HRC Award-Winner Jeff Bezos Donates Over $10,000 to Anti-LGBTQ Politician

A year after the Human Rights Campaign honored him with a National Equality Award, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has contributed the maximum allowable amount to the campaign of an anti-LGBTQ Republican.

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Color.) isn’t even up for re-election until 2020. But Bezos and his wife, writer MacKenzie Bezos, gave a combined $10,800 to his re-election campaign.

While Gardner certainly isn’t the most outspokenly anti-LGBTQ representative in Congress, he has a long history of opposing equality. In 2006, he voted to prevent same-sex couples from adopting in Colorado. Gardner also tried to impose obstacles to joint financial planning and voted multiple times against expanding nondiscrimination law to cover sexual orientation.

In addition, Gardner has long opposed the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

HRC’s National Equality Award recognizes “the outstanding efforts of those who publicly stand up for the LGBTQ community, committing their time and energy to improve the lives of LGBTQ people and advance equality for all Americans.”

The organization bestowed the National Equality Award on Bezos in October of 2017 at the 21st Annual HRC Dinner, a lavish fundraiser for the organization. HRC cited Amazon’s longtime support of its queer and trans employees, creating a internal queer resource group in 1999. Meanwhile, Bezos donated $2.5 million for marriage equality in Washington State six years ago.

Accompanied by since-disgraced actor Jeffrey Tambor, Bezos addressed the progress made by the LGBTQ community in recent decades.

“[A]cross the United States, more people now support gay and trans rights than ever before,” Bezos said. “I believe the ideal of equality is ingrained deep within all of us. … I’m incredibly optimistic—so many companies, communities, and organizations like HRC are embracing this future and helping to create it.”

“It is up to every one of us to keep making progress together,” he added.

Bezos’ contribution to Gardner’s campaign was made in September of 2018, nearly a year after the HRC gala. He isn’t the only Amazon leader to contribute, however.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky gave $5,400, as did Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeffrey Wilkie and Senior Vice Presidents David Clark and Doug Herrington. Amazon employees Michael Deal, Brian Huseman, Shannon Kellogg, and Kurt Lampall donated smaller amounts to the re-election campaign.

Given Amazon and Jeff Bezos’ past support of LGBTQ equality, why would they direct so much money to a homophobic politician two years before his re-election campaign?

The answer is likely money.

Amazon is in the midst of an expansion in Colorado, opening a new fulfillment center in Aurora last year that employs about 900 workers. Meanwhile, Denver is among the 20 cities vying to be the site of Amazon’s second headquarters, estimated to be worth about $5 billion.

Meanwhile, Gardner is closely connected to legislation important to Amazon’s continued expansion. That includes the DIGIT Act, which would regulate interconnected devices such as Amazon’s Alexa.

INTO reached out to HRC representatives about the links between Bezos and anti-LGBTQ policy. They did not respond before press time.

Other winners of the National Equality Award include singer Elton John and husband David Furnish, pop musician Katy Perry, and Broadway star Audra McDonald. This year’s honoree was Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway, who was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden.

Beyoncé as Toni Braxton Wins Halloween, Everyone Stay Home

You’ve just been granted a reprieve from Halloween. Stay home and eat candy until you puke, because Queen Bey just bested all of your Halloween costumes by giving us a flawless rendition of iconic contralto Toni Braxton. Specifically, Bey dressed up like the cover of Toni Braxton’s 1993 eponymous debut album, which spawned the hits “Another Sad Love Song,” “Breathe Again” and “You Mean the World To Me.”

In the image, Beyonce dubbed herself “Phoni Braxton,” which is still a closer spelling of Toni Braxton’s name than Toni was able to accomplish in a recent Google search.

“Sending love and adoration to one of our talented legends,” Beyonce wrote. “Thank you for the countless bops. Your tone, your beauty, your range, and your God-given talent is treasured. Loving you always. Have a Happy Halloween my Kings and Queens.”

This isn’t Bey’s first time paying homage to legends on Halloween. In 2016, she, her mother and Blue Ivy transformed into rap trio Salt ‘N Pepa.

In 2015, Beyonce, Blue Ivy and her husband, a rapper, dressed in homage to the Eddie Murphy classic Coming to America.

