Sonic Fox, a Gay Black Furry, Is the Best E-Sports Player in the World And That’s That on That

Most queer gamers have a similar story about playing online video games: you log on and within moments, you’re accosted by some kind of homophobic, transphobic, racist or altogether really really discriminatory comment from some 12 year old across the country.

Well, to them you can always say nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah, because, it’s official: the best esports player in the world, according to the 2018 Game Awards, is Dominique “Sonic Fox” McLean, a Black gay man and furry. McLean won the award on Thursday night during the ceremony, which was shown online, and proudly declared to thunderous applause that he was, in fact, “super gay.”

Taking the stage in his furry costume before eventually removing his mask, McLean said, “I’ve never really done it for the fame, I just enjoy the rush of beating people up.”

“I want to give a super shoutout to all my LGBTQ+ friends that have always helped me through life,” McLean said. “I’m gay, black, a furry, pretty much everything a Republican hates.”

In August, after winning the Dragon Ball FighterZ tournament, and beating out 2,575 other people in the process, McLean tweeted out, “I’m gay.”

So remember, next time you hear some homophobia in Overwatch, just say: “The best esports player in the world is gay.”

Image via Getty

Trump’s New Attorney General Pick Believes LGBTQ Rights ‘Led to America’s Decline’

Just like his old one, President Donald Trump’s new choice for Attorney General is no friend to the LGBTQ community.

The POTUS nominated William Barr to replace the outgoing Jeff Sessions, who resigned earlier this year at Trump’s request. In comments delivered to reporters on the White House lawn, he referred to Barr as a “highly respected lawyer” and a “terrific man.”

“He was my first choice from day one, respected by Republicans and respected by Democrats,” Trump said of Barr, who previously served as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. “He will be nominated for the U.S. attorney general and hopefully that process will go very quickly, and I think it will go very quickly.”

The 68-year-old’s decades-long record in public life includes working on domestic policy under the Reagan administration and serving in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel under Bush. Barr quickly rose the ranks to the DOJ’s top position.

But while supporters of the nomination lauded it as a comparatively “mature” pick for the president, critics noted Barr’s well-documented history of anti-LGBTQ remarks.

During a May 1992 speech at a dinner thrown by Agudath Israel of America, Barr lamented a “steady assault” on “the moral values that have sustained this country” since the mid-1960s, which he believes has “led to America’s decline.”

“We have lived through 25 years of permissiveness, sexual revolution, and the drug culture,” he claimed while accepting the group’s humanitarian award. “People have been encouraged to cast off conventional morality and old-fashioned restraints. The emphasis has been on individual fulfillment and the unbridled pursuit of pleasure.”

“Moral tradition has given way to moral relativism,” Barr continued, calling it a “doctrine which… [gives] full leeway to the pursuit of individual appetites.”

While the former CIA official didn’t specifically name the LGBTQ community in that address, compare those to comments he made in an October 2017 journal article penned for The Catholic Lawyer. He bemoaned a 1987 decision from U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia compelling Georgetown University to “treat homosexual activist groups like any other student group.”

Barr used the same language as before—on the “moral relativist viewpoint”—to condemn that ruling. He claimed granting equal footing on campus to LGBTQ student organizations “dissolves any form of moral consensus in society.”

In a subsequent passage lamenting that fellow Catholics do not follow “traditional morality,” Barr again harped on his criticism of the so-called “homosexual movement.”

“If the Catholic faithful do not take the hierarchy seriously, why should anybody else in the political structure?” he wrote. “It is no accident that the homosexual movement, at one or two percent of the population, gets treated with such solicitude while the Catholic population, which is over a quarter of the country, is given the back of the hand.”

“How has that come to be?” Barr continued. “We need to go back to basics and reassemble the flock. We may be frittering away our limited moral capital on a host of agenda items.”

The watchdog group GLAAD suggested his comments should immediately disqualify him from the position of Attorney General.

“William Barr… is the latest in a long line of replacements who President Trump has appointed to his Cabinet who are just as anti-LGBTQ as their predecessors,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, its president and CEO. “If confirmed, there’s little doubt that William Barr would continue the Trump Administration’s objective of erasing LGBTQ Americans from the fabric of this nation.”

