Tag: People

Matt Gaetz pens absolutely crazy op-ed about worsening teen sex scandal, says people “suck” / Queerty

Matt Gaetz pens absolutely crazy op-ed about worsening teen sex

They say when you find yourself at the bottom of a ditch, stop digging. But apparently Matt Gaetz didn’t get that memo because he’s halfway to China right now.

In case you haven’t heard, the 38-year-old frat boy/Florida lawmaker is currently under investigation for allegedly paying women, as well as a 17-year-old girl, for sex on CashApp and Apple Pay. He, of course, denies this, but The New York Times has text messages and online receipts that seem to corroborate the allegations.

Now, rather than do what anyone being federally investigated for underage sex crimes would probably do and, say, hire a lawyer, followed by maybe a publicist, Gaetz has decided to write a scathing op-ed in the Washington Examiner affirming his innocence.

Related: A brief, probably incomplete history of Matt Gaetz’s sex scandals and creepiest moments (so far)

In an article dramatically titled The swamp is out to drown me with false charges, but I’m not giving up, Gaetz reminds everyone, “I am a representative in Congress, not a monk.”

Of course, nobody expects him to be a monk. Only monks are expected to be monks. They do, however, expect him not to pay underage girls for sex. But we digress.

“I want to be clear about something as we process the leaks and lies from the past week,” he continues. “To this point, there are exactly zero credible (or even non-credible) accusers willing to come forward by name and state on the public record that I behaved improperly toward them.”

This, of course, isn’t true.

Multiple media outlets have reported that an 18-year-old testified before a grand jury in Florida last week saying she had sex with Gaetz when she was still a minor. And while he may not think she’s credible, the Department of Justice believes she’s credible enough to have launched an investigation into the matter.

Gaetz goes on to say that he believes this is all part of an elaborate smear campaign against him, motivated by his criticisms of the Biden administration, or maybe because of his beef with Liz Cheney.

This is a vastly different explanation than he gave just last week, when he told Tucker Carlson he was the victim of a $25 million extortion plot. Or something.

“Since I’m taking my turn under the gun, let me address the allegations against me directly,” Gaetz continues. “First, I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.”

He then goes on to say he is “enjoying my current embrace of monogamy” with his fiancée Ginger Luckey, who hasn’t issued any comment since the story broke last week.

Related: Matt Gaetz’s fiancée urged to “Run girl!” after sharing photo of his bare legs amid teen sex scandal

“I’m a better man today than I was years ago,” he writes. “Heck, I hope to be a better man than I was yesterday, every day of my life. My lifestyle of yesteryear may be different from how I live now, but it was not and is not illegal.”

Except for that time he got arrested for drunk driving, of course. And all of those speeding tickets. But maybe that stuff doesn’t count?

“My political opponents want to sensationalize and criminalize my prior sex life just as I am getting engaged to the best person I’ve ever known,” Gaetz claims.

Then, without the slightest hint of irony, he adds, “It is regrettable that the battle of ideas should thus become so personal. But then again, when your ideas suck, you need to stoop this low.”

He concludes by accusing the Justice Department of trying to “pervert the truth” and says he will “not be intimidated or extorted” before comparing himself to a gladiator.

“The battle for America’s future demands gladiators,” he write, “and I am going to keep getting back up and fighting, every single day.”

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.

Tennessee Bill Would Ban Mention of LGBTQ People in School Curriculum

Tennessee Bill Would Ban Mention of LGBTQ People in School

A bill introduced in both houses of the Tennessee Legislature would prohibit public schools from using textbooks or instructional materials “that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) issues or lifestyles.”

Tennessee flag

The House bill (PDF) says that this type of material is “inappropriate” and “offends a significant portion of students, parents, and Tennessee residents with Christian values.” It claims that “the promotion of LGBT issues and lifestyles should be subject to the same restrictions and limitations placed on the teaching of religion in public schools,” and should therefore not be permitted. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Bruce Griffey (R – District 75) and will get a hearing March 30. A similar bill in the state Senate awaits a committee hearing. Another pair of bills would require schools to notify parents or guardians before “instruction of a sexual orientation or gender identity curriculum.” I guess that’s just in case the complete ban doesn’t pass.

Fact is, at least two federal lawsuits brought in the past two years against states that had banned mention of LGBTQ people in their health curriculum led to overturning those laws (in South Carolina, by a court ruling and in Arizona by legislative repeal after the lawsuit was filed). The Tennessee bill isn’t restricted to the health curriculum, but would presumably include it.