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Coming to America🎃

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Toni Braxton responded to Beyonce’s Instagram post, saying: “How do you look better than me on MY album cover? I LOVE IT, Such a superstar!” 


New Emojis: Pirates More Valid Than Trans People!

If representation matters, then pirates rejoice! According to Emojipedia, Unicode, the company that makes the emojis revolutionizing the way we communicate, has released a brand new set of emojis as part of the new iOS update. This new pack includes supervillains, superheroes, redheads, feet and a pirate flag. But still no trans, bisexual or asexual pride flags!

I don’t know about y’all, but I encounter way more trans people in my life than I do pirates!!!

A trans flag emoji is something that’s been at the top of many people’s wishlists for sometime. If you need evidence, just search Twitter. (There’s also a petition asking for the trans flag emoji to be released at some point, as well.)

Some people even tied the lack of trans pride flag emoji to the recent #WontBeErased hashtag, which became popular on social media after news broke that a Trump administration memorandum threatened to erase transgender people’s existence at the federal level by adjusting its definition of gender.

Anyway, surely at this point, if there’s a pirate flag, we can get some representation for some other specific groups in the LGBTQ community, right?


Malaysia Prime Minister Says Asia Will Not Embrace LGBTQ Rights

Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad urged Asia not to embrace LGBTQ rights as Taiwan prepares for a historic vote on marriage equality.

In a Thursday speech delivered at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, the 93-year-old leader claimed that Asian countries don’t need to “copy” the West in pushing issues like same-sex marriage or trans equality.

“Sometimes Asians will accept western values without questioning,” Mahathir said during a Q&A with the audience, as Bloomberg first reported. “But do we have to copy everything? If they one day decide to walk around naked, do we have to follow? We have our values. So I am proud that we have our own values.”

Next month Taiwan will sound off in a historic referendum on the freedom to marry. If a majority of voters cast a ballot in favor of LGBTQ unions in the Nov. 24 plebiscite, it will be first Asian municipality to legalize marriage equality.

If not, the semi-independent territory of 23.5 million would be Asia’s first to ban same-sex marriage at the polls.

Early polls suggest Taiwan is likely to embrace equality. A survey showed that nearly three-quarters of Taiwanese support full legal recognition for LGBTQ couples following a May 2017 ruling from the constitutional court paving the way for same-sex unions.

The court gave Taiwan two years to pass a legalization bill. Otherwise, marriage equality would automatically become law of the land in May 2019.

Mahathir said Malaysia wouldn’t follow in Taiwan’s footsteps.

“At this moment we don’t accept LGBT,” he continued. “If they want to accept, that is their business, but don’t force it upon us.”

“For example, in the west now, men marry men, women marry women, and then the family is not made up of father, mother and the child, but is two men adopting one child from somebody,” the politician added. “They call themselves a family. The institution of marriage, the institution of family, has now been disregarded in the west.”

The prime minister’s remarks follow a series of comments from Malaysian leaders in recent weeks targeting the LGBTQ community.

Earlier this month, former Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed an earthquake and a tsunami that devastated Indonesia was “God’s punishment” for homosexuality. Mohd Izwan Md Yusof, social and community development deputy director for the Islamic Development Department blamed all-male boarding schools for recent increases in Malaysia’s LGBTQ population.

Government surveys suggest that there were 310,000 openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people living in the southeast Asian country in 2017—a 79 percent increase from four years earlier. In addition, approximately 30,000 Malaysians identify as transgender.

Even as greater numbers of LGBTQ people are coming out in their communities, Malaysia continues enforce its colonial-era laws banning homosexuality.

A conviction for “gross indecency” could result in up to 20 years in prison.

Many hoped the May 9 general elections would usher in a new wave of progressivism on LGBTQ rights, but that has yet to transpire. In his diatribe against boarding schools, Mohd touted Malaysia’s state-sponsored conversion therapy program. He claimed 1,450 people have been “cured” of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Islamic official added that the $200 million program helps LGBTQ people “go back to the right path.”

6 Ways This Cardi And Nicki Beef Ends, Based On Fights I’ve Had with Other Queer Women

Tension has been bubbling between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj over the last month, ever since TMZ reported that the “Money” rapper threw a shoe at Minaj during the Harper’s Bazaar party. On Monday, the beef between the female MCs hit a boiling point when Minaj alleged that her friend Rah Ali “really, really beat Cardi’s ass bad” during the now-infamous fashion week party in September.

