Nipsey Hussle was more of a movement than a musician

Hours after Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in Los Angeles’ Hyde Park neighborhood, Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff announced that he had been scheduled to meet with the rapper. – RSS Channel – Entertainment

GamersGate: The World's Largest Online Game Store

Puppets and Puppets, the Latest Label in New American Grunge Movement

NEW YORK — A new wave of American grunge designers — led by the likes of Eckhaus Latta, Vaquera, Gauntlett Cheng and Lou Dallas — is out to debunk notions of authority, tradition and needless consumption. This week a new label joins their crew: Puppets and Puppets, designed by artist Carly Mark and her former studio assistant, Ayla Argentina. The brand will host its debut runway show on Sunday evening, styled by Stella Greenspan and featuring a diverse procession of buzzy models.
Mark, a mixed-media artist, has long had an unrequited interest in fashion. She has shown her work at the Frieze and Armory art fairs with the Breeder Gallery of Athens, and has participated in group shows mounted at Lever House and the Museum of Modern Art. She is a fixture on the art party scene and carries a hefty Instagram following, as well as allegiances with various factions of influencer. Argentina began working with Mark in 2016 and has a degree in fashion design from FIT. The brand takes its name from Mark’s pet Chihuahua, Puppet.
“A big driving force for us was getting back to handmade things,” Argentina said of the duo’s motives. “It’s not mass-market. Fast fashion is eating

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Deconstructing Swiss & Japanese Movement Watches

Professional watchmaker Ryan Jewell breaks down two different Carpenter watches; one watch with Japanese movement and another with Swiss movement.
WIRED Videos

Swiss Movement – Eddie Harris & Les McCann

Eddie Harris & Les McCann - Swiss Movement  artwork

Swiss Movement

Eddie Harris & Les McCann

Genre: Jazz

Price: $ 7.74

Release Date: January 1, 1969

© ℗ 2005 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing.

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Jazz

Lili Reinhart and More Celebrities Join #WhyIDidn’tReport Movement

Lili Reinhart, Variety's Power of Young Hollywood 2018Celebrities are sharing their own experiences with sexual harassment or assault as part of the #WhyIDidn’tReport movement.
On Friday, actresses like Lili Reinhart and Ashley Judd took…

E! Online (US) – Top Stories
Entertainment News! –

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Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music (Unabridged) – Tricia Tunstall & Eric Booth

Tricia Tunstall & Eric Booth - Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music (Unabridged)  artwork

Playing for Their Lives: The Global El Sistema Movement for Social Change Through Music (Unabridged)

Tricia Tunstall & Eric Booth

Genre: Arts & Entertainment

Price: $ 29.95

Publish Date: November 8, 2016

© ℗ © 2016 Tantor Audio

iTunes Store: Top Audiobooks in Arts & Entertainment

London’s Department Stores Will Get a Makeover to Celebrate the Suffragette Movement

ME TOO: London’s department stores are joining forces to mark the centenary of women’s voting rights in the U.K. Harrods, Harvey Nichols — which has been re-branded Holly Nichols for the month of September — and Fortnum & Mason will be commemorating the suffrage movement through dedicated window displays that will be unveiled on Thursday.
The window displays will be presented in partnership with the British Fashion Council and are part of London’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign celebrating gender equality and the progress of women since they won the right to vote in 1918.
Each of the department store’s window displays will pay homage to the West End street protests of 1912, when suffragettes smashed department store windows to get their message across.
The three department stores’ displays will feature a design representative of the smashed windows. Harvey Nichols’ window will feature a shattered glass effect alongside a famous quote by Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the British Suffragette movement. Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, Dr. Helen Pankhurst, will unveil the quote, “Deeds Not Words.”
A smashed window effect will also cover the Fortnum & Mason windows, and behind the glass, hampers will be on display to show the food and blankets that imprisoned suffragettes would receive from their loved

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Cardi B Plays Coretta Scott King in ‘Real Housewives of the Civil Rights Movement’

[[tmz:video id=”0_pypm77jb”]] Cardi B playing Coretta Scott King will be the most unforgettable and hilarious thing you see today — it will also be the most inappropriate. Guaranteed. Cardi stepped into the role of Martin Luther King Jr.’s late wife for…


TMZ Celebrity News for Music

Tony Robbins Issues Apology For Viral Comments Criticizing The #MeToo Movement

Self-help guru Tony Robbins has apologized for critical comments he made about the #MeToo movement in a video that went viral.

Access Hollywood Latest News

New tech turns movement into music

New technology that lets musicians control sounds using motion was centre stage at the National Association of Music Merchants’ (NAMM) annual trade show. Matthew Stock reports.