Currently five other states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas) have similar “Don’t Say Gay” laws, according to the Movement Advancement Project. In contrast, six states require inclusion of LGBTQ people in the curriculum (California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon). A similar law in the U.K., Section 28, was enacted in 1988 but fully repealed in 2003.

“Don’t Say Gay” laws get fuzzy (and ugly) really fast when, say, a kid with same-sex parents starts talking about their family vacation and another kid asks how they can have two moms or two dads. Could the teacher (or the kid) stop to explain without running afoul of the law? Could they look to LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books to help? What might the child with two parents think if the teacher just shuts down conversation? Or what if a kid brings in a book for reading time that includes LGBTQ characters? Or if a child is transgender or gender creative? Can the teacher help other children understand this or must the trans or gender creative child be the one to change who they are? There’s a fragile line between banning materials that depict certain identities and banning people with those identities.

In addition, a number of other current Tennessee bills are explicitly anti-transgender, including ones that would force transgender athletes to compete on teams of their gender assigned at birth, and several that could negatively impact gender-affirming care for trans youth. Tennessee is also one of eleven states that allows adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others in the name of religion.

Want to take action? Visit the Tennessee Equality Project to see what’s happening next week (and in the future) and what you can do about it.

Joe Biden urged to legally recognise non-binary people with gender-neutral passports

Joe Biden gender neutral passports

Joe Biden. (Rick Loomis/Getty)

Joe Biden is facing calls to give trans and non-binary people the legal recognition they need with “X” markers on passports.

Under current rules, people must identify as either male or female on United States passports, meaning non-binary people are effectively forced to misgender themselves on official documentation.

Joe Biden promised to introduce a third “X” marker for non-binary people on passports and social security cards during his presidential campaign – however, no such change has been enacted.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched its “They the People” campaign in 2020 in a bid to win legal recognition for non-binary people.

The ACLU is now planning to deliver a petition to the Biden administration on 31 March – Trans Day of Visibility – calling on the president to sign an executive order introducing “X” markers for non-binary people.

The petition, which has been signed more than 70,000 times, notes that trans and non-binary people have endured state-sanctioned discrimination over the last four years in the United States.

“The new administration has assured us they will work to undo this damage, so we must hold them accountable to their words,” the ACLU’s petition says.

“There’s one important action Biden-Harris can take right away to show that they respect and support our trans communities: Give us access to accurate identification,” the organisation adds.

Joe Biden urged to introduce gender-neutral passports in first 100 days

The ACLU asks Joe Biden to sign an executive order introducing “X” markers within his first 100 days in office.

The organisation’s They the People campaign notes that “X” markers on official documentation would allow trans and non-binary people to travel, apply for jobs and enter public establishments “without risk of harassment or harm”.

The Biden administration provided an update on plans to introduce an “X” marker on passports and social security cards in February.

White House spokesperson Matt Hill told The 19th that, while there was no timeline yet, Joe Biden remained committed to introducing gender-neutral IDs.

In a statement, Hill said: “President Biden remains committed to advancing state and federal efforts that allow transgender and non-binary Americans to update their identification documents to accurately reflect their gender identity, especially as transgender and non-binary people continue to face harassment or are denied access to services because their identification documents don’t affirm their identity.”

Conversion therapy ban in the UK must include trans people, MPs say

Conversion therapy ban in the UK must include trans people,

Boris Johnson. (Christopher Furlong/WPA Pool /Getty)

MPs from across the UK have insisted that any ban on conversion therapy must also include trans people.

During a debate in Westminster Hall on Monday evening (8 March), MPs urged the government to ban the harmful, pseudoscientific practice.

The debate, triggered by a petition to government signed by more than 250,000 people, saw 20 MPs speak on the urgent need for parliament to introduce tough measures to curb conversion therapy in the UK.

Opening the debate, Conservative MP Elliot Colburn told the stories of three survivors of conversion therapy – two gay men and a trans woman – and said any ban must protect everyone across the LGBT+ spectrum.

He said nobody should be subjected to “these abhorrent interventions” and urged the government to lay out a timeline for the banning of the practice.

“I’d like to end by saying that as a gay man myself, and on behalf of LGBT+ people in the UK and around the world, we are here, our existence is real, our lives are valid and we cannot and do not need to be cured.”

Crispin Blunt said a conversion therapy ban would empower LGBT+ people to call out abuse when it happens to them. He said any ban “must include trans people”.

“They are by far and away the most vulnerable group amongst those in the LGBT+ community,” Blunt said.

