Australian Man Tries to Kick Dog Wearing Pro-Marriage Equality Bandana

A cute canine unwittingly found himself at the center of Australia’s heated same-sex marriage debate when a stranger tried to attack him for wearing a pro-equality bandana.

Claire Sutherland, an opinion editor for News Corp., tweeted on Wednesday that “some mouth-breathing cretin in the park tried to kick [her] dog” the prior evening. Sutherland’s dog walker took her rescue, Mack, for a stroll to the local off-leash dog park in Melbourne. Mack went up to a stranger for a sniff and a pet. Sutherland tells INTO that the man “took a swing at him” with his foot and missed.

That’s when the unidentified assailant, described as a “normal” looking guy in his 30s or 40s, began to verbally harass the dog walker. He called her a “degenerate” and a “perverted f****ng poofter,” the latter is a pejorative slang term used to target gay men.

When Sutherland met her dog walker 20 minutes after the incident, she claims the woman was “still shaken.”

“I was pretty shocked,” Sutherland says in a phone interview. “I wondered when I put [the bandana] on if I would get any negative comments, but it didn’t occur to me that someone would actually try and kick Mack. Surely they must know he didn’t tie it on himself.”

Sutherland, who wrote about the altercation in an op-ed for the Herald Sun, says that she figured that the marriage equality fight would “bring out the odd idiot here or there.” But she didn’t expect the backlash the plebiscite has elicited. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in August that Australia would hold a nonbinding vote on same-sex marriage, the results of which will advise lawmakers on whether to introduce a legalization bill.

Final numbers will be released in November. Parliament, however, doesn’t have to take the public’s recommendation.

Prior to the plebiscite’s announcement, LGBTQ advocates warned that putting civil rights up to a vote could be harmful for the country’s queer and trans population. Recent headlines have borne out their fears. A home in Brisbane covered in rainbow flags was targeted with swastika graffiti earlier this month. Leaflets distributed by “No” campaigners have referred to LGBTQ people as “child abusers” and “terrorists.”

Sutherland claims that the campaign to block same-sex marriage has warned that legalizing marriage equality would be the end of free speech. If an equality bill passes, opponents say that Australians will be “prosecuted” just for expressing the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

“They’ve run this scare campaign that I think has been quite effective,” Sutherland says, although she notes that both sides have been responsible for their share of attacks.

She adds that the increasing toxicity of the debate has been “very disheartening.”

“I’ve always thought of the majority of Australians as people who are fairly live and let live,” Sutherland claims. “I haven’t changed my mind about that. But I’m kind of embarrassed about the world seeing the things that have been going on. I feel like this whole country needs a good talking to.”

As a straight woman, Sutherland says she’s been “very privileged not to experience discrimination or abuse like this” on a daily basis. She claims that the incident has given a “tiny, tiny little taste” of what the LGBTQ community is going through.

If there’s one positive outcome of the incident, it’s that Sutherland has received “overwhelming” support in the days since her tweet went viral. Her post has been favorited on Twitter over 17,000 times. In response, followers have been tweeting Sutherland photos of their pets under the #DoggosForYes hashtag.

But Sutherland says that Mack, who was adopted five years ago from a shelter, is doing just fine. She explains that the experience was “awful,” but she’s most worried for her dog walker, who was subjected to this homophobic abuse.

If nothing else, Sutherland hopes that the public outcry will inspire Australians to be a little kinder to each other.

“I never imagined it would get this much attention, but it really struck a chord,” Sutherland says. “I think it’s because it was about a dog. We all love dogs, and that’s something we can be united onwhatever side of the fence you’re on.”

Living For: Nate Makuch

“Here’s some art.”

Nate Makuch’s Instagram bio is, in a word, droll. It’s also fittingthe same dry sense of humor displayed in that blunt introduction is ever-present in his imaginative and funny-as-hell designs.

