Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mariela Castro To Attend Gay Event

The U.S. State Department lifted its travel ban on Mariela Castro & has authorized Ms. Castro to visit Philadelphia to participate in Equality Forum 2013, a national & international LGBT civil rights summit with Cuba as the featured nation. Mariela Castro is the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro & accepted being a panelist on the Cuba: Featured Nation Panel & being the recipient of the International Ally for LGBT Equality Award at the International Equality Dinner at Equality Forum 2013. Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum stated, “Equality Forum is delighted that the State Department has affirmed democratic values by authorizing Mariela Castro to speak at Equality Forum 2013. Equality Forum 2013 is an open forum which will include a discussion of the history, progress & challenges of LGBT Cubans.” Ms. Castro, Director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), is the leading advocate for LGBT equality in Cuba. Ms. Castro is married & the mother of three children. She serves on international committees involving sexual issues & has published 13 scholarly articles & nine books. Equality Forum 2013 runs from May 2nd to 5th in Philadelphia has more than 30 programs including panels with national & international leaders. For More Info.equalityforum.com
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Navratilova Came Out In 1981

Tennis Icon Martina Navratilova came out in 1981 shortly after she became an American citizen. She didn't receive a call of congratulations from then President Reagan. It’s amazing that it’s still such a media blitz around the fact that Jason Collins came out announcing to Sports Illustrated “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black & I’m gay.” This is 2013 after all. Every major news network began their broadcast with the story about Collins being the first major league athlete to come out. Of course this isn’t quite true. You have to wonder why it’s so difficult for men like Collins a 7 foot NBA center to finally come out especially during the years he played for the Boston Celtics where gay marriage has been legal since 2004. Collins stated, “I realized I needed to go public when Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I want to do the right thing & not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance & understanding. I want to take a stand & say, “me, too.” So on June 8th Collins hopes to join the Boston Pride Parade. Navratilova stated,  “Collins' action will save lives. This is no exaggeration: Fully one third of suicides among teenagers occur because of their sexuality. Collins will truly affect lives, too. Millions of kids will see that it is OK to be gay. No need for shame, no need for embarrassment, no need for hiding. Come out, come out wherever & whoever you are. It is beautiful out here & I guarantee you this: You will never, ever want to go back. You will only wonder why it took so long.” Updates to Come…:)
LISTEN: Gay Filmmaker Rolla Selbak Speaks OUT
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Anti Gay Speaker At Defense Dept

You’d think they’d learn but the US Department of Defense is set to welcome one of the most anti gay homophobic pastors Greg Laurie as the headline speaker for its Day of Prayer on May 2nd. Allyson Robinson Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN stated, "Mr. Laurie represents the worst our nation's communities of faith have to offer when it comes to fairness, justice & equality. His hurtful, out-of-the-mainstream rhetoric stands at direct odds with the mission the Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of Defense have laid out: that this nation's military will be an institution that respects the dignity & honors the service of our gay & lesbian service members, veterans & their families. On behalf of our 6,000 members & their families, representing over 67,000 LGBT members of the armed forces, we call upon the Department of Defense to rescind their invitation to Pastor Laurie & invite in his place a faith leader who can speak with integrity & respect to the needs and concerns of all of our nation’s courageous service members.” Among Laurie's past comments are the following, as reported on October 31, 2012 by The Christian Post: "God has established the order of the family. It's been said a family can survive without a nation, but a nation cannot survive without the family. God set it up – bringing a man & a woman together in marriage & then of course ultimately with children & grandchildren. That's his order. What does he start with? Honor your father & mother. Notice it says honor your father & mother. Not honor your father & father, or honor your mother & mother, or honor your mother & her live-in lover or her partner. We tamper with God's order at our own peril." Talk about being on the wrong side of history. OMG!! :) For More Info: sldn.org 
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Monday, April 29, 2013

NFL Remains In The Closet

UPDATE: Jason Collins, 12-year NBA Veteran Announces He Is Gay Read More...
This year the National Football League had a chance to break the gay barrier by drafting the first openly gay player in the NFL draft on Saturday but that didn’t happen. Alan Gendreau former Middle Tennessee State placekicker who is openly gay was not one of the two kickers chosen. So the NFL remains in the closet. You have to speculate how many professional athletes in the NFL are gay but remain closeted. However it’s just a matter of time when our “Jackie Robinson” will be brave enough to be the first professional athlete in major league sports to come out. Gendreau was a star kicker on the Middle Tennessee State football team. His teammates on the Blue Raiders knew he was gay but it wasn’t an issue. He was just another guy in the locker room who made jokes & played football. Former teammate Josh Davis told OutSports "Everyone just saw him as a football player. He was just one of the guys. The fact that he proved himself on the field, there was a respect for him. He's a good guy. He's a lot of fun to be around. With all the coaches & players, he had a good relationship." Well there’s always next year. That'll be Gendreau’s next chance to crack an NFL roster. Or maybe some national player will finally come out & become a role model for our LGBT youth. Updates to Come…:)
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