Soon after, Cardi responded with an 11-post Instagram rant, in which she lobbed multiple accusations at Minaj, including that she was offered the Little Mix song, “Woman Like Me,” before Minaj was (Minaj is currently featured on the single). Little Mix then slammed Cardi’s allegation, and by the end of Monday night, Nicki took to Twitter to call a truce between her and the “Bodak Yellow” rapper, which Cardi agreed to accept. However, if I know queer women, and I surely do, then I know that a long-simmering tension between Cardi, a queer female rapper, and her seeming arch nemesis (who isn’t queer, but is probably down), won’t die this easily. So, based on my own experiences with riled queer women, here’s a few ways I see this playing out.

They Fuck

Why dance around it? There are so many ways to settle beefs: in person, in the media, on Twitter dot com, but all of those are dated beef-settling spaces. The most modern and nuanced way to settle a feud is by getting naked. Queer women have a breadth of emotions more complex and expansive than any other faction of the human race. And because our community is significantly smaller than the heterosexual dating landscape, it’s easy for us to meet another queer lady, have an emotional reaction to them—whether it be romantic and tingly or violent disgust—and have sex with them right away, just cause. So, while emotions are running extraordinarily high for Cardi and Nicki, it’s not unreasonable to think that they might get together to fuck it out.

They Fuck and Continue to Feud

I know fucking often isn’t the answer to our problems. In fact, it often complicates things further. I’m just saying fucking happens. Maybe they jam out with their clams out, realize they have nothing to say to each other during an awkward pillow talk, agree that they actually truly dislike each other as people, and decide to continue being each other’s mortal enemies. After all, this has all been very entertaining. They’re really giving the people what they want, like making girl groups publicly pick a side, and creating the long-prophesied Great American Pop Star Divide.

They Fuck and Fall in Love

This has happened to me more than once—not fucking and falling in love, but rather, being wholeheartedly disgusted by a person, fucking them in a burst of passion, and then falling head over heels like a bumbling moron for a person I have nothing in common with. Internalized homophobia is a bitch: Right after I came out, or while I was coming to terms with my queerness, I would often self-correct when I found a woman attractive by (metaphorically) giving myself a slap on the wrist. It’s terrible and heartbreaking, but I literally trained myself to find women disgusting, even when I subconsciously enjoyed their company.

This one’s a long shot — and I know Nicki doesn’t identify as queer — but I’m just saying: Maybe the source of all Nicki and Cardi’s tension isn’t album sales or competition or the ways in which the media has historically and unfairly pitted women against each other, especially female rappers. Maybe it’s that, deep down, they’re in love. Duh. I’ve been on lesbian Tumblr, I know how this shit works.

They Have Coffee and Settle This Like Two Emotionally Mature, Level-Headed Contemporaries

LOL just kidding, can you imagine? Queer women are smart, but level-headed we are not.

This Just Goes Away

In theory, this could happen — Nicki and Cardi could really call a truce and agree that this is drama they just don’t need in their lives. I’ve done this in breaking up with a girl who was not my girlfriend — because apparently, when you’re gay, you can get dumped without even having a girlfriend. Sometimes, things don’t align as easily as two people may have hoped for, and the platitude “life happens” suddenly makes sense. Unfortunately, many relationships fall apart because the timing isn’t right, or there are unpredictable circumstances that complicate the good stuff — acts of God, if you will. So, maybe it wasn’t in the stars for Nicki and Cardi at this moment in time. It doesn’t mean that, in the future, they can’t mend their relationship and build something cool and new and fun again.

Sadly, this is probably the most unrealistic result of the current feud, because even if the two women agree to disagree, the media will never—like never ever ever—let this go. Like, I’m talking a dystopian E! News broadcast from 2049 where they introduce Cardi B as “the female rapper who once beefed with Nicki Minaj.” Actually, “Nicki Minaj: 2049” sounds much more compelling than that Blade Runner trash.

The Great American Pop Star Divide of 2019

Queer women are many things — intelligent, progressive, unique, beautiful — but we are mostly just petty as fuck. Often times, when a lesbian couple breaks up, it splits a friend group in two, even if it doesn’t happen right away. Sometimes the bitterness of the break up creeps up on those not involved in insidious ways, and months, even years later, you find yourself resenting one of the women involved because of the poison the other has been spilling in your ear since the breakup.

