Janet Mock Had a Creepy Morgan Freeman Experience a Few Years Ago

Archived video footage from Entertainment Tonight (ET) has surfaced that shows Morgan Freeman making sexual comments towards female interviewers on two separate occasions.

One of these women was Janet Mock, who used to be a correspondent for ET — although she is known better now for her activist work and memoir writing.

In the clip showing the exchange between Mock and Freeman, Freeman immediately comments on the length of Mock’s clothing, suggesting that he is distracted by her short dress. 

Mock appeared on The Wendy Williams Show on May 31st to discuss Pose, the upcoming show on FX about the ballroom culture of 1980’s New York, but she also talked about the Freeman tape. Mock said that when her former producers said they were going to air the interview in relation to the new Freeman accusations, she was shocked because she felt it was “un-airable because all he did the entire time was look at my legs.” 
 
Williams was surprised when Mock confirmed that Freeman knew the cameras were rolling. “It shows how men in power just believe that they can [have] free rein to do whatever they want,” Mock said in the Williams interview. 

In total, 16 people spoke to CNN accusing Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior, while eight have specifically accused him of sexual harassment.

You can watch the full Janet Mock interview on The Wendy Williams Show below:

NYC First Lady Launches $9.5 Million Program to Combat LGBTQ Youth Homelessness

A new youth shelter for LGBTQ young adults between ages 21 and 24 will open in New York City by the end of 2018.

This shelter is part of First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray’s “NYC Unity Project,” which initially had a $4.8 million dollar investment from the city. That has now increased to $9.5 million. The project’s overall goal is to deliver services “that address the unique challenges of LGBTQ youth,” according to a press release.

Although the City Council has raised the eligibility age for homeless shelter residents to 24, they want to take measures to ensure that overcrowding won’t occur. So in the meantime, this new shelter will be the only one offering services to that age group.

“Many LGBTQ New Yorkers come from loving, supportive families but many do not,” McCray said at City Hall on Wednesday. “Some are bullied at home, forced to hide where they are. Others are rejected outright. It is also our responsibility to make sure that young people with nowhere else to turn always have a safe, supportive and welcoming place to go.”

LGBTQ youth face extremely high rates of homelessness, with surveys showing that they are 120 percent more likely than cisgender young people to lack stable housing. According to UCLA’s pro-LGBTQ think tank The Williams Institute, around 40 percent of homeless youth identify as queer or transgender.

To meet the needs of this extremely vulnerable population, other expanded services include two new clinical sites in Harlem and Brooklyn that can provide PrEP and extended hours for youth drop-in centers.

New York City will also conduct a new population study interviewing youth in foster care services about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Local leaders praised the undertaking as a “major step towards progress.”

“It’s no secret that many of these young people are from the LGBTQ community, and we are under a special obligation to help and protect them,” claimed said NYC City Council Speaker Corey Johnson in a statement. “I am so proud of this landmark legislation, and my colleagues in the Council for making this a priority.”

“Every youth deserves a home that welcomes them fully and gives them the support they need to succeed,” added Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Phil Thompson in a press release.

Thompson claimed the initiative would “improving the lives of youth and [strengthen] our city.”

But McCray said it’s just the beginning.

“Through the Unity Project, we will look for new ways to support LGBTQ youth in any way we can” McCray said, and claimed that work “does not stop” with the launch of this new program. “Not until every LGBTQ young person knows that New York City has your back.”

INTO spoke with the First Lady over the phone after yesterday’s event to discuss the NYC Unity Project, as well as recent criticism of her work on the Mayor’s Fund to Advance the City of New York.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

INTO: What inspired this dramatic increase in resources for LGBTQ homeless youth in New York? Was there a moment where you said, “This needs to happen now.”

CM: There wasn’t a moment. New York City is the birthplace of the gay movement. We pride ourselves on providing many services for our LGBTQ community. When we first launched the Unity Project, it was our intention to broaden our support for members of the community we felt we had not done enough for—which is the young people.

There are many indicators that inspired us to do that, first of which is the homelessness. So many of our urban centers are experiencing an incredible rise in homelessness, and many people think of it just as just old guys, but that’s not the reality. There are many young people, too many young people, and we have to do something about this. Homelessness indicates that there are other problems as well. When we looked at our data and saw that 40 percent of homeless young people identify as LGBTQ and one-third or more of teens in our foster care system identify as LGBTQ, we knew that we had to do something about this.

We know that family rejection is the leading cause of homelessness—either because they’re forced to run away, because of abuse, or because they’re kicked out of their homes for who they are. That family rejection is also an indicator of a range of health and wellness consequences for these young people as well. Those who experience family rejection are more likely to attempt suicide, experience substance abuse, and have worse health outcomes.

We knew we had to expand our drop-in centers. We had one that was 24/7 and others that operate for a limited number of hours, but it’s clear we needed to do much more. We had to expand the drop-in centers so there’s one available in every borough in new York City, so that everyone would be able to get to one. We needed more shelter capacity. But most importantly, we had to prevent family rejection. It’s not just about having a bed; if families don’t embrace, understand, and truly love their young person—no matter who they love or what their gender identity is—then they’re likely to have long-lasting problems. We want to prevent these young people from feeling isolated and alone.

