

    • Vampire bats

    Blood-sucking fiction is wildly popular among the LGBTQ+ community (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, anyone?), so it’s fitting that vampire bats have been recorded getting cosy with members of the same sex – including grooming and licking.

    • Spiders

    Some areas of research have claimed that homosexuality in arachnids is linked to being more active, a better forager, or a better competitor. Slay.

    • Killer whales

    Bisexuality is also relatively common among killer whales, with males often enjoying relationships with other males – sometimes even more than with their female counterparts.

      The post 10 seriously queer animals – from gay dolphins to gender-switching lizards appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.

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      Forever Mine: Why LGBTQ+ Parents Should Consider Adopting Their Own Children

      Meg York Esq Director LGBTQ Family Law and PolicyMy stomach began to flutter as we pulled into the parking lot. “Why am I nervous?” I wondered aloud. My wife looked at me and gave a knowing smile. “Because you’ve never been the subject of a court proceeding before.”

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      My First Powerlifting Meet Confirmed It’s a Sport for Misfits Like Me

      In my experiences in strength sports so far, I’ve seen nothing but kindness and compassion and enthusiasm for fellow competitors.

      The post My First Powerlifting Meet Confirmed It’s a Sport for Misfits Like Me appeared first on Autostraddle.

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      Also.Also.Also: Why Florida High School Students Walking Out Over Trans Sport Bans Matters

      Educator and student dissent speaks to the Florida legislature’s failure to represent its people.

      The post Also.Also.Also: Why Florida High School Students Walking Out Over Trans Sport Bans Matters appeared first on Autostraddle.

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      Justin Vivian Bond on smoking nuts, fraught gift-giving, & the resurrection of Kiki & Herb

      Justin Vivian Bond
      Justin Vivian Bond. Photo by Tammy Shell.

      For many people, even the idea of listening to an imbibing nonagenarian with the voice of a thousand ashtrays spout their non-filtered “truths” is the ultimate holiday trigger. And yet, for thousands of adoring fans, a night with Kiki & Herb has become a warm Christmas tradition. 

      Starring trans cabaret legend Justin Vivian Bond as Kiki Durane, a washed-up, 90-something lounge singer who delivers her scathingly hilarious politically incorrect view of the world, and Kenny Mellman as Herb, her mostly silent and hapless accompanist who she met while institutionalized, the duo is synonymous with spiked egg nog, foul-mouth festivities, and mash-ups of some of our favorite pop stars from Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish to Miley Cyrus and Velvet Underground.

      The pair continues the tradition this December with a seven-city U.S. tour of Kiki & Herb, O Come Let Us Adore Them, kicking off at Washington, D.C.’s Howard Theater on December 6, followed by shows in New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

      (from left) Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman as Kiki and Herb.
      (from left) Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman as Kiki & Herb. Photo provided by the artists.

      It’s been a busy and challenging 2023 for Bond, one that began with the passing of their mother in January, followed by months of outrage over the onslaught of bills in numerous states around the country challenging transgender rights. To respond, Bond did what they do best — turn to song and address their indignance in a Pride month installment of their Joe’s Pub residency titled “What Have You Done for Me Legistlately.”

      In addition, Bond toured considerably, playing gigs at Manchester Pride, The Dublin Fringe Festival, and the Spoleto Festival in the critically lauded “Only an Octave Apart” with Metropolitan Opera superstar countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. 

      Bond also received Queerty’s Pride50 Catalyst Award in honor of their decades-long career and commitment to queer visibility, telling the enthusiastic crowd, “The queens are not backing down!”

      During it all, Bond turned 60 and marked the milestone birthday with a series of Diamond Jubilee concerts at their artistic home, Joe’s Pub, the cabaret venue at the iconic Off-Broadway Public Theater (original home to Hamilton, A Chorus Line, and now Alicia Keys’ new musical Hell’s Kitchen) where they return for a wintry wonderland. 

      Queerty caught up with Bond as they prepared for their upcoming tour to chat about the holidays, unlikely inspiration, and the return of Kiki DuRane.

      I just finished one show at Joe’s Pub and am preparing to resurrect Kiki one more time. My recipe for reinvention is …

      I’m always taking my own emotional temperature (sometimes rectally!) and then using my art to respond to it.  I’m a cabaret singer for many reasons but one is that I can change my shows as much as I want whenever I want, and I answer to no one. Songs are how I tell my story, and my story is constantly evolving. 

      My Kiki & Herb collaboration with Kenny Mellman has been ongoing since we were in our early 20s so it’s like stepping into familiar, albeit sometimes terrifying, territory. At this point, Kiki is like a fabulous old bathrobe I just can’t bring myself to throw out. 

      My genesis for Kiki Durane …

      Kiki was deeply inspired by my friend Nancy’s mom, who had been a burlesque dancer in Baltimore in the 1950s. She gave up show business when she had her kids. When I met her, she was in the midst of radiation treatments for the cancer that would eventually take her life. She was funny, scary, opinionated, and glamorous even when she was dying. My conceit was, “What would she have been like if she’d never quit show business?”

      The one thing Kiki likes most about Viv …

      Her shoes. 

      The show that changed my life …

      I saw a production called Belle Reprieve, which was a retelling of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Bette Bourne as Blanche and Peggy Shaw as Stanley at The Victoria Theater shortly after I first moved to San Francisco. It was queer performance at its best. It was a collaboration between Split Britches from New York and Bloo Lips from London, and both of these performance troops are legendary. It was subversive, raw, smart as f**k, and funny as hell. 

      The queer theater maker everyone should be paying attention to now…

      Cecilia Gentili’s show Red Ink kept getting extended at The Rattlestick Theater in the West Village. It’s a one-woman trans memoir with brilliant writing, and Cecilia is one of the most charismatic performers I’ve ever seen. She was in Pose, and had an all-star team behind her: an original score by Grammy winner Andrew Yee, projections by Drag Race winner Sasha Velour, and wardrobe by designer Gogo Graham. 

      What I love and despise about the holiday season …

      (from left) Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman as Kiki and Herb.
      (from left) Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman as Kiki & Herb. Photo provided by the artists.

      The smells of the holiday season always get me. Walking through Christmas tree stands on Second Avenue, the smoke coming from the nuts roasting near Central Park, cookies baking in the oven, people all perfumed up for parties… I love all of it. 

      The gift-giving and receiving is fraught, however, because it’s a bit overwhelming, and I’m bad at shopping for other people. I am better at giving experiences than things. My life is fairly well curated as it is, so I don’t love getting presents other than cat-friendly flowers or expensive jewelry — and who can afford that? 

      I would much rather spend time with someone I love instead of wasting time trying to figure out where to put some unnecessary item I don’t need, no matter how cute it is. 

      Jake Shears once kindly mentioned a Kiki & Herb Christmas show as one of his artistic inspirations. I had a similar formative experience when …

      When I was a kid, I saw a production of Hello, Dolly at a local nursing home starring the senior citizens who lived there. It was a sight to behold! That pretty much set the aesthetic for the rest of my career.  Older people in sequins and feathers is where it’s at for me! I think Jake Shears can probably relate to that as well. Hahahaha! 

      Kiki & Herb, O Come Let Us Adore Them plays a six-city tour this December with stops in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. 

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      My Christmas Ornaments, Ranked by Lesbianism

      “Owls are the most lesbian bird of prey imo.”

      The post My Christmas Ornaments, Ranked by Lesbianism appeared first on Autostraddle.

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