Reuters Video: Entertainment

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Olivia Munn Shares Her Support for #MeToo Movement: “Our Voices and Our Pain Matter”

ESC: Olivia MunnOlivia Munn is “really proud” of everyone who has come forward to share their #MeToo story.
The actress spoke to E! News exclusively on Wednesday about the sexual harassment…

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‘Fat Girls Traveling’ Is The Stereotype-Shattering Movement We All Need To See

It’s really taking off.
Fashion News, Celebrity Style and Fashion Trends – HuffPost Style
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Jennifer Aniston on Bringing the #FreeTheNipple Movement to the Masses First

From Sunday hikes and early family suppers to her unwavering beauty look, Jennifer Aniston is every bit of normal—which, of course, makes her extraordinary.
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#ThisIsPlus campaign inspires diversity in plus-size movement

“#THISISPLUS is a tag for everyone but specifically anyone who feels that the high street plus-size campaigns do not represent them.”

TODAY Pop Culture

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Amber Rose Tells Us Why Her SlutWalk Is The Ultimate Feminist Movement

Amber Rose tells MTV News about why her inaugural SlutWalk is the feminist movement we need today.

NASA Data Viz Wizards Model the Movement of Ocean Garbage Patches

Ocean Currents Create Garbage Patches.
WIRED Videos – The Scene

Swiss Movement – Eddie Harris & Les McCann

Eddie Harris & Les McCann - Swiss Movement  artwork

Swiss Movement

Eddie Harris & Les McCann

Genre: Jazz

Price: $ 5.94

Release Date: December 31, 1968

© ℗ 2005 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing.

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Jazz

This Beauty Pageant Queen Turned A Mean Tweet Into A Positive Movement With #NoMakeupSelfie

Just because you look picture perfect, doesn’t mean that you’re immune from cyberbullying.

North Carolina beauty pageant queen Isabella Gaines, Miss Greater Port City’s Outstanding Teen 2015, found that out the hard way when a stranger tweeted two photos of her side-by-side on June 30 — one with makeup, and one seemingly without.


The tweet was featured on the “NCOT no makeup” account (NCOT stands for “North Carolina Outstanding Teen” ) which describes itself as “the page where youll (sic) find the prettiest NCOT girls WITH NO MAKEUP! YUCK!” 

“I was kind of hurt at first,” said Gaines in an interview with local news station WNCN. But instead of ignoring the tweet or saying something hurtful back, Gaines decided to turn the tweet into an inspiring social media moment.


From there, Gaines told WCNC that her friend, Kenzie Hansley, decided to post her own photo with and without makeup. Hansley ended her message with #NoMakeupSelfie and from there, the movement spread like wildfire. Pretty soon, other pagent queens, celebrities and girls from North Carolina to California were tweeting at Gaines and Hansley with their own selfies. 

“I honestly did not expect this type of response. I wanted to help one person, but I am happy it went this big and has an encouraging message,” said Gaines in a conversation with The Huffington Post. “I have learned you don’t have to take things and you can take a stand for things you believe in and you CAN make a difference.” 


H/T Buzzfeed

Also on HuffPost: 

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Style – The Huffington Post
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Infographic: The Gay Rights Movement In America: A Timeline

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision Friday that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, concluding decades of hard-fought battles by gay rights activists to grant marriage equality to all. Here is a timeline of milestones in the gay rights movement in the U.S.:

  • 1953: President Eisenhower warns nation of growing homosexual-industrial complex
  • June 28, 1969: Riots break out at Stonewall in Greenwich Village in history’s only example of useful protest against being asked to leave a bar
  • December 15, 1973: American Psychiatric Association downgrades homosexuality from mental disorder to quirk
  • November 27, 1978: Gay rights activist Harvey Milk assassinated, setting the stage for Sean Penn’s Oscar-winning 2008 performance
  • September 1994: First gay TV character who has personality traits other than being gay scrapped by NBC executives
  • September 21, 1996-June 26, 2013: Marriage defended
  • September 21, 1998: Premiere of hit sitcom Will & Grace shows millions …

The Onion

Like The Movement, A Black Woman’s Worth Is Stagnate…

It started with Lauryn Hill turning 40.  I mean man, where has time flown since 1998 and Doo-Wop was that thing?  People say we as black women continue to make strides in the world, and I agree we do totally ROCK! We have a Black First Lady who has a mean style game and the intelligence that aligns, if not surpasses that of her European counterparts.  We have our young, gifted and Black millennial activists who keeps a strong Black woman in the forefront of the fight for social justice bringing attention to the issues and matters that matter to us! YES! 