Little Mix already picked a side, and Ariana Grande, a long-time collaborator of Minaj, “liked” Little Mix’s pro-Nicki post on Instagram. By this time next year, who knows what kind of bipartisan popstar hellscape we’ll be living in? Will “Taki Taki” collaborator Selena Gomez go Team Cardi? Will queer R&B singer and public Cardi stan Kehlani swing Cardi? Will SZA be caught in the middle? Will “Swish, Swish” singer Katy Perry lobby for Nicki visibility? Will male rappers somehow escape being accused of siding with either woman because men in the music industry aren’t ever held accountable for their actions, nor are they targeted by the media as subjects of a sexist “claws out” blood feud?

Well, I don’t want to be around to find out. I’m going with “They fuck.”

Images via Getty

‘Making Montgomery Clift’ Proves The Actor Was More Than The Male Marilyn Monroe

Making Montgomery Clift only coyly follows its title. In the hands of directors Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon, the Hollywood icon isn’t so much made as re-made in the new documentary. Best remembered for his stellar performances in A Place in the Sun and From Here to Eternity, Clift was one of the most celebrated actors of his generation. But though his contributions to Hollywood are on par with the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean, Clift’s legacy has long been shadowed by both his sexuality and his battle with alcoholism. The two, in the myth-making world of tabloids and biographies that followed, have been irrevocably intertwined.

First known as one of the prettiest men to ever to grace the screen, his eventual death at age 45 prompted stories about how tormented he was about his attraction to men. That’s the Clift that was made in his wake and the one his nephew Robert, along with his wife, set out to rework in their intimate documentary.

Armed with a treasure trove of a family archive — which included not just photo albums and homemade family movies but audio recordings of phone conversations, letters, datebooks, and even detailed script notes — Making Montgomery Clift tries to wrestle Monty from the grips of the “sad gay” narrative that’s come to define him.

We sat down with the co-directing duo ahead of the NewFest screening of their documentary to talk about why such a revisionist history needed to be told, why the pathologizing of Monty’s sexuality has done more harm than good, and what they hope queer audiences will take away from such a personal look at the celebrated actor.

One of the lines that struck a chord was when you quote John Huston’s autobiography where he calls Monty “the male Marilyn Monroe.” He meant it, obviously, as a put-down (both were allegedly difficult to work with), but they also now share similar mythic personas, tied to their sex appeal, their sexuality, their “tragedy,” their deaths… How difficult was it to work against this myth around Monty that’s been built over so many decades?

Hillary Demmon: I think there were a lot of roadblocks that had to be cleared in order to look at Monty in a new way. There are certainly parts of his image that were more stereotype than person. This idea that he’s tortured by his sexuality.

RC: “Inner demons.” That’s the most frequently repeated phrase.

HD: Positioning his sexuality as pathology, making it this thing that’s ruining his life that’s driving him towards unhealthy behaviors. That is a lot of what some of this research was. In order to pinpoint what those things are you have to look through all of them. And then with the archive being one of the main ways we were able to look at these individual pieces, that archive had to become an archive. It had to be listened through. I would say that it was difficult. The fact that it took five years to get together. Overall, it was a worthwhile thing to do. Every time you have a chance to open up a person’s story to a new reading and what you can get from those people having existed. Monty’s existence is a kind of image of a person who can keep their integrity and do what they want to do: what a great example to be able to look back on. We’re at NewFest! I’m so happy that the film is here because this is a person who is a big figure in queer history and to be able to have a person who made space in his life to live it as he wanted, I think that’s a really important thing to have in queer history and in film history.

RC: Throughout Monty’s career he was someone who was exercising agency in various different ways: as an actor, fighting for independence to choose roles, introducing a new style of acting to the screen, introducing a new type of masculinity to American audiences, and constantly rewriting scripts. Which I’m sure some directors loved and some didn’t. But he changed what it meant to be an actor in Hollywood. And he did that because he was very deliberate and cognizant of what his aims were. And one of his aims, when it came to his sexuality, was that he wanted a degree of independence. He did not want to, in part, sign one of those seven-film deals, in 1947 in the middle of the House of Un-American Activities Committee when being gay was tied to Communism. He didn’t want to sign one of these deals that would make him have a sham marriage. Yet, historically he’s been remembered as the actor who tormented himself. He was very aware of himself and what he wanted. And you see that in everything.

