Tag: opens

“Serving children should not be controversial” – Evangelical Adoption Agency Opens to LGBTQ Parents Nationwide

"Serving children should not be controversial” - Evangelical Adoption Agency

Bethany Christian Services, the largest Protestant adoption and foster care agency in the U.S., announced yesterday that it will begin placing children with LGBTQ parents nationwide, reports the New York Times.

Child - heart - silhouette

Image by marcisim from Pixabay

Correspondent Ruth Graham writes that Bethany had an informal policy of referring LGBTQ people to other agencies, but individual branches of the agency, which has offices in 32 states, sometimes chose to serve them. In Philadelphia, where a different Christian agency’s refusal to work with LGBTQ people has taken them to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case (Fulton v. City of Philadelphia) whose outcome is pending, the local Bethany branch changed its policy to comply with city nondiscrimination statutes. Because the agency took taxpayer money for its services, it was bound by the city’s statutes. Now, Bethany’s national board has unanimously enacted a policy of inclusion for all of its branches.

Graham reports that President and CEO Chris Palusky said in an e-mail to the organization’s 1500 staff members, “We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today. We’re taking an all hands on deck’ approach where all are welcome.”

And board member Susanne Jordan told Graham that while she recognizes they may lose some donors because of the new policy, “Serving children should not be controversial.”

This is terrific news that will make more homes and parents available to children in care. And as the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) showed in a report released last December, more than 1,200 child placement agencies contract with city, county, and/or state governments to care for children. Of those, 39.8 percent agencies are religiously affiliated, mostly (88 percent) with mainstream Christian denominations. MAP noted that even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of discrimination, not all religiously affiliated agencies would choose to do so—and Bethany’s move reinforces that claim.

At the same time, MAP warned, “The risk is not merely hypothetical. There are already clear examples of agencies seeking the ability to discriminate. And a June 2020 survey by the Center for American Progress and NORC at the University of Chicago found that two in five LGBTQ people said it would be “very difficult” or “not possible” to find another child placement agency if they were turned away by one.

So: Good news, but not a reason to take our eyes off the ball. Want to know how you can help fight religiously based discrimination against LGBTQ parents and ensure that all children, including LGBTQ youth and youth of color, get culturally competent, safe, and supportive care? Visit the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign to learn more.

Lesbian opens up about pain of being shut out of her mother’s will

Lesbian opens up about pain of being shut out of

A lesbian who was cut out of her mother’s will has described the pain of being alienated by her entire family, simply because of her sexuality.

Writing to The Oregonian, the anonymous Texan woman asks the Dear Annie advice column for help navigating a bitter family feud.

She begins by explaining that she is now estranged from her sister after a disagreement with their mother, who has since passed away.

“It was a bad falling out, as she talked my mother into making her the sole heir of her estate because I am a lesbian,” she says bluntly.

That alone would be devastating, but most painful of all is the fact that she has been cut off from her two beloved nieces, whom she helped raise.

“My niece is getting married, and I suspect I will not be invited, as I was not invited to her high school or college graduation,” she writes.

“We once were very close, but now she doesn’t want to appear a traitor to her mother, I guess.”

The woman sent congratulations after hearing of her niece’s engagement, but after meeting no response she’s left wondering if it’s worth keeping in touch at all.

“My falling out with my sister is bad enough, but my mother and sister hurt me deeply by keeping me away from my two nieces, especially after I helped raise them,” she said.

“I have not said anything in years about it and don’t care to. It’s done and over with. I think I need to walk away.”

She now asks: “Is this childish of me? Can I give myself permission to save my self-respect and dignity by unfriending them?

“I don’t want to seem petty, but my mother and sister schemed to hurt me as badly as they could, all because l’m a lesbian and they don’t approve.”

It’s a tragically familiar problem for many LGBT+ people, and The Oregonian‘s Annie Lane had nothing but sympathy for the letter writer.

“In a perfect world, our parents and siblings would support us unconditionally and never judge us,” she replied. “In your case, their disapproval sounds extreme.”

She pointed out that while we can’t control others’ actions, we can control how we respond – and cutting off contact is a perfectly valid response.

“If you want to unfriend them on Facebook, that sounds like a fine idea,” she said. “In fact, social media never really makes people feel better about themselves, so why not just deactivate your account altogether?”

