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Ireland may get gay prime minister
Dublin--The Irish health minister, a 21 favorite for being named the next leader of his party and likely prime minister, came out in a radio interview on January 18.
Leo Varadkar, the son of an Indian immigrant and an Irish doctor, was first elected to the Irish parliament in 2007, being named to transportation minister when his Fine Gael party formed a coalition government with the Labour Party. Last year, he was named to the health position.
Varadkar told Prime Minister Enda Kenny over the weekend that he was going to discuss his sexual orientation, and Kenny said it was none of his business before asking him if he’d ever been to Pantibar, one of the capital’s top gay clubs, according to Bloomberg News.
“I said no I haven’t,” the health minister noted. “He said there you go Varadkar, I’m ahead of you already.”
Hart admits: I’m too insecure to play gay
New York City--Comedian and actor Kevin Hart, who hosted the January 17 episode of Saturday Night Live, responded to a question on WWPR about whether he would play a gay character.
Hart, who had been up for the role of gay black actor Alpha Chino in the film Tropic Thunder, told the DJs, “I can’t. Not because I have any ill will or disrespect. It’s because I don’t think I’m really going to dive into that role 100 percent because of my insecurities about myself trying to play that part. Does that make sense?”
Hart, perhaps best known for clocking in at 5’ 4” tall, obviously feels like he has something to prove in the masculinity department. However, looking like an action figure, it’s difficult to hold it against him.
Empire to ‘blow lid off’ homophobia in the black community
New York City--Out director Lee Daniels, known for films like Precious and The Butler, has another hit on his hands, the television show Empire.
Empire, which was renewed for a second season after airing just two episodes, tells the story of a music mogul and rapper, played by Terrence Howard, who learns that he has a terminal illness and tries to decide to which of his three sons he will leave his megacompany. One is a brilliant businessman but not a celebrity, another is a celebrity but a total screw-up, and the third is intelligent, talented and, unfortunately for his father, gay.
Daniels starts in the first episode showing the ugly face of homophobia, and how it hurts everyone involved, from the father who pushes away what could have been his greatest hope, to the son who is afraid to try because he figures he will just fail.
“I’m glad that I can show the African-American community that this is what you’re doing to your son, this is what you’re doing to your nephew, this is what you’re doing to the kid down the street,” Daniels told the Associated Press.
Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, middle son to Howard’s Lucious, practically steals the show, and watching his father’s treatment of the young star is painful, but realistic.
Empire is on Fox.
Jihadists kill gay men, others
Nineveh, Iraq--Videos released on social media by affiliates of the Islamic State extremist group appear to show two men, identified in the video as gay, being thrown to their deaths off a tower.
The Islamic State, which came to prominence during the bitterest fighting in the Syrian civil war, has been capturing territory in Syria and Iraq, forcing captives into prostitution and attempting genocide against ethnic minorities.
In addition to the murder of the two men, videos also show two other men, tied to crosses with hoods over their head, being executed for robbing civilians, and a woman being stoned to death for adultery.
The videos were released as American- and Arab-led offensives against Islamic State, also known alternately as ISIS and ISIL, have put the organization on the defensive in some of the territories they have seized.
The organization, which seeks the foundation of a caliphate through the seizure of lands whose national ownership it regards as void, has been recruiting from across the Muslim world, although reports have also come in that some recruits have been trying to escape from the organization.
Bakery refuses to make anti-gay cake
Denver--After offering to provide the means to create anti-gay frosting on a cake last March, a bakery finds itself targeted with a religious discrimination complaint from an anti-gay activist.
Azucar Bakery was asked to make a book-shaped cake with two men Xed out on it, and the words “detestable” and “God hates homosexuals” on it. The bakery refused to decorate the cake like that, but offered to give him the icing and a piping bag to do it himself.
The elderly patron refused and contacted his attorney.
Owner Marjorie Silva noted that they would no more do that cake than they would one speaking ill of a religious or ethnic group. Silva believes she was targeted after making pro-gay statements to a Latino news outlet.
She said that they bakery makes religious cakes regularly, but she would not put hateful, discriminatory messages on one.
“In the same manner we would not make a discriminatory cake against Christians, we will not make one that discriminates against gays,” she told OutFront.
From cleats to tuxes
Rome--Michael Sam, the first openly gay draft pick in the National Football League, may have been dropped by two football teams in the space of a year, but he threw a pass that was caught on January 7 as he proposed to his boyfriend.
Sam, vacationing with Vito Cammisano in Rome, asked Cammisano to marry him. According to a Twitter post, Cammisano said yes.
Sam still hopes to play an NFL game after being dropped by the Rams and the Cowboys practice team, but it is pretty clear no coach had to tell him to take a knee here.
‘Lost’ gay classics saved at auction
New York City--A doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia purchased rare copies of two Nineteenth Century gay classics at Christie’s Auctions after raising the money from his school and Kickstarter.
Justin O’Hearn plans to issue the first modern edition of Des Grieux, a prequel to Teleny and Camille. Both novels were written anonymously in the late 1800s, filtered through a Parisian bookseller. While the author is unknown, Oscar Wilde had a hand in the books’ creations, either writing them by himself, with a group of his friends, or facilitating their creation.
While Teleny and Camille has had a number of editions published, Des Grieux, which features earlier exploits of Camille, is incredibly rare, with no known copies extant in the collection of an institution.
Both books are startlingly explicit for their time, and O’Hearn plans to transcribe and edit them for release.
Lesbian not allowed to rest in peace
Lakewood, Colo.--The January 10 funeral for a 33-year old lesbian who died on December 29 was canceled 15 minutes after it was slated to begin because the woman’s family refused to edit out a picture showing her proposing to her wife in the memorial video.
The pastor of New Hope Ministry told the family members that if the picture were not removed from the video, the funeral could not be held there.
The mourners were forced to relocate to Newcomer Funeral Home across the street from the church, which did not have room to accommodate the full 170-person throng.
The video had been dropped off two days prior to the funeral, and friends say that the church should have reviewed it then, instead of at the last minute.
A protest was held outside the church on January 13.
Collier died when the firearm she was cleaning went off. Her wife, Christina Higley, and two children survive her.