These ‘Gay Jeans’ Really Were Born This Way. 

This crowdfunding campaign may sound like a bad April Fools joke. But it actually comes with a really poignant message. 

Betabrand's 'gay jeans' look like any other pair of jeans when first purchased, but over time - through washing and general wear and tear - their true self starts to show. No, their true self starts to come out

The five-pocket dark denim pants are, in fact, made with multi-coloured thread, so as the indigo dye over them fades, a yarn of bright colour is revealed in its place. So far, so weird, right? We’ll leave it to creator Steven B. Wheeler to explain. 

"Even in early life, I was not wildly unlike any of the other boys on the playground, but as time went by, I noticed things that set me apart from the others", he told Towleroad. “The same too can be said for Gay Jeans; it takes time for them to uncover the things that makes them unique”. 

"The name is a pun on the issue of science finding the ‘gay gene’ and the debate over whether or not being gay is a choice", he continues. "For these genes, it isn’t a choice. Like me, they were born this way and, like me, they’ll come out in their own time."

Sometimes it’s difficult to find the words when coming out, but with these jeans you might as well save your breath. The fabulous threads will do all the talking for you without even uttering a word. ;-)

10% of all proceeds of the slim-fit and the stretch skinny jeans will go to the San Francisco LGBT Center, a non-profit LGBT community hub. 

Images: YouTube

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This Hawaiian Transgender Teacher Is Challenging Gender Stereotypes For Generations To Come. 

Hina Wong-Kalu is a proud, native Hawaiian. She’s also a teacher, who happens to identify as transgender in a place with a strong cultural heritage. 

Wong-Kalu’s fascinating story of transformation from Collin Wong to the woman she is today has been made into a documentary, which premiered at the Hawaiian International Film Festival and will go on to feature in festivals around the world in 2014. 

Directly translated as ‘Teacher Hina’, Kuma Hina charts Wong-Kalu’s life, from her being bullied in high school for being different, to embracing her ‘mahu’ (male and female spirit) and finding the husband of her dreams. It also introduces us to Ho’onani, a young girl who learns to embrace her inner male spirit and join her school’s all-male hula troop with Wong-Kalu’s support. Watch the trailer for the film above. 

The media exposure this remarkable woman is getting comes at a time when transgender rights are high in the world’s social consciousness - something Wong-Kalu intends to build upon. Not only is she launching #APlaceInTheMiddle, a social media campaign to support people who don’t conform to society’s traditional view of gender ‘norms’, she’s also just announced her plans to enter politics by running for a spot in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. 

Expect Wong-Kalu’s star to continue rising as Kuna Hina travels the globe in 2014, before its PBS television premiere in 2015.

A true inspiration to anyone who’s ever been afraid of standing out. 

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New York Times Open Letter To The Pope: “Embrace LGBT Youth With Love And Acceptance”

An open letter published in the New York Times has invited Pope Francis to visit America’s largest LGBT homeless shelter - and to change church teachings on homosexuality. 

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Written by Carl Siciliano, the gay Catholic Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center in California, the letter urges Pope Francis to ‘take urgent action to protect [LGBT young people] from the devastating consequences of religious rejection’.

"As LGBT youths are finding the courage to speak the truths of their hearts at younger ages, epidemic numbers are being rejected by their families, and driven to homelessness", Siciliano writes. 

"By teaching that homosexual conduct is a sin, and that the homosexual orientation is disordered, it influences countless parents and families in societies across the globe to reject their children", he continues. "In the name of these children, and in light of the love and compassion at the heart of the message of Jesus, I ask that you end this teaching."

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Siciliano, a former Benedictine monk, also cites that Jesus is never recorded as condemning homosexuality or LGBT people and that the Roman Catholic Church, as the largest and most influential Christian organisation in the world, has the power to help. 

"We share a belief in a God of love", he concludes. "I know in my heart that what my kids have suffered is ultimately a violation against love. How tragic it is that the church, through it’s teaching, would contribute to such a violation. Surely God loves his children more than teachings."

Pope Francis has yet to respond to the letter. He has been noted as a more liberal figurehead than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on many issues - in particular, being less critical of LGBT people. But he has yet to speak in support of LGBT expression. Siciliano’s letter comes with admirable intentions that aim to address that, in favour of our safety and ultimate acceptance by society. It spells out both the shocking truth about how many LGBT young people live in fear and how vocal support from on-high could go some way to remedy that. If this Pope is as liberal as the media would have us believe, then he has the opportunity to prove himself now - as a true man of God and as a human being with a heart. 