Because of the so-called “leadership” in the White House, we have to do as much we can. We have to be able to show other cities, “This is possible.”

We want them to have that safety net that young people have to have, usually into their 20s. Of course, forever would be nice. I have two young people in my 20s, and there’s no way they’re fully self-sufficient, especially LGBTQ young people who have come from foster homes. They don’t have that sense of security, a shoulder to lean on, or a place to turn if they’ve never really had it.

These are our children. We have to do everything we can do as a city to make sure they are safe, supported, and healthy. We take this responsibility very seriously.

INTO: One of the many unique facets of the programming is that it includes homeless youth resources for those between the ages of 21 and 24. Those are age groups that are often left out of the conversations when we’re talking about LGBTQ homeless youth. A lot of the time it stops at the age of 18 or the age of 20. What do you think that we lose when we don’t offer resources to this age group?

CM: We lose young people. That is such an important transition point to being an adult. If young people are not ready, we lose them to substance abuse and to the criminal justice system. They’re just not able to reach their potential. It’s tragic. They need the support, they really need the support, and it is not customary to provide that kind of support to young people up to that age.

We’re struggling to do it. Here in New York City, you have to get special permission from the state to do it. If we could just do it on our own, that would be one thing. But we have to work with the state and whenever that happens, things get complicated. So we have this waiver for the shelter to be able to do the shelter. And we want to be able to do more. I anticipate that we will be able to provide more going forward, but it is a process that we have to navigate carefully.

INTO: Councilman Corey Johnson described the New York City program as “landmark.” What do you think makes this program different from how other cities tackle the problem of LGBTQ youth homelessness?

CM: Whenever we do something in New York, what always makes it remarkable is the scale. We have a lot of people. (laughs) Whenever we do a program, we have to go big. The other thing is that it’s not just one thing we’re doing or two things—we take a very holistic view. These young people need not just a roof over their heads. Those 24/7 drop-in centers are places where if they go to get out of the rain, for recreation, or for anything else, they’re going to get services and support that can help them get back in school, get employment training, get mental health counseling, or get access to PrEP.

Whatever it is they need, there will be people who are culturally competent to talk to and get them the support they need. That’s so important because so many people don’t really know what they need. What they need is someone to talk to and help guide them as they grow and mature. Having trained people in these drop-in centers to help them figure out what the next steps should be to get to a better place is really important.

We have these services for them. We’re not counting on these young people to find them. We’re helping them connect to them directly. We even have street outreach services—vans that go city-wide to where young people tend to gather and see if they need help. These van can bring them to the drop-in center or wherever they need to get, and that’s important because there should be no wrong door for these young people. Wherever they go, they should be able to get the help they need. We have to go to them as much as we can.

INTO: This program was announced amidst continued rollbacks from the Trump administration when it comes to rights and protections for LGBTQ youth—whether that’s affirming bathroom access in schools or access to medical care. Do you see expanding programs for queer and trans youth in New York as a response to those rollbacks?

CM: I don’t see it as a response, but I do believe it’s even more important at this time. We would be doing this regardless. It is our mission. It’s the mission of the administration. It’s personal for me that we take this on and do as much as possible during the time my husband is in office.

Of course, because of the so-called “leadership” in the White House, we have to do as much we can. We have to be able to show other cities, “This is possible.” We are a model that other cities can copy so that young people have so much to offer—so much talent and smarts—that it’s not wasted. We don’t want to lose these lives. We want to make sure that all that potential gets channeled constructively.

INTO: I think we see a lot of cities right now leading—for lack of a better term—the “resistance,” whether it’s in terms of LGBTQ rights or sanctuary cities. It seems like a lot of that onus and that responsibility is falling on cities like New York.

CM: Yes, in every way, whether it’s housing or health care services. Cities, whether they want to or not, they’re finding that they have to be responsible.

INTO: I know you’ve talked a bit in the past about your own sexual orientation—including your decision to reject labels like “bisexual.” How does the issue of LGBTQ youth homelessness resonate with you personally?

CM: LGBTQ issues have been central to me and my life for decades now. This isn’t just homelessness that’s a concern to me. It’s everything. It’s the fact that our young people are more likely to be bullied, harassed, and to suffer discrimination in many forms. Homelessness is just one of the worst things that can happen to [LGBTQ young people].

If we want to address any of the other things, we have to address this. How can we connect someone to other services if they don’t have a place to live?

INTO: Absolutely, so much of this gets down to a root cause of stigma, which resonates in a lot of communities—as well as queer and trans communities.

We’ve about five minutes left, so I wanted to ask about a New York Times article published yesterday that critiqued your work with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance the City of New York, claiming that contributions are stagnant and that you have attended less than half of the fund’s board meetings. How do you respond to those claims and how do you hope to apply any lessons learned from those critiques to the homeless youth initiative?

CM: I’m really proud of the work that we’ve been doing with the Mayor’s Fund. We actually had an advisory board meeting this morning with our advisory board members, which was fantastic. We raised thousands and thousands of dollars, an average of $20 million a year. We’ve partnered with more than 50 city agencies to advance more than 80 different programs through 100 community service providers. That’s a lot to be proud of.