“It must include trans people not only because they are the group that need it the most, but because since 2018, when it appeared that trans people were on a trajectory to achieve their rights and protections to live their lives as they wish, supported by the government’s comprehensive LGBT Action Plan, all of that now seems to have changed. They are a community under siege.”

Blunt criticised campaign groups whose “raison d’être” is to push for the rollback of trans rights, and criticised government ministers for listening to the likes of anti-trans pressure group LGB Alliance.

“If legislation doesn’t include the protection of trans people, it will send the unmistakable message to them that their government does not want to protect them, does not value them, and on some level it doesn’t really accept that trans is really a thing, and that awful message would inadvertently make the government party to the practice of conversion therapy itself,” he said.

Conversion therapy ‘disproportionately’ affects trans people

Angela Eagle said it is “almost medieval” to believe that LGBT+ people can have their identities changed.

She said LGBT+ people in the UK are having hitter lives and mental wellbeing “put at serious risk” every day by harmful conversion therapies.

Alicia Kearns noted that conversion therapy “disproportionately” affects trans people and said it would be wrong to exclude them.

Kearns said LGBT+ people currently have no recourse for justice if they are forced, or coerced, into conversion therapy.

She branded the practice as “fraudulent quackery” and argued that LGBT+ people cannot “freely consent” to undergoing conversion therapy because it is a form of torture.

Stephen Doughty spoke of his experience as a gay Christian and said he was lucky to have seen a therapist who was supportive of his sexuality.

It boils down to one phrase: Let’s get on with it.

Closing his speech, Doughty said he stands with the trans and non-binary community and said banning conversion therapy is a “human rights issue”.

Alyn Smith spoke of the huge numbers of trans people who have faced some form of conversion therapy, and hit out at the government for its lack of action on a ban.

“It boils down to one phrase: Let’s get on with it,” he said. “The only people speaking in defence of it are quacks, bigots and bullies.”

Charlotte Nichols said conversion therapy is a “disgusting” practice and said being LGBT+ is not a “sickness”.

She hit out at those who peddle conversion therapies and said they are perpetuating a “fraud on the public”.

Nichols spoke of her own experiences as a bisexual woman, and said queer people in the UK have waited “long enough” for the government to take action.

Kemi Badenoch, secretary of state for equalities, spoke to MPs virtually about the government’s plans to ban the abhorrent practice.

She insisted that the government is taking plans to ban conversion therapy “very seriously”, but said it is still gathering information about what a ban should look like.

Badenoch said the government wants to ensure that they do not push conversion therapy underground by banning it. She said government officials have commissioned research to examine the experiences of conversion therapy survivors, which will help them to come up with a “comprehensive plan”.

“We are in conversations with international counterparts, both those who have introduced the variety of legislative and non-legislative actions, and those who plan to,” Badenoch said.

“While it is important to figure out what will work in a UK context, we may also look to our friend around the world to understand the effectiveness of different approaches. Honourable members have mentioned, for example, that Germany has implemented a ban on conversion therapy for minors only, or when an adult has been covered, and I understand other countries such as Malta have also taken this route.

“However, we understand that different countries will take different approaches that best suit their needs. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach.”

On 28 March, it will have been 1,000 days since the Tories first pledged to “eradicate” conversion therapy as part of its LGBT+ Action Plan.

While Boris Johnson said the practice has “no place” in a civilised society in July 2020, equalities minister Liz Truss later said the government would have to do more research before proceeding with a ban.

Conversion therapy has been widely condemned by almost every major psychiatric body, and a number of nations and states have banned the practice in acknowledgement of the trauma it inflicts upon queer people.


Major Christian adoption agency in U.S. to start working with LGBTQ people / Queerty

Major Christian adoption agency in U.S. to start working with

Gay dads with their son
Posed by models (Photo: Shutterstock)

A major, evangelical-run adoption and fostering agency in the U.S. has informed staff that it will extend its services to LGBTQ people.

The Michigan-based Bethany Christian Services was established 77 years ago. Until recently, it did not allow same-sex couples to adopt or foster. It would typically refer gay couples to other agencies.

That changed in Michigan in 2019 after the state said it would stop funding adoption agencies that discriminated against gay people.

Bethany changed its policies within the state following that ruling. Now, in a memo sent to staff nationwide on Monday, it has said that it will be extending its more inclusive policy across the U.S., with immediate effect.

Related: They survived Mormonism. Can these gay dads survive triplets?

In an email sent to 1,500 staff, and reported by the New York Times, the organization’s President and Chief Executive, Chris Palusky, said, “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.”

