Thursday, 29 November 2012

Simon Amstell (1979 – ), UK comedian, television presenter, screenwriter and actor

b 29 November 1979.

BAFTA nominated,award-winning English comedian, television presenter, screenwriter and actor, best known for his roles as former co-host of Popworld, former host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and co-writer and star of the sitcom Grandma's House.

Amstell also performs as a stand up comedian. He has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every August 2005–2007 and 2009. He has also appeared at the Carling Festivals in the Cabaret and Comedy tent.

He was named at number 26 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011

His groundbreaking quirky, funny, original interviewing technique on Channel 4’s Popworld is still the blueprint for T4’s presenting style. And being gay was not something comedian Simon kept quiet about for long once he became famous. In an interview with notoriously homophobic reggae star Beenie Man, Simon explained he’d just broken up with his boyfriend, and then asked him for a hug. And his role in the presenting seat for Never Mind The Buzzcocks brought him to a whole new audience. Simon used to feature a lot of gay jokes in his stand-up routine but later dropped them. “It feels really old,” he says. “No one cares any more. There are so many homos on TV. It’s why Matt Lucas ended up doing the only gay in the village. It was a twisted coming-out story because the old one is so boring.”
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Monday, 26 November 2012

Tom Ballard (1989 - ), Australian.Radio host and comedian

b.  26 November 1989

A tall, blond, fast-talking, openly gay, Australian radio presenter and comedian.

Ballard began his comedy career by playing Blitzen in a local amateur production of Rock n Roll Santa in 1997. He was a three-time Class Clowns National Finalist and a Raw Comedy National Finalist by 2006. He performed in Upwey, Warburton, Healesville and Lilydale as part of the Young Blood Comedy Tour in 2007 and was a guest entertainer in the 2007 Melbourne Comedy Festival's Eskimo Jokes show.
He was one quarter of The Comedy Zone at the 2008 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Tom was a presenter for Warrnambool's 3WAY FM community radio station with Alex Dyson.[7] On the strength of his Raw Comedy performance, Ballard was given the chance to develop some demos with Australian youth radio station Triple J and, along with Alex, was given regular Mid-Dawn (1am to 6 am) shifts.
In December 2008, Tom and Alex were the presenters for the weekday summer lunch slot (10 am to 2 pm) and in 2009 moved to the weekend breakfast slot.[8] On 23 November 2009, Triple J announced that Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson would take over as hosts of the 2010 Breakfast show.

Included in the Same Same list of 25 Most Influential Australians, 2010

“Comedian, breakfast radio presenter and GLBT Youth advocate has achieved so much at only 21. I can't think of any performer more deserving to be in this list.”

Australia’s largest youth broadcaster's career and going wonderfully, from his early morning radio broadcasts to his hilarious stand-up comedy shows. In April 2009, Tom brought his debut solo show, Tom Ballard Is What He Is to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and was the youngest person EVER to take out the prestigious Melbourne Airport Best Newcomer award. His show was also nominated for a Golden Gibbo Award; an award that recognises independent shows that "buck trends and pursue the artist's ideas more strongly than it pursues any commercial lure."

Growing up and coming out in regional Victoria wasn't too bad, he reflects. "I didn’t come out until I was in Year 12, so I was never the ‘gay kid’ at school," he told the Gay News Network last year. "But there were certainly a lot of times where you’d feel like you couldn’t talk about it.
"Everyone assumes you’re straight, particularly when you’re not an overly camp and obviously gay guy. I’d never had a girlfriend but I think people were kind of surprised in their own way, then they got used to the idea."
Tom Ballard is heading for a busy 2011 of touring his comedy to funny festivals around Australia.
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Sunday, 25 November 2012

John Amaechi, Professional basketball player

b. November 26th, 1970

“I am gay, black, British … and I am now asserting my activism.”

“It was absolutely my ultimate goal to play in the NBA,” says Amaechi. In 1995, his dream became reality.