NOH8 Hollywood Photo Shoot

Join the NOH8 Campaign for a special Hollywood-style photo shoot this Sunday April 28th in Los Angeles. Celebrity Photographer & NOH8 Co-Founder Adam Bouska will be working around the clock to photograph 5-10 frames for each person that comes through. This is a fabulous opportunity to be photographed like so many celebrities & LGBT leaders have to shown their support for our community. It’s hosted by Mack Sennett Studios who has graciously donated their largest stage to NOH8 for this unique event. It’s scheduled to begin at 2P until 5P & will feature appearances by special guests throughout the afternoon. Built in 1916, Mack Sennett Studios is Hollywood's oldest continually operating film studio. Now under new ownership they’re better than ever & what a perfect place to host a silent protest than a film studio that originally began producing silent films. Funds raised by the NOH8 Campaign will be used to continue promoting & raising awareness for marriage equality & LGBT anti-discrimination through NOH8’s interactive media campaign. This includes bringing the campaign to other cities around the country, as well as compiling the images for a large-scale media campaign. Under consideration is the expansion of their campaign to other media, including television & radio broadcast, billboards & magazines. Contributions are also used to cover the daily operations & maintenance necessary to run this historical campaign. Solo photos are $40 & couple or group photos are $25 per person. The NOH8 Campaign accepts cash & major credit cards only So Come OUT & Wear White :) For More Info: NOH8Campaign.com 
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Anti Gay Marriage Counter Rally

Supporters of equal marriage rights for gay & lesbian couples will counter-protest against a rally led by the anti-gay "Illinois Family Institute" at 11A, Saturday, April 27th at 2200 N. Sacramento Avenue in Chicago's Logan Square / Humboldt Park neighborhoods. Both sides are attempting to influence a close vote on Illinois's equal marriage rights bill that may happen sometime in the next few weeks. The Logan Square/Humboldt Park rally is apparently part of a recent IFI strategy to drive a wedge between Latinos & gays, targeting predominately Latino congregations for its anti-gay propaganda. Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network stated, "For those of us who remember IFI's repeated dalliances with notorious immigrant-basher & perennial Illinois GOP candidate Jim Oberweis, this is pretty rich. IFI is pursuing a cynical divide-and-conquer strategy that ignores that many people share both immigrant & LGBT identities. While the IFI has flirted with the anti-immigrant 'Tea Party' movement, undocumented LGBTs are in the forefront of the movement for genuine immigration reform." In 2009 the IFI was designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for "attacking gay people & homosexuality in general." Saturday's counter-protest is co-sponsored by the Gay Liberation Network (GLN), the Bisexual Queer Alliance Chicago & Queer Fest America.
For More Info: LGBTliberation@aol.com
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Friday, April 26, 2013

NOH8 Against BSA Gay Ban

The NOH8 campaign has announced its plans to work with Jennifer Tyrrell the Ohio mom ousted by the Boy Scouts of America for being an openly gay pack leader on a new campaign. The NOH8 campaign is offering complimentary NOH8 photos to any Scout who attends any upcoming NOH8 photo shoots in uniform & with a Scout ID to show their support for gay scouts. Tyrrell stated, "This isn't just about Boy Scouts this is about equality in all aspects of life. Boy Scouts of America needs to realize that they're sending a dangerous message to children by telling them that they're not good enough. Together with GLAAD, I am making sure no parent ever has to look their child in the eye & say we're not good enough. You have no idea how much that hurts because Alicia & I are good enough and these kids, that we're raising, are amazing. Ask anyone." Scouts can take advantage of this unique opportunity & join the NOH8 Campaign for a special Hollywood-style photo shoot this Sunday April 28th in Los Angeles. It’s hosted by Mack Sennett Studios who has graciously donated their largest stage to NOH8 for this event. It’s scheduled for 2P - 5P & will feature appearances by special guests throughout the afternoon.
For More Info... Also Jennifer together with GLAAD is launching a new petition to urge the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to completely lift its anti-gay ban on youth members & adult employees & volunteers.
To Sign Petition: glaad.org/denmother  
I spoke to Jennifer Tyrrell about this at the GLAAD Awards in NYC in this exclusive audio byte:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gay Marriage Sweeps New England