The Hetrick-Martin Institute and our Connections to Care is one of them. The Hetrick-Martin Institute serves the LGBTQ community. The measure of success of the Mayor’s Fund, for me, is not in the dollars and cents. No, I am not a billionaire but I don’t have to be to be good. I work very hard. And the Mayor’s Fund as a not-for-profit has performed superbly compared to other nonprofits of its size. The money it’s raised is comparable, if not better in many cases, when compared to other not-for-profits of its size.

I am the chair. I am not the executive director. There is a very big difference in what the chair does versus the executive director, who runs the fund in terms of its day-to-day operations. I have a very large portfolio. But I do pride myself on a portfolio that is very well integrated and connected. Mental health is not separate from what I do for the LGBTQ community. It is not separate from what I do on domestic violence or the incarcerated. It is part of everything I do.

Therefore, I think it’s hard for anyone to tell whether I’m working for Unity or for Mayor’s Fund. So often the work I do overlaps. It is difficult to make that distinction.

I’m so sorry that those reporters did not ask one question about the achievements of the Mayor’s Fund. They were clearly looking for what was wrong. They did not find that thing, but they made a big to-do about what they found. They managed to craft something that is not journalism.

INTO: I just have one last question. You talked about this before, you said that New York has been the epicenter for a really long time of different LGBTQ movements—from Stonewall and ACT UP to today’s Gays Against Guns protests for gun reform. Why do you think it’s important for New York City to remain at the forefront of LGBTQ rights in the United States?

Because we’re loud and we’re proud of that history. It’s important for us to keep on fighting, because the fight is never over.

We learned tragically in 2016 how quickly things can get turned around if we are not vigilant. Even now, as I speak, there are folks all over the country who are trying to push us back in the closet. They’re relentless in terms of the policies that are being crafted. We cannot take our freedom for granted. We just can’t. So everything we can do here in New York City to push the needle forward is really important.

Donald Trump Pardons Anti-LGBTQ Troll Who Outed Gay Classmates

After pardoning a racist Arizona sheriff last year, the president has waived charges against another of his key allies.

Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that he plans to pardon conservative author and anti-LGBTQ activist Dinesh D’Souza, who famously claimed that President Barack Obama is a “gay Muslim.” In a 9:18am post, Trump claimed that D’Souza had been “treated very unfairly by our government.”

Responding to the POTUS, the noted conspiracy theorist also suggested his prosecution was politically motivated. He claimed “Obama and his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America.”

In truth, D’Souza pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws in 2014 after paying two colleagues to donate to the failed Senate run of fellow Dartmouth College alum  Wendy E. Long, who was campaigning against Kirsten Gillibrand in New York. During his plea hearing, the 57-year-old provocateur admitted his behavior was “wrong.”

“I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids,” he said. “I deeply regret my conduct.”

Retconning D’Souza’s sentence of five years of probation is alarming given that he infamously mocked Emma Gonzalez and the student activists who survived the Feb. 14 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, behavior it now appears as if the president is endorsing.

D’Souza also argued in Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream that Obama is an anti-colonialist whose Kenyan father taught him to destroy the country.

But what may prove equally distressing to the LGBTQ community are the far-right conservative’s frequent attacks on queer and transgender people. D’Souza outed his LGBTQ classmates during his time at Dartmouth in the 1980s, publishing the names of Gay Student Association members in the Dartmouth Review.

“As a result of this article, some members of the group had their sexual orientation disclosed to friends and family members,” Mother Jones previously reported, which led some GSA members to consider taking their own lives.

Those actions have characterized his persistent trolling of the LGBTQ community in the years since, as the advocacy group GLAAD reports.

Writing for the right-wing website Townhall in 2008, D’Souza referred to marriage equality as “legal fraud.” He added that same-sex marriage is unnecessary because LGBTQ people do have the right to wed, so long as they “marry adult members of the opposite sex.”

D’Souza has also claimed that Adolf Hitler was not “anti-gay,” despite the fact that the Third Reich exterminated queer and trans people in concentration camps during World War II.

In addition to blaming 9/11 on LGBTQ people, D’Souza also believes that the real aim of the queer rights movement is to “break down moral resistance to the homosexual lifestyle.” He also says that what queer and trans activists are really fighting for is a law saying that “what they do is not immoral, not disgusting, and they are not going to hell,” thereby suggesting that each of those things are, indeed, the case.

After the 2016 shooting on Pulse Nightclub, the pundit also alleged the Orlando tragedy—in which 49 people were killed—should be a wakeup call for the LGBTQ community about the dangers of “coddling Islamic radicals.” He said on Twitter that “playing with snakes… can be quite dangerous.”

If that weren’t enough, D’Souza supports discredited conversion therapy, believes people of faith should have the right to deny service to LGBTQ people, and called homosexuality an “ideology.”

He also spread false reports the San Bernardino shooter was transgender.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration has defended pardoning an anti-Muslim homophobe by saying he has “accepted responsibility” for his actions.