John Amaechi is the first NBA player to speak publicly about being gay. In 2007, three years after retiring from pro basketball, he became one of only six male professional athletes in the four major U.S. sports to come out.
Esera Tuaolo, an NFL player who came out in 2002, said of Amaechi, “What John did is amazing. He does not know how many lives he’s saved by speaking the truth.”
Amaechi, the son of a Nigerian father and a white British mother, grew up in England. When he started playing basketball at 16, his right hand was nearly severed in an accident. As a result, Amaechi became ambidextrous, which helped him become a better basketball player. Amaechi played basketball at Penn State University, where he was twice selected a First Team Academic All-American.
“It was absolutely my ultimate goal to play in the NBA,” says Amaechi. In 1995, Amaechi’s dream became reality. He played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by the Orlando Magic and the Utah Jazz. In 2000, Amaechi made headlines when he turned down a $17 million offer from the Los Angeles Lakers. Opting to stay in Orlando earning $600,000 a year, Amaechi remained loyal to the Magic, who hired him when no other team would.
Amaechi’s memoir, “Man in the Middle” (2007), explores the challenges he faced as a closeted professional athlete.
After the NBA, Amaechi returned to Britain, where he turned to television sportscasting and covered the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the BBC. In Beijing, Amaechi also served as a human rights ambassador for Amnesty International. He appeared on several episodes of “Shirts & Skins,” a Logo reality series, where he mentored a gay basketball team and shared his experiences as an out athlete.
Amaechi owns Amaechi Performance Systems. He is a psychologist with a management consulting company specializing in workplace diversity and workplace climate and culture challenges.
Amaechi established the ABC Foundation, which builds sports centers in Britain and encourages children’s involvement in sports and their communities.
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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cherry Jones, Actress

b. November 21, 1956

I was never in the closet. From the moment…I stepped onto the theatrical stage, I was always out. It was never an issue.”

Cherry Jones is a theater, film and television actress best known for her role as president of the United States on the FOX series “24.” A Broadway veteran, Jones is considered one of America’s foremost stage actresses. She has received two Tony Awards.

Jones grew up in the small town of Paris, Tennessee. Her mother taught high school and her father owned a flower shop. “I came from a very loving family where I knew I had their unconditional love no matter what,” Jones says.

With her sights set on acting, Jones enrolled at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, where in 1978, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1980, Jones became a founding member of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she played a wide range of roles.

In the mid-1980’s, Jones moved to New York and performed in Broadway productions including “Angels in America,” “The Night of the Iguana” and “A Moon for the Misbegotten.” In 1995, she received a Tony Award for her role in “The Heiress” and made headlines by being the first award winner to publicly thank her same-sex partner.

In 1998, Jones narrated a documentary film about the history of the gay rights movement, “Out of the Past.”
On the silver screen, Jones appeared in “The Horse Whisperer” (1998), “Cradle Will Rock” (1999), “Erin Brockovich” (2000) and “The Perfect Storm” (2000), among others.

In 2001, Jones costarred with Brooke Shields in the Lifetime Television movie “What Makes a Family,” based on the true story of a lesbian couple and a custody battle. “I’m more proud of that than anything I’ve ever done. There’s so much social worth to that film,” Jones says.

Jones is an outspoken advocate of gay rights. In 2004, she received GLAAD’s Vito Russo Media Award for her contribution toward eliminating homophobia.

In 2005, Jones was honored with a second Tony Award for her portrayal of Sister Aloysius in “Doubt.” After receiving the award, Jones thanked and kissed her partner, actress Sarah Paulson.

In 2009, Jones received an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a drama series for her role on “24."




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Friday, 16 November 2012

Lord Waheed Alli – Media Man and Peer

b.16 November 1964

British multimillionaire media entrepreneur and politician. He was co-founder and managing director of Planet 24, a TV production company, and managing director at Carlton Television Productions. He is currently chairman of both and Chorion Ltd. He is a Labour peer and is one of very few openly gay Muslim politicians in the world.