DNC Chair Tom Perez also issued a statement in response to the nomination:

“Our next attorney general must be able to stand up to the president and act as an independent law enforcement official. Trump has consistently shown a corrupt disregard for the rule of law and used his office to undermine civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and voting rights.

“William Barr must assure the American people that he will resist any attempt by the president to interfere in law enforcement matters, and he must unequivocally commit to protecting the special counsel’s investigation and defending our constitutional rights.”

Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Government Affairs David Stacy also released a statement:

“The Trump-Pence White House and the Justice Department have been pursuing a policy agenda to undermine the legal rights of LGBTQ people since day one. From his views around HIV/AIDS during his tenure as attorney general to his more recent writing promoting extreme views around religious exemptions, William Barr looks ill suited to be our country’s top law enforcement officer. The Senate has a solemn responsibility to advise and consent on this important nomination and his troubling views on LGBTQ equality and the law must be thoroughly vetted.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would seemingly fall in line with his predecessors in the DOJ.

While Attorney General of Alabama, Sessions fought to keep an LGBTQ conference from meeting at the University of Alabama. During his nearly two-year stint in the Trump administration, his DOJ argued Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect workers from being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

Shortly before tendering his resignation, Sessions’ office also argued that trans employees aren’t protected under federal civil rights law.

After the former Alabama Senator announced he would be stepping down from the DOJ in November, Sessions was replaced by Matthew Whitaker. As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, he allegedly persecuted openly gay Iowa State Sen. Matt McCoy because of his pro-LGBTQ activism.

While Senate Democrats could choose to oppose yet another anti-LGBTQ pick to the DOJ, it’s unlikely they would have the votes to do so. They will be outnumbered 53 to 47 when Congress reconvenes in the new year.

Grindr’s Head of Communications Resigns: ‘I Refused to Compromise My Own Values’

Grindr may not be available for comment.

On Friday afternoon, Landen Zumwalt, Grindr’s head of communications, quit his position in an open letter to Grindr’s employees on Medium, saying that he’d no longer “compromise my own values” to work at the company.

“As an out and proud gay man madly in love with a man I don’t deserve, I refused to compromise my own values or professional integrity to defend a statement that goes against everything I am and everything I believe,” Zumwalt wrote on Medium. “While that resulted in my time at Grindr being cut short, I have absolutely no regrets. And neither should you.”

He continued by saying it has been a “privilege” to come to work every day.

“I am — and will continue to be — immensely proud of the work we were allowed to do during my time at Grindr,” he said. “I will never forget the heart-tugging messages, emails and more that we received from the queer community as a result of our Kindr initiative. Nor will I forget being a witness firsthand to the amazing activism work Grindr for Equality is doing globally or working alongside the award-winning reporting team at INTO.”

Zumwalt’s departure follows a week after INTO first reported that Grindr’s president Scott Chen posted on his public Facebook page that he agrees with those who “believe that marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman.”

In a follow-up internal email, Chen said that the words he used “related to marriage between a man and a woman were meant to express my personal feelings about my own marriage to my wife – not to suggest that I am opposed to marriage equality.”

In a statement, Grindr said they “wish him the best in his future endeavors and appreciate his contributions to the company and the Grindr community.”

For Black Queers, Kevin Hart’s Insincere Apology Isn’t Surprising

Late Thursday night, three days after being named the host of the 2019 Academy Awards, Kevin Hart announced that he was stepping down from the position after initially declining to apologize for resurfaced homophobic tweets.

His response didn’t surprise me, and it likely didn’t surprise any Black LGBTQ person who has had a Netflix subscription in the past decade. We grew up in families and attended schools and likely work in places surrounded by black men who have the same opinions as Hart. And like Hart, they express their disapproval through “jokes” at the expense of LGBTQ people, sometimes more overt in their violence – like this tweet from 2011 saying that he’d break a dollhouse over his son’s head if he caught him playing with dolls.

Similar to a lot of cis-hetero black men, Hart first doubled down when confronted with his tweets. In response to the outcry, Hart posted a video on Instagram Thursday night, saying that the world was becoming “beyond crazy” and that he wasn’t going to let the “craziness” frustrate or anger him because he worked hard to be where he is in his life right now.