“Dinesh D’Souza is an individual who, you know, has made restitution and accepted responsibility for his actions, but these are infractions and crimes that are rarely prosecuted,” press secretary Raj Shah told Fox News, “and many believe that he was the subject of some selective prosecution from the previous administration.”

Trump “believes it’s appropriate that he receive a pardon after community service, paying a fine, and doing other things that the judge has required,” Shah added.

Clarkisha Explains: Titties, Dating, and Ambien, Oh My!

Guess who’s back with the Thursday shenanigans and tomfoolery?

Indeed. It is Thursday once again and unlike other Thursdays where I would take the entire space to tackle some serious (or not so serious) topic of that week, it is the LAST Thursday in the month. And for end-of-the-month Thursdays, I decided I wanted to open the column opened up to questions.

And being as today is the last Thursday of my favorite month in the year, today is that day. Now, I’ll add that I got plenty of good questions sent to my inbox (and I thank all of you!), but in the interest of time—and also due to the fact that some of them were very serious (which is welcome) and deserve much longer answers—I obviously could not answer them all today and will be saving some of them for next month.

That said, sit back, relax, and enjoy the mischief as I get comfortable in the hot seat:

As someone who lives at multiple intersections, how do you balance the struggles between defending (and honoring) your Blackness and queerness when sometimes those two things have the potential to be volatile towards each other?

– TJ

Okay if I’m understanding correctly (I promise I can read LOL), your question is asking how do I manage multiple identities (like queerness and Blackness), that have the potential of conflicting with each other? And if this is the question, it’s a good one.

Honestly? It’s a constant balancing act—and one that is also complicated by the fact that I also ID as a woman (and even that is its own thing that I continue to ponder). Sometimes, depending on the day, I can be really feeling one part of my ID over the others and instead of shying away from that, I lean into it. And just exist.

Ironically, though, in the not-so-distant past, I was someone who subscribed to Black first politics and believed that people see “see my Blackness first” before anything else but over the last couple of years, I can’t agree with that anymore and I take the same stance with my other IDs. One is not inherently more important than the other and since I am literally all these things at once, it’s not like I can ignore them.

As for how they may conflict? Chilllllleee. Don’t get me started. All the tales I have about being asked to choose sides would keep me here until literally next week.

I will say that that concern is real though and societal and community bigotry force them to conflict even when they necessarily shouldn’t. I definitely want to explore this more during Pride month as it concerns Blackness and Queerness.

Why we still pretending we don’t love tiddies? You gon’ eat whatever booty I give you and you gon like it because all of us can’t afford new hips? So what’s up?

– Mercedes

My good sis. As a holder and possessor of DDDXYZ cups, this is an excellent question. But my question to you is, where all of these titties slanderers are so I can personally box them? Who among us is the uncultured swine that does not enjoy all the things that succulent titties have to offer?

SHOW YOURSELVES

On a more serious note, anyone who pretends to hate titties probably bites their kit kat bar sideways and steps on Legos for fun and cannot be trusted. Now, if it’s because they prefer cakes more, that’s a tough one there. I personally am a gluttonous ass Taurus who wants it all and always ideally would like both.

But if I were ever to choose…? Well…

So. What do you think about Roseanne’s excuse that Ambien is the magical, unicorn pill that enables racism?

– Michael

First of all, it honestly doesn’t matter what I think because Ambien’s parent company Sanofi released the soundest and quickest clapback to Roseanne’s bullshit that I seriously had to ponder who was more savage between them and good ol’ Dictionary.comwhose social media is fucking lit, by the way.

Secondly, if my thoughts were to matter in regards to those comments, I would say that White people will literally blame everything else for their racism but…their racism/racism beliefs. Although, I will say it is a trend I’ve noticed with specifically White women lately. First, it was Rose McGowan blaming her “woman is the n_____r of the world comments on smoking a J. Now Roseanne thinks fancy sleeping pills are to blame for her racist outbursts.

Lol.

It’s funny. And just speaks to the tendency of White supremacist and White [supremacist] media to coddle bigots like Roseanne and their supposed “economic anxiety” which is bullshit for “I am very racist and I cannot handle change that does not center me or put me at the top of the privilege pyramid where I think I belong, but yes, go ahead and say this nicely”. Though in the case of Roseanne, I would definitely add transphobia, homophobia, and Zionism on that list of things that she and people like her are “economically anxious about.

Grape, strawberry, or other. What’s the best jelly pairing for peanut butter?

Sorry, what was that? My inner Kindergartner was just having PTSD war flashbacks to spirited debates on the playground and at lunchtime over the validity of strawberry versus grape jam/jelly.

I tell you, this question has never brought me peace, because it is a question that even divides my own family. My Nigerian parents swear by strawberry jam and preservatives while like 75% of my siblings wouldn’t even sniff a PB sandwich that didn’t have grape jam on it.

As for me, for a long time, I too was firmly in the strawberry camp. I put that shit on everything. PBJ sandwiches. Regular sandwiches. Toast. Normal bread. Mrs. Winners’ biscuits. KFC’s imposter biscuit-life. Assassin-approved Popeyes biscuits. Cake. Pie.