He started work as a junior researcher for a finance magazine and worked his way up in the media business within Robert Maxwell’s stable of publications. He then went to the City for a second career in investment banking, through which he became wealthy. In the mid-1980s he met Charlie Parsons, who was to become his business partner and boyfriend.

Alli joined the Labour Party at the persuasion of his neighbour Emily Thornberry. He is also close to Anji Hunter, Director of Government Relations in Tony Blair's first government.Prime Minister Blair used him for years as a means to help him reach out to a younger generation. He was made a life peer as Baron Alli, of Norbury in the London Borough of Croydon, in 1998 at the age of 34, becoming the youngest and the first openly gay peer in Parliament. The BBC summarised his appointment as "the antithesis of the stereotypical ‘establishment’ peer - young, Asian and from the world of media and entertainment".

He was listed at number 44 on the DS list of "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011:
Never heard of him? That’s because Lord Alli is doggedly working behind the scenes kind for us. The British multimillionaire and media entrepreneur is a Labour peer and one of very few openly gay Muslim politicians in the world. Much of Alli's work has been focused around gay rights, youth and education. He’s a patron of The Albert Kennedy Trust was a keynote speaker at the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights. “The last 13 years have been about extending and equalizing the rights of gay men and women and we’re completing a long journey,” he says. “The next decade will be defending.”
DS 50 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Russell Tovey (1981 - ), UK. Actor.

b. 14 November 1981

English actor with numerous television, film and stage credits. Tovey is best known for playing the role of werewolf George Sands in the BBC's supernatural drama Being Human[2] which started in 2008. In November 2011, Tovey announced he would be leaving Being Human to work full-time on his BBC Three sitcom, Him & Her.

Tovey is also an author, playwright, and screenwriter. He has written three plays (all unperformed as of August 2010), and one of his short stories was published in Company, a noted British literary journal.

Tovey says he came out to himself when he was 15 or 16, and to his parents when he was 18, which led to a falling out with this father, but they were later able to mend their relationship. In an interview with The Scotsman, Tovey said, "The only thing I can give to young gay people is that when I was growing up there were no role models that were blokey, that were men. Everybody was flamboyant and camp, and I remember going, 'That's not me, so even though I think I am gay, I don't think I fit into this world.'"

He was named at number 22 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011
Is there no role Russell can’t turn his handsome face to? As well as Doctor Who, he’s appeared in Gavin and Stacey, History Boys, Ultimate Force, Marple and Him and Her. But it’s probably his role as loveable werewolf George in Being Human in which he’s best known. Russell is proof that genuine talent will never be overshadowed by sexuality. “When I was growing up there were no gay role models that were blokey, that were men,” he says. “Everybody was flamboyant and camp, and I remember going, 'That's not me, so even though I think I am gay, I don't think I fit into this world.

"Men and Women Shouldn't Live Together"

Classic Guiness ad, made but never broadcast, has resurfaced. h/t to Gay Star News

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ryan Murphy – Creator of Glee

b. November 9, 1965

American film and television screenwriter, director, and producer. He is best known for creating/co-creating the television series Nip/Tuck, Glee, and American Horror Story.

Murphy started his career in television in 1999 with the teen comedy series Popular. The show aired on The WB for two seasons. He is the Golden Globe-winning creator of Nip/Tuck, which aired on FX and was both a commercial and critical hit. One of Murphy's current projects is the FOX musical comedy-drama Glee, co-created with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. In 2011, Murphy and Falchuk co-created the FX horror series American Horror Story, in which the Harmon family moves into a haunted mansion, which debuted on October 5, 2011.

Also in October 2011, it was announced that Murphy, along with Glee co-executive producer Ali Adler, would be co-creating a new half-hour comedy pilot that "centers on a gay couple and the surrogate who will carry their child". According to Entertainment Weekly, there was a bidding war between ABC, NBC, and FOX for the project, with the show going to NBC.

Murphy Murphy grew up in a Catholic household and continues to go to church.He serves on the National Advisory Board of the Young Storytellers Foundation. On June 17, 2011, Murphy announced his engagement to a man he had known for 15 years.