The documentary brings up these issues of how hard it is to get to know somebody, and in addition to Monty’s agency it seemed to me that there are issues of privacy at stake here as well. This is, perhaps, most notable when it comes to Lorenzo, who refused to appear on camera and even discuss certain things. Were there things that didn’t make it into the doc, things that maybe suggest there may still be a Monty we’ll never get to know fully?

HD: I don’t know that there is anything that we didn’t include for those kinds of reasons. For Lorenzo not being on screen that was for separate reasons: Lorenzo does not like being on camera. He doesn’t like being photographed. He has one friend who is allowed to sneak in photos.

RC: Well, maybe more than one but Cicely Tyson tells us that she’s able to sneak in photographs when he’s not looking. And when she told us that I thought, “Well, yeah, only Cicely Tyson can pull that off!”

HD: On the privacy question: Lorenzo was a private person as well. Doing the interview for the film was very difficult for him. As you hear in the film, after Monty died, there were rumors that he had something to do with his death. When he told us that story I kept the tears back because we were in the middle of an interview but I just imagined — I don’t imagine that this much, but if Robert passed and someone said that about me, I would be broken into a million more pieces. I know that this was a painful topic for Lorenzo and the fact that he gave us an interview is really loving and generous and special and a testament to [Robert]s relationship and your siblings. Lorenzo is family.

This film is a treasure trove of Clift memorabilia. There are so many never-before-seen photos and recordings and scripts. It seems so daunting but I’m so glad we now have so much of this out there in the world. But it made me wonder, was there one piece that made you go, Oh, I’m so happy someone saved this?

RC: One is his, as a whole, all of the records that Monty kept that give you a sense of what he found important. Everything from datebooks and letters to the recordings he made to his scripts to his photographs. You get a sense of a person, of who they are, through this bulk of materials, through what they found important to emphasize or what they wanted to keep and what you see in the material. In all of them is how detail-oriented he was. I didn’t know that before working on this. Because, as you see in the film, I had kind of internalized a lot of the narratives [about Monty]. So to see how much he was working on his scripts and what an intelligent reader he was in terms of characterization — it wasn’t the Method that a lot of people associated with him. He was very deliberate and thoughtful in creating the parts. You see that all over his scripts.

What do you hope queer audiences take away from the film?

HD: I think that having Monty as a queer figure in American cinema is a great legacy to be able to look back on. We don’t have to feel sad for him, you know? He was a human being who had the full range of human experience. Some sadness. But also some joy. The joy got left out and it was really important to look back and see that people lived and they had joy and they made their work and they were important. I want that for people when they see Monty.

RC: That’s number one: to be able to approach him and his work in a different way. But there is this sense, when it comes to queer audiences, that Monty would maybe barely be remembered right now—

HD: Without this whole community of people!

RC: The most intelligent readers, for me, have always been the people who identified themselves as queer, those who read the books about Monty and noticed that there were holes and things that seemed weird and stereotyped.

HD: It’s also a thank you for caring and reading deeply. I do hope that people can feel some of that coming from the film. This is a chance to celebrate Monty and if everyone had forgotten—

There would be nothing to celebrate!

Making Montgomery Clift plays tonight at NewFest in New York City.

Images via Making Montgomery Clift

Angelica Ross Offers Advice On How To Get A Job While Trans

On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, in a 154 page report addressed to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), a coolly unapologetic Catherine E. Lhamon, stated: “In order to effectively and consistently protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, Congress should immediately enact a federal law explicitly banning discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Lhamon also concluded the “inconsistent and irreconcilable patchwork” of state laws and federal court decisions dealing with anti-LGBTQ employees workplace discrimination “render LGBT employees insufficiently protected from workplace discrimination.”