It would appear that in 2015 we are on the glory road of having our s**t together, so why is it “for all working-age Black women between the age of 18-64, the financial picture remains bleak with an average household wealth of $ 100?  Hispanic women come in slightly higher at $ 120.”  These numbers were first shared in 2010 via an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, fast forward 5 years and absolutely nothing has changed.  Where is the movement moving us, and why is Hip-Hop being portrayed as the soundtrack of its non-existent growth?  It feels more like a bad scene from the Five Heartbeats than the beating hearts of a frustrated, fed-up, fight back mentality having BLACK PEOPLE.
When I put my red, black and green agenda down at any given moment you can catch me in some cut off shorts prancing around my house feeling myself in true Nicki and Queen B fashion due to my confidence and overwhelming need to represent for the strong black woman with a serious bit of sexy, but let me be honest in saying that behind those same closed doors I question just how much there is to feel when every day is a struggle just to be present, recognized, vindicated through my efforts, and truly just to live this life without drowning in all the odds that are stacked against me.   I wanna stop the world too B, or at the very least make a serious impact upon it and I need to know if that can happen with a wealth of less than $ 100.  I’m seriously doubting it. 
Yes, I have a degree and yes it was supposed to catapult me to the forefront beyond those who chose not to participate in higher learning, but it appears that it is getting harder not easier to use that piece of paper to bring about a fulfillment through social change, while reaping a financial return to pay back the hefty loans that came with acquiring said degree. 
So my questions are: where is the reward for the sacrifice, and when will my efforts and advancement not be contingent upon the very system that I’m fighting against?  Just because you lay a heavy beat on it and get some Pied Piper from the suburbs to present it to me in bogus deliverables and measurable that float in the cloud, doesn’t make it right, doable or justified and it definitely doesn’t change the dynamics of the community that most of the Black women, men and children I know reside in.  The movement isn’t a record deal and a record deal is NOT the path to FREEDOM for at least 98% of the working class black people I know in this struggle.  What the hell is everyone doing at SXSW??? Are they feeding people there? 
My reality is that if I died today, degree clinched in my fist, arm extended and raised above my head as if I were screaming Black Power with my very last breath, I would still be worth less than $ 100.   So again I ask, “Where exactly is the movement moving us?”  I guess Lauryn was right.  Everything is everything; it’s just not the THING I was banking on. 

Filed under: Editorial Tagged: Black Power, black struggle, black women

The No. 1 Enemy of the LGBT Movement

Pat Robertson? Rick Santorum? The “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church?

Nope. It’s our own complacency.

We haven’t won yet, not even on marriage, let alone on equal employment, housing and access to public accommodations. Yet most of our leaders and well-meaning allies have proclaimed our “inevitable” victory, turning a blind eye to other LGBTQ issues that would cost real money, like massively funding housing and jobs for queer youth escaping abusive homes.

Even on marriage the unbridled optimism is unwarranted. Reading the Supreme Court’s recent oral arguments on marriage rights for same-sex couples suggests, at best, a narrow 5-4 decision in our favor.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is widely seen as the swing vote, and he had tough questions not only for the lawyers defending anti-LGBT bigotry but for our side as well. And on at least one pivotal issue — whether LGBT rights are too novel and hence better subject to delay — our side totally blew it in their response to the justices.


Listening to the April 28 oral arguments while at work that day, I had a “screaming at the computer moment” and wrote later that evening:

The anthropological ignorance of the justices talking about marriage today was nothing short of astounding.

As Justice Kennedy said, asking of pro-LGBT attorney Mary Banuto, “How do you account for the fact that, as far as I am aware, until the end of the 20th Century, there never was a nation or a culture that recognized marriage between two people of the same sex?”

So here we have a group of mostly white men, certainly none of them Native American, revealing their abject ignorance about “two spirit” people (otherwise known by the French as “the Berdache”) who inhabited this continent far longer than the couple hundred years of their United States. Same-sex relationships on this continent were not only tolerated, but celebrated for centuries before the slave-holding, misogynist Europeans “civilized it.”

Unfortunately the attorneys on our side totally blew it by failing to point this out. For the vast majority of human existence, as evidenced by anthropological studies of “primitive” peoples around the globe, women and men treated each other, and their same- and differently-sexed relationships, in ways that put our present “civilizations” to shame.

So will a same-sex-marriage victory hinge on the ignorance of our nation’s finest legal minds regarding the many thousands of years of acceptance of same-sex relationships here in North America, and by hunter-gatherer societies around word? These histories, by the way, are many times longer than the histories of Judaism and Christianity, with their centuries of enslavement of wives as literally the property of their husbands.