He was named at number 13 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011

Not afraid to tackle controversial issues as the creator of Nip/Tuck, former journalist Ryan put the singalong back into mainstream American TV by creating Glee. After two seasons, it’s one of the most watched shows across the world and has spawned more than 100 entries into the American singles chart. Ryan created gay character Kurt and quickly forced him to deal with a crush on a straight guy, wrestle with his sexuality, come out to his father and friends, and then kiss his first love. Phew! Who knows how he’ll follow that up in season three, but we’ll be watching.

November 10: Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin, Pioneer Lesbian Activists

Del Martin 
b. May 5, 1921
d. August 27, 2008
Phyllis Lyon 
b. November 10, 1924

"Two extraordinary people ... that have spent the greater part of a half century ... fighting for their right to live the way so many of us, frankly, take for granted."
 San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon founded the first lesbian organization in the United States and have fought for more than 50 years for the rights of lesbians and gays. On June 16, 2008, Martin and Lyon became the first gay couple to be legally married in California.

Martin and Lyon both earned degrees in journalism. While working as journalists in Seattle, the two became romantically involved. The couple relocated to San Francisco and moved in together on Valentine’s Day 1953.

In 1955, finding it hard to develop a social network in San Francisco, Martin, Lyon and a small group of women founded the first lesbian organization, called the Daughters of Bilitis. The name was inspired by Pierre Louys’s “Songs of Bilitis,” a collection of poems celebrating lesbian sexuality.

Though it was intended to be a secret society, Martin and Lyon wanted to make the Daughters of Bilitis more visible. The group began publishing a monthly magazine, called The Ladder, which was the first-ever lesbian publication. As editors of the magazine, they capitalized the word “lesbian” every time it appeared.

In 1964, while fighting to change California sex laws criminalizing homosexuals, the couple joined religious and gay community leaders to form the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH). This organization was at the forefront of the movement to gain religious support on gay rights issues. Both women served on the founding CRH board of directors.

In 2004, when gay marriage was offered in San Francisco, Martin and Lyon were the first to wed. A California appellate court ruling subsequently invalidated their marriage. Then in May 2008, a California Supreme Court decision provided same-sex couples the right to marry. On June 16, 2008, they were the first same-sex couple married in California. The wedding was officiated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Martin and Lyon have published two books together, “Lesbian/Woman” (1972) and “Lesbian Love and Liberation” (1973). On their 50th anniversary, the documentary “No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon” premiered. In 2005, the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association inducted Martin and Lyon into the LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame for their pioneering work on The Ladder. In 2007, they received the 2007 Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Pioneer Award.

Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon.” (The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Religious Archives Network).

Kornblum, Janet. “Gay Activists Blaze Trail for half century.”  USA Today. March 4, 2004

Streitmatter, Rodger.  “Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin.”  National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association: LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame.  June 5, 2008

Gordon, Rachel. “Lesbian Pioneer Activists See Wish Fulfilled.” San Francisco Chronicle. June 16, 2008

Marshall, Carolyn. “Dozens of Gay Couples Marry in San Francisco Ceremonies.” The New York Times. February 13, 2004

McKinley, Jesse. “Same-Sex Marriages Begin in California.” The New York Times. June 17, 2008

Lesbian love and liberation (The Yes book of sex) (1973)
Battered Wives (1976)

Other Resources

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Art of George Quaintance

The Art of Charles Demuth

October 8th is the anniversary of the death of the painter, Charles Demuth, one of the earliest artists in this country to expose his gay identity through forthright, positive depictions of homosexual desire.

"Turkish Bath With Self-Portrait"

Sailors Dancing

Twelve Nude Boys at the Beach

Three Sailors

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Tammy Baldwin, first openly lesbian senator

b. February 11, 1962
“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now O.K. to express ourselves publicly.We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.”