Makuch’s flying dildos, foreskin fairies, and sexy bottles of ranch have us stanning for obvious reasons, but his playful 3D creations have also landed him on the radar of mainstream brands like MTV, which commissioned him for a commercial spot earlier this year.

Check out Makuch’s work and our interview below, where he proves just as funny and charming as the crazy shit he dreams up.

bless me ranch daddy, for i have sinned

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How would you describe what you make?

Not-so-subtly-homoerotic net art

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up doing what you do?

I always loved making art, but I was impatient and didn’t like drawing. That’s, like, prohibitively bad if you want to be an artist. I went into graphic design in college and found joy in that, but design often means executing other people’s ideas, which gets old after a while.

A few years ago I discovered 3D software, and that really changed things for me. I didn’t have to draw, I didn’t have to study how to replicate natural light sources. I could just make what came into my mind and not focus on the physical minutiae. It was euphoric to realize I had discovered a medium that worked for me, and I still consider my artistic career to be in its infancy.

with just a hint of passive aggression

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Talk us through the process of creating something.

Normally I think of ideas as I’m falling asleep. It’s a free space to let your mind wander because you aren’t beholden to creating anything in that moment. Sometimes it’s hard to sit down at a computer and be like “ok, time to make some art!” So as I drift off I’ll write down my thoughts and I keep a running list.

Sometimes I’ll concept and create an entire piece in 24 hours, other times an idea will sit with me for a year until I realize what it needed. I don’t sketch or anything. I prefer trial and error. It mostly ends up being error, but it’s not like anyone gets to see the terabytes of nonsense I have on my computer.

p. 1/5 of my new series for @electricobjects

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How does sexuality influence your work?

I spent a lot of my life feeling ashamed of who I was. As I get older, I use that as motivation. It’s cathartic to take ownership over something that once caused so much pain. I think that’s why a lot of my work has an element of humor; I spent so long taking everything so seriously. Now I just make foreskin art and wonder why it took me so long to do that.

The juxtaposition of classical antiquity and technology is a recurring theme in your work. What interests you about that contrast?

That was actually part of a series I created for Electric Objects. I love when people say millennials need to get off their phones. When books first became widely circulated, young people loved them and the phenomenon was described as “reading mania.” Young people were believed to be addicted to books. Our phones are nothing different; just a means of disseminating ideas. You better believe that if King David had an iPhone he for sure would have sent some biblical dick pics.

part of a balanced breakfast

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3D artists have gained a lot of popularity through Instagram. How has the platform impacted your work and process?

Instagram really helped me feel like I have an audience. I don’t think it impacts what I create, but it has impacted my motivation. Knowing that there’s the potential for a decent amount of people to view my work has allowed my art to transform from a hobby to something more substantial.

What opportunities has your work brought you so far?

I’ve gotten work through my art and I’ve been in a couple group shows, but the most significant impact has been personal.

Any brands you’ve collaborated with?

MTV, Interscope Records (Gwen Stefani), Electric Objects, Giphy.

it is saturday and i am feeling

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What are you working on now?

I just wrapped up a project for Maroon 5’s new album which should go live soon.

What do you hope to achieve with your work?

I’m not sure I’m always conscious of the message I hope to convey, but I think it has to do with relating to people. I think my pieces tend to be like visual tweets – brief ideas that contribute to the conversation people are having.

Where can people see more?

Follow me on Instagram @natemakuch please i need friends.

friday night and the lights are low

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Is Jack McFarland a Twunk or a Daddy?

What happens to a twink deferred? Does he dry up like a daddy in the sun?

Last night, legendary sitcom Will & Grace returned to NBC to beaucoup viewers, by the way and with it, television’s most high-profile femme, Jack McFarland.

While ageism in America might dictate that a gay man in his late forties should be sexless, much to the delight of me and many others, Jack was still a very sexual animal. Within the episode’s runtime, he looked for guys on Grindr (and made a kinda stigmatizing herpes joke!) and chatted up a Secret Service agent (don’t ask!).