“My team calls me, ‘Oh, my God, Kevin, this world is upset about tweets you did years ago,’ Guys, I’m almost 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you. If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past, then do you. I’m the wrong guy, man,” Hart said. “I’m in a great place, a great mature place, where all I do is spread positivity.”

In a second video, he announced that he’s been asked by The Academy to “apologize for tweets of old” to keep his host position, but that he ultimately declined.

As expected, Black LGBTQ Twitter had a few things to say in response:

It’s not uncommon for cis-hetero black men to not apologize for their homophobia. Black male comedians have long been homophobic and have always had other black comedians come to defend their bigotry.

There are also places in black culture that breed the resentment: particularly the barbershop, which is historically a place where black men have congregated and have had spirited debates about everything. It’s considered a cultural rite of passage for young black boys to be brought there for their first haircuts and to be around older role models who look like them and can give them wisdom.

It’s also where homophobic conversations are so prevalent that the rhetoric is normalized and passed down to younger black boys for them to continue the cycle.

So this isn’t just Hart, unfortunately. This has roots. And I’m a lesbian who has kept a clean, shaved head for the past four years, so I’m regularly in the barber’s chair listening in on these conversations.

I listen in at family events when my male cousins talk about who does (and doesn’t) get into their fraternity. I listen at work when a casually homophobic comment is made about anything pop-culture related. I see when local Twitter accounts (and more) become nostalgic for the Twitter era of 2009-2012 when anti-gay bigotry was expressed freely and without consequence. When – if ever – anything is questioned or said to be homophobic, it’s shrugged off. They were just “jokes,” and cis-hetero black men like Hart would rather lose the job opportunity of a lifetime than express regret for their homophobia.

Unfortunately, black people supported comedy specials that used gay people as the punchline, including the acts of Eddie Murphy, Bernie Mac, Martin Lawrence, and more of the Kings of Comedy; Hart was likely influenced by them and incorporated their style into his act. Maybe he believed it, and maybe he was simply being performative, but the effect is still the same.

I don’t know if Hart has had a change in perspective during all of this. His career exploded into the mainstream after the original tweets and with that fame came increased scrutiny of his past. I’m sure he’s learned how easy it is for people to dig up his unsavory actions, but besides that, his constant emphasis that the tweets are so old that they shouldn’t matter anymore makes it difficult to believe that he’s anything but obstinate.

In all of this, of course, Hart and his fans find him to be the victim and the people who demand respect and a sincere apology for his past comments about LGBTQ people are “internet trolls.”

None of what’s been going on with Hart regarding his actions or lack of accountability has been surprising to black queers. Another day, another deflection and dismissal of the lived experiences of the LGBTQ community.

Image via Getty

9 Potential Oscars Hosts to Replace Kevin Hart

As Kevin Hart learned last night, in the immortal words of Academy Award winner and Charm School host Mo’Nique, when you do clownery, the clown comes back to bite. As such, after the internet pointed out that he had quite a few homophobic tweets in his past, Kevin Hart chose to step down from his gig hosting the 2019 Oscar telecast.  

Since the announcement, the internet has broken out their best gumshoe skills in search of someone else to host the ceremony. (The Golden Globes don’t have that problem, having already made the inspired decision to tap Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg to host their ceremony.)  

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So, who should host the ceremony? Well, when I was thinking about potential replacements, and peeping names other people offered on the internet, a few requirements came to mind: they have to be funny, they should be beloved and, obviously, the replacement should also be Black. Given the nature of the controversy, it would also help if the person chosen was a member of the LGBTQ community.

Here are nine potential picks that could get the room warmed up while we wait for Regina King to collect her statue for best supporting actress.

Whoopi Goldberg

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Whoopi was the natural first choice for a lot of people. She has a lot of the requisite characteristics that one would need to helm the Gay Super Bowl. She’s a previous Oscar winner who has hosted the ceremony four times already. Also, while she’s a comedian, her humor is more retro than newfangled and definitely will aim to please rather than bite.

Mo’Nique

If we’re talking about Black Oscar winners who know how to make people laugh, look no further than Mo’Nique. She’s never hosted the Oscars before, but she has plenty of skills hosting a contentious room — look no further than her triumphant turn as the host of VH1’s inaugural run of Charm School. Mo’Nique spent much of 2018 on an amazing press tour convincing Hollywood to take note of the worth of Black women, especially Black female comedians. Giving one of the most decorated comedians in history a platform to remind us all how much she makes us laugh would be a testament to that.  