 A self-proclaimed “forceful supporter of civil rights and those whose voices are not heard,” Baldwin spearheaded efforts to pass inclusive hate crimes legislation and the Employment Non- Discrimination Act (ENDA). 
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is the first out lesbian elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. As of 2011, she was one of four openly gay members and the first openly gay non-incumbent elected to Congress. In November 2012, she won election to the US Senate election for Wisconsin. In doing so, she became the first openly lesbian or gay US senator.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Baldwin was raised by her mother and maternal grandparents. She graduated from high school at the top of her class and attended Smith College, where she majored in government and mathematics.

In 1986, Baldwin was elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors, her first public office. During this time, she earned her degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. After practicing law from 1989 to 1992, she won a seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

In 1998, Baldwin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, making her the first congresswoman from Wisconsin. She was elected to her sixth term in 2008. She serves on the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee of Energy and Commerce and on the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties of the Committee of the Judiciary.

Baldwin is a leading advocate for universal health care, as well as a proponent of renewable fuel sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A self-proclaimed “forceful supporter of civil rights and those whose voices are not heard,” Baldwin spearheaded efforts to pass inclusive hate crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). She has authored legislation that would extend benefits for same-sex partners to federal employees.

Baldwin lives with her partner, Lauren Azar.
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Discrimination no longer an electoral asset

November 6th 2012 was a great day for LGBT political progress to equality, at all levels of American government.

Marriage ballots

Voters had never before approved marriage equality in a direct ballot, but this week they did so in four states simultaneously. In Maine, they reversed a ballot decision from 2009, re-instating the law passed earlier that year. In Maryland and Maine, they approved the legislation that had been passed earlier by the state legislatures, and that had been stalled by opponents belief that voters would overturn it. In  Minnesota, voters resisted attempts to entrench marriage discrimination in the state constitution.

This will embolden new marriage initiatives from state legislatures and citizens' ballot propositions, to upgrade civil unions to full marriage, to introduce civil unions where they are not yet available, or to overturn existing constitutional bans. Keep an eye on Rhode Island, Illinois, Delaware, Hawaii, Oregon, and Colorado.

The resounding voter support will also send a strong message to the justices of the Supreme Court, as they decide on how to respond to the assorted appeals - on Proposition 8 in California, and challenges to DOMA. If they decide not to consider the appeal on the Proposition 8 ruling, it will stand. Proposition H8 will have been overturned, and marriage equality will return to the state. If they do take up the issue, they may well agree with the lower court, that Proposition 8 was invalid - but if not, voters will surely take up the issue, as they did in Maine - and will win. Either way, marriage equality will return, and within the next year or two. We just cannot say how, or when.


Washington will have its largest queer delegation yet. Tammy Baldwin is the first LGBT person elected to the Senate, and three gay men joined two incumbents as congressmen: Mark Takano in California 41, Sean Patrick Maloney in New York, and Mark Pocan in Wisconsin 02.  Kyrsten Sinema in  Arizona 09 became the first openly bisexual Representative elected. Together with the existing Reps Jared Polis (Colorado) and David Cicilline (Rhode Island), that's a total delegation of seven, spanning the East Coast, Midwest, Southwest and West Coast.


The big news and headlines have concentrated on the national results, but it is at state and local levels that many of the decisions are made that affect our lives most directly - and there are some really interesting stories lower down the ballot. 

  • In Minnesota, where Republicans in the  state legislature, with Catholic bishops as cheerleaders, initiated the proposed constitutional ban, the GOP lost both houses of the state legislature.
  • In New York, where the NOM and the rest of the religious right went after four GOP state senators who supported gay marriage last year, the Republicans appear to have lost the state senate, which they have held for years. (One key race has not yet been settled, but the Democrat holds a still lead).
  • In Iowa, where the Democrats control the state senate and have resisted attempts to initiate a repeal of gay marriage, the Republicans failed in a determined attempt to take control. Also in Iowa, where two years ago voters unseated three of the judges who had ruled in favour of gay marriage, this year a similar conservative assault on a fourth judge failed. Same - sex marriage in Iowa is here to stay.
  • In Colorado, where the GOP Speaker of the state House blocked a bill for civil unions that would have passed simply by refusing to allow a vote, the Democrats have regained control. Speaker McNulty will soon be ex-Speaker, and is likely to be replaced by  - an openly gay man. Expect civil unions, or even full marriage equality, to feature high on his to-do list for 2013.