Finally the Rhode Island Senate voted 26 to 12 to allow gay & lesbian couples to marry. Governor Chafee has already pledged to sign the bill into law after it is reconciled with the House version. Then Rhode Island will then become the 10th state where gay & lesbian couples can celebrate their love & commitment through marriage. The passage of H5015 in Rhode Island will make it a clean sweep for all six New England states to have passed gay marriage. Lee Swislow Executive Director of GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) stated, “New England is poised to be a marriage equality zone, a beacon of justice & fairness for the rest of our country. And the day will come when that equality zone encompasses all fifty states & the federal government. In 2008, on the 5th anniversary of GLAD's Goodridge decision that made Massachusetts the first state where gay & lesbian couples could marry, we pledged to see marriage equality in all six New England States by 2012. Some called it too ambitious - but we knew the people of New England could make it happen. And here we are, just past 2012, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Goodridge & all six New England states are about to be in the win column for equality.” John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA Legal Director added, “At the same time we celebrate this historic win we are closely watching key states like Delaware & Nevada, in addition to several other nations, as the global movement for equality continues. The timing couldn't be better, as these historic changes lead up to the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in the Prop. 8 & DOMA cases in June." Updates to Come…:)
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gay Marriage Passes In Rhode Island

UPDATE: "The freedom to marry is sweeping the nation, as Rhode Island becomes the 10th state in the union with marriage for all, in the same week that France became the 14th nation worldwide with equal marriage rights. The momentum from coast-to-coast & around the world is unstoppable." stated Cathy Marino-Thomas, Marriage Equality USA Board Co-President. 
Tuesday in a bipartisan vote of 7 to 4 Rhode Island’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send legislation to allow gay & lesbian couples to marry to the full Senate. The Senate will soon debate & vote on the marriage bill. Janson Wu, staff attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) who testified before the Judiciary Committee in favor of the bill stated, “We’re grateful that the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken this critical step toward ensuring that gay & lesbian couples can demonstrate & celebrate their love & commitment by getting married in Rhode Island. Only marriage gives gay & lesbian couples & their families the recognition & respect they need and deserve. GLAD is hopeful that the full Senate will act quickly to pass this bill. Rhode Island is poised to make history with the passage of the marriage equality bill. The leadership of the state legislature will stand as yet another example that our country is moving in the direction of fairness & justice for all American families & that is the right direction.” The Rhode Island House passed the bill with a large, bipartisan majority in January. Governor Lincoln Chafee, a vocal proponent of marriage equality has long pledged to sign a marriage bill into law. When the bill passes Rhode Island would become the 10th state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to allow gay & lesbian couples to legally marry. It would also become the final New England state to enact marriage equality, solidifying the region’s longstanding leadership in recognizing & protecting the dignity & freedom of LGBT people. Updates to Come…:)
AUDIO: GLAD's Lee Swislow on DOMA & LGBT Rights
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ayanbadejo Joins Equality Florida

Brendon Ayanbadejo the 2013 Super Bowl Champion & fierce gay ally announced Tuesday April 23rd his commitment to work with Equality Florida to fight for LGBT equality & to rally other allies to speak out now. At a time when allies throughout the nation are standing up for equality like never before former Baltimore Ravens Linebacker & Super Bowl Champion Brendon Ayanbadejo has made national headlines for his outspoken support of Marriage Equality & an end to anti-LGBT discrimination. He recently spoke at a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court as the Justices deliberated two landmark gay marriage cases. A married father of two children, Brendon is adding his voice to the fight for full equality for the LGBT community in Florida. Ayanbadejo a resident of Fort Lauderdale Florida, stated, "It's not enough to have marriage equality in some parts of the country. We need full equality everywhere. It is outrageous that in Florida it is still legal to fire gay people or deny them housing. We have to catch up & I'm ready to do my part." Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director, Equality Florida added, "Every civil rights movement has relied on the support of those in the majority & at this pivotal moment in the fight for LGBT equality the visibility of role models like Brendon is crucial. He has been a tremendous advocate on the national stage & his support is a huge boost to our efforts here in Florida to end discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity." For More Info: eqfl.org 
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Monday, April 22, 2013