Bethany operates in 32 states. In 2019, it facilitated 3,406 foster placements and 1,123 adoptions. Besides Michigan, it had already begun to work with LGBTQ families in four other states, often following the threat of losing contracts or funding being cut if it did not do so.

Bethany Christian Services turned away a lesbian couple in 2018 in Philadelphia, with a representative telling them the agency had never placed a child with a same-sex couple. The city subsequently suspended its contract with Bethany and another Christian agency: Catholic Social Services.

Bethany promptly changed its policy in the region, but Catholic Social Services took the matter to court. The Supreme Court is due to announce a ruling on that case this summer.

Bethany’s new policy was quietly, unanimously approved by its 14-member national board on January 21st. It does not use the phrase ‘LGBTQ’ but instead says it will, “implement a nationwide policy of inclusivity in order to serve all families.”

“Faith in Jesus is at the core of our mission. But we are not claiming a position on the various doctrinal issues about which Christians of mutual good faith may disagree,” Nate Bult, Bethany’s vice president said, reports Christianity Today.

“We acknowledge that discussions about doctrine are important, but our sole job is to determine if a family can provide a safe, stable environment for children.”

Related: This single gay dad adopted a baby girl with Down syndrome after she was rejected by 20 families

One board member, Susanne Jordan told the New York Times, the agency expected some criticism from some Christian groups over the policy change.

“We recognize there are people who will not be happy. We may lose some donors. But the message we’re trying to give is inviting people alongside of us. Serving children should not be controversial.”

Perez Hilton says he’s sorry for tormenting Britney Spears, says people need to be more forgiving / Queerty

Perez Hilton says he’s sorry for tormenting Britney Spears, says

Perez Hilton says he feels really, really, really bad about all the horrible terrible things he’s ever said about Britney Spears.

“I regret a lot or most of what I said about Britney,” the out blogger told Good Morning Britain this week, “as I’m sure Piers [Morgan] would if he were her about things he’s said in the past.”

“Thankfully, hopefully, many of us get older and wiser,” he added.

The celebrity gossip blogger was talking about the recent documentary Framing Britney Spears, which documented the years of abuse the pop princess suffered at the hands of fans, her father, the media, and, of course, Perez himself.

During Britney’s apex, he would regularly mock her alleged addiction issues, accused her of being an unfit mother, circulated rumors about a bogus sex tape, and, in 2008, shortly after actor Heath Ledger died, marketed a t-shirt with an image from Brokeback Mountain along with the phrase “Why couldn’t it have been Britney?”

“I think a lot of people just want to blame this person and that person, and it’s not as simple as that,” Perez said.

Related: Neil Patrick Harris recalls that time Perez Hilton launched a campaign to out him

In a followup interview with the podcast Chanel In The City with Chanel Omari, he claimed to have apologized to Spears last year for everything that he did.

“I have also apologized privately recently before the documentary, I don’t want to get into details, but I did apologize to Britney recently,” Perez told Omari.

After saying he didn’t want to “go into details,” he then went into details, saying he suffered an “emotional break” in December and decided to reach out to the singer.

“One of the things that I wanted to do, my idea, not even my therapist’s was, I felt it was important for me. It’s kind of like the things that people often do in 12 step programs. You know, they’ll, they’ll reach out to people that they have wronged and apologize,” he explained.

“Even though I had apologized before, there’s nothing wrong with apologizing again or differently. So I did. And she was one of the few people that I reached out to in December.”

Speaking about apologies, in general, Perez said, “It seems like so many people don’t want to give others the opportunity to be remorseful and sincere and grow and learn from their mistakes.”

Related: Perez Hilton can’t find a date, claims “the overwhelming majority of gay men don’t like me”

Trump avoids impeachment conviction (again) & people are outraged / LGBTQ Nation

Trump avoids impeachment conviction (again) & people are outraged /

Today, the United States Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump (R) on the charge of incitement of an insurrection.

57 Senators voted in favor of convicting Trump for his actions in provoking the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6 in an effort to overturn the election of now-President Joe Biden (R). In addition to the 48 Democrats and two Democrat-caucusing Independents, seven Republicans voted for conviction. That is ten short of 67, the required number of votes to meet a two-thirds majority and convict an impeached party.

Related: “Presidential flipper” who flipped off Donald Trump won an election & oversees his golf club

“The verdict does not reflect the truth understood by a majority of Americans, that Donald Trump recklessly and maliciously directed his supporters to attack the Capitol and our democracy,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “The Trump administration will forever be defined by misinformation and violence, tactics the former president weaponized against LGBTQ people and other vulnerable communities before turning them loose on our government on January 6th.