This will send a strong message to the opponents of equality in other state legislatures. The National Organisation for Marriage and their allies had promised to demonstrate that Republican support for equality would damage their careers. The reverse is true - it's discrimination, not support for LGBT equality, that is now an electoral liability.

As recently as 2004 the Republican strategist Karl Rove prompted Republicans in key states to put up gay marriage bans in the federal election. The object was to anger the base and draw Christian conservatives and religious black voters out to the polls, and in so doing bolster the vote for George Bush jnr. It worked, and for a time some Republicans believed they could use fear of gay marriage to maintain a permanent majority.
The results across America on Tuesday night appear to put the notion to rest 
- Sydney Morning Herald

State House election gains:

The electoral gains at congressional level were repeated right down the ballot. Gay Politics reports that
Seven state legislatures gained their first or only openly LGBT state lawmakers this year, including North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, New Mexico, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida, which went from zero to two gay legislators.  And in Oregon and Colorado, state legislative election results have positioned two out lawmakers to become House Speakers.
Those supported by the Victory Fund and elected included:

California - Senate
  • Ricardo Lara
  • Mark Leno

California - State Assembly
  • Tom Ammiano
  • Toni Atkins
  • Susan Eggman
  • Richard Gordon
  • John Perez

Colorado - Senate
  • Jessie Ulibarri
  • Patrick Steadman

Colorado - State House of Representatives
  • Dominick Moreno
  • Paul Rosenthal
  • Mark Ferrandino
  • Joann Ginal
  • Sue Schafer

Florida - State House of Representatives
  • Joe Saunders
  • Dave Richardson-State House of Representatives

Georgia - State House of Representatives
  • Simone Bell
  • Karla Drenner
  • Keisha Sean Waites

Illinois - State House of Representatives
  • Deb Mell
  • Sam Yingling
  • Kelly Cassidy

Massachusetts - State House of Representatives
  • Denise Andrews
  • KateHogan
  • Carl Sciortino
  • Sarah Peake

Maine -  State House of Representatives
  • Justin Chenette
  • Andrew McLean
  • Matt Moonen
  • Terry Morrison

Minnesota - State House of Representatives
  • MN-Scott Dibble

Minnesota -  State House of Representatives
  • Susan Allen

Missouri -  State House of Representatives
  • Mike Colona

Montana -State Senate
  • Christine Kaufmann

Montana-State House of Representatives
  • Bryce Bennett

North Carolina -State House of Representatives
  • Marcus Brandon

North Dakota - State House of Representatives
  • Joshua Boschee

New Hampshire -State Senate
  • David Pierce

New Hampshire -Executive Council
  • Chris Pappas

New Mexico - State Senate
  • Jacob Candelaria

Nevada - State Senate
  • NV-David Parks

Nevada - State Assembly
  • James Healey
  • Andrew Martin

New York- State Senate
  • NY-Brad Hoylman

New York - State Assembly
  • Harry Bronson
  • Matthew Titone
  • Danny O’Donnell

Ohio - State House of Representatives
  • Tim Brown
  • Nickie Antonio

Oklahoma - State Senate
  • Al McAffrey

Oklahoma - State House of Representatives
  • Kay Floyd

Oregon - Secretary of State
  • Kate Brown

Oregon - State Supreme Court
  • Virginia Linder

Oregon - State House of Representatives
  • Tina Kotek

Pennsylvania - State House of Representatives
  • Brian Sims

Rhode Island-State Senate
Donna Nesselbush
Rhode Island-State House of Representatives
  • Gordon Fox
  • Deb Ruggiero
  • Frank Ferri