BSA Bans Gay & Lesbian Leaders

In case you missed it, while we were in lockdown in Boston & the whole country was watching, the Boy Scouts of America decided to release their revised Membership Standards Resolution, which if approved would open scouting to gay youth but would maintain the organization's ban on gay & lesbian parents & leaders. Jennifer Tyrrell who was ousted as leader of her son's Cub Scouts pack in April 2012 because she's gay stated, "I am appalled at the Boys Scouts' announcement. The fact that they are still telling children their parents aren't good enough is heartbreaking to me. How many times do families like mine have to be rejected by this organization? The release of this information at the same time our fellow Americans in Boston are suffering so much is nothing short of despicable. In a time, when we as a country need to stand up and show solidarity, compassion & love for all, the BSA is continuing to divide the country with their discriminatory policy." Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at GLAAD added, "Yet again, the Boy Scouts of America has failed its members, corporate sponsors, donors & the millions of Americans who agree that the time to end discrimination in Scouting is now. By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay & lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership & usher the organization back to relevancy. We're living in a culture where, until every young person & parent have the same opportunity to serve, the Boy Scouts will continue to see a decline in both membership & donations." I spoke to Jennifer Tyrrell about this at the GLAAD Awards in NYC in this exclusive audio byte:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards

Drew Barrymore hosted the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles Saturday night April 20th at the JW Marriott. Betty White, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Chris Evans, Naya Rivera, Mary Steenburgen & Ted Danson also attended. Former President Bill Clinton received the Advocate for Change Award presented by Harvey Weinstein & Jennifer Lawrence. Entertainment attorney Steve Warren received the Stephen F. Kolzak Award presented by Leonardo DiCaprio & Charlize Theron. The Winners Are: Outstanding Film - Wide Release: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Summit Entertainment) accepted by writer & director Stephen Chbosky with Logan Lerman, Johnny Simmons & Mae Whitman Outstanding Comedy Series: The New Normal (NBC) accepted by co-creators Ryan Murphy & Allison Adler with Andrew Rannells, Justin Bartha, Georgia King, Jayson Blair, NeNe Leakes. Outstanding Individual Episode: "Don’t Ask, Don't Tell Me What to Do" Raising Hope (Fox) accepted by show creator Greg Garcia with Cloris Leachman, Shannon Woodward. Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series: American Horror Story: Asylum (FX) accepted by show creator Ryan Murphy. Outstanding Daily Drama: Days of Our Lives (NBC) accepted by: Freddie Smith. Outstanding Talk Show Episode: "At Home with Neil Patrick Harris, His Fiancé David Burtka, & Their Twins" Oprah's Next Chapter (OWN) Outstanding Los Angeles Theater: The Children by Michael Elyanow. The final awards will be presented in San Francisco on May 11th at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square where Adam Lambert will receive the Davidson/Valentini Award & the San Francisco Giants will receive the Corporate Leader Award. The GLAAD Media Awards are presented nationally by Ketel One Vodka, Wells Fargo & locally by Delta Air Lines. For More Winners & Info: glaad.org
Listen To Our Coverage Last Month In NYC: 
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Reporting From Boston Lockdown

Boston Resident & Emmy Winning Broadcast Journalist Charlotte Robinson talks about what it's like to be in the Boston lockdown: “It feels like you’re in a nightmare but you know you’re awake. I woke up & went online around 6:30A to see if anything happened overnight. I saw headlines about the bombing suspects developments & woke up my partner & turned on the TV News. I tuned into WCVB where I use to work to listen to reports from Randy Price who’s openly gay & very level headed in his reporting. I got updated that one of the suspects had been killed last night & another was at large in Watertown. Then we heard that we were in lockdown until further notice.  I was suppose to have a doctor’s appointment at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital today at 10:30A. This is where the first suspect was taken to & died. The hospital called at 8A to cancel. I went on Facebook & posted “We're in lock down here in Boston ordered to stay inside while the bombing suspect is at large. It's very scary. More later....” I got dozens of well wishes from friends & family to stay safe & their thoughts are with us. From my brother Paul in London “It'll all be over soon hopefully. Glued to CNN here in London. Lots of shots of the Mall in Watertown.” That was hours ago & we’re still in lockdown. As a broadcast journalist it’s hard not to want to go to the crime scenes but then you realize you’re in the crime scene. Sometimes it’s very emotional. I can feel my eyes fill with tears. Other times I just feel angry that my hometown is having to deal with these bombing terrorists. It’s not pleasant being confined in a lockdown. Fortunately we have some food & supplies. All businesses were told not to open today. It’s a no fly zone & the only thing you hear are police helicopters & sirens. Now it’s seven hours later & you can hear neighbors talking to each other from their windows sharing their thoughts & emotions. Update: Lockdown Over, Suspect in Custody..... Now Let The Healing Begin....
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Disparities For LGBT Elders of Color