This is not just an academic argument about anthropology. The justices’ fear about embracing rights for what they see as perhaps an ephemeral group — openly proud gay people — echoes a central theme of the Supreme Court in recent decades. Many on both sides of this debate fear Supreme Court rulings in favor of expanded social rights before much of the country is “ready” for them, or rulings for rights that may enjoy broad support today but not in a few decades’ time.

Many likely pro-gay votes on the Supreme Court are petrified at the prospect of repeating what they see as the “mistake” of the Roe v. Wade decision. In the case of Roe, that meant voting 7-2 in favor of privacy rights and the right to abortion only to see a right-wing, anti-abortion backlash take hold in subsequent years. Speaking of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a leader of the liberal bloc on the Supreme Court, a 2013 New Yorker magazine profile remarked that for this reason Ginsburg had lectured that “she had substantial misgivings about how the Court decided Roe v. Wade.”

“She’s very cautious, conservative in a Burkean sense, not at all in the mold of William Brennan or Thurgood Marshall,” said Jamal Greene, a professor at Columbia Law School. “She fundamentally does not believe that large-scale social change should come from the courts.”

“She thinks the Court should not go too far in any given case,” said another associate.

So if this is all the pro-equality “fire in the belly” that can be mustered by Ginsburg, described by The New Yorker as “the senior member of the Court’s liberal quartet,” where does that leave this spring’s court ruling on LGBT rights?

We could get a decision narrowly tailored around marriage rights but leaving unanswered such fundamental questions as our 14th Amendment right to equal housing, jobs and access to public accommodations. And even if we do get such a narrow victory, what’s to say it couldn’t be robbed of much of its power by other recent court decisions?

After all, this is the same reactionary body that ruled in Citizens United that corporations are “people” and therefore could spend unlimited sums on political expenditures. Then to cap that idiocy, in Hobby Lobby it apparently decided that corporations could use their “religious beliefs” to deny their women employees access to contraceptives and abortion services under company health insurance plans.

So what’s to say that this court might with one hand give us nice pieces of paper, marriage licenses, and with the other decide that businesses have a “religious” right to refuse us service? That’s certainly the conclusion that bigots lept to following the Hobby Lobby decision. And while popular revulsion pushed back this reactionary law in Indiana, in the Deep South it’s a different matter. A limited decision by the court could force LGBTs born in Mississippi, Texas and Alabama to wait another generation before getting broader rights beyond just marriage.

The problem with saying that “gay marriage is inevitable” goes beyond being factually wrong. It’s a prescription for failure in winning this or any other right.

It means that we don’t have to do anything to win. It means that we should just let the Supreme Court “do its thing” and magically grant us our rights just because we’re so fabulous.

You would think that LGBTs, especially those of us living in Illinois, would have learned differently from our own recent history. In the spring of 2013, the anti-LGBT bigots defeated us in our effort to pass equal marriage rights in this state, despite polls showing Illinoisans favoring our rights by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

While we had won the popularity contest, the other side out-hussled us that spring, and Mike Madigan’s House supermajority wasn’t willing to step up for a community that wouldn’t step up for itself, so Rep. Greg Harris didn’t call the bill.

Fortunately, late that fall, after an unprecedented LGBT mobilization at the big Springfield march, and many smaller actions besides, we finally brought home the bacon. But it took a fight with the supermajority Democratic Party to win the day. House Speaker Madigan’s party had long said that they were on our side, but they weren’t willing to pay the necessary political capital to win the fight until we forced them to.

Now the venue for the battle for equal marriage rights (and a lot more) has shifted to the U.S. Supreme Court. And here we must confront one of the biggest myths of U.S. politics: that justices ignore popular opinion and attempt to soberly decide cases simply based on the statements and intent of the long-dead Founders and subsequent legislators.

But the real story is that the 7-2 Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 — now derided by justices of the right and left as too far-reaching — was the product of a burgeoning women’s movement and radically changing attitudes about women’s rights to control their own bodies and destinies. The movement itself came on the heels of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, which introduced what were then radical notions of Black personhood and national self-determination for countries long dominated by the U.S. and other Western powers, respectively.