I had a sickness. And it was called strawberry jam.

This, of course, changed when my roommate Darth Silo put me on apricot jelly. And as bougie-lite as my homeskillet is, I was so prepared for that shit to taste like some stuff that fell out of Asgard or Pegasus’ butt crack, but honestly, I was pleasantly surprised.

So, in short: strawberry on a normal day and apricot if a bitch is feeling fancy and extra gay.

The answer is yes.

Is it just me or is dating/approaching women universally different than that with men? Like, with men I feel like I have to be ready to choke or shank him on command? With women, I’m like “hi yes hello the world is awful you poor creature you must be terrified let me buy you snacks”. Thoughts?

– JL

It’s not just you! I actually covered this in my first piece for Into and talked at length about how discombobulating it was to go from dating cis men who have the personality of toast to dating other people who in most cases qualify as an upgrade.

But to answer your question here, it definitely is different. Because society is so heterosexual and all the “dating cues” you probably picked up prior to this point skewer cishet as well, a lot of us are always WOEFULLY unprepared when it comes to dating other genders/queer fox.

In my experience, it has been the most awkward shit ever because I’m still learning about myself and what I like. It’s so tough sometimes that I have become so passive in certain situations. Like unless the woman is like super overt with her interest, I’m okay with being friends. Or colleagues. Or whatever.

But of course, even that can get confusing after you’ve been on your 3739949282839 friend date and homegirl turns to you and asks: “So, what are we?”

I am Jack’s utter shock and confusion.

And that’s it for today! If you like this format and want it to continue, think I should shake it up, or you have your own questions you want me to take a crack at, feel free to ping ya girl at [email protected] or on the intersection of I Hate BuzzThief Boulevard and Drake, Take The L Lane on Twitter at IWriteAllDay_.

If You Love ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ You Need to Watch ‘Pose’

Pose, Ryan Murphy’s latest FX series, opens with the most fabulous sequence you’ll see on TV this year. It’s 1986, and the House of Abundance — mother Elektra (Dominique Jackson) and daughters Blanca (MJ Rodriguez), Angel (Indya Moore), Lulu (Hailie Sahar), and Candy (Angelica Ross), among others — is walking the royalty category at their regular ball. The members are outfitted in the finest royal regalia, all stolen from the Museum of Fashion and Design. And they are walking like they own everything, when they don’t even own the clothes on their backs.

“Category is: bring it like royalty!” ball announcer Pray Tell (Billy Porter) shouts to start the show. And bring it they do, each member of the House practically floating down the runway. The audience loses their damn minds, bowing at Elektra’s feet as she shuts it down. “Ten, ten, ten, tens across the board,” he screams as the judges reveal their scores. It’s an electric scene. It also likely sounds familiar if you watch RuPaul’s Drag Race.

For drag historians and connoisseurs, Drag Race occupies a precarious place. While it has inarguably brought drag into the public spotlight, it also presents a very specific kind of drag: competitive, mass-marketable, and in many cases, white. When a younger fan who mostly knows about drag from Drag Race meets one of these connoisseurs, the latter will often instruct the former to watch Paris Is Burning, or (more infrequently) The Queen. Both documentary films are by turns insightful and important looks at the drag scene predating Drag Race. The recurring Reading is Fundamental mini-challenge derives from Dorian Corey’s explanation of reading; season 9 and All Stars 3 queen Aja’s primary inspiration is The Queenrantress Crystal LaBeija.

Yet the suggestion to watch either, particularly Paris Is Burning, can often feel academic. That’s somewhat unfair; Paris Is Burning is a delightful film, and perhaps the most quotable documentary ever filmed. But it has nonetheless been weighed down in the cultural consciousness by the burden of being the ‘fix’ for some Drag Race fans’ knowledge deficit. The suggestion to watch it too often comes across as highfalutin at best, and condescending at worst, as if saying, ‘Do your research, children, and eat your vegetables while you’re at it.’

Pose offers a new opportunity for Drag Race fans to learn about the ball scene, one that is most often fun and fabulous above all else. It features an ensemble full of trans actors of color, a Murphian mix of the eleganza and melodrama, and is scored to one of the best soundtracks on television. It is, in my opinion, required viewing for Drag Race fans. But Pose is so watchable, it won’t feel like a requirement at all — just a fun trip back into the ‘80s every Sunday night.

Pose’s primary story is a fairly simple one, all things considered: Blanca is tired of being disregarded by the House of Abundance, and seeks to start her own: the House of Evangelista. (She names it so after the model Linda Evangelista — “who stole my look, and who I pay tribute to in return,” Blanca declares.) She recruits Angel from the House of Abundance, plus a talented young dancer named Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain), treating them fully as her children and challenging them to better themselves both on the runway and in the world. In this way, it’s more like a family drama than anything else, one that gives as much time and attention to the mother as to her children.

Over the four episodes screened for critics, Pose effectively chronicles the pains of starting both a new house (recruiting members, the strategy of entering certain categories) and a new family (keeping one member from dealing drugs, keeping another in school for dance). In the third episode, Blanca goes the extra mile to throw a special Christmas celebration, one that will be healing for her queer and trans children, who primarily associate the holiday with family rejection. For every fascinating detail about the ball scene — a girl struggles with not having the right look to win body categories — there’s a heartwarming detail about the character’s connections to each other.