South Dakota -State Senate
  • Angie Buhl

Texas - State House of Representatives
  • Mary Gonzalez

Vermont -State House of Representatives
  • Herb Russell 
  • Matt Trieber
  • Suzi Wizowaty

Washington -State House of Representatives
  • Jamie Pederson
  • Marko Liias
  • Jim Moeller
  • Wisconsin

WI - State Assembly
  • JoCasta Zamarripa

West Virginia -State House of Delegates
  • Stephen Skinner

Wyoming -State House of Representatives

  • Cathy Connolly

That's a long list, but it's incomplete. There will be more who should be added: there are others who did not seek or accept help from the Victory Fund, some races are still not yet decided (pending absentee or provisional vote counting, and recounts), and others may have been omitted in simple error. 

Then there's a whole slew of new representatives elected still lower down - ballot, at local level - but I'm not going into that. See the complete list (including also the candidates who lost) at Gay Politics' Victory Fund Celebrates Huge Night for Gay Candidates

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Monday, 5 November 2012

Andrew Hayden-Smith (1983 - ), UK. Actor/ TV Presenter

b. 5 November 1983

British actor and television presenter best known for his work with CBBC.

He was named at number 25 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011
In 2004, ex-Byker Grove actor and CBBC presenter Andrew did the unthinkable for a young man on kids’ TV – he told the world he was gay. At the risk of being outed by a newspaper, he beat the tabloids to the punch and did an interview with Attitude magazine. “Coming out is pretty scary,” admits Andrew. “It’s bad enough when you’re almost certain that the majority of people around you will be totally cool with it. I was 21 and presenting kids TV at the time and was commended for what everyone kept saying was such a brave step.” It did his career no harm, and he’s proved an inspiration – and eye candy – for young gay men across the country. Andrew’s appeared regularly on stage and in Doctor Who. And best of all, he’s a contributor to Different Scene! Read Andrew’s Different Scene Posts Here.

Senator Penny Wong (1968 – ) Australian.  Politician

b.  5 November 1968

Australian Labor Party senator for South Australia and the Federal Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Wong is the first openly gay member of the Australian federal cabinet, and the first Asian-born federal minister.

Born in Malayaysia, she arrived in Australia as a child. As an immigrant from a minority ethnic group, she faced many difficulties (including at times direct racial abuse)but overcame these, to forge a successful career in law, as a barrister and solicitor in Adelaide and an adviser to the Carr Government in New South Wales, before entering politics. She has been open about her sexuality since 2002, and was the first sitting member of the Australian Labor Party to "come out" while still in parliament.

In August 2011, she announced that she and her partner, Sophie Allouache,are expecting a baby. The child was conceived by IVF with the help of an anonymous sperm donor, but done outside of her home state of South Australia, where IVF treatment for gay couples is illegal. Nevertheless, the news made hardly a ripple in Australia - a measure of how easily gay and lesbian relationships are now accepted in Australia. Although the influence of the Catholic Church is strong and Australia remains a generally socially conservative country, it has also become a very tolerant country, content to leave decisions on personal morality as just that - strictly personal.

Wong was named by the Australian LGBT site "Same Same" as one of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians. In 2007, 2008, and 2010. Controversially, she was initially reluctant to go against her party's officially declared stance against same-sex marriage - which may explain her otherwise surprising ommission from the list in 2009. She has since dropped her reluctance, and has become a firm advocate for changing the party policy (which it may well do at the federal conference in December 2011). Her entry on the Same Same website notes that subsequently, as soon as nominations opened for the 2010 list, nominations for Wong came pouring in.


Penny Wong , Wikipedia
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Viral video calls for equal rights of gay parents

Director Mike Buonaiuto questions why same-sex parent families go unrecognised in Europe

Today (5 November) sees the launch of a new campaign focusing on gay parenting rights throughout Europe.

The short film, entitled Invisible Parents, features the voice of a woman reminiscing about a happy childhood with her two fathers, before stating that the majority of Europe does not recognize families with gay parents.