Tiffany Haddish

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Haddish was one of the first names to pop up in earnest on everyone’s Twitter feeds. Haddish is a critically acclaimed actress and comedian who also feels like something of a Hollywood prom queen right now. She’s extremely beloved and is the definition of a crowd pleaser. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that people were mad that she mispronounced some names when she announced the nominations for last year’s awards, but here’s the thing: they wouldn’t have been mad if she were a white man.

Wanda Sykes

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Sykes is one of the biggest names in comedy. She’s also the most visible Black LGBTQ comedian in the world. If you’re looking for the perfect person to step in after the Hart controversy, there’s really no name more perfect than Sykes. Also, Sykes’ comedy would definitely strike the right tone for the ceremony. She’s not afraid to be political and everyone’s going to be in the mood to poke fun at Trump. Sykes will go there, even if people boo.  

Maya Rudolph

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When a New York Times profile about you says that you look like God, then it’s pretty clear that you’re operating on a different level from the rest of us. And the person who garnered that description is master comedian Maya Rudolph, who has made us laugh in almost every medium possible. She does everything: she can act *and* sing (I’ve seen her perform twice in her Prince cover band and I still haven’t recovered). Also, lest we forget, Rudolph is an exceptional dramatic actress. Here’s your semi-annual reminder to watch Away We Go.

Trevor Noah

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While I’d rather a woman take the stage, there are a few people who have expressed a desire to see Trevor Noah take the stage. The choice makes sense on a few levels. Jon Stewart hosted the ceremonies twice and given that Noah was chosen to succeed Stewart on the Daily Show, an Oscar-hosting gig doesn’t seem too far behind. But, still, Noah doesn’t seem to have the universal goodwill that Stewart had.

Tituss Burgess

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If the Academy really wanted to show that it was on the gays’ side the whole time, Burgess could be a sign that they’re willing to put their glitter where their mouth is. Burgess has a ton of internet clout, but he’s starting to amass industry clout as well. In September, he joined RuPaul, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon and more on stage for a star-studded opening Emmys number. Was it an audition?

Jaboukie Young-White

If you’re talking about internet clout, no one has amassed a more fervent internet fandom faster than comedian and Daily Show correspondent Jaboukie Young-White, whose comedy is unapologetically queer. But, Young-White doesn’t seem to have the industry gravitas or respect that one needs to have in order to actually get the hosting gig. But, there’s a future in which the Twitter king can one day take the stage.

Tracee Ellis Ross

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Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well, Tracee Ellis Ross. The award-winning actress definitely has more of a television background (her last film was the 2009 Lindsay Lohan-led Labor Pains) but no one could make an audience feel more at ease than one of TV’s best moms. She’s also the daughter of an icon — and an Academy Award nominee for Lady Sings the Blues.

LGBTQ Women Are More Nominated Than Ever At This Year’s Grammys

The 61st annual Grammy Award nominees were announced today, and several trans and queer-identified women are up for awards in categories ranging from Album of the Year to Best Music Video to Producer of the Year. In most categories, they are the only women against a handful of cis and largely straight men. 

Openly gay Americana artist Brandi Carlile finally gets her due this year with six nominations for work from her album, By The Way, I Forgive You. Carlile’s sixth studio LP is up for Album of the Year and Best Americana Album, and her single “The Joke” is up for Record of the Year, Best American Roots Performance, and Best American Roots song. Although she’s been nominated before (2016’s Best Grammy Award for Best Americana Album, for her fifth LP, The Firewatcher’s Daughter), this could be her year for at least one win. It likely doesn’t hurt that she appeared in a fictional Grammy performance depicted in A Star is Born, alongside Bradley Cooper.

Speaking of A Star is Born, bisexual pop star Lady Gaga is up for Best Pop Solo Performance (“Joanne”), Record and Song of the Year and Best Song Written For Visual Media for “Shallow.”

Pansexual R&B-turned-pop star Janelle Monae’s visual accompaniment to her vaginal ode “Pynk” is nominated for Best Music Video, and her album, Dirty Computer, is up against not only Carlile, but multiple nominee Cardi B for Album of the Year. Monae has also been nominated previously (Best Album, Record, Pop/Duo Group Performance, Contemporary R&B Album, and Urban/Alternative Performance from 2009-2013), but has yet to nab a win.