That family element is, for all Drag Race’s attempts to emphasize chosen family, or feature groups like Alyssa Edwards’ Haus of Edwards, mostly missing from the competition series. Drag Race’s queens compete as individuals; Pose’s houses compete together. Considering what a cornerstone that house dynamic is in the drag scene even today, Pose’s choice to heavily frame the House of Evangelista as a family unit is a smart one.

Not everything about Pose works. At 77 minutes, the pilot feels more like a film feature than an episode of television, which makes what should be light and watchable feel more like a chore. But the episode length decreases, and the storytelling tightens, after said pilot. The only true clunker plotline is one that follows a white businessman, Stan (Evan Peters), and his wife Patty (Kate Mara). They are connected to the House of Evangelista, but only in one specific way, and the tremulous tie isn’t enough to justify their existence in the story. (The most groan-worthy part of the pilot is learning that Stan works for Donald Trump.)

But when Pose is firing on all cylinders, it’s pure extravaganza. There’s nothing like it on television — and I include Drag Race in that. Much as I love culture’s biggest drag competition, it isn’t enough. It’s a specific kind of show, one that isn’t nearly inclusive enough of trans queens. (One Peppermint or Monica Beverly Hillz or Sonique every three years isn’t enough.) Pose is filled to the brim with trans talent, is knowledgeable about the ball scene, and puts on a damn show every episode. We need both shows — and we need to watch both shows.

During the second episode, two women show down with a walk to Diana Ross’ “The Boss” — the same song that Bebe Zahara Benet wiped the floor with Trixie Mattel on during an All Stars 3 Lip Sync for Your Legacy. That lip sync was a thrilling moment for Bebe, featuring a perfect Diana impersonation. But watching the performers of Pose preen and stomp is a whole other kind of thrill. I’ve watched the scene a few times now. When the winner is declared, I can’t help but cheer to myself — just as I cheered with the bar crowd when Bebe won her lip sync.

Isn’t that something? Two great TV moments involve queens of color getting their life to an iconic Diana Ross song. And we get to watch both within months of each other. Truly, that’s the greatest gag of all.

Pose premieres Sunday, June 3, at 9 p.m. Eastern on FX.

LGBTed Gives Teachers the Tools to Support Queer Youth

Last year, in a South London middle school, in an assembly filled with upwards of 1,000 students, a media teacher decided to honor Pride month by coming out to the school in a video about the history and importance of the celebration. In the midst of explaining the significance of the school’s first year honoring Pride, he looked at the camera and said, “As a gay man, I know how important it is to have gay role models.”

When Daniel Gray first began teaching at Harris Academy, he was advised by his colleagues to keep his sexuality from his students, as it would “give them more ammunition.” Those words would leave a lasting impression for two years, which was when, with Pride month approaching, Daniel decided it was the right time to come out. There was no explicit reaction, volatile or otherwise, which was exactly the response he was aiming for.

After the assembly, a student he’d never met before approached him and expressed his thanks, adding that Gray’s video had changed his life. That was the moment he knew that as an educator, being out was not just a perk but a responsibility, and a necessity. As with many other LGBT kids growing up, Gray was bullied, called names, and pushed around in school. He recalls going to a teacher for help and being turned away under the pretense that it was just what happened and he’d have to deal with it. As an adult, and as a teacher, he came to the realization that he had the capability to “right some wrongs.”

Together with cofounder Hannah Jepson, Daniel Gray created LGBTed, a community for LGBT+ educators to network and “influence education policy around LGBT+ inclusion in education; we will support and empower colleagues to come out at all levels in education; we will increase school leaders’ knowledge of LGBT+ issues in education and will improve teacher retention by allowing colleagues to be more authentic in the workplace.”

The main incentive here is to provide students with the option of having someone they know they can talk to should the need arise. For a gay kid, those pre and early teen years can be difficult. Whether the difficulty is at home or bullying in school, knowing there are out teachers around can make all the difference.

LGBTed aims to provide educators with the tools to be the available support LGBT kids need. Through hosted events, in addition to online networking, that include workshops and speakers, the program aims to connect LGBT+ teachers and in that, create a safe place for both educators and students in schools.

Soon after the assembly, Gray began to notice touching gestures from his fellow teachers, like LGBT positive signs going up in classrooms, and the occasional acknowledgement from the students. All in all, he claims that the overall community reaction has been positive. Though there have been a few complaints from parents and he expects there will be more, he maintains that his only regret is not coming out sooner.

While the networking site is fairly new and so far only U.K.-based, it has the potential to expand and be a model to educators in other countries, as LGBT+ youth can never have too many safe spaces. As Daniel Gray stated, “You don’t understand how much of a huge impact you have on the students just by being a bit more open about who you are.”

LGBTed’s official launch date and first event is June 2nd, and there are tickets available on their site.

Pixar-Remixing Artist Pogo Outs Himself as Homophobe, Praises the Pulse Massacre

Popular artist and musician Nick Bertke, known popularly as Pogo, just outed himself — as a raging homophobe!

