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Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds donates childhood home to LGBT charity

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons holds a gay pride flag

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons. (Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Dan Reynolds, professional tall man and Imagine Dragons singer, has donated his childhood home worth $1 million for it to become an LGBT+ youth centre.

As part of LGBT+ advocacy group Encircle’s ‘$8 Million, Eight Houses’ campaign, the 34-year-old reflected on the difficulties queer youth face.

Reynolds, an outspoken LGBT+ ally, and his wife Aja Volkman are to donate the Las Vegas, Nevada, property to be converted into one of Encircle’s new facilities, which will offer vulnerable queer youth a crucial lifeline.

Both Reynolds and Volkman will serve as honorary co-chairs of Encircle’s new campaign, according to NME.

Dan Reynolds: ‘I’ve watched throughout my life the difficult path that LGBT+ youth have’

“Encircle is about bringing young LGBTQ+ people and their families together, by including the community and strengthening the bonds that connect us,” Reynolds and Volkman said in a joint statement.

“Being a part of this organization means so much to both of us and we know the house Dan grew up in will be a loving and supportive home to every young LGBTQ+ person who crosses the threshold.”

Appearing on daytime talk show Good Morning America Thursday (25 February), Reynolds, alongside fellow donators Apple CEO Tim Cook and Utah Jazz basketball team owner Ryan Smith, discussed the campaign.

“I’ve watched throughout my life the difficult path that LGBT+ youth have, especially coming from homes of faith,” he said.

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons. (Jerod Harris/Getty Images for LOVELOUD Festival)

“Now to know, with my mum and dad’s blessing, I was able to purchase the home for them and it’s going to be the first Encircle home in Las Vegas – that’s powerful for me.”

Encircle operate various safe houses in Utah in Salt Lake City, Provo and St George, and a fourth in Heber on the way. The campaign being part of an effort to expand to Arizona, Idaho and Nevada.

“Studies repeatedly have shown that LGBT+ youth across the country struggle with depression and suicidality far more than their heterosexual peers, and the pandemic has made that sense of isolation so many feel harder than ever before,” Encircle CEO Stephanie Larsen said in a statement to the press.

“We strive to give these kids a positive and loving environment that builds support within their communities where they can realize their full potential, and it works — we have not lost a single youth to suicide.”

Coming soon to a home theater near you: “Mayor Pete”

Coming soon to a home theater near you: “Mayor Pete”

via Shutterstock

Just weeks after making history as the first openly gay Transportation Secretary in United States history, Pete Buttigieg has hit another milestone: he will be the subject of a documentary film produced by Amazon Studios.

Variety reports that Mayor Pete will chronicle Buttigieg’s landmark run for the White House, as well as offer a glimpse into his home life in Indiana with his husband Chasten, and their two dogs. Cameras followed the Buttigieg couple beginning in Summer 2019 all the way through March 2020, when the former South Bend, Indiana mayor withdrew from the Democratic contest. Buttigieg then became one of future President Joe Biden‘s most high-profile and trusted surrogates.

Related: Mayor Pete epically owns Trump’s “crazy uncle” debate performance

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Director Jesse Moss will helm the film, which is also significant: Moss’ film Boys State is already snagging considerable Oscar buzz this year and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Mayor Pete will mark his immediate follow-up.

Amazon will release Mayor Pete later in 2021; a final date has not yet been announced.

Home state of Mike Pence could be next to ban conversion therapy

Vice president Mike Pence

Vice president Mike Pence. (Getty/J. Scott Applewhite)

Indiana, the home-state of vice-president Mike Pence, could be next in line to ban traumatising conversion therapy for LGBT+ people in a groundbreaking move.

JD Ford and Sue Errington, two Indiana Democrats, have introduced bills that would outlaw the dangerous practice in the state.

If passed, the bills would “make anti-LGBTQ practices illegal” and “penalise businesses and Hoosiers who participate in [the] debunked conspiracy theory”, according to the Stonewall Democrats.

“Putting a stop to this harmful and detrimental practice can save the lives of countless LGBTQ Hoosiers,” Ford said, according to WRTV.

“Our state has the chance to end this harmful and detrimental practice this year. A person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not a disease that needs [to be] cured.

“In fact, every major medical and mental health organisation in our country has condemned the use of ‘conversion therapy’… there is no financial risk to our state government for approving this legislation, so why not do this?”

Meanwhile, Errington said in a press release that most people in Indiana have “never heard of conversion therapy” – but said the practice is ongoing in the state.