All this begs the question, how do we classify Jack? Yes, labels are bad and we shouldn’t use them, but it’s a fun thought experiment and I want to know. Is Jack a daddy or a twunk?

For those who don’t know, twunk is the word for a twink who’s aged like a fine roquefort. Daddy definitely has the connotation of a dashing older man, but it’s 2017 and I called a 23-year-old a daddy in a text the other day! What a brave new world.

So, what do you think? Is Jack a twunk, or is he full daddy?

Here’s Who Should Play Cher In The Upcoming Cher Musical

Did you hear that Cher’s getting her very own musical? I know, right?? Snap out of it! Cher reference! Show me how ya burlesque!!

The New York Times reports that the legendary diva between all of the good songs and even some of the bad ones will be getting the jukebox musical treatment in 2018.

“The Cher Show,” hitting Chicago next June and then Broadway in the fall, will be structured like a variety show, à la “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour,” and will feature as many as 40 of the entertainer’s most popular tracks. Cher’s onstage role will be split into three different characters, each played by a different actress.

“We have been discussing this musical for 10 years,” Cher said in a statement to the Times. “It’s exciting and scary.”

That’s all the factual information we have for now, so let’s speculate wildly about things that may or may not happen!!!! Here’s who we think should play each of the three different Chers.

Cher 1: Cher

I mean, come on. Cher has an Oscar! She’s still got those Grammy-winning pipes! Besides, who knows Cher better than Cher herself?

Cher 2: Cher

Not casting Cher twice in a musical about Cher? Right in front of my salad??

Cher 3: Bella Thorne

We really think she’s got what it takes!!!

Roy Moore Is Dangerous And The Right Has No Moral Center Anymore

Early Thursday morning, the president of the United States offered the umpteenth reminder that what he lacks in principle, he makes up for in desperate clinging to any entity that, at present moment, looks like a winner. After his preferred candidate for the GOP Senate primary in Alabama, Luther Strange, suffered a double-digit loss to Judge Roy Moore, Sweet Potato Saddam took to his preferred method of pronunciations, Twitter, to tweet the following: “Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to#MAGA!”

It’s surprising to see 45 take this long to become so chummy with Moore. After all, they have so much in common. Like 45, Moore held the “personal belief” that former President Obama was not born in the United States — the racist conspiracy theory that gave 45 his first taste of political legitimacy. Like 45, Moore has a contemptuous attitude towards Islam and Muslims, branding it a “false religion.” And like 45, Moore has a flair for delivering racist inflammatory rhetoric to crowds like a dog owner flinging treats to a pet dying to be fed. In a campaign speech this month, Moore declared, “We have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting.”

Although 45 and Moore are ardent bigots, Moore verbalizes his prejudices in ways that almost make the sitting president seem modest by comparison. However, Moore’s likely ascension to the Senate (it is not improbable, but nonetheless highly unlikely that his Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, defeats him in December’s general election) could not have been possible if not for the white supremacist currently occupying the White House. Moore has been twice removed from the state’s Supreme Court for putting his religious beliefs ahead of the rule of law. Moore has unsuccessfully run twice for the governorship of Alabama.

Even if he didn’t endorse Roy Moore the first time, 45 is the reason why is he well on his way to becoming the next senator representing the state of Alabama. As a Black man, I’m horrified by the idea of yet another unabashed racist being given this degree of power. As a Black man who is also a gay man, I’m terrified that Roy Moore will be able to continue espousing his homophobic rhetoric with the platform and stature that comes with being a U.S. senator.

Moore loathes many different sects of society – non-white people, non-Christians, women who want autonomy over their bodies – but over decades, his most outlandish statements have been aimed squarely at members of the LGBTQ community.