Speaking of Cardi, the bisexual sensation also went home empty-handed after two nominations last year (Rap Song and Rap Performance for “Bodak Yellow”), but could win for Album and Record of the Year (Invasion of Privacy and “I Like It,” respectively), Best Rap Performance (also “I Like It”), and  Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with Maroon 5 for “Girl Like You.” 

Trans songwriter/producer Teddy Geiger’s “In My Blood” is up for Song of the Year (along with co-songwriter and performer Shawn Mendes) and trans artist SOPHIE is nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album (Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides), both their first nominations.

In Best Folk Album, longtime lesbian singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier is nominated for Rifles & Rosary Beads, and soul legend Meshell Ndegeocello’s Ventriloquism could win Best Urban Contemporary Album. Whitney Houston is being honored posthumously for music from the film Whitney (Best Music Film), St. Vincent is up for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Song (for Masseduction and title track, respectively), Linda Perry is competing for Producer of the Near, Non-Classical for her work on Willa Amai’s Hardest Better Faster Stronger, Served Like a Girl: Music From and Inspired By The Documentary Film, and Dorothy’s 28 Days in the Family, and out songwriter Tiffany Gouche wrote several tracks for Lalah Hathaway’s Best R&B Album-nominated Honestly and Hathaway’s Best R&B Performance song “Y O Y.” Demi Lovato also got a nod for “Fall In Line,” her track with Christina Aguilera (Best Pop Duo/Group Performance).

This is already a record year for LGBTQ women visibility at the Grammys, but should these nominees also win, it would be an incredibly strong showing in all areas of music recording and production. As the music industry continues to reconcile with LGBTQ inclusion and gender parity, 2019’s Grammys are an opportunity to celebrate just how powerful LGBTQ musicians and women are, and how valuable their experiences are as a part of their voice and their art.

The 2019 Grammys will air live on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

Images via Getty

A Statement Regarding Our Ariana Grande Coverage – UPDATED

December 7, 2018: A number of concerning allegations related to one of our freelance writers has come to our attention. As an organization that listens to and champions the rights of the LGBTQ community, INTO has decided to discontinue our relationship with this person. All content written by this individual has been removed from our website.


Yesterday, an article was published on INTO that did not meet the editorial guidelines we created. And there are a few things I need to say…

First off:

While I could go into the HOW/WHY of why the piece missed the mark and should not have been published as is, what I am going to focus on is this: We as editors failed the writer by not working with her to ensure the piece met our standards.

And for that I am personally sorry.

After publishing, the writer immediately faced numerous death threats. No one deserves to be threatened with violence let alone face it for writing an essay on a piece of ~culture~ …good or bad. Ever. As a result, we dropped her byline and put a note up.

We were then made aware of concerning allegations made in the past regarding the writer. Given the seriousness of these allegations, I personally spoke with the writer and immediately launched an internal investigation. INTO was not aware of these until Monday after publishing. And the writer will not be contributing to INTO for the time being. 

Moving forward, I am working with the entire INTO team to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. I will be making some internal editorial changes that will be announced soon.

Today, we will be publishing content directly calling out the missteps in the piece and expanding the conversation. We also have a special guest for a video that was already filmed for Ariana, too.

We at INTO really try our hardest every day to tell stories and have conversations with LGBTQ people that benefit the community, whether it’s on pop culture moments or reporting on LGBTQ asylum-seekers and immigration.

And we can only keep doing this if we hold ourselves accountable.

Zach Stafford

Editor-in-Chief, INTO

People Are Campaigning to Get PewDiePie More Subscribers Because Straight Men Have Too Much Time on Their Hands

I’m not saying people shouldn’t be straight, I just don’t need their culture shoved in my face all the time. Lately, I’ve been inundated with some PewDiePie nonsense and I just can’t deal anymore, folks. Apparently PewDiePie, the most highly-subscribed YouTuber, is in the news this week because he might soon be losing that title. Even more hilarious is that PewDiePie might lose his title to an Indian music company called T-Series. To fight back against losing his throne, PewDiePie has started a campaign to keep himself the most highly-subscribed person on YouTube.