Lhamon sits as the Chair for The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent agency tasked with informing the development and enhancing enforcement of national civil rights policy and federal civil rights laws. She is one of a growing number of Americans, LGBTQ and their allies alike, pushing legislators for more local, state, and federal non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Some states and local ordinances across the nation have passed laws preventing discrimination of employees based on gender identity; however, as it stands, there is no federal civil rights law that protects employees based on gender identity. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed Title VII, which protects employees based on sex — originally having included transgender and gender non-conforming people under the Obama administration.

Below is the first part of our series on trans, gender nonconforming, non-binary, and Two-Spirit people in the workplace. Today, Angelica Ross offers advice on landing a job while trans.

“What I’ve learned in dealing with discrimination and harassment is that in order to be successful you have to learn how to assess your role in everything, your role in the company, your role in the organization, your role in a project, and what it means to be able to do that is to understand by saying to yourself, ‘Is this where I belong? Is this the position I belong in? Is this the department I belong in?’Angelica Ross tells INTO.

Ross is the CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a company she created that focuses on economically empowering the transgender community, providing education, support, and jobs for trans people facing high levels of discrimination. Ross is also an actress, playing the feisty character of Candy on the FX television series, Pose.

“I tell folks that are trans and interviewing for new jobs, and who are nervous about whether or not to come out ahead of time, it’s all about what you can handle,” Ross says. “But do you really want to go into an environment that you’re unsure if the environment is ready and welcoming for you? You have to be diligent and do the work to find the companies that are talking the talk and walking the walk and in this day and age there is a lot of them that are doing that. You don’t want to be walking into any interview, ever, thinking, ‘I want them to take a chance on a trans worker.’ You should be walking in like, ‘I’m the best candidate for the job.’”

With the Justice Department’s recent announcement that businesses are allowed to discriminate against transgender employees — companies such as TransTech have become especially important.

Ross says the inspiration for TransTech was the opportunity to create something that didn’t further marginalize transgender people into lower paying jobs. “And also something that was not a broad stroke sort of solution,” she says. “I needed something to meet people where they are at. As well as at their intersection of what they’re passionate about. Because if you try to get someone to work on something they’re not passionate about, good luck.”

“But,” she continues, “when you help someone discover their passion, where that can meet real-world job opportunities, then you actually see someone’s will start to change. You see their drive and their objectives start to change.”

Ross says that she dealt with workplace discrimination when she was younger. “I’ve worked [by] myself for a very long time, so I haven’t dealt with it in a very long time,” she says. “Although that doesn’t matter, because as a business CEO the moment I launched my company and started meeting with people…I would notice how white executives and LGBTQ folks would talk to [my white male co-founder] and talk over me as if he were the one running things or as if he were the one who was the CEO.”

Ross cites Pose writer and public figure Janet Mock for influencing her in a lot of her decisions.

One of the constant things she talks about, especially in her latest book, and one of the things I’m still working on is, ‘Being able to bring all of myself into a room; being able to be healed enough, and confident enough in myself, to walk into any space and not feel like I have to leave any part of myself behind.’ I’ve seen folks be so preoccupied with the external circumstances such as what companies are doing and not doing, what companies are supporting and what companies are not, and policies and all of this stuff —  and not maybe having enough energy left over, or not focusing enough energy on ‘Are you actually ready for the tide to turn?’ ‘Are you actually ready for the opportunity?’ ‘Are you the best person for the job?'” Ross says. “So it’s one of those things for me when I think about what I can do to help discrimination with employment relations and all of that, I know that we are going to forever be fighting these policy battles. I’m glad folks are in that realm of fighting and writing policies, but policies have never kept people from behaving badly. Policies have never prevented discrimination.”

Ross wants transgender and gender nonconforming people going into the workplace to know that perception is very important. “You never know what anything is thinking, that’s the thing with perception,” she says. “But above all, you have to know that you can be read. If there’s something about you and the way you are showing up that is not confident, it will be smelled. And sometimes you might end up getting confused or caught up with ‘Are they reading me as trans? Is it something to do with my trans identity?’ And you’re giving off non-confident vibes.”

Ross wants TGNC people to know that you should work on being in an environment in which you feel more accepted, happy, and healthy, “even if it means leaving your job — obviously you don’t leave a job quickly or under bad circumstances, but go get what you need to get from that job and then build the resume that allows you to take the steps to get to the next place.”

Images via Getty

These Eight U.S. House Candidates Voted Against Bills Banning Anti-Gay Conversion Therapy

A new video from the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group takes aim at midterm candidates who refused to support bills banning anti-gay conversion therapy.