“Senators voting to acquit are now and for all of history recorded for their cowardice in failing to hold the former president accountable for his lawless, destructive behavior. Let this be a turning point for our country, where we demand a return to shared core values of truth, safety and integrity to protect the least among us, especially from those chosen to lead us.”

Prior to the final vote, Democratic trial managers came to an agreement with Trump’s legal team against calling witnesses for the trial, instead opting to end it with closing arguments.

“Tired of feeling like nobody is fighting for us,” wrote Mary Trump, Donald’s out niece, after.

While the White House has not made a statement as of yet, several other prominent political figures took the moment to react to the outcome.

The seven GOP Senators who voted in favor of convictions were: Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).

Ellis and GLAAD weren’t alone. Several civil rights advocates, leaders, and groups expressed outraged by the outcome of the month-long impeachment process.

“Today comes as no surprise to us,” wrote the Human Rights Campaign on Twitter. “We have always had to demand our most basic rights.”

The daughter of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Bernice King, simply shared a picture stating “The system isn’t broken, it was built that way.”

Michael van der Veen, who defended former President Donald Trump in the Senate trial, allegedly said afterward to a colleague that “we’re going to Disney World!”

In a statement, Trump thanked his team of supporters and ranted that “this has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it.”

“Our MAGA movement… has only just begun,” he added.

Without the impeachment, he cannot be barred from holding federal office. He is in position to run for President or another office again in the future.

The cure for heterosexuals is finally here! Can’t wait to welcome them. Those poor people have suffered long enough. : actuallesbians

The cure for heterosexuals is finally here! Can’t wait to

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!

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says there’s ‘no such thing’ as LGBT people

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Getty)

Turkey’s fiercely anti-gay president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed that there is “no such thing” as LGBT+ people.

Erdoğan has positioned himself as an ardent opponent to LGBT+ rights, with tensions rising in recent days following student protests in Istanbul.

The president doubled down on his anti-LGBT+ views on Wednesday (3 January), according to SBS.

“The LGBT, there is no such thing,” Erdoğan reportedly said.

“This country is… moral, and it will walk to the future with these values.”

Erdoğan’s comments come after protests erupted at Bogazici University in Istanbul, where students hit out at the president for appointing government loyalist Melih Bulu as rector of the institution.

Tensions boiled over when protesters displayed a poster on campus depicting the Kaaba in Mecca adorned with rainbow flags. The students were subsequently arrested, with interior minister Suleyman Soylu branding them “perverts” on Twitter.

Since the protests, Erdoğan – who has a long history of making anti-LGBT+ comments – has doubled down on his views.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has branded LGBT+ people as ‘vandals’.

During an online address to members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) on 1 February, Erdoğan said: “We’ll carry our youth to the future, not as LGBT+ youth, but like the youth from this country’s glorious past.”

He added: “You are not the youth who vandalise, but you are those who mend those vandalised hearts.”

Speaking on Wednesday (3 February), Erdoğan hit out at protesters, asking: “Are you students or terrorists who dare to raid the room of the rector? This country will not be a place where terrorists prevail. We will never allow this.”

Anti-LGBT+ sentiment has been on the rise in Turkey for a number of years – however, things have not always been like this.

In recent years, the government has begun a clampdown on LGBT+ rights and freedom, opting to ban Istanbul Pride in June 2015. Since then, a number of other Pride festivals have been banned and shut down, with violence breaking out when queer people tried to celebrate regardless.

Erdoğan has also been vocal in his opposition to queer people. In July 2020, he accused LGBT+ people of “sneaking up on our national and spiritual values again” and of trying to “poison young people” throughout history.

“I invite all members of my nation to be careful and take a stand against those who exhibit all kinds of heresy that our Lord has forbidden, and those who support them,” Erdoğan said at the time.

Joy Behar explains why she identifies with gay people / Queerty

Joy Behar explains why she identifies with gay people /

“I identify with the fact that gay people, once they are ‘out’, have to deal with that — they want to be honest, and yet people are out to get them. I find that that’s true on The View – I have been saying things and I have a lot of enemies on the right – people on Twitter etc who hate me, hate me, because of my politics. If I check their profiles, two words always come up: “Jesus” or “Trump” — as though I don’t love Jesus. I love Jesus, too. I’m a Catholic girl. I was confirmed. I love Jesus, too, so don’t tell me about Jesus. That pisses me off.”Comedienne and The View co-host Joy Behar on her longtime support for LGBTQ people. Behar also added that she fears for the future of marriage equality given the addition of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and that the fight for marriage equality also inspired her to marry longtime boyfriend Steve Janowitz.