Sadly, today we live a very different country. About the only bright spot is the dramatic advance of LGBT rights in recent years. Besides that, we live in a country that is now endlessly at war, regularly dropping bombs on a host of Middle Eastern and African countries, “failed nations” and brutal U.S.-backed dictators from one end to the other, not to mention the “boots on the ground” in the U.S.’s longest-ever wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We live in a country that has retreated back into a level of school segregation statistically similar to that which preceded the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision. A country that has reached record levels economic inequality, and one where police violence and mass incarceration against Black people are at such levels that activists have to assert the simple notion that “Black lives matter.” In such a country, support for women’s right to choose, while still a majority, is far weaker and less vocal than in 1973 and therefore is under threat.

The decline of the 1960s movements for Blacks and women and against war should hold a warning for LGBTs. The upward trajectory of social justice movements does not last forever, and once that ascent is over, rights can come under savage attacks, and hurtful retreats begin.

That is why our complacency is the biggest enemy of the LGBT movement.

Rather than sit back in self-satisfaction, hoping for whatever incremental gains might be given to us, we should be furiously organizing to take advantage of recent LGBT rights momentum to win as many broad-reaching gains as we can, while we can.

The current pro-LGBT momentum will not last forever. And at that point we’ll be fighting to simply hang on to whatever we still have.

Andy Thayer is a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network. GLN, along with other groups locally and around the country, are organizing “Day of Decision” rallies and speak-outs in response to the Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision on marriage rights. Chicago’s event will be in front of the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted Street, at 7 p.m. on whatever night the Supreme Court announces its decision. He can be reached at

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Cannes: Idris Elba Drama ‘Second Coming’ Lands U.S. Home at Film Movement (Exclusive)

Written and directed by Olivier Award-winnng playwright Debra Tucker Green, the film also stars Nadine Marshall.

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Hollywood Reporter

Muscle Movement

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These Absurd Lawsuits Show Why The Anti-Gay Movement Is Failing

Last October, Kansas couple Philip and Sandra Unruh accused gay couples of trying to literally steal their marriage. In a motion to intervene in an unfolding case challenging their state’s ban on same-sex marriage, they referred to their marriage as property, and argued that if the state changes the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, it would be tantamount to taking that property away. “A ruling extending marriage to same sex relationships would deprive the Unruhs of a property right without due process of law,” the motion read.

A month later, Don Boyd, a man from South Carolina, went one step further. If his state legalized same-sex marriage, Boyd argued in a similar motion to intervene in his state’s marriage case, it would steal away his ability to worship God. In the motion, Boyd described himself as an appointed “Watchmen of the souls of the people errantly calling themselves lesbian and gay” and made clear that he did not plan to stand by and do nothing if gays and lesbians began to wed. “Any ratifying of gay ‘marriage,'” he wrote, “would compel me to leave off worshipping THE LORD with music and psalms — free exercise of my religion — to assume the life of a protester and wedding crasher.”

Last week, Sylvia Ann Driskell, a 66-year-old from Auburn, Nebraska, outdid both Boyd and the Unruhs. In a seven-page handwritten complaint, rife with misspellings, delivered to a federal court in Omaha, Driskell brought suit against all homosexuals in the world. The matter Driskell hopes the court will decide is whether homosexuality is a sin. (Her own view on the matter is clear: It is “an abomination,” she wrote.)

Driskell was not acting alone, according to her complaint, but serving as the appointed “ambassador” for “plaintiffs God and His Son, Jesus Christ.” Driskell does not cite case law or legal precedent, but instead relies heavily on biblical citations and her own views.

“I’m sixty six years old an I never thought that I would see the day in which our Great Nation or Our Great State of Nebraska would become so compliant to the complicity of some peoples lewd behavior,” Driskell wrote. “Look what happen to Sodom and Gomorrah two city because of the same immoral behavior thats present in Our Nation, in Our States, and our Cities; God destroy them.”

The idea of filing a suit against homosexuality itself is a strange one, but it is not new. Back in 2013, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera mused on a radio show about the possibility of a class action lawsuit against the sexual orientation. “We always wanted to see one of the kid in high school who was counseled by the official school counselor to just be gay, then he comes down with HIV,” he said. “But we never really got the client for that.”

As opponents of same-sex marriage have suffered loss after loss in the courts and in public opinion, activists have struggled to explain to Americans why they should continue to care about same-sex marriage. All three suits seek to answer a basic question: How, exactly, does legalizing same-sex marriage affect anyone who isn’t gay? Or, as Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan put it in oral arguments over California’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2013, “How does this cause and effect work?”

The documents recall a time when it was enough to simply quote the Bible. Looking over Driskell’s complaint, Jennifer Pizer, a lawyer with LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal, reflected, “I see it as a marker of a shift from a time when judges, including justices of the Supreme Court, referenced the Bible in denying gay people equal rights, to a time when a case like Driskell’s, while based on some similar views, is seen as a bizarre outlier.”