She also advised speaking to a professional therapist to help her process her family’s rejection.

“Work on forgiving your mother and sister for yourself, not for them,” she suggested. “After all, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco opens the tap for a major bathhouse comeback / Queerty

San Francisco opens the tap for a major bathhouse comeback

via Shutterstock

Amid the ongoing shutdowns and social distancing of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of San Francisco just opened door to bathhouses culture making a major comeback.

For those unfamiliar with queer history, bathhouses once served as a social center for LGBTQ men in particular. Hanging out in the jacuzzi with friends–and maybe having a bit of sex on the side–was as customary as meeting up at a gay bar or club. That changed with the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, when cities across the country began shuttering bathhouse venues as a means of curbing the epidemic.

Related: You can tell a gay man with a love of bathhouses wrote this movie. We’re ok with that.

Now, almost 40 years after the city imposed a litany of restrictions designed to shut down bathhouses, San Francisco has reverted to pre-AIDS regulations. In essence, the city is inviting new bathhouses to open.

“It is symbolically significant right now,” gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman told The Bay Area Reporter. “Whether it is significant on the ground depends on if entrepreneurs with the vision and financial capacities and the savvy to open can and operate one of these.”

The new regulations require that bathhouse venues must post warnings about the spread of STIs including HIV, as well as high-risk activities. In addition, venues must provide lube, condoms, soap and towels. Patrons under 18 years of age or who seem intoxicated are also not allowed.

It remains to be seen if a series of new bathhouse venues will open up in the city; COVID-19 restrictions currently prevent their opening in the short term. At the height of their popularity in the 1970s, San Francisco offered as many as 30 different bathhouse and spa destinations around the city. Today, only one venue remains. It also remains an unanswered question as to whether younger generations used to using dating apps to socialize and meet sexual partners will gravitate to a live venue.

Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy opens up about struggle with severe anxiety

Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy opens up about struggle with

Dan Levy attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. (Getty for Vanity Fair/ Rich Fury/VF20)

Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy has opened up about his struggle with debilitating anxiety, and described how it stopped him from coming out.

In an interview with Bustle, Levy explained that when he was young, his anxiety was so severe that he completely avoided social situations like birthday parties or summer camp.

It even resulted in a physical eye condition, iritis, and doctors said there was a chance that it would eventually take away his vision.

His self-imposed isolation, he said, “came from a deep-rooted fear of knowing that I was gay and not being able to be free”.

Levy continued: “By the time I got to high school, when your brain is starting to catch up to your physical impulses, it led to a very confusing time.

“Because on the one hand, you are now being introduced to things like self-awareness and anxiety. At the same time, you’re becoming more and more savvy when it comes to hiding it.”

Remaining closeted at school, he said he constantly felt a sense of fear: “Fear of being ridiculed. Fear of being othered. Fear of exposing something that I think a lot of high school students at the time didn’t have the tools to process properly, to make it comfortable for me.”

He found some relief through theatre, getting involved in directing, writing and acting in school plays, but he was still being bullied.

“I was starting to develop a sense of confidence by way of being able to entertain people,” he said.

“It was like a decoy version of myself that I was putting out there to not have to live with the reality that when the bullying was happening — if someone was calling me a faggot or whatever it was — they were speaking the truth.”

But this “decoy version” of himself, although effective as a distraction from his anxiety, was doing its own damage.

“Your sense of self gets chipped away,” he said. “You lose sight of your own value.”

Dan Levy explored his coming out in lesbian Christmas film Happiest Season

After years of fear, Dan Levy came out to his family when he was 18, and they wholeheartedly accepted him for who he is.

He explored the moment as the character of John in this year’s lesbian Christmas rom com Happiest Season, starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis.

In a speech that Stewart said felt “historic”, Levy says: “Everybody’s story is different. There’s your version and my version and everything in between.

“But the one thing that all of those stories have in common is that moment right before you say those words when your heart is racing and you don’t know what’s coming next. That moment’s really terrifying.

“And then once you say those words, you can’t unsay them. A chapter has ended and a new one’s begun, and you have to be ready for that.

“You can’t do it for anyone else.”

