Happy Sunday, and happy holidays! It’s brunch time. Don’t be dumb. This week we bring you a mix of stories from the military, China, Canada and Hollywood. See why Darren Criss won’t play gay any longer, and how a new Canada coin is celebrating the decriminalization of homosexuality five decades ago. And of course we have our Whackjob of the Week. See who it is below.
Here are the week’s 5 news stories that’ll keep you looking well-informed at brunch:
1. Darren Criss Out-Casted
Darren Criss may be best known for playing a gay character on the hit series Glee. His talents continued to shine with the lead role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and his award-winning turn as gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan. You might say that ‘playing gay’ helped Criss find a path to stardom even though his talent goes well beyond that. And he’s banking on it. Darren Criss recently announced that he will no longer play gay roles. He wants them to go to gay actors instead, saying, “There are certain [queer] roles that I’ll see that are just wonderful. But I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”
2. Banned but Not Broken
We talk about it all the time — there are so many places in the world where being LGBTQ can land you in jail or even worse. In China, being banned for being gay is actually the law. So that’s what makes Ah Qiang of PFLAG China a hero in his own right for making an inspiring public speech about everyone deserving to live their truth. And that video has gone viral. Courage is contagious, and we all know that to be able to live free, it takes courage like Ah Qiang’s to get us there.
3. New Canada Coin: Loonie Tunes
We know we certainly have a “loonie” in the White House, but America’s northern neighbor is introducing a new Canada coin in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the legalization of homosexuality. Yes, it’s been legal in Canada for 50 years, and it’s still illegal in many places around the world. The artist and design are being closely guarded, but it’s been approved by the incredibly handsome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It’s time to spend some gay dollars, or loonies, in Canada!
4. Thank You for Your Service, Now Get Out
Two Air Force cadets are claiming they were discharged from service due to their HIV-positive status. Lambda Legal, an organization that supports the LGBTQ community through litigation and public policy work, has filed a lawsuit on their behalf. Both men, whose identities are being kept confidential, say they were found “unfit” for service despite their compliance with medical treatment and passing fitness assessments — not to mention support from their commanding officers. And remember, their Commander in Chief, Donald Trump, who is also attempting to ban the trans community from defending our freedom, never served in the military, receiving multiple deferments for college and “bone spurs.”
5. Whackjob of the Week: Lee Livengood
If you’re a teacher, vice-principal or have the authority to oversee students in any way, you should protect them at all costs. But that’s apparently not the case if you’re Lee Livengood, the vice-principal of a West Virginia school who forced a trans boy to leave the boys’ bathroom. But was he immediately reprimanded? No. It took the action of the teen’s parents with the help of the ACLU to get him suspended for just four days. Eventually the school put out a statement, but this just goes to show you that even where you feel you should be safe, there are perpetrators of bigotry and misunderstanding.
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were one of two plaintiff couples in California’s 2013 challenge of Proposition 8, which brought marriage equality back to the state after being ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court. These activists also host the weekly podcast The Husbands. Catch them there or follow them on Hornet @PaulAndJeff.
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