In 1986, when Pizer was a law student, the Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that laws banning sodomy were constitutional. Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote that the decision was based on “Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards” and that affirming a constitutional right to sodomy “would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching.” This decision was reversed in 2003.

No matter how outlandish the complaints from Driskell, Boyd and the Unruhs seem today, Pizer added, the views are not unique. Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal government’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriage in 2013, religious conservatives around the country have ramped up efforts to pass laws that protect religious people from participating in same-sex marriages. “I see these lawsuits as an outlier manifestation of a view that too many people in this country do still have, and you see those views reflected in state legislation,” Pizer said.

It is exceedingly unlikely that Driskell’s suit will be a win of any kind for opponents of same-sex marriage. Driskell did not respond to request for comment, and same-sex marriage opponents seem wary of associating themselves with her cause. As Horatio G. Mihet, a lawyer with the conservative religious legal group Liberty Counsel, put it in an email, “As you know, Liberty Counsel strongly supports natural marriage, and the right of every child to have both, a mom and dad. That said, we have no comment on this particular story.”

On Wednesday, Judge John M. Gerrard of the U.S. District Court for Nebraska dismissed the case. “To the extent that she asks for anything from the Court, it is a declaration that homosexuality is sinful — a question that the Court cannot answer,” the memorandum reads. “The Court may decide what is lawful, not what is sinful.”

Pizer, for her part, was pleased. “Her complaint tried to pull back the tide of history, and the court has neither the ability nor the authority to do that.”

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Locker Room Frenzy Returns – Planet Fitness, Zoey Tur and the Politics of False Movement Messiahs

Once again the media has catapulted a new and clueless, recently transitioned celebrity into national attention, allowing her, in her profound ignorance of trans history, politics, law and medicine, to provide aid and comfort at a time when many lives are still at risk. Great progress on civil rights continues to be made, which is why we see yet another trans celebrity providing analysis, but why is someone’s inexperience and utter lack of credentials so blatantly ignored by those who give out these platforms? And why is Zoey Tur, recently known as “Chopper Bob,” so resistant to learning enough to get the facts straight?

This past Sunday a story broke from Michigan touching on the favorite target in the battle for trans rights — locker rooms and the associated bathrooms, washrooms, and changing areas. This is not new — there was a staged incursion into the women’s locker room in a sports club in Montgomery County, Maryland, by a right-wing zealot in a frumpy dress back in 2008 — nor is it unusual to be the flashpoint in all our civil rights battles. From the African-American experience to the Equal Rights Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act, then to gay and now trans rights, fear-mongering reaches a crescendo when semiprivate public accommodations are targeted to make a case against extending civil rights.

Planet Fitness in Midland, Michigan, is a “Judgment Free Zone,” created not specifically for trans men and women but to foster an environment where everyone can feel comfortable. After all, many who attend gyms do so because they’re uncomfortable with their bodies and would rather not be subject to shaming while working out. Apparently most of the business’ members understand this, and act accordingly. One woman, however, Yvette Cormier, complained about a trans woman, Carlotta Sklodowska, and when asked to back away from her complaints because of the gym’s policies, persisted in making a fuss with the members and was finally asked to leave. Cormier’s membership was revoked because it was she who was exhibiting the behavior that was “inappropriate and disruptive” to members who had the right to expect a “non-intimidating and welcoming environment.”

Sklodowska apparently didn’t even use one of the “private lockable changing rooms,” so this wasn’t an issue of indecent exposure, the thought of which leaves conservatives quaking in fear. It was simply a cisgender woman being uncomfortable in the presence of a trans woman — as she said, “I was stunned and shocked. He looked like a man. He did not look like a woman.” No inappropriate behavior, action, or even words — she just didn’t like the way another woman looked.

Sklodowska could have been a lesbian, or even a masculine-appearing straight, cisgender woman. Cormier was simply uncomfortable with her appearance, and fundamentally, her existence, and demanded, in a disruptive manner, that her wishes be prioritized over the policy of the business. The Tea Party News Network, which generally loves its business people, was not happy with Planet Fitness’ policy.

What we have here is a trans woman, living full-time as a woman, apparently without affirming ID but accepted, nevertheless, by the management at the gym. Not an uncommon situation, and in my experience all trans women in similar situations have behaved impeccably, wherever they are on the transition spectrum. Trans women (and men) are encouraged to get their documents changed as soon as feasible, or carry a letter from a mental health profession, to prove who they are should a problem arise. When challenged, a trans person may be asked to vacate sex-segregated premises if they do not have adequate identification, which is as it should be. Few such incidents occur, and while the law varies among jurisdictions where it protects trans persons, it often requires trans persons to be “persistent and consistent” in their presentation. Gender identity laws are not supposed to be used by people out on a lark, or crossdressers and drag queens out on the town for a night of fun. Those situations should not be problematic, but the laws are clear.