After 9/11, Judge Roy Moore claimed the terrorist attacks happened because the United States had turned away from God and had taken steps to “legitimize sodomy.” Judge Roy Moore believes marriage equality will “literally cause the destruction of our country or lead to the destruction of our country over the long run.” In fact, nine months after he instructed Alabama’s probate judges to defy federal court orders on same-sex marriage, Moore, then chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was suspended. Not only does Moore condemn marriage equality, he firmly believes that “homosexual acts” should be illegal and has often compared them to bestiality. In 2015, when asked if homosexuality is a crime punishable by death, Moore said he didn’t have an opinion on it.

Settle on that for a spell: this Yosemite Sam (thank you for nailing his description, CB) looking sum’bitch couldn’t answer a question as to whether or not gay people deserve to die for their sexuality.

But, he has managed to allege that trans people have a mental disorder and anyone who dares to confront his opposition to marriage equality should mirror the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.

Despite 45’s past support of LGBTQ rights as a private citizen, as president, he’s already proven that we are expendable. That’s because he has no real ideology; he merely ebbs and flows with whom or what is “winning” and narcissistically attaches himself to it for the sake of sharing that same winning shimmer. The same can be said of elected Republicans, who are collectively feigning amnesia about Moore and his incendiary statements while still professing support for him. It’s all for the sake of maximizing power.

Moore is a true believer, though. He actually believes the things he says. He will not compromise. If anything, he will harden in his stances and do everything in his power to make sure those he finds immoral will suffer the damnation he thinks we deserve in the afterlife while we’re still breathing.

And the GOP, they simply all look away. What does it matter to them so long as they get their tax cuts? They don’t understand that the monsters they keep making will soon turn on them. Steve Bannon, who, along with his financial backer the Mercer family, played a pivotal role in Moore’s win. Bannon has already said he will further pollute our government and society by propagating more men like Judge Roy Moore.

The president and the establishment Republicans he now aligns himself with have long coddled the crazies for the sake of a win. Now, they’re turning on them and winning despite being indecent, improper, and incredibly imbecile. Anyone who is not a white, straight male Christian should be alarmed because each time they win, our lives become all the more endangered because to them, we serve as both the losers and their prime targets.

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Used Her Breast Cancer Announcement to Advocate for Universal Health Care

Julia Louis-Dreyfus shared with the world on Thursday morning that she has breast cancer. But, she also used the opportunity to advocate for anyone in the United States who has ever faced an illness.

“1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one,” Louis-Dreyfus wrote on Twitter. “The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.”

Since her announcement, the tweet has been retweeted over 50,000 times. The multiple Emmy winner’s hopes may be closer to coming true than ever before. Fifteen Democratic members of Congress recently threw their support behind a universal health care bill. As of June, a majority of Americans also believe that it’s the federal government’s responsibility to supply its citizens with health care.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, we wish you well. Thank you for being a Comedy Queen for the people!

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Who Wanted This Hocus Pocus Remake Without the Original Cast?

OK, let’s just say it: there are probably more Sanderson sisters than there are people who want to see a Hocus Pocus remake featuring zero members of the original cast.

And yet, that’s exactly what we’re getting. According to Deadline, Disney Channel is in the early stages of developing a “reimagining” ugh of the 1993 cult classic with a new cast and new director.

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What’s most confusing about this whole catastrophe is that several members of the original cast have said that they’d gladly be a part of a sequel.

“I think we’ve all been fairly vocal about being very keen, but that hasn’t created any ground swell of movement,” Sarah Jessica Parker said in an interview with Andy Cohen.

What must we do to make this stop? Do we need a virgin to light something?

Let’s just forget this is happening and listen to Sarah Jessica Parker sing “Come Little Children,” don’t you agree?

This Chicago Drag Queen Has Been Suspended by Facebook for Calling Out Racism

A Chicago drag queen has been suspended from Facebook for calling out racism in the drag community.

Drag artist Lucy Stoole posted on Tuesday afternoon about attacks against Soju, a K-pop inspired performer also based in the Windy City. In a video posted to YouTube, Soju says that she was subjected to a series of racist attacks by Monikkie Shame, a goth queen from Seattle. She referred to Soju as a “chink” and an “Asian faggot” in August 2016.

