Happy Sunday! It’s brunch time. Don’t be dumb. This week we bring you stories about a conversation-starting ad campaign, former First Lady Michelle Obama and some potentially scary news for LGBTQ people out of Poland.
And of course we have our Whackjob of the Week. See who it is below.
Here are the week’s top news stories that’ll keep you looking well-informed at brunch:
1. “No Gays Allowed”
That catch your attention? Well, imagine visiting New York City and seeing this billboard on the side of a skyscraper. The “No Gays Allowed” campaign was commissioned by a queer advocacy group called Citizens for Transparency, and it directs people to the site NoGays.org, the goal of which is to out the extremely anti-LGBTQ organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is hellbent on fighting gay rights tooth and nail. The “Christian” organization, labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been around for more than two decades and has its tentacles in seemingly every anti-LGBTQ law throughout the United States.
The group has fought against overturning sodomy laws and has opposed marriage equality. Lately, it has focused its efforts on fighting trans rights and promoting “religious liberty,” also known as allowing businesses not to serve gay people. The billboards should promote much-needed conversation and awareness about where your community stands on supporting LGBTQ equality. Remember, all means ALL.
2. Michelle Obama’s LGBTQ Love Story
Former First Lady Michelle Obama released her new memoir this week, Becoming. Appearing on Ellen this week, she shared a story from the book about the day in 2015 when marriage equality became the law of the land and the White House was lit up in the rainbow colors of the Pride flag. According to Obama, after seeing the large crowd outside the White House celebrating the landmark Supreme Court decision, she and daughter Malia snuck out to join in on the fun.
Obama told DeGeneres, “Everybody was celebrating, people were crying, and I thought, I want to be in that. Also, we had worked to make sure that the White House was lit up in the LGBT colors. It was beautiful.” Apparently, due to the bulletproof glass it’s difficult for the First Family to see and hear what’s happening outside. Check out an excerpt of the touching story from Michelle Obama’s new book here.
3. The New Russia: Poland?
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said this week he might go the route of Russian president Vladimir Putin and push for a “gay propaganda” law that would ban LGBTQ media, literature and gatherings like Pride. Similar to what we’ve seen over the years in America, LGBTQ social issues are regularly used to create fear and division and to drive the voter turnout of conservative people. Rémy Bonny, a political scientist who specializes in LGBT issues in Central and Eastern Europe, says, “While in the bigger cities like Warsaw, a very progressive and queer scene is developing, the opposite is happening on the countryside. These attacks on the LGBT community are a political strategy to win the votes of the people living in the Polish countryside.”
Duda’s comments followed a youth protest in favor of LGBTQ rights. As has become typical, many of the world’s youth have become more and more vocal about the importance of LGBTQ equality and are willing to speak up and fight back.
4. Whackjob of the Week: Christopher Cantwell and Angry Goy II
We all remember that awful night on June 12, 2016, when 49 people were murdered in a mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida. Well, now a new video game, Angry Goy II, promoted by self-proclaimed white supremacist and neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell, allows users to target various minority groups — including LGBTQ people. Players have to break into the nightclub, dubbed “LGBTQ+ Agenda HQ” to shoot gay and transgender people. Gay men are given large erect penises in the game to portray them as sexual predators. Posters outside the nightclub advertise “Children Welcome.”
Among other hateful language in his promotional rant on the game’s website, Cantwell writes, “Instead of taking out your frustrations on actual human beings, you can fight the mongrels and degenerates on your computer! Use guns, knives, pepper spray, and more!” It is not just hateful rhetoric when people turn those words into action. Tree of Life synagogue shooter Robert Bowers posted a hate-filled rant before gunning down 11 people. Speech is free, but it certainly comes at a price.
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.