Queer high-school football star opens up about sexual abuse

Jake Bain sexual abuse

Jake Bain opened up about his experience of sexual abuse (It Gets Better campaign screenshot/YouTube)

Jake Bain, the high-school football star who made headlines when he came out as gay, has opened up about being sexually abused by his father.

Bain became one of the first openly queer athletes at the NCAA Division I level when he came out publicly in 2018 when he was still a high school student. He ended his football career in 2019 and later came out as pansexual.

Now, Bain has opened up about his experience of sexual abuse in a statement shared on Twitter.

“I have in my possession over 20 pages of court documents, detailing the abuse that me, and many others endured at the hands of my father,” Bain wrote.

“To protect the confidentiality of those who are mentioned in these documents, I won’t release them to the public.”

Bain said he believes it should be “public knowledge” that his father was allegedly found to be “showering with other students”. He also accused his father of engaging in “inappropriate” email conversations with young people and said he had students visit his house for “sleepovers”.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that none of this behaviour is appropriate for any adult to be displaying,” Bain wrote.

He said that his father is still coaching basketball and urged anyone who is still employing him to terminate his contract immediately.

Jake Bain made global headlines when he came out in 2018.

In 2018, Bain was recruited by Indiana State and went on to play for the Sycamores as a freshman before he quit football in 2019, saying he wanted to focus on his studies.

Bain’s coming out story went global in 2018 when he told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that hiding his sexuality had made him less effective as a player.

“When you’re kind of half yourself, showing everyone half yourself pretty much, it weighs on you,” Bain said at the time.

“I definitely always tried to play to that macho status of a football player with a girlfriend, so I was definitely trying to cover all the bases so people wouldn’t find out.

“I had a couple girlfriends in high school at Burroughs. People used to always describe me as a ladies man. … I was still questioning what I really wanted.”

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of sexual violence. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

Donald Glover opens up about questioning his sexuality / Queerty

Donald Glover opens up about questioning his sexuality / Queerty

Donston

“Labels” help a lot of people politically. They also assists with feeling like you are a part of a “community“, and they assist in helping some people understand you more. So, they are helpful for multiple reasons. But selling identity as the be-all to everything just needs to stop. Hell, we can’t even come to a consensus around what “sexuality” even is. Sexual arousal, enjoyment, desire, passion, comfort, preference, behavior, history are all different things. And people choose whichever of those elements to define what sexuality means to them. Then there’s the different types of fluidity or paraphiliacs/fetishes or confusions/questioning some people experience. Then there’s the elements of gender, romantic affections, emotional connections and fulfilling commitment. Then there’s a bunch of other things that often play into what people do or how they present themselves: family, ethics, religion, ego, insecurities, sociology, resentments, internal phobias, money, trauma, mental health struggles, attention whoring, addictions, an individual’s sex drive.

This is the impasse we keep returning to. There’s just too much different shit going on, too many different types of people, and too many different struggles, motives, identities and interpretations. So, shaming people, pressuring people, or mostly just pushing identity politics is not the most helpful instinct. If you’re placing identity before people feeling safe, secure and sane and before people feeling free to live the lives that they really want to live then you’re not being helpful. In fact, you are a part of the problem. However, none of this means that you can’t call out the many folks who say and do vulture-like, manipulative or problematic things.

Dolly Parton-inspired rooftop bar opens at Nashville hotel / GayCities Blog

Dolly Parton-inspired rooftop bar opens at Nashville hotel / GayCities

The rooftop, Dolly Parton-inspired bar at the Graduate Nashville (Photo: Digital Love)
The rooftop, Dolly Parton-inspired bar at the Graduate Nashville (Photo: Digital Love)

We’ve seen some camp interior decor in our time, but this is something else. A hotel in Nashville has opened a Dolly Parton-inspired restaurant and rooftop bar, and it’s a veritable pink palette of fabulousness.

The name of the restaurant and bar is White Limozeen, and it can be found at the top of the Graduate Nashville (101 20th Ave. North), which itself opened late last year.

(Photo: Digital Love)

Related: Gay bars and clubs in Nashville

Named in honor of Parton (White Limozeen, released in 1989, was the singer’s 29th studio album), the hotel says the destination, “celebrates the uniquely Nashville identity of unapologetically following your dreams.”

(Photo: Digital Love)

The new bar and restaurant were unveiled in July after the hotel was allowed to reopen to guests following COVID restrictions.