To read the full letter, published as an advertisement in the paper and paid for by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings, click here

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Denmark To Marry Same-Sex Russian Couples For Eurovision 2014

Organisers of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest have announced that host country Denmark will perform 30 marriages featuring couples from around the world - both straight and gay and including same-sex couples from Russia. 

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The ceremonies will take place in the run-up to the 58th edition of the annual competition in the capital Copenhagen from May 8th-10th. While no confirmation has been made as to whether to weddings will feature in the televised show, it is expected they would at least be referenced. 

"Last year Denmark had new legislation that made it easier for us to marry foreigners of the same sex," Eurovision manager Flemming Otto told Reuters. “We would like to strike a blow for the diversity and openness we have in Denmark. We are looking forward to marry all the happy couples, and I’m convinced we’ll be very busy.”

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The move comes a year after Finland entered the equal-marriage affirming song Marry Me and is likely to send an increasing message of acceptance to the 31 competing countries, including Russia. Interestingly, Eurovision is also popular outside of Europe, which should allow the message to spread even further. The 2013 final was watched by over 170m people worldwide, being broadcast in countries from the USA to South Korea and Australia to Brazil. 

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2014 marks the 25th anniversary of same-sex civil partnerships in Denmark, which became the first in the world to introduce such legislation in 1989. And given that Eurovision’s current motto is the all-embracing ‘Join Us’, the message to the rest of the world is loud and clear: it’s time to catch up. 

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Condom Company Responds To Lack Of Same-Sex Representation With A Harmless Gay Kiss
Condom company Durex have posted an image of two gay men kissing on their Facebook page, in response to criticism for not including any same-sex couples in a recent marketing drive. 
The company’s Turn Off To Turn On campaign - prompted by the energy-saving ‘Earth Hour’ on March 29th - encouraged lovers to switch off technology and make use of the dark in order to ‘see less and feel more’. But given that all nine couples featured in a promotional video were all heterosexual, the question was raised - where exactly are the gay men? 

Many companies would gloss over such a mild social media stir in the hope that the storm would pass, particularly as the focus date (sorry, hour) was ten days prior. So kudos to Durex for admitting their mistake by answering in a positive, respectful and inclusive fashion. It’s the perfect example to any company wishing to make amends with minority audiences, all of whom are deserving of consumer representation. 
The move shows that company bosses are listening, but the real test will come when their next viral video campaign does the rounds. Then we’ll find out if they are, in fact, converted allies or if the aforementioned image was purely a form of lip-service (no pun intended) to the gay community. Hopefully, we’ll find them on our side.
And on that note, I’m off to save another hour of electricity.
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Condom Company Responds To Lack Of Same-Sex Representation With A Harmless Gay Kiss

Condom company Durex have posted an image of two gay men kissing on their Facebook page, in response to criticism for not including any same-sex couples in a recent marketing drive. 

The company’s Turn Off To Turn On campaign - prompted by the energy-saving ‘Earth Hour’ on March 29th - encouraged lovers to switch off technology and make use of the dark in order to ‘see less and feel more’. But given that all nine couples featured in a promotional video were all heterosexual, the question was raised - where exactly are the gay men? 

Many companies would gloss over such a mild social media stir in the hope that the storm would pass, particularly as the focus date (sorry, hour) was ten days prior. So kudos to Durex for admitting their mistake by answering in a positive, respectful and inclusive fashion. It’s the perfect example to any company wishing to make amends with minority audiences, all of whom are deserving of consumer representation. 

The move shows that company bosses are listening, but the real test will come when their next viral video campaign does the rounds. Then we’ll find out if they are, in fact, converted allies or if the aforementioned image was purely a form of lip-service (no pun intended) to the gay community. Hopefully, we’ll find them on our side.

And on that note, I’m off to save another hour of electricity.

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These American Guys Kissed On The Sand For Five Minutes To Support Same-Sex Love In France

This may or may not be NSFW. Depending on where you work, of course. You might want to save it for later just in case. Or just hit the ‘play’ button if you fancy your chances… You rebel, you!

The folks behind the Florida/France Arts Festival (not an LGBT event, by the way) have released a video featuring two men rolling around the beach locked in a five-minute kissathon that just goes on and on. And on. 

The video - entitled Send Our Love To France - intends to symbolise same-sex love being carried from Miami into the Bay of Biscay and eventually having it ‘absorbed by the bodies on the Western banks of France’. The clip’s Vimeo page adds: “While France has many credits as a country of equality, there have been incidents of racism and hate speech, as protesters of gay marriage blame a black justice minister and heightened tensions continue. ‘Send Our Love To France’ because they need all the love they can get.”