“Good luck being single forever with your shitty name, your shitty drag, and your acne-covered face,” Shame said at the time. “I would hate to be your parents.”

Soju posted the video after Shame was tapped to appear on the second season of Dragula, a Fear Factor-like web series in which contestants are subjected to macabre challenges like eating bugs and being buried alive.

But even before Soju’s video went live, Stoole called out the hateful comments in a Facebook post. The 33-year-old wrote that she hopes “that racist trash bag goes home first.”

Stoole tells INTO in an exclusive interview that she discovered her account had been suspended shortly after her status “started a firestorm” in the drag community. When Stoole logged into Facebook, the black bearded queen received a notification saying that her post was “bullying” and “violates community standards.” She would subsequently be blocked from posting or commenting for three days.

“That was pretty shocking to me,” Stoole says in a phone interview. “This person who had been an actual bully and a racist had not been blocked at all. And I was locked out of my account for saying something about it.”

Soju says that seeing Stoole’s post is what gave her the “courage” to speak up about the racism she experienced in the first place.

“Having Lucy stand up for me and the Asian community was important,” she tells INTO over the phone. “It made feel really protected and like there was strong support for me. As a fellow Chicago drag queen, Lucy has always stood up to bigotry and racism. She’s never afraid to voice her opinion.”

After the queens called out Shame’s racist comments, she subsequently apologized on her page, calling her remarks “hurtful and rude.” The drag performer claims that the incident reflects a “dark point” in her life and that she doesn’t “condone racism.”

But even after Shame’s mea culpa, Stoole’s account remains suspended.

This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened to Stoole, a well-known female impersonator in the Chicago scene. Recently referred to as the “mother hen” of the city’s drag community, she will be appearing Thursday night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon as a backup dancer for Charli XCX.

Her outspoken image, though, has made her a frequent target of Facebook’s moderators. She’s been blocked in the past for harmless behavior. Previous infractions, Stoole claims, include posting a picture of her butt.

Soju claims that the targeting is unwarranted. She has called on Facebook to reevaluate their moderation policies and reinstate Stoole’s account.

“It’s not right,” she says. “I don’t understand how Facebook blocks people. If they actually saw the status, they would know what Lucy was talking about. If it’s so easy for people to report other users just because they don’t like what they’re saying, then I think Facebook needs to do a better job of figuring out what’s real and what’s fake.”

This is only the most recent example, however, of Facebook coming under fire for how the social media platform moderates its LGBTQ userbase.

Numerous lesbian users reported earlier this year that the website had blocked them for using the word “dyke,” a slur that has been reclaimed by the lesbian community. An Australia chapter of Dykes on Bikes allegedly had their account suspended because of their name, while at least two Facebook users report being suspended for posting about the Alison Bechdel comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.

The drag community has been at the center of the debate over moderation since Facebook instituted its controversial “real names” policy in 2014. Performers claimed that the rule discriminated against them by not allowing them to use their stage names.

Soju argues that these policies aren’t just discriminatory. They make it difficult for drag queens to earn a living.

“Clubs see us on social media and direct message us to book us,” she says. “When you shut us down like that, we’re not able to get bookings. So if Facebook blocks us just because some haters report us, they’re shutting down our business. That’s not OK.”

Facebook has claimed that the company is working to address these issues, but moderating a platform that counts more than 2 billion users presents challenges. The center that monitors user complaints, which is located in the Philippines, employers over 100,000 workers. Each of these employees reviews thousands of flagged posts each day. Because complaints come from all over the world, sometimes the nuances are lost in translation.

But as Facebook works to address the needs of a diverse community, Stoole says that being banned from her page feels like a “slap in the face.”

“It actually was really upsetting to me,” she claims. “It brings up so many emotions that I’ve had to deal with since I was six years old, starting school and hearing people use derogatory words for the first time. The more I think about it, it’s just another instance of my black voice being silenced for speaking up for myself or other people of color.”