Yet in this circumstance the situation spiraled out of control. It became about bathrooms, which were never an issue in this instance, and degenerated into the common “no one should be allowed into a locker room based on how they feel that day” meme. Maybe Cormier, in her ignorance about trans lives, was understandably uncomfortable. But she made no effort to alleviate that discomfort, instead choosing to be disruptive — again, this is behavior, not identity — going so far as to play the conservative victim by saying, “They’re [Planet Fitness] judging you for complaining about it.” And she certainly made no effort to show concern for the discomfort of the trans woman. It was the trans woman who was the victim in this threatening situation, as is the case when these confrontations arise (fortunately infrequently) elsewhere.

Nor was any effort at understanding made by the extremist state representative, Gary Glenn, who attacked Planet Fitness as being “anti-woman” and “anti-reality.” The Family Research Council weighed in about madness and insanity, even libeling the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy in the process.

This is all to be expected. For the extreme religious right, attacking trans women (note, never trans men) in semi-private facilities is a gimme, with a long history of success in the United States. Where this really went off the rails was when a former helicopter traffic pilot, now out trans reporter, decided to play doctor and movement leader. Less than a year after completing gender transition, Zoey Tur, the woman who stated during the tabloid frenzy about Bruce Jenner that estrogen can change sexual orientation and that women after genital reconstruction will “probably be going to transition to have sex with the opposite sex,” spoke with arrogance, ignorance and contempt for trans women in general. She said,

People have a right to be concerned and I believe there should be private areas. The person at the center of this controversy, the transgender person — and that’s really the problem, your definition of transgender — is a transvestite, a crossdresser, a male that has a sexual fetish dressing as a female.

She did her “research” — discovering that Sklodowska was into BDSM and, as a result, diagnosed her as a “transvestite,” a term rarely used even by anti-trans psychiatrists. She completely misspoke about Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which doesn’t cover sex discrimination in public accommodations and therefore doesn’t compel Planet Fitness to admit anyone. She smirked and rolled her eyes when discussing the potential criminal act that would occur if a crossdressed man — in this case, Sklodowska — snuck into the women’s locker room for voyeuristic purposes, even though there are no recorded instances of such behavior.

Tur is not a movement leader. She has never advocated for any legislation or demonstrated against any reactionary social or political behavior. She knows nothing of sexual biology or medicine. She’s not aware of how our civil rights laws are written, and most remarkably she shows no practical sense about how these laws could possibly be enforced. She privileges women whom she calls “transsexuals,” who’ve had genital surgery, over those who haven’t, and speaks as if genital anatomy is going to be checked by a gender police. Most strikingly, she is the latest trans celebrity who, by virtue of having recently undergone transition, believes that the experience makes her expert on all things trans.

She certainly can relate her experience of being trans and undergoing transition, just as anyone else can, and she may very well be qualified to be an expert on helicopter mechanics or the dynamics of chasing down OJ Simpson. Unfortunately, instead of sitting back, absorbing and learning about the community, she pontificates on issues of which she is ignorant, putting all trans women at risk. The sad part of this is, even after hours of speaking with accomplished trans activists, she seems not to care in the least. But even worse is that the media buys into the celebrity it has created, being oblivious to the way it empowers the ignorant, and furthers the spread of falsehoods and misunderstandings that threaten women who struggle just to get on with their lives every day.
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This Is What a (Marriage Equality) Movement Looks Like

A little over a week ago, same-sex couples from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking the freedom to marry nationally. Just last Friday, hundreds of Fortune 500 corporations, faith leaders, Republican and Democratic officials, civil rights organizations, law professors, and the Obama Administration filed supporting amicus briefs. And the Supreme Court finally set oral arguments for April 28. For thousands of same-sex couples across the country, the day when their families might be fully protected and their love equally recognized seems closer than ever.

Arriving at this moment was neither an inevitability nor the work product of a few heroic individuals. Rather, it’s the culmination of a movement’s work over decades – careful strategy; individual story-telling; grassroots organizing; setbacks and recovery from setbacks; litigation, legislation, and ballot questions – involving all kinds of people and organizations putting in blood, sweat, and tears.