“I personally know some of my constituents were subjected to ‘conversion therapy’ as children and are concerned about its use on young people today,” Errington said.

“Last summer, a transgender friend of mine from Delaware County reached out to me and asked me to help end ‘conversion therapy’ in Indiana. Her plea prompted me to introduce House Bill 1213, which would end the use of this discredbied practice and protect Hoosiers who are born as LGBTQ.”

If the legislation is passed, Indiana would join 20 other states that have banned conversion therapy in some form.

Mike Pence has tried to rewrite his historic support of conversion therapy.

The news will likely come as a disappointment to the outgoing vice-president, who is famous for his connections to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.

On the archived website for Pence’s 2000 congressional campaign, he suggested that funding for HIV prevention programming should be suspended and instead diverted to organisations that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour”.

While campaigning to be vice-president, Mike Pence repeatedly declined requests to disavow the comments or clarify his point of view.

After being elected he attempted to rewrite history, claiming that he never actually supported the practise — even though his website had directly called for the therapy.

Mike Pence and Donald Trump are set to wave goodbye to their days as vice-president and president of the United States, with president-elect Joe Biden set to be inaugurated on 20 January.


Iowa home photoshoot turned Christmas engagement

Iowa home photoshoot turned Christmas engagement

Chon and Oscar recently moved in together in Sioux City, Iowa, after dating long-distance. Chon decided to plan an intimate Christmas-themed photoshoot in their Iowa home by the fireplace and Christmas tree. In the middle of the photoshoot, Oscar stood at the tree to hang an ornament, and Chon got down on one knee behind him and held out a jewelry box with an engagement ring for his boyfriend. Oscar said yes, of course. So romantic!


Photographer: Silk & Thorn

Come Vibe With Me: Home Sweet Home

Come Vibe With Me: Home Sweet Home

I’ve been at my parent’s house for the past week, they only live a 4-hour drive away but I still haven’t been home since October of last year. The plan was to spend seven days being encouraged to do absolutely nothing. I wanted to come home and read books on the couch with covers that make my father both inquisitive and wary, beg my mother to make large quantities of my favorite food, and spend hours in my twin bed taking naps and watching shows on my (new) computer.

Image shows a view of trees outside from inside a train car. There is a leg in the frame, wearing jeans and sneakers in the shot as well.
A shot from last year – a more restful ride home.

The world once again had different plans. On Christmas Eve morning while joking around with my dad in the kitchen we got a phone call that my aunt had suddenly passed away during her dialysis appointment. My family lost a few other members earlier in the year, including my grandfather but this one was extra hard. We spent the remainder of the day digitally filling out paperwork and doing things that were both emotionally and physically draining. I thought back to The Nap Ministry saying from last week of “Just go Lay Down”, looked over at my parents, and passed it on to them. My dad went to sleep and my mother, somehow a combination of restless and tired, instead turned her energy to cooking. I spent the next few days taking on the tasks of fielding phone calls and other things that come with handling a family member’s death. On Christmas day another family member was in distress and my father then got stranded in the snow for nearly 6 hours after getting a flat on the way to help her after numerous tow trucks failed to show up.

I was so hopeful that we would be able to go into the new year without any more pain, that we would be able to take these few days to laugh, have sweet remembrance of those we already lost, and just be. Loss in so many forms has hit us in unimaginable ways. If no one has told you in this time — I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the loved ones that you’ve lost that you can no longer hold close. For the stress this year has put on your mind, body, and soul. That you were finally getting ahead and then got knocked back. That your finances got fucked up. That you lost your job. That you have not had many peaceful moments to just — rest.

I’m an eternal optimist and for the upcoming year, I hope for a large shift in the most positive direction… it’s the break that so many of us deserve. Until then though, I’m sending you vibes of peace, sweetness, and love straight from my heart to yours.

Sweet Sunday bbs — try to go lay down okay?

Y’all Come Look at This

When I was a nanny on social media, I always kept the kiddo’s identities private when posting. I plan to do the same when I have little ones of my own and I love that Mindy Kaling is unapologetic about privacy when it comes to her little ones.

Images shows the cover of Chloe x Halle's album, Ungodly Hour. Both people are in black latex dresses with silver angel wings coming out of their backs. Their hair is loc'd as they look into the distance.
Chloe x Halle looking stunning on the cover of their most recent album, Ungodly Hour.