In a video first unearthed by a subreddit dedicated to his work, the electronic musician, whose YouTube channel is called “Faggotron” espouses in detail his negative views towards LGBTQ people, specifically gay men.

“I’ve always had a very thorough dislike of homosexuals,” Bertke says. “I’ve never liked a grown man acting like a 12-year-old girl. I’ve always found that to be quite disgusting. And so I thought to myself, how best can I express to the world that gays are just an abomination?”

He continues,  “I think nothing encapsulates the sissiness of a guy quite like the word ‘faggot.’”

Aside from airing out his dislike for gays, Pogo also expressed support for the gunman who killed 49 people, mostly queer Latinx people, in the 2016 Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida.

“When there was the Orlando shooting and the guy was shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ or something I was like [pumps fist],” Pogo said. “But yeah, I’ve got to be a bit careful with that because well, you know, I don’t like gays, but I don’t want to see people getting killed in nightclubs either. But still, I mean, it’s just fantastic.”

Some fans on Reddit wondered this video might be (totally unfunny) satire, though some have pointed out that Pogo has a history of saying and doing misogynistic things. In archived blog posts from 2015, Pogo describes his issues with feminism, saying it “raises a breed of self victimizing gold diggers,” that it’s a “camouflaged push for gender supremacy,” and “self-entitling social status posing as a humanitarian ideology.” There’s also a second post titled “Why We Should Envy Women” about all the privileges women enjoy and a video titled “Why I Don’t Take Feminism Seriously.”

Bertke enjoys a large platform: after early viral hits based on Alice in Wonderland and other Disney properties, Pixar paid him to produce remix videos based on their films like Up!, according to NPR.

Donald Trump Pardons Anti-LGBTQ Troll Who Outed Gay Classmates

After pardoning a racist Arizona sheriff last year, the president has waved charges against another of his key allies.

Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that he plans to pardon conservative author and anti-LGBTQ activist Dinesh D’Souza, who famously claimed that President Barack Obama is a “gay Muslim.” In a 9:18am post, Trump claimed that D’Souza had been “treated very unfairly by our government.”

Responding to the POTUS, the noted conspiracy theorist also suggested his prosecution was politically motivated. He claimed “Obama and his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America.”

In truth, D’Souza pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws in 2014 after paying two colleagues to donate to the failed Senate run of fellow Dartmouth College alum  Wendy E. Long, who was campaigning against Kirsten Gillibrand in New York. During his plea hearing, the 57-year-old provocateur admitted his behavior was “wrong.”

“I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids,” he said. “I deeply regret my conduct.”

Retconning D’Souza’s sentence of five years of probation is alarming given that he infamously mocked Emma Gonzales and the student activists who survived the Feb 14 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, behavior it now appears as if the president is endorsing.

D’Souza also argued in Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream that Obama is an anti-colonialist whose Kenyan father taught him to destroy the country.

But what may prove equally distressing to the LGBTQ community are the far-right conservative’s frequent attacks on queer and transgender people. D’Souza outed his LGBTQ classmates during his time at Dartmouth in the 1980s, publishing the names of  Gay Student Association members in the Dartmouth Review.

“As a result of this article, some members of the group had their sexual orientation disclosed to friends and family members,” Mother Jones previously reported, which led some GSA members to consider taking their own lives.

Those actions have characterized his persistent trolling of the LGBTQ community in the years since.

Writing for the right-wing website Townhall in 2008, D’Souza referred to marriage equality as “legal fraud.” He added that same-sex marriage is unnecessary because LGBTQ people do have the right to wed, so long as they “marry adult members of the opposite sex.”

D’Souza has also claimed that Adolf Hitler was not “anti-gay,” despite the fact that the Third Reich exterminated LGBTQ people in concentration camps during World War II.

After the 2016 shooting on Pulse Nightclub, the pundit also alleged the Orlando tragedy—in which 49 people were killed—should be a wakeup call for the LGBTQ community about the dangers of “coddling Islamic radicals.” He said on Twitter that “playing with snakes… can be quite dangerous.”

The Trump administration has defended pardoning an anti-Muslim homophobe by saying he has “accepted responsibility” for his actions.

“Dinesh D’Souza is an individual who, you know, has made restitution and accepted responsibility for his actions, but these are infractions and crimes that are rarely prosecuted,” press secretary Raj Shah told Fox News, “and many believe that he was the subject of some selective prosecution from the previous administration.”

Trump “believes it’s appropriate that he receive a pardon after community service, paying a fine, and doing other things that the judge has required,” Shah added.

New Jersey Set to Become Third State Allowing Non-Binary Birth Certificates

New Jersey could soon become the third state to legally recognize nonbinary identities after the legislature passed a trio of landmark trans rights bills.

 

S.478 streamlines the process of updating the gender marker listed on an individual’s birth certificate. Rather than requiring applicants to undergo gender confirmation surgery before updating their documents, trans people could instead fill out a form through the Department of Health stating that the changes are necessary to match their lived gender identity.