In a video shared with INTO, the Human Rights Campaign spotlighted eight candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives who either voted against legislation outlawing the discredited practice or abstained from voting.

These Congressional hopefuls include five Republicans running in California: Diane Harkey of the 49th Congressional District, Steve Knight of the 25th Congressional District, Rep. Doug La Malfa of the First Congressional District, Rep. David Valadao of the 21st Congressional District, and Mimi Walters of the 45th Congressional District.

Each of these politicians voted against Senate Bill 1172 during their time in the California State Legislature. That seven-year-old legislation banned sexual orientation change efforts from being performed on individuals under the age of 18.

Paul Cook of California’s 8th Congressional District—also mentioned in the HRC report—abstained from voting on the bill.

Despite conservative opposition, SB 1172 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012. Its passage made California the first state to outlaw conversion therapy; since then, 13 additional states (and Washington, D.C.) have taken action to protect LGBTQ youth from the “gay cure” treatment.

UNITED STATES – JUNE 15: Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., leaves the U.S. Capitol building after final votes of the week on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Widely compared to torture, conversion therapy has been condemned by every leading U.S. medical association as harmful and ineffective.

Other conservatives included in HRC’s tally include Darin LaHood of Illinois’ 8th Congressional District, Jay Webber of New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, and Yvette Herrell of New Mexico’s Second Congressional District.

These candidates each voted against conversion therapy bills in their state. All three of those states banned the practice without their support.

A spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign called these votes “appalling.”

“It’s appalling that these politicians would vote against protecting LGBTQ youth from the incredibly dangerous and discredited practice of so-called conversion therapy,” HRC Senior National Press Secretary Stephen Peters told INTO. “No child should ever be subjected to this practice that amounts to nothing less than child abuse.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights claimed these revelations should be a dealbreaker for voters.

Bills to protect vulnerable minors from the harms caused by conversion therapy have received broad bipartisan support,” NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter claimed in an email. “Any legislator who would support these harmful practices is endorsing a destructive form of bigotry that has no place in Congress.”

Although the Republican Party appeared to embrace conversion therapy in its 2016 platform, advocates noted that half the governors who have signed bills banning the treatment are conservatives.

The list of Republican politicians includes names like Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott.

Earlier this year, Maine Gov. Paul LePage became the first governor to veto legislation prohibiting orientation change efforts. He is also a conservative.

INTO reached out to each of the Republican candidates spotlighted in HRC’s report ahead of its release. Of the nine U.S. House candidates singled out, not a single one responded to this publication’s request for comment.

UNITED STATES – February 7, 2018: Diane Harkey, candidate for California’s 49th Congressional district, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call at their D.C. office, February 7, 2018. (Photo by Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Although these nine candidates are hardly the only conservatives with anti-LGBTQ records, HRC focused its attention on competitive races.

“It’s crucial that fair-minded voters turn out on election day and elect pro-equality leaders up and down the ballot who will stand up for our nation’s vulnerable youth and work to advance LGBTQ equality,” Peters said in an email.

Looking at just the California races, a last-minute surge could make the difference in several contests. Two of the races fall either within a three percentage point margin of error or very close to it: Harkey is trailing her Democratic opponent by 10 points, Knight leads by four, and Walters is down by seven points.

While Valadao is currently projected to win by 11, that could easily change in one week’s time. Advocates say it’s important to send a strong message in support of LGBTQ youth on Nov. 6.

“It’s always disappointing when a politician votes against protecting youth from conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton, head of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, said in a statement. “The good news is that these bad votes are increasingly out of the mainstream compared to the thousands of bipartisan votes cast in support of protecting LGBTQ youth.”

Dearly Beloved, This Long Distance Is Killing Me

In this week’s Dearly Beloved, the advice column from author Michael Arceneaux, our dear reader wants advice on how to handle a long distance relationship — namely whether or not to just end it now or keep stringing him along in the hopes that it will all work out. Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense, but fret not, totally going to get to that.

If you want Michael’s advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start your letter with Dearly Beloved!

It’s a thing.


Dearly Beloved,

I am writing to you for advice on a long distance relationship I am currently in. We are both very much in love, but we live on opposite sides of the Atlantic (!).