Stoole says her ban will be lifted on either Friday or Saturday.

CDC Acknowledges that Undetectable People Don’t Transmit HIV

Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have caught up with what many in the HIV community already knew to be true: HIV-positive people who are undetectable do not transmit HIV to their partners.

In a memo released recognizing National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the CDC acknowledged the updated science about the benefits of being on successful HIV treatment.

“Scientific advances have shown that antiretroviral therapy (ART) preserves the health of people living with HIV,” the memo reads. “We also have strong evidence of the prevention effectiveness of ART. When ART results in viral suppression, defined as less than 200 copies/ml or undetectable levels, it prevents sexual HIV transmission.”

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In a statement to HIV Plus, Bruce Richman, executive director of UequalsU.org and the Prevention Access Campaign, said, “This is the moment we have been waiting for! The CDC agreed today there is ‘effectively no risk‘ of sexually transmitting HIV when on treatment and undetectable.”

The CDC’s official recognition could do wonders for HIV stigma, still one of the biggest problems that HIV-positive people face in the year 2017. This information could also potentially make an impact on several states’ antiquated, draconian HIV criminalization laws, which effectively treat HIV-positive people as public health problems.

Nearly 50 People Imprisoned Without Trial in Azerbaijan Anti-Gay Crackdown

Forty-eight people are currently being held in administrative detention in Azerbaijan following a crackdown on the LGBTQ community by police.

These prisoners were denied a fair trial and the right to choose their own legal counsel, according to a Thursday report from Amnesty International. The human rights group describes the sentencing, which was not made accessible to the public, as a kangaroo court. After being accused of “resisting the police’s legitimate orders,” the defendants were found guilty of all charges “without any further evidence.”

Authorities have claimed that the anti-LGBTQ sting operation, in which detainees were allegedly beaten and tortured, was not motivated by the sexual orientation of the accused. They say it was intended to target prostitution in the capital of Baku.

A representative from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs told media that the arrests were a result of numerous complaints from local residents, claiming that the detainees had not been “respecting others around them.” He said that those apprehended by authorities posed a risk to public health, alleging that a majority are HIV-positive and could spread the virus to other people.

The arrests were made to “protect national moral values,” an anonymous official added in an interview with the Caucasian Knot, a local newspaper.

Human rights activists tell a very different story. Javid Nabiyev, president of Nefes LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance, claims in a Facebook video that the LGBTQ community is “confused” and afraid they “might be arrested [at] anytime on the street.”

“Even existence of this fear is a big problem,” he continues.

Tarah Demant, director of the gender, sexuality, and identity program at Amnesty International, also questions the account provided by Azerbaijani official. She tells INTO in an email that the raids were “a thin veneer for criminalizing LGBTQ people for simply beingor appearing to beLGBTQ.”

“These raids, arrests, and ‘convictions’ seem to be specifically targeted at LGBTQ people simply because of their identity,” she claims.

Although homosexuality is legal in the majority Muslim nation, Azerbaijan has an extremely volatile relationship with its LGBTQ community. In 2015, ILGA’s yearly “Rainbow Europe” report ranked the country of 10 million people as the worst for queer and trans rights on the continent. It placed lower than Armenia and Russia.

Many advocates have compared the assault on Azerbaijan’s LGBTQ community to Chechnya, where gay men were rounded up and placed into concentration camps earlier this year in a campaign to “exterminate” them. Reports from Baku allege that detainees have been forced to hand over the names of other LGBTQ community members or authorities will out them to their families. Transgender women have had their heads forcibly shaved following arrest.

Human rights groups have called upon police to release the LGBTQ prisoners immediately, but politicians appear unmoved by the criticism.

“Defending these creatures, who are sources of immorality, dangerous diseases and who have been cursed by God, Western circles [are] trying to destruct of our national traditions under the name of ‘human rights,’” Ayaz Efendiyev, a representative of the country’s Justice Party, has said.