The film is directed by Mike Buonaiuto, the man behind Homecoming, the video that went viral earlier this year. Invisible Parents launches to coincide with the UK's National Adoption Week.

Michael Cashman, Member of European Parliament, is fully supporting the campaign.

He said: 'Gay and lesbian parents can often find themselves legally invisible in a large percentage of the continent, putting their entire family in a very vulnerable situation especially with regard to healthcare, holidays or family legal systems.

Olympic heroes top Pink List of Britain's power gays

Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams is number one in list of 101 most influential LGBT people


Olympic athletes and sports figures top this year's Pink List of the UK's most powerful gays and lesbians.

With London 2012 still fresh in many people's memories, British heroes from the Games dominate the top five in The Independent on Sunday's rundown of the 101 LGBT movers and shakers.

Olympic gold medal-winning boxer, Nicola Adams, topped the 13th annual list at number one, while Paralympian and Olympic equestrians Lee Pearson and Carl Hestor were at number four and five.

Lesbian sports commentator Clare Balding was listed at number two, while gay rights activist Peter Tatchell is the only non-sporting figure to make the top five at number three.

The veteran human rights champion is commended for his bravery in campaigns from tackling neo-Nazis and President Mugabe to taking on the British parliament.

Boxer Adams said: ‘It’s amazing to be on the list of such an inspiring and influential people, 2012 continues to be a great year for me so thanks to everyone for their continued support.'

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Terrence McNally (1939 – ) US Playwright / Screenwriter / Librettist.

b. 3rd November, 1939

American playwright who has received four Tony Awards, an Emmy, and numerous others awards.

 What the gay movement is really about is being yourself. You must be yourself, else you risk becoming invisible.

In the 1990's, Terrence McNally emerged as the best-known, and possibly the greatest, American gay playwright since Tennessee Williams, largely on the back of a series of plays dealing with the AIDS epidemic - The Lisbon Traviata (1985, rev. 1989); Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991); A Perfect Ganesh (1993); and Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994), as well as in the Emmy-award-winning Andre's Mother (1988, televised 1990).

This success though was the culmination of a long career going back to 1964, when his first play, "Things that go bump in the night" met with a decidedly frosty critical reception, and played only 12 nights.  The intervening years were filled with hard graft, a steady stream of output, an ability to learn and improve his craft, and growing critical recognition.

McNally has spoken of the importance of honesty and coming out early in his personal life, and has never shirked from putting gay characters and gay life characters on stage, even long before it became commonly accepted to do so. (The Ritz was set in a gay bathhouse). Two major themes are the difficulties people find in making human connections between each other (and the importance of the search for those connections), and
the power of art (especially opera, and by implication, the theatre) to help us to make these connections, by breaking down the walls that divide us.

In 1997, McNally stirred up a storm of controversy with Corpus Christi, a modern day retelling of the story of Jesus' birth, ministry, and death in which both he and his disciples are portrayed as homosexual. In fact, the play was initially canceled because of death threats from extremist religious groups against the board members of the Manhattan Theatre Club which was to produce the play. However, several other playwrights such as Tony Kushner threatened to withdraw their plays if Corpus Christi was not produced, and the board finally relented. When the play opened, the theatre was besieged by almost 2,000 protesters, furious at what they considered blasphemy.

In spite of the big themes he addresses in his plays, McNally insists that he does not set out to write plays about issues: his primary concern is to write characters - because that is what audiences pay to come and see.

In addition to his major work in the theatre, McNally has also written the books for musicals and screenplays, and in opera

Selected Plays:

Sweet Eros (1968)
Next (1969)
Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone? (1971)
Bad Habits (1974)
The Ritz (1975)
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1982)
Andre's Mother (1988)
The Lisbon Traviata (1989)
Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991)
Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994)
By The Sea, By The Sea, By The Beautiful Sea (1995)
Master Class (1995)
Corpus Christi (1998)
Some Men (2006)
Deuce (2007)
The Golden Age (2010)