I met this Canadian guy on a dating app in Italy 2 years ago. We had a one night fling and a couple weeks later he came to stay with me in England on his way back to Montreal. He is one of the most kind hearted people that I’ve ever met, gets me as a person more than anyone I’ve ever met, and he’s a med student studying pediatrics so very smart and driven too.

We talked loads and met up in England a few times as he often had layovers there on his travels. Last year we made it more serious when I went to visit him in Canada for 10 days and we also went to Berlin for two weeks this summer. We are very much in love, though he is definitely more into me than vice versa, probably as I’m his first love whereas I have more experience with relationships and am much more cautious about catching feelings.

The dilemma is that whilst we can afford to do the odd holiday and see each other maybe 3-4 times a year, I would not consider moving to Canada and he has at least 2 years left of Med School before he can consider moving to the UK, which he is considering.

I didn’t mean for this to get so serious and I couldn’t break his heart, especially if it would affect his studies. Should I keep with this in the hope we can one day live in the same country, or have I made a mistake that I shouldn’t prolong?

Yours sincerely,


Dear James,

You know what you need to do.

I am sure of it after reading this: “We are very much in love, though he is definitely more into me than vice versa, probably as I’m his first love whereas I have more experience with relationships and am much more cautious about catching feelings.”

I understand your concern about not wanting to potentially impact his studies with a breakup, but you have acknowledged that you didn’t intend for it to get serious. But here we are. You caught feelings, too, only not as strongly as he has. Don’t feel guilty about that. You two clearly have a connection and it was worth exploring. And if circumstances were better, it sounds like you two would be in a relationship. But they aren’t and y’all aren’t, so what good is it to string him along?

He’s head over heels while you have a strong affinity but can seemingly manage without it. He’s thinking of changing his entire life to be in a relationship but you are entertaining keeping him around because maybe it will work out eventually. That’s not fair to either of you. Long distance relationships can be difficult, but they only work if the each person in the relationship is as committed as the other. That’s not the case here. The internal debate needs to end already.

It’s time to speak up, playboy. Be gentle, be thoughtful, and be considerate — but be honest already. He deserves that. So do you.



Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ, Civil Rights Groups Gear Up To Protest Trump Visit

Numerous protests are planned for Tuesday in Pittsburgh, as leaders grapple with an unwelcome visit from a president who was explicitly asked to stay away from the city still mourning an anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue there. Tuesday is the day funerals begin for the 11 members of the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill who were gunned down during a mass shooting Saturday that was inspired by both anti-Semitic and anti-immigration hatred.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are expected to arrive in Pittsburgh today at 3:45pm, in defiance of local political leaders, synagogue staff, and the local community. The city’s mayor, Bill Peduto, said Tuesday the city does not have sufficient public safety resources to both protect the funerals and prepare for a presidential visit.

“If the president is looking to come to Pittsburgh, I would ask that he not do so while we are burying the dead,” Mayor Peduto said, according to local news station WPXI.

Both the mayor and Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced they will not meet with Trump upon his visit. A spokesperson for Wolf told WPXI the governor’s decision was based on respect for the victims’ families, who told him they do not want Trump in town during the Tuesday funerals.

The city itself appears enraged by Trump’s decision to flout its wishes, with rallies and protests poised to fill the streets even on the day funerals begin for the 11 people killed on Saturday.

“President Trump’s words, actions and policies have espoused and emboldened the type of violence and hatred our community so tragically endured with the massacre of 11 Jews in their place of worship,” reads a Facebook event description on a page for the ‘Stand Together in Solidarity’ protest, which over 1,300 people have pledged to attend at 4pm.

An event page for another protest rally at 3pm — organized by several leftist Jewish groups, like the anti-Israeli occupation movement IfNotNow and local queer organization Nightshade Pittsburgh — refers to Trump as the “enabler-in-chief,” tying the rise of anti-Semitism and white supremacism to the president’s “rhetoric and policies.”

And a description for a rally from 4pm-6pm organized by the Pittsburgh LGBTQ nonprofit Delta Foundation, Pittsburgh’s Women’s March chapter, Bend The Arc Jewish Action Network, and more says that President Trump will only be “welcome here when you fully denounce white nationalism.”

Image via Getty