It’s notable, for example, that like most of the cases currently before the Supreme Court, the first significant marriage equality case was brought back in the early 1990s by a private attorney in Hawaii, Dan Foley, on behalf of Nina Baehr and Genora Dancel. While their initial victory in the courts was eventually overturned by constitutional amendment, their lawsuit catapulted the marriage equality movement to the national stage and, with the help of movement leader Evan Wolfson, kicked off a broader conversation about the injustices and harms of excluding same-sex couples from marriage.

Twenty years later, after a narrowly averted car accident, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Michigan, visited their attorney Dana Nessel to ensure that both of them would be recognized as the legal parents of their four children. They were shocked to learn that without the ability to marry, they could not jointly adopt and ensure the security of their family. For April and Jayne, their journey to the doors of the Supreme Court has been guided both by their own moral compass and their parental instinct to protect their children.

And certainly, “the movement” writ large has come together in this moment. All four major LGBT legal organizations that have worked long and hard to get us to where we are today are co-counsel in the cases before the high court. GLAD’s Mary Bonauto, who won the first marriage case in the country in Massachusetts in 2003, is co-counsel in Michigan with Dana and a team of talented private attorneys, including Carole Stanyar, Kenneth Mogill of Mogill, Posner & Cohen, and Wayne State University Law Professor Robert Sedler. Lambda Legal, which won the first unanimous judicial victory in Iowa and later helped secure marriage throughout the 9th Circuit, is co-counsel in Ohio. NCLR, which won a game changing legal victory in California, helping reverse a string of judicial losses in the mid-2000s, is now co-counsel in Tennessee. Finally, the ACLU, whose landmark Windsor victory at the Supreme Court overturning DOMA last year set off the avalanche of federal judicial victories on marriage in the last year, is co-counsel in Kentucky and Ohio.

It’s also significant that the Supreme Court cases originated in states from the heartland and the south, thanks to the movement’s state-by-state strategy that began with Massachusetts and grew to 37 states just last month with Alabama. This strategy has succeeded through a mixture of judicial, legislative, and electoral wins. Statewide equality groups, as well as national organizations like Freedom to Marry, the Equality Federation, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and HRC, knew that to win nationally at the Supreme Court, we needed as many states as possible in the pro-equality column, and we needed to win those states by every means possible. And did. As a result, there are now only 13 states, all in the most conservative areas of our country, left that discriminate against same-sex couples in marriage.

This is what a movement looks like. Ordinary people exercising their ordinary rights with extraordinary courage. Private attorneys sacrificing their time and livelihoods for a just cause. Movement organizations planning a strategy of incremental progress to be included within one of society’s most cherished institutions. And the transformative power of LGBT people and families sharing their lives with their neighbors, friend, coworkers, and family. None of this profound change was inevitable; instead, every piece had to come together, along with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, in order to climb to where we are today.

But this cannot be all that our movement looks like. Even as we reach the top of this mountain, if we fail to see the mountains beyond, then all we will be left with is a steep climb down. Even if same-sex couples begin marrying across the country in June, those same couples still face discrimination in their everyday lives, especially as our opponents seek to expand religious exemptions to undermine anti-discrimination protections. Even as same-sex couples gain greater acceptance within society, the same is not true for all in our community, including youth, elders, people of color, transgender individuals, and HIV-positive individuals.

The real test of a movement is whether it has the vision to imagine an even more just society for everyone, and the tenacity to get it done.

The marriage equality movement has given us the tools to tackle these new challenges. We have built shared values of love, respect and family that we can now use to fuel society’s greater understanding of all LGBTQ individuals, in all aspects of our lives. We have learned how to use personal stories to teach about the realities of our lives in a way that highlights our common humanity as opposed to our differences. And we understand the power of everyday actions by ordinary people – every person who has ever come out to a family member, placed a photo of their partner on their desk at work, or shared a story about their transgender child.

We may not know exactly what the movement will look like going forward, but the many faces of our ever diverse LGBTQ community is not a bad place to start.
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OWN Honors the Civil Rights Movement with a Month-Long Celebration | Oprah Prime | OWN

Tune in Sunday, January 4, at 9/8c.

It was the Civil Rights event that helped change the trajectory of America forever. This January, OWN honors the fiftieth anniversary of the historic marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

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Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand — and the magnetism of the channel.

Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities.

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Celebrating Dr. King and The Selma Marches 50 Years Later | Oprah Prime | Oprah Winfrey Network
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World Cafe Next: Pattern Is Movement

This week’s artist to watch is Philadelphia duo Pattern Is Movement. Check out two beautiful cuts that showcase their love of electronic and percussive music.

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