If you’ve been delightfully unaware of Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg up until this point, I’m sorry to burst your bubble. His YouTube channel originally gained a lot of success from his comedic videos about gaming. The funny video game genre of YouTube video is wildly popular today among straight nerd fan boys and that is partially because of the mark that PewDiePie has left on the platform.

Unsurprisingly, Kjellberg’s fame and success have not come without controversy — aka racism and Nazi imagery. According to the Wall Street Journal, nine videos between August 2016 and February 2017 had Nazi or anti-Semitic content. In one video, Kjellberg hired people from a freelance site to hold up a sign that said, “Death to all Jews,” so you know, that’s something. Because of these videos, Kjellberg ended up losing a partnership with the Disney-owned Maker Studios. But it didn’t stop there. Later in 2017, Kjellberg got called out for yelling the n-word at an enemy during a stream of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

But of course, his straight gamer fans immediately came to his defense, claiming that he was just stressed or frustrated. As with most of the content creators in his section of the internet, when they do something offensive, no matter who in the world responds negatively to it, their mostly male audiences will do pretty much nothing.

PewDiePie has always been an interesting symbol for a larger conversation taking place online. Because PewDiePie isn’t owned by a network or a media company, there is kind of nothing to stop him. YouTube has proven time and time again with some of their biggest channels like PewDiePie and Logan Paul that little will be done to punish them when they do something offensive or inappropriate. The only people who can hold him accountable are his fans, and because majority of the people in his community are straight white men, that won’t be happening any time soon.

It would be one thing for PewDiePie to simply exist on YouTube, but he still, after all of this, remains completely supported. And not just by fans, but by other creators in the community. Just in this campaign, gaming YouTubers Jacksepticeye and Markiplier (who also started this really bad clothing brand together) encouraged people to subscribe to PewDiePie. Markiplier specifically had a livestream titled “I Literally Won’t Shut Up Until You Subscribe To PewDiePie” where he — with an admittedly sexy voice — ranted about the battle between these channels for nearly 50 minutes.

Something that I’ll give PewDiePie credit for is that during this campaign, some people were making racist remarks to T-Series, the Indian music channel, and in response, PewDiePie encouraged his fans to donate to Child Rights and You, a non-profit organization fighting against child labor in India.

PewDiePie said that he found these comments to be distasteful and unnecessary, but followed that up with saying “I’ve obviously made Indian jokes and stuff like that, but I do that of all countries and this is not what I’m about.” It’s hard to grasp that people, in 2018, still try to make a fine distinction between racist “jokes” and racist comments. Sorry friend, if you’re making fun of other countries and their people, you kind of have to take responsibility when your audience does the same.

With everything going on in the world, it’s more than slightly upsetting that this is what is taking up space. Like damn, is that what it’s like to not be marginalized? Is this the dumb stuff you get to spend time on? Sign me up. I have to admit, I would be thrilled if PewDiePie, with his racist history, was de-ranked by a bunch of brown people. It would prove that karma was very real and it was time for him to cash in. In short: Go subscribe to T-Series on YouTube.

Hate Crime Forces Gay Couple to Leave Las Vegas Home

Charles Clements and Vincent Shaver can’t go home. They can’t make rent, and even if they could, they don’t want to stay.

“Every time we opened the door and heard steps, I would get scared,” Clements told INTO. “So we had to leave immediately.”

Last Thursday, Clements and Shaver said they were victims of a brutal anti-gay hate crime at their Las Vegas apartment. The incident has left them staying with Shaver’s uncle, trying to raise enough money to move.

Shaver said the trouble started at his job at Walmart when a coworker and his friend started targeting him for being gay.

“They told me I was an abomination and a faggot,” said Shaver.

Shaver said he reported the harassment to supervisors and thought that would be the end of the problem.

But on Thursday when Clements picked him up from work, the two followed them home.

“I guess he waited in the parking lot for three hours,” Shaver said. “I didn’t think he was going to take it to the extreme and follow us home and try to hurt us.”

Clements said he didn’t even realize they had been followed until they were home and he heard Shaver call out his name from the front of the house. Two guys were hitting Shaver. When Clements moved to intervene, the two started to attack him, he said.

They knocked over a table, shattering glass, which the attackers then used as a knife.