Some style tips on how to celebrate “Sala Season” and look fly even if you’re solo in the living room this year!

Ungodly Hour was one of my favorite albums this year, Chloe x Halle talk inspiration, innovation, and using music as therapy over on Bustle.

This stunning personal piece over on Refinery29 gives insight into what it’s like to be the first person in a family of color to face and recover from addiction.

I’m still excited, but the official trailer of Coming 2 America made me a little nervous. Princess Weekes over on The Mary Sue also had a few thoughts on the hopefully not terrible sequel.

For Teen Vogue, Taylour Paige writes a beautiful love letter to her character in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Dussie Mae.

This fantastic end of year message from the one and only Saucy Santana will motivate you to do all you can to actually just Netflix and fucking Chill.

Image shows the cast of "How to ruin Christmas - the wedding" with the title of the movie in red on a blue background. The main charecter is in the front, draped with a yellow towel in front of her, a confused look on her face and holding a champagne bottle.

How to Ruin Christmas — The Wedding

I added this to my Netflix queue a few weeks ago because it was about Christmas and the cast was a bunch of beautiful black people — two of my favorite things.

I was not expecting to be so utterly in love with this!

Older sister and essential black sheep Tumi (Busi Lurayi) comes home for her sister Beauty’s (Thando Thabethe) wedding, and from the moment she steps off the plane things start to fall apart around her. There is cheating, mommy issues, sibling rivalry, and more all on this holiday weekend from hell.

It’s hilarious, it’s 3 episodes and you can finish it in an afternoon and thank me after. Also, slight spoiler alert — there is an adorable mini queer storyline that DOESN’T END IN TRAGEDY!

Watch the trailer here.

This week on the virtual bulletin board I encourage you to look to your inner circle. Reach out to friends who may need a little extra help, love or attention right now and give it to them in the ways that you can. Don’t drain yourself but do what you can to be as available to your chosen family as you’re able to. Hold space for folks and also — don’t be afraid to ask if you need to be held yourself.

Image shows the text "Check on your homies" surrounded by holly, berries and pine needles.

If you have anything happening in your city (or virtually) that you think would be a good fit for the community love virtual billboard, send it my way via Instagram! Please remember that anything you send must have a focus on people of color.

I know you’re used to me telling you to blast my playlists to figure out just how loud your speakers can go, but this week we’re trying to chill. So keep the music low and the vibes high.

Enjoy a taste of Queer Japan from the comfort of home / GayCities Blog

Enjoy a taste of Queer Japan from the comfort of

A go-go dancer captured in the documentary, Queer Japan
A go-go dancer captured in the documentary, Queer Japan

While we continue to dream about escaping to far-flung climes, a new documentary coming to streaming services next week brings Japan to you.

Queer Japan is an acclaimed documentary by Los Angeles-based, Canadian filmmaker Graham Kolbeins. It has already played at international LGBTQ film festivals around the world, with the Hollywood Reporter calling it, “an engagingly colorful panorama.”

On December 11, it will become available to viewers in the US and Canada via Theatrical At Home and on Digital HD (including Apple TV, Prime Video and Google Play).

Nogi Sumiko, Atsushi Matsuda, Hiroshi Hasegawa, Gengoroh Tagame, Akira the Hustler, and Tomato Hatakeno
L-R: Nogi Sumiko, Atsushi Matsuda, Hiroshi Hasegawa, Gengoroh Tagame, Akira the Hustler, and Tomato Hatakeno (Photo: Queer Japan)

Kolbeins and his producers spent five years making the documentary and interviewed over 100 people. They wanted to capture an authentic cross-section of Japan’s LGBTQ community, from erotic manga artist Gengoroh Tagame to HIV+ advocate Hiroshi Hasegawa, drag queen Vivienne Sato to trans author Tomato Hatakeno, crisscrossing the nation from Osaka to Okinawa.

Related: Gay Tokyo

Drag performer Vivienne Sato
Drag performer Vivienne Sato (Photo: Queer Japan)

The film features local gay bars and those who work in them, Pride parades and kink-positive parties, and shines a light on Tokyo’s gay neighborhood, Shinjuku Ni-chome.

“There is no singular ‘queer Japan,’ because queer people are not a monolith,” says Kolbeins in a press statement. “This film merely offers a patchwork of personal experiences told by a few dozen artists, activists, community leaders, and everyday people living in Japan today. It is my deepest hope that our approach does justice to the subjects and communities we’re depicting.”

