BigGayNews from Illinois:
Vernita Gray, Illinois Gay Rights Advocate, Dies
ABC News reports that a gay rights advocate, who was one half of the first same-sex couple to marry in Illinois, has died at age 65.
Vernita Gray’s death was confirmed by a family friend, who said that she passed away of cancer in the home where she married her wife, Patricia Ewert, in late November.
Gray and Ewert’s marriage license was expedited due to Gray’s terminal illness, which allowed the women to marry before the June 1, 2014 effective date of Illinois’ same-sex marriage law.
BigGayNews from Michigan:
Appeals Court Halts Gay Marriages In Michigan
Boston.com reports that same-sex couples rushed to Michigan county clerks’ offices Saturday to get hitched a day after a judge overturned the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, and several hundred managed to do so before an appeals court reinstated the ban, at least temporarily.
Michigan voters approved the ban in 2004, but on Friday, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said that that it was discriminatory against same-sex couples. Gay and lesbian couples rushed to county offices en masse to obtain marriage licenses before a higher court could issue a stay on the decision.
Anna Kirkland, a professor at the University of Michigan, stated that couples who received licenses before the stay are “legally married” until the federal Supreme Court says otherwise.
BigGayNews from New Jersey:
Jason Collins Heard Negativity
ESPN New York reports that Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins revealed Thursday that he has heard negative comments from another player during a game.
The openly gay Collins refused to reveal the name of the player or his team, and said that he did not react to the taunts on court, saying that the player is entitled to his opinion, as are all Americans.
Collins stated: “In the flow of the game, you have emotions going. It goes back to controlling what I can control – having self control and having the discipline to recognize it for what it is and keep the focus on the game.”
BigGayNews from Hollywood:
RuPaul Stokes Anger with Use Of Transphobic Slur
Advocate.com reports that the controversial drag queen makes use of the transphobic term “shemale” in a segment reminiscent of Maury Povich’s “Man or Woman?” episodes.
The “Female or Shemale” contest, which was on the latest episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” had contestants trying to determine if a picture they were being shown was of, in RuPaul’s words, “a biological woman or a psychological woman”.
GLAAD classifies the term as being defamatory, in that it “only serves to dehumanize transgender people”, and advise that it not be used for that reason.
BigGayNews from Arkansas:
Arkansas High School Reportedly Stops Yearbook From Publishing Story About Gay Student
The Huffington Post reports that an Arkansas district is under fire after reportedly refusing to publish a story about an openly gay student in the high school yearbook.
Hannah Bruner, editor of the Sheridan High School yearbook, was planning to include a profile on Taylor Ellis, a student who had recently come out as gay.
Bruner claims that district administrators refused to allow her to publish the story in the school’s yearbook, claiming that the story could perpetuate bullying. The Human Rights Campaign and the Student Press Law Center are condemning the district for this stance.
BigGayNews from Massachusetts:
Gubernatorial Candidate And Anti-Gay Activist Scott Lively Marches In Boston’s St. Patrick’s Parade
MassLive reports that Springfield-based anti-gay minister Scott Lively announced he proudly marched in Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade which main politicians skipped because parade organizers banned gay, lesbian, bisexual and lesbian groups.
Lively claimed that his marching in the parade was done to represent the voters who support and believe in “authentic marriage and the Biblical model of family.”
Lively has recently been in the news due to his worldwide crusade against the GLBT community, and he has been accused of crimes against humanity in a lawsuit filed by the groups Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Center for Constitutional Rights because his anti-gay talks in Uganda have helped to push a bill criminalizing homosexuality into law.
BigGayNews from Taiwan:
Taiwan TV Airs Its First Gay Family Comedy
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Taiwan television made local broadcast history Sunday, airing “Penguins at North Pole”, a short film that has been billed as the country’s “first gay-themed family comedy”.
The film, which is a comedic take on issues facing young gay couples and their parents in contemporary society in Taiwan, is noteworthy considering that in most Asian countries, the topic of homosexuality is still taboo.
The film was broadcast the same day as anti-gay groups were rallying against a proposed bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Taiwan’s Freedom Square.
BigGayNews from Russia:
Moscow’s Largest Gay Club Closes After String Of Vigilante Attacks
Pink News reports that Moscow’s largest gay club will soon close its doors for good, after a string of vigilante attacks, including shootings, violent assaults, and the release of poison gas.
The owner of the Central Station club, Andrei Lischinsky, has stated that the police in Moscow refuse to investigate any of the incidents at the club, nor have they responded to his thirty complaints made to the authorities.
It was hoped that the club would remain open after Lischinsky’s resignation, but word has come out that it will close permanently due to a decision by the Moscow Arbitration Court.