Former Gov. Chris Christie vetoed similar legislation in 2015, citing fears it could lead to fraud. The penalty for lying on the Health Department form is a charge of perjury, which could result in three to five years behind bars.

Additionally, the bill allows trans people to list nonbinary on their birth certificate, meaning they identify as neither male nor female. Of the estimated 30,100 transgender people living in the state of New Jersey, between 25 and 35 percent of those individuals identify outside the gender binary. That’s around 10,500 people.

Individuals will also have the opportunity not to disclose their gender on their birth documents.

The New Jersey Assembly, which is the lower house of the state legislature, passed S.478 by a decisive margin of 57 to 11 earlier this month after the state Senate approved the bill in February. It now moves to Gov. Phil Murphy, a first-term Democrat who campaigned on advancing LGBTQ rights in the 2017 gubernatorial election, for consideration.

Representatives for the governor’s office have not officially confirmed, however, that Murphy plans to sign the legislation into law.

Should S.478 receive the governor’s signature, New Jersey would follow in the footsteps of Oregon and California, which have recognized nonbinary identities on identification like driver’s licenses and state IDs.

In addition to affirming the existence of those who fall under categories like “genderqueer,” “agender,” “pangender,” and “neutrois,” the legislation also recognizes that gender confirmation surgeries aren’t accessible to everyone. According to statistics from the National Center for Trans Equality, two-thirds of trans people reported that they hadn’t surgically transitioned, and many said they never intended upon doing so.

These operations can be extremely expensive, costing between $20,000 and $30,000 to fully transition. Given that an estimated 29 percent of trans people live below the poverty line, those costs are prohibitive for many.

S.478 was named for Babs Siperstein, a New Jersey trans activist who traveled to Canada to complete her gender confirmation surgery. As the local radio station KYW reported, Siperstein “had a major complication and could have died” during the process, one she only undertook to change the gender marker on her birth certificate.

“You had to get the surgery to get the documentation changed,” she claimed. “Where else in this country if you want to be yourself are you forced to have such intrusive surgery? This is not like having your tooth pulled.”

Siperstein said the bill’s likely passage will “help educate people” about the realities transgender people face.

“The birth certificate bill has been years in the making,” added Garden State Equality Director of Programs Aaron Potenza, as the New York Observer reported. “We are excited that transgender people will finally be able to access accurate identity documents, excited that the bill is progressive and includes a third gender option, and excited that the legislature is honoring Babs’ work by renaming the bill the Babs Siperstein Law.”

But S.478 isn’t the only landmark piece of trans legislation set to be considered by the New Jersey governor. There’s also S.493, a bill which requires that the name and gender marker listed on an individual’s death certificate match their identity. The legislation states that relatives, friends, or loved ones making the funeral arrangements will be tasked with making that assessment.

Should conflicting information arise, S.493 outlines procedure for how parties will make appropriate determinations to respect the deceased’s gender.

Lastly, A.1727 creates a task force on furthering transgender rights in the state of New Jersey, establishing a governmental entity whose mission it is “to assess legal and societal barriers to equality.” As in the case of the other two bills, Murphy is expected to weigh in by the end of June.

Legislators in New Jersey believe these pieces of legislation are important in solidifying New Jersey’s commitment to progress.

“This package of bills will certainly solidify New Jersey’s place as a leader in transgender civil rights,” Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle told colleagues in the legislature prior to this month’s vote.

Given the rollbacks of LGBTQ rights under Trump, she added that protecting the rights of the marginalized is “more [important] than ever.”

“Antiquated policies and attitudes towards transgender individuals have led to discrimination, violence, depression and suicide,” the Democratic representative claimed. “While tremendous strides have been made in recent years to advance equality for members of the ‘LGB’ community, much more still needs to be done to help protect our brothers and sisters in the ‘T’ community.”

Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani’s ‘What I Need’ Video is Dropping Tomorrow

Out gay pop star Hayley Kiyoko, known endearingly to her fans as Lesbian Jesus, released her debut album Expectations earlier this year. The debut record included her songs “Sleepover,” “Feelings” and “Curious,” all of which skyrocketed in popularity due to her women-loving-women music videos. Today, she announced that a brand-new music video will drop Thursday morning.

Kiyoko’s upbeat, summer bop “What I Need” features guest vocals from fellow queer pop artist Kehlani. “TOMORROW,” Kiyoko wrote on Twitter, posting a brief sneak peek of the video, which depicts the singer-songwriter sprinting through the desert with purpose.

 

Kehlani took to social media to tease fans as well. “just so u know…this is my favorite video I’ve ever been apart of,” she tweeted—high praise, coming from the artist who released a Sapphic video for her song “Honey.”

She added, “Hayley is a genius, an incredible actress and one of the most diligent and hard working directors i’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. who’s ready? #WHATINEED

 

Kiyoko directs all her music videos, which typically flip male-dominated narratives on their head, like “Feelings,” where she serenades a girl down the street a la Michael Jackson, or “Curious,” where she’s joined by a group of male backup dancers, a pastiche of *NSYNC. Both Kiyoko and Kehlani make daily efforts to center queerness in their work, and “What I Need” will looks like a collaboration that’s worth the watch.