A dancer at Club Explosion, Osaka, featured in Queer Japan
A dancer at Club Explosion, Osaka, featured in Queer Japan

Kolbeins says he has long had an admiration for Japanese, erotic manga art. This led him to make a short documentary in 2014 called The House of Gay Art, about a curator who stored an archive of erotic work in his Tokyo apartment.

Related: Gay couple’s hotel photo shoot prompts praise and criticism in Singapore

It proved successful at film festivals. Kolbeins [pictured below, front row left] says it impressed upon him, “the need and audience thirst for more cinematic representation of queer culture from Japan.”

Kolbeins worked in tandem with co-writer Anne Ishii and producer, Hiromi Iida.

“As a white cis male director aware of the long history of American colonization in Japan, it was especially important for me to remove myself from the frame as much as possible and avoid imposing any preconceived notions,” says Kolbeins. “I saw my role as a listener and an observer, a cheerleader for a community that deserves to be celebrated.”

Kolbeins tells GayCities he first visited Japan in 2012, along with Queer Japan co-writer and long-time collaborator Anne Ishii, to meet with Manga artists.

“I didn’t have much of a sense of what the LGBTQ+ scene would look like, but I was delighted to glimpse the sheer scope of Tokyo’s gayborhood, Shinjuku Ni-Chome, which has close to 300 bars servicing the queer community.”

Tokyo Rainbow Pride
Tokyo Rainbow Pride (Photo: Queer Japan)

Like everyone else, Kolbeins is looking forward to being able to travel and reconnecting with his Japanese friends again. He has recommendations for anyone who’s not been before.

“Personally, I can’t wait to return to Osaka and dance at Club Explosion, a club full of lasers, smoke, fog machines, go-go boys, and great drag shows on the weekend! Plus, Universal Studios Osaka just announced the new Nintendo World, set to open in February 2021 with a real life Mario Kart ride. That’s my post-COVID dream vacation!

“For visitors looking to enjoy Tokyo’s gay nightlife in Shinjuku Ni-chome, I recommend starting with a visit to AiiRo Cafe, which has a street-facing patio smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood. It’s a friendly and casual spot where foreign tourists, expatriates, and Ni-chome regulars congregate early for happy hour drinks.

Contemporary artist, bartender and activist, Akira The Hustler
Contemporary artist, bartender and activist, Akira The Hustler (Photo: Queer Japan)

“Some other favorite spots in the area include Alamas Cafe, Tac’s Knot, drag bar CAMPY!, and Eagle Tokyo Blue, a basement bear bar with exotic fish tanks and great gachimuchi merchandise. Some of Ni-chome’s smaller bars, which may only have 4-6 seats, do not cater to non-Japanese speakers, so please be aware and respectful when visiting.

“Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention one of my favorite queer events in Tokyo, the monthly hentai party Department H,” says Kolbeins.

Drag queen Margarette at Department H
Drag queen Margarette at Department H (Photo: Queer Japan)

Queer Japan producer and drag mega-fan Hiromi Iida took me to Department H on our first night of filming, and it quickly became a major focus of our film. Held in a huge event space with a stage and runway, Department H is an all-night extravaganza of delightful deviance where drag queens and kinky people of all stripes strut, pose, and serve some incredibly bold looks.”

Watch the trailer for Queer Japan below.

Family home draped with Pride flags vandalised by homophobes

homophobic graffiti

A quiet suburban family home decorated with Pride flags and signs was targeted by homophobic vandals who plastered the walls with hateful graffiti.

The house in Barrington, Illinois, had rainbow-decorated trees lining the driveway and an array of positive signs in the backyard, including one that read: “Love and peace over hate.”

Sadly it seems a homophobic thug took that as a challenge, as one morning they were replaced with vile, homophobic slurs.

Barrington local Kiki Angelos spotted the scene as she was out on her morning run. “The first thing I did was notice was the house and its signage, because it had a lot of positive messages in the front yard – which of course, you know, resonates with me,” she told CBS Chicago.

She stopped in disbelief when she saw the anti-LGBT+ graffiti scrawled on the garage, exterior brick walls and side doors of the home.

“It was a stab to the heart,” she said. “[I was] horrified, because it hit me personally. I have two children who identify as queer; a transgender son.”

Angelos raised awareness of the crime on social media as it is such an unusual case in the neighbourhood, and encouraged locals to vote in the upcoming election.

“I will not be silent, and no one should be scared to publicly express who they are in a loving way,” she said. “This community is going to rally around them and support them.”