“I was leaking blood and that’s when they went over to my boyfriend and started kicking him and stabbing him,” said Clements.

When the attackers saw the blood they fled, said Clements. The attack lasted about 10 minutes, he said.

The couple said neighbors watched the attack but didn’t intervene or call police. One neighbor shut the door in the middle of the beating. Shaver had to call 911 himself.

Both were hospitalized Thursday night. Shaver suffered a punctured lung, seven stab wounds in the back and two broken ribs. Clements had to have stitches for a cut to his head. The two are home and recovering. Shaver has taken a temporary leave from Walmart, but Clements said he will return to his job at a local nursing home.

The couple said they don’t have health insurance, and costly medical bills have forced them to vacate their apartment. They have launched a GoFundMe, asking for help with moving to “a different area where they have security 24/7 and a gated area.”

“When I met Vincent is when I wanted to be out and proud of myself,” said Clements, who notes they have been together a year-and-a-half.

“We were living comfortably, and now this tragedy has cost us our place,” added Shaver.

Walmart is working with Las Vegas law enforcement to investigate the incident, which they categorized as workplace violence, the company confirmed. A spokesperson would not provide details on the ongoing investigation.

Las Vegas Police Department did not respond to requests to comment by press time.

Image via YouTube

Poland and Hungary Veto Statement of Support For LGBTQ Youth in EU Policy

Poland and Hungary reportedly rejected a declaration of support for LGBTQ youth in a European Union policy on creating internet safe spaces for young people.

On Thursday, the two countries were the lone holdouts in a vote on a joint statement on “gender equality, youth, and digitalization” authored by ministers with the EU’s employment and social affairs bureaus. As Politico was first to report, the proposed policy was “intended to promote gender equity in the digital era.”

However, Poland and Hungary rejected references in the document to the LGBTQ community.

The original version of the text referred to “young people of low socioeconomic status, young people from ethnic minorities including Roma, young persons with disabilities, young people in rural areas, young people with a migrant background, and young LGBTQ persons” as vulnerable minorities in the digital age.

In the United States, research from GLSEN has consistently shown that LGBTQ youth are three times as likely as their cisgender and heterosexual peers to be harassed, bullied, or targeted online.

A compromise declaration put forward by the Austrian delegation to the EU, however, replaced mention of this marginalized group with a reference to “sexual orientation.”

The watered-down proposal enumerated characteristics like “age,” “color,” “disability,” “ethnic or social origin,” “genetic features,” “language,” “membership of a national minority,” “political or any other opinion,” “property,” “race,” “religion or belief,” and “sexual orientation” as protected characteristics under the EU’s digital policy.

However, that list of characteristics does not include “gender identity.”

References to LGBTQ individuals were eventually included in the final version of the document, although with a symbolic asterisk placed next to them. Protection on the basis of LGBTQ identity was designated as a “presidential conclusion.”

That status doesn’t “carry the legal weight of formal council conclusions,” according to Politico.

The erasure of queer and transgender people from EU policy was met with widespread condemnation from member states that have long been supportive of LGBTQ equality. Wouter Koolmees, the Dutch minister for social affairs and employment, claimed “inclusion and equality are core values” of the EU.

We will never compromise our principles,” he said in a statement. “This is not up for discussion and should have never been an issue for any member state.”

Regina Doherty, Ireland’s Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, noted this week’s controversy is a reminder that the EU cannot “be too complacent” when it comes to furthering LGBTQ rights among the 28 nations joined to the interstate partnership.

“[M]ore effort needs to be done to address the marginalisation and wellbeing of LGBTQ persons and to ensure that vulnerable groups are not left behind,” she said in a statement.

In response to the compromise declaration, 19 EU member states put forward their own statement in support of equality. Spearheaded by Malta, the document calls upon the European Commission to draft a comprehensive plan safeguarding the rights of LGBTQ individuals within the next two years.

That entreaty was signed by Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain, among others.

Following backlash, Poland and Hungary have maintained the decision to remove queer- and trans-inclusive language was intended to reflect majoritarian values in societies which have yet to fully embrace equality. According to ILGA Europe, the two countries rank 38th and 20th on LGBTQ rights in Europe, respectively.

Two months ago, Poland courted similar controversy after torpedoing Europe’s Fundamental Rights Charter over LGBTQ rights provisions.