“We’re thrilled to finally open our doors at White Limozeen and welcome locals and travelers alike to experience this over-the-top, elegant, yet inviting rooftop destination,” said Ben Weprin, Graduate Hotels CEO and Founder in a statement.

The bar at White Limozeen, Graduate Nashville Hotel
The bar at White Limozeen (Photo: Digital Love)

“White Limozeen is a celebration of the nonconformists that have always done it their own way. It’s unique, beyond special, and tells the narrative of a relentless, rags-to-riches journey. Whether you are playing for tips on a stool on 16th Avenue, selling out Nissan Stadium, or just stopping by for a cocktail, this will be an unforgettable experience for everyone.”

(Photo: Digital Love)

Decor wise, the theme is opulence and over-the-top. The restaurant features a pink onyx bar, baby-pink walls, portraits of country music legends, glitzy chandeliers and gilded fabrics.

The exterior patio features plenty more pink, oversized daybeds, a wading pool, and – the pièce de résistance – a large, pink bust of Dolly Parton. It’s the perfect place to soak up some sun and sip on a ‘Queen of the Rodeo’ cocktail from the bar.

A pink settee at White Limozeen, at the Graduate Nashville (Photo: Digital Love)

If that’s not quite enough Dolly for you, the hotel also offers a ‘9-to-5’ suite, complete with a disco ball tiled ceiling, shag carpets, and a kingsize water bed.

Related: A big, glamorous, new gay hotel has just opened in Miami

If you want to check out the restaurant and bar, be sure to book ahead, as social distancing precautions are still in place.

(Photo: Digital Love)

Intersex activist opens up about medical mistreatment

Pidgeon Pagonis intersex

Intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis has shared their heartbreaking story of how they learned about their medical history.

In a Twitter thread shared earlier this week, Pagonis – who has reclaimed the word “hermaphrodite” – said that they had recently discovered new information about their body that they hadn’t previously known.

When they were 18-years-old, Pagonis discovered that their medical records identified them as “male pseudo-hermaphrodite 46 XY”.

“I discovered then that I had been diagnosed with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (PAIS),” Pagonis said.

They went on to have three “unnecessary cosmetic surgeries” performed on them in an effort to make them look more typically female.

Intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis was incorrectly diagnosed with PAIS.

Recently, Pagonis started seeing a new endocrinologist, and they asked to see all of Pagonis’s medical records.

The endocrinologist read all of Pagonis’s medical records and consulted with other experts in his field and ultimately came to the conclusion that their diagnosis of PAIS was incorrect.

Pagonis was given a genetic test, and last month, their endocrinologist’s suspicions were confirmed.

“Turns out, I don’t have PAIS,” Pagonis wrote. “I actually have something else known as NR-5A1.”

Pagonis noted that intersex people with PAIS are thought to be unable to utilise androgens, which is why they are given oestrogen.

This is infuriating. Doctors working with intersex kids and young adults are incompetent and owe us reparations.

“Doing what they [the doctors] did to me was f**ked up enough, but now realising that they didn’t even have the diagnosis right – and that I can utilise androgens – is f**king infuriating beyond belief.”

They said they now feel “robbed” and criticised the many “good” doctors who failed to correctly diagnose them over the course of many years.

“This is what really breaks my heart, they never ever stopped to consider the fact that me having oestrogen levels below 30 (which is what post-menopausal cis women typically have) throughout my twenties and early thirties was not OK or healthy.”

The activist has a condition that causes loss of bone mass as a result of their medical mistreatment.

This failure occurred despite the fact that doctors were checking Pagonis’s hormones every six months.

The result, the activist said, is that they have osteopenia – the loss of bone mass – since their mid twenties.

“Our bodies need certain levels of either [oestrogen] or [testosterone] to build healthy bones; and somehow for 15 years no doctor ever connected my post-menopausal [oestrogen] levels with my damn near osteoporosis bone scan results.”

Pagonis added: “This is infuriating. Doctors working with intersex kids and young adults are incompetent and owe us reparations.

“It’s past time we roll up to their homes, in their quaint suburban gated communities, and let their neighbours know what type of bulls**t these ‘well respected’ paediatric urology surgeons and endocrinologists be on.”