Police are treating the vandalism as a potential hate crime, and believe it happened sometime overnight on October 17.

They are currently looking through footage on private security cameras to find the culprit, and a $2,500 reward has been offered for anyone who provides information leading to an arrest.

The family whose house was defaced declined to speak to local news, asking for privacy during this time.

San Francisco Seeks to Make Home of Lesbian Pioneers a Landmark

San Francisco Seeks to Make Home of Lesbian Pioneers a

The home where pioneering LGBTQ and civil rights activists Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin lived for more than five decades may become a local historic landmark, as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has taken the first step towards giving it that designation. The two women may be best known as the first same-sex couple to marry legally in San Francisco, but the legacy of these mothers of our movement is bigger than that.

Martin and Lyon in their living room c. 1990s (courtesy GLBT Historical Society)

Martin and Lyon in their living room c. 1990s (courtesy GLBT Historical Society)

The home, where Martin and Lyon lived together from 1955 until Martin’s death in 2008, and where Lyon remained until her death, is a 750-square-foot cottage on a mostly undeveloped double lot in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood. The property sold for $2.25 million this September. The sale caught the attention of Shayne Watson, a historian who co-wrote San Francisco’s LGBTQ Historic Context Statement in 2016. “I was alarmed when I saw an article about the sale touting how profitable it would be to redevelop the property,” said Watson in a press statement. “The Lyon-Martin house is not only one of the most significant queer sites in the city, but a place of international importance—truly a birthplace of LGBTQ-rights movements worldwide.”

“The home of Lesbian icons and human rights leaders Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin in San Francisco is vital to LGBTQ as well as San Francisco and American history,” said Dr. Marcia Gallo, professor emerita at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and author of Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movements. “From the mid-1950s to 2020, with its large open living room windows looking out on the city they loved so dearly, the Lyon Martin House not only sheltered them and their family and friends but also welcomed activists, journalists, politicians and other change-makers throughout the nation and the world.”

The neighborhood, however, has seen much recent redevelopment, with many older homes torn down to be replaced by new ones. Watson therefore brought together historians, friends and former caregivers of Lyon and Martin, and members of the broader queer community to establish Friends of the Lyon-Martin House in partnership with the GLBT Historical Society. After meeting with the group, Mandelman introduced a resolution in late September nominating the home as a historic landmark. On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve it. This begins a process in which the City’s Planning Department and Historic Preservation Commission has 90 days to issue a recommendation to the Board, which would then take final action to designate the landmark. That status would mean that future development and uses of the property would be subject to review by the Historic Preservation Commission.

In 1955, Martin and Lyon were among the eight founders of Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first political lesbian rights organization in the U.S. In 1956, the organization held the first known discussion groups on lesbian motherhood. The two worked tirelessly for decades on LGBTQ equality, women’s rights, stopping violence against women, healthcare access, advocacy for seniors, and much more. Martin founded or co-founded numerous other women’s and LGBT organizations, including the Lesbian Mother’s Union, the San Francisco Women’s Centers, the Bay Area Women’s Coalition, and the Council on Religion and the Homosexual in San Francisco. She and Lyon were the first lesbians to insist on joining the National Organization for Women (NOW) with a “couples’ membership rate” and Martin was the first out lesbian on its board of directors. Lesbian/Woman, the book they co-authored in 1972, was a groundbreaking portrayal of lesbian lives.

In 2004, Martin and Lyon were the first same-sex couple to be married by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. They were plaintiffs in the case that won marriage equality for same-sex couples throughout California in 2008. Martin died in 2008, shortly after their legal marriage; Lyon died this past April. They are survived by a daughter, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Terry Beswick, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society, says on the Friends of the Lyon-Martin House website, “I can see it in the future being a destination as an archival site for GLBTQ rights and women’s rights here in San Francisco.”

Perhaps they’ll also have a gift shop with books by and about the couple and the LGBTQ equality movement. If so, it should include Gayle Pitman’s picture book When You Look Out the Window (Magination Press), which shows how the two women fell in love, bought a house, and worked to transform their community.

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to all the home depot lesbians in this subreddit, i hope you’re taking this into consideration and shopping at lowe’s. we’ve gotta put our money where it’s not going to bite us in our voluptuous asses!! : actuallesbians

to all the home depot lesbians in this subreddit, i

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

C’mon queer ladies, we have found our new home : actuallesbians

C'mon queer ladies, we have found our new home :

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!