The video’s intentions are noble. And the performers, Pioneer Winter and Jared Shannon, are undeniably hot. The outcome is a fun combo of sexy/comedy that just seems to work. Watch as the lovers stifle unplanned laughter, from the waves dragging them into the sea and spitting them out again, before they roll back up to their towels via a veritable garden of seaweed. And all the while, hardly even unlocking lips. These guys refuse to be deterred and for that, they deserve a pat on their very sandy backs. 

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The Westboro Baptist Church Came To Town. The Most Awesome Community Spirit Made Them Leave.

Thank God for the Westboro Baptist Church. No, no… Wait. Hear me out. 

When the notorious hate-mongers pulled up in Moore, Oklahoma, they were met with a welcome that was anything but warm. Well, how would you feel if the God-fearing lot set up shop in your home town, purely to advise you that a devastating tornado - which took the lives of 24 people and injured hundreds of others - was in fact the act of our vengeful maker? And all as a punishment for America being a-okay with gay people? Exactly. We’ve heard it all before and, frankly, we’re sick of it. 

So, given Westboro’s unchanging resemblance to a broken record, a community uniting to oppose their scratched ramblings always offers some hope for humanity. But even better - as evidenced by the fair people of Moore - when a group rises up to fight their hate, the WBC do what any bully does when confronted by someone bigger than them: they run away. 

With the Patriot Guard revving their engines to drown out the church’s incessant chanting, a kerfuffle breaks out. A woman with a loudspeaker announces: “You are not wanted here!”. Hecklers back her. An angry man approaches the protesters, only to be held back by police. And then another. And another. And another. And before you know it, furious townspeople are clamouring to get ahold of Phelps Jnr. and co. left, right and centre. 

And then it happens. They take their signs and they leave. Rather hurriedly, in fact. Yup, the people of this small town actually forced the Westboro Baptist Church to back down and retreat. The Moore people’s community spirit - or more specifically, the cheering and fist-pumping that results - is quite an emotional sight. Everyone in that crowd is united by a common enemy and their triumph is not only a victory for the locals, but anyone who’s ever been the target of the church’s puritanical venom. 

No-one likes a bully. And people are seeing the WBC for what they truly are. Perhaps that’s part of the reason there’s been a big sea-change in America’s tide on homosexuality. The general public are seeing that we’re nothing to be afraid of. So, thank God for the Westboro Baptist Church and their commitment to ‘the gay agenda’. Their accidental steering of America’s ship towards LGBT acceptance really is much appreciated. 

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Argentinian President Becomes Godmother To Daughter Of Lesbian Couple, Baptised In Catholic Cathedral
Carina Villaroel and Soledad Ortiz have friends in high places. At least, they do now. 
Argentinian tradition dictates that families can invite the country’s president to become godparent to their seventh child. Yup, SEVENTH. In case basic math isn’t your forte, that means having SIX before. And then another one. (You’re welcome. You may now put your calculators away) Not an impossible task, of course, but it does make such a parental privilege a rarely sought one - and one accepted by the President even less frequently.

But after marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples were passed in the South American country in 2010, lesbian couple Villaroel and Ortiz thought they’d contact President Cristina Fernandez to try their luck. They wanted to ‘thank her for the law that gave us rights”. It was a lottery-style gamble of epic proportions, given that they had only conceived one-seventh of the necessary baby quota to warrant such a request. So when Fernandez agreed, the couple were instantly elevated to Cloud 9-levels of elation. But that wasn’t all. 
In another progressive turn of events, the ceremony for two-month old Umma Azul signified the first time the child of a same-sex couple was baptised in a Roman Catholic church in the country. Specifically, a cathedral in Cardoba, Argentina’s second-largest city.

"Father Varas told us he had been waiting for a couple like us", Villaroel told Reuters. "And we happened to come and he accepted us. There’s been a real social change for Catholicism to have said ‘yes’ to baptising a child from a lesbian family."
President Fernandez’s breaking of tradition is a milestone of respect for families with same-sex parents. And while it may take the Catholic church some time before it formally approves of gay and lesbian relationships, the baptism of little Umma at least signals a step in the right direction. 
Villaroel and Ortiz are now planning a wedding to follow. 
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Argentinian President Becomes Godmother To Daughter Of Lesbian Couple, Baptised In Catholic Cathedral

Carina Villaroel and Soledad Ortiz have friends in high places. At least, they do now. 

