BigGayNews from Kentucky:
“Dead Town” In Kentucky Sees Revival After Passing Gay Rights Ordinance
CBS News reports that eight months after this tiny Appalachian town took a stand against gay-based discrimination, it’s basking in a flurry of attention and even an infusion of much-needed cash.
Johnny Cummings, the openly gay mayor of the small coal town of Vicco, reports that he had no idea of the attention that would be drawn to his town since three out of four commissioners passed an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, house and public accommodations.
Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky, singled out Vicco for praise when he noted in a speech that Kentucky is a place “deep in values that show up in unexpected ways and in unexpected places.”
BigGayNews from California:
Cassidy Lynn Campbell, Transgender Teen, Named Homecoming Queen
The Huffington Post reports that on Friday night, transgender teen Cassidy Lynn Campbell was crowned homecoming queen at a California high school.
Campbell, a 16-year-old student at Marina High School in Huntington Beach who began taking hormone blockers and estrogen injections while in high school to transition to female, decided to run for homecoming queen to make a point, but had no idea that she would actually win.
She hopes that her election will help show other transgender students that they should be themselves and that they, and society, should recognize them for the gender that they identify as.
BigGayNews from New York:
Book For Kids Raises Eyebrows Over Young Gay Character
Huffington Post blogger Tim Federle writes that it’s Banned Books Week, the American Library Association’s annual celebration of the freedom to read, and he has experienced pushback against his own book.
Federle is a Broadway dancer and the author of the young reader’s book “Better Nate Than Ever”, which tells the story of a boy auditioning for a Broadway show. Although the book does not specifically go into Nate’s sexuality, it does touch on the character dealing with becoming a teenager who begins to notice other boys and wonders why that is.
Federle observes that librarians who had initially invited him into schools to visit students and discuss the book later began to retract those invitations, often with extremely vague reasons as to why. He writes that he believes the reluctance stems from his character as being portrayed as a positive, main character who is not relegated to the background, and that some parents have expressed concerns about homosexuality being presented as “normal and natural”.
BigGayNews from Illinois:
Gay Theaters Now Struggle To Evolve
The New York Times reports that at a time of rapid change in the gay-rights movement, from marriage to the military, the purpose of a strictly gay theater company isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago.
Andrew Volkoff, artistic director of About Face Theater, comments that mainstream theaters in today’s market don’t often shy away from presenting heavily gay-themed productions such as “Angels in America” or “Torch Song Trilogy”, and that gay theaters are going to have to continue to adapt with the times, especially in terms of themes.
Playwright Jonathan Tolins states “What was a very clear genre of gay play — one that had a clear message of we’re here and we deserve our rights — I think we’ve moved on from that. I think everyone knows we’re here now.”
BigGayNews from Minnesota:
As Catholics Rethink Views On Gays, So Do Their Schools
The Pioneer Press reports that since taking over the University of St. Thomas this summer, President Julie Sullivan has heard from gay faculty and students that they feel a need to “hide” on campus.
Sullivan, the first lay, female president of the St. Paul, Minnesota Roman Catholic School, has made it her mission to change that, especially in the wake of recent comments by Pope Francis regarding the Church’s acceptance of gays.
In a recent convocation address, Sullivan stated: “We are called to love and support everyone in our community regardless of their sexual orientation. And, I might add, regardless of the gender of their spouse.”
BigGayNews from the United States
New Book Claims Matthew Shepard Not Murdered for Being Gay
Fox News reports that a new book claims the college student was murdered for “reasons far more complicated” than being gay.
Gay author Stephen Jimenez claims a 13-year investigation and interviews with more than 100 sources that contradict police testimony and national consensus that Shepard was targeted in 1998 because he was gay.
Jimenez said: “I applied rigorous journalistic standards to the reporting and writing of this book, relying on sources ranging from those in the legal system and law enforcement, to those who knew Matthew Shepard and the perpetrators personally.”
BigGayNews from New York City:
Gay Rights Protest Greets Opening Night At The Met
The New York Times reports that after the lights dimmed for the Metropolitan Opera’s Russian-themed opening night gala on Monday evening, the first solo voice that rang out in the house was not of a tenor or soprano, but of a protester criticizing the recent anti-gay laws signed by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Several of the demonstrators directed their statements toward Anna Netrebko, the popular Russian singer, and Valery Gergiev, artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersberg. Both had been supporters of Putin in the last Russian elections.
The protest sprang from an online petition by Andrew Rudin, a gay composer, who urged the Met to dedicate the opening night’s performance to gay rights causes in Russia. Rudin stated: “Here’s a chance for the Met, in an entirely benign and positive way, to use its great cultural influence to be relevant, and to do something positive.”
BigGayNews from Rome:
Pope Francis: Gays, Abortion Too Much Of Catholic Church’s Obsession
The Huffington Post reports that Pope Francis faulted the Roman Catholic Church for focusing too much on gays, abortion and contraception, saying the church has become “obsessed” with those issues to the detriment of its larger mission to be “home for all.”
The Pontiff said that, while the positions of the Church have not changed on those issues, the clergy should not spend all of its time “interfering spiritually” in the lives of gays and lesbians, stating ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”