Argentinian tradition dictates that families can invite the country’s president to become godparent to their seventh child. Yup, SEVENTH. In case basic math isn’t your forte, that means having SIX before. And then another one. (You’re welcome. You may now put your calculators away) Not an impossible task, of course, but it does make such a parental privilege a rarely sought one - and one accepted by the President even less frequently.

But after marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples were passed in the South American country in 2010, lesbian couple Villaroel and Ortiz thought they’d contact President Cristina Fernandez to try their luck. They wanted to ‘thank her for the law that gave us rights”. It was a lottery-style gamble of epic proportions, given that they had only conceived one-seventh of the necessary baby quota to warrant such a request. So when Fernandez agreed, the couple were instantly elevated to Cloud 9-levels of elation. But that wasn’t all. 

In another progressive turn of events, the ceremony for two-month old Umma Azul signified the first time the child of a same-sex couple was baptised in a Roman Catholic church in the country. Specifically, a cathedral in Cardoba, Argentina’s second-largest city.

"Father Varas told us he had been waiting for a couple like us", Villaroel told Reuters. "And we happened to come and he accepted us. There’s been a real social change for Catholicism to have said ‘yes’ to baptising a child from a lesbian family."

President Fernandez’s breaking of tradition is a milestone of respect for families with same-sex parents. And while it may take the Catholic church some time before it formally approves of gay and lesbian relationships, the baptism of little Umma at least signals a step in the right direction. 

Villaroel and Ortiz are now planning a wedding to follow. 

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First Gay Couple In England And Wales Marry In 18th Century Palace

Marriage for same-sex couples became legal in England and Wales on Saturday morning at the stroke of midnight. It’s been a long wait since the announcement was made last summer and an even longer one since Civil Partnerships were brought into British law in 2004.

In between these two pivotal moments, Andrew Wale and Neil Allard met, seven years ago. One an actor, another a hairdresser, I’ll bet they never dreamed they would become the first gay couple to legally tie the knot in England, let alone that they would do so in an 18th century palace.

The men – based in my hometown of Brighton on the south coast of England – won a competition bestowing the honour of marrying in the Royal Pavilion’s decadent music room. In front of the world’s media, the two men exchanged their vows in front of family, friends and everyone else, in what is surely the city’s most iconic building. Its Indian/Chinese design style gives it a majestic, eastern feel in amongst Brighton’s hustle and bustle. And, given the city’s reputation as England’s gay capital, it also made for the perfect setting for such a historic occasion.   

Gay Star News uploaded this video of the ceremony and interviewed the men afterwards. Wale told them: “It was amazing. I just remember seeing my parents’ marriage certificate when I was a child and it felt quite amazing and quite bizarre to signing my own!”

To celebrate the first day of same-sex marriages, the rainbow flag was flown at the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, while many public figures, including Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Lopez and Martina Navratilova, offered their congratulations on Twitter. 

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The Royal Pavilion have informed us that not only was this the first same-sex marriage in the UK, it was also the first ever to take place in the Royal Pavilion’s iconic Music Room. 

Honey Maid Turn A Message Of Hate Into A Grand Display Of Love To Combat Homophobia

Three weeks ago, US snacks giant Honey Maid premiered a new series of promos to celebrate families of all shapes and sizes. Entitled This Is Wholesome, the set included videos of a single-parent family, a military family and a family with two dads. Waiting in earnest with their typical sticks-and-stones vernacular, the right-wing ‘traditionalists’ and Neolithic web trolls were in for a field day. And predictably so, given that two gay men were shown bringing up children. (Shock! Gasp! It can’t be! The fiends!)

But while some organisations have, even recently, caved into this sort of anti-gay peer pressure (ahem, World Vision…), Honey Maid not only stuck to their guns, they were also plotting a seriously awesome response.  

The company’s master plan saw two artists take printed copies of hate-filled tweets from the Honey Maid Twitter account, roll them up into scrolls and create a giant paper sculpture spelling out something their small-mindedness failed to spot: love. But even better, they went on to take copies of supportive, thankful tweets – of which there were many more – to encase the negative ones. The message? We are all one and we are all love. Watch a video of the project here.

This has got to be one of the best ways to silence critics who fear change or diversity. Honey Maid’s installation thanks the haters for their contribution by transmuting their distain and turning it into something where love is the leader. And maybe – just maybe – it’ll inspire some of those hecklers to pull a U-turn away from a life in Bigotsville.

So, thank you, Honey Maid. Thank you for not bowing to the call of the oppressors and instead cooking up a recipe with love (and, presumably, honey).

Honey Maid are asking people to share the video with their family and friends to ‘spread the love’. In less than a day, the clip has been viewed over 500,000 times and continues to rise. 

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