A new report “Health Equity & LGBT Elders of Color” has been released by SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) that examines health disparities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) older people of color & offers policy solutions in 10 areas to address these challenges. The report’s release coincides with April being the National Minority Health Month, an initiative of the federal Office of Minority Health to raise awareness about health disparities that continue to affect racial & ethnic minorities—among them a rapidly growing population of LGBT elders of color who are often underserved & largely rendered invisibly in public policy discussions. Michael Adams, SAGE Executive Director stated, “SAGE is proud to release the new policy report Health Equity & LGBT Elders of Color during National Minority Health Month. As a national organization working with constituents who are both LGBT identified & older adults, we understand that individuals & communities have unique needs because of the intersections of identities. LGBT elders of color are historically marginalized on multiple fronts & their needs are often under addressed in the mainstream aging field & in the popular LGBT rights movement. This groundbreaking report sheds light on the health disparities of LGBT elders of color & how to address them.” Read Report & More Info: sageusa.org 
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Israeli Event Delivers Strength

UPDATE: Suspects Have Allegedly Been Identified in the Boston Marathon Bombings. More Info To Come...
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack I attended an event to commemoration of Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's 65th Independence Day celebration that truly took on new meaning. We were greeted with an enormous presence of heavily armed state troopers at Temple Mishkan Tefila in Newton, which is right outside of Boston. Shai Bazak, the Israel’s Consul General to New England stated, “We have much more security. The large gathering, which draws state & local officials, usually has plenty of security, but additional measures were taken at tonight’s event.” Governor Deval Patrick was among the speakers attending the celebration stating that he had always come to the Independence Day celebration to remind the local Jewish community that he is a friend but after receiving messages of encouragement from Israeli leaders after the bombings, Patrick added he has a new appreciation for their friendship. Barry Shrage, President of Combined Jewish Philanthropies stated, “After considerable thought, we decided to take this time to join together as a community to reflect, pray & draw strength from one another during this difficult time. At the same time, we will honor & remember the victims of this tragedy & their friends & family, the courageous first responders & the greater community of local citizens & those visiting from afar. We will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the founding of modern Israel, honor our great friendship & remind ourselves that we, Bostonians & Israelis, are resilient. We stand side by side in times of celebration & loss.” Other speakers included, Rabbi Leonard Gordon of Mishkan Tefila, Congressman Joe Kennedy, Seth Klarman, President of Brandeis University Frederick Lawrence, Mayor Setti Warren of Newton & Jeremy Burton Executive Director of JCRC mc’d the event. I definitely left the event feeling a lot stronger than I did when I entered.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Arlington Church Vigil Tonight

There will be a Candlelight Vigil tonight at the Arlington Church at 8P in Boston. Openly gay Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie Senior Minister will be holding the service stating, “Two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The number of injured and dead is growing. So far, that is all we know. There is no one to blame, no sense to be made of the senselessness, nothing to distract us from the raw horror of the violence that shattered a beautiful afternoon in Boston at its finest. This is a good time to remember, as George Odell wrote, ‘We need one another when we mourn and would be comforted; We need one another when we are in trouble and afraid.’ Let's gather at Arlington Street to be together. Let us sing together and pray together and lift up candles together; together, let us make light in this darkness. I am holding each of you very close. Faithfully yours, with much love. Kim” OUTTAKE VOICES is based in Boston. Yesterday my partner Marilyn and I were walking around Jamaica Plain Pond when we heard all the ambulances racing by and an unmarked car that Governor Patrick was in headed for downtown. A woman walking behind us brought us up to speed of what had happened. When we returned home family and friends reached out to us via email and the phone. My niece Kira and her husband Ryan were about a block away and ran to safety with hundreds of others. They're okay but shaken as all Bostonians are. Today we are dazed and very sad. We thank everyone for your thoughts. There will also be a vigil on The Boston Commons at 8P.
Updates to Come…
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Gay Soccer Player Robbie Rogers

We're Based In Boston & Collecting Our Thoughts After The Horrific Terrorist Attack Yesterday. New Post Soon. In The Meantime Listen To Our New Audio Interview:
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Openly gay professional soccer player Robbie Rogers chats with ABC News correspondent Amy Robach about being gay in professional sports. The interview airs on ABC News’ “Nightline” April 15th. A former member of the U.S. National team & professional player in the UK Rogers permitted “Nightline” to travel with him as he saw his family for the first time since coming out earlier this year. Although Rogers has retired if he returns to the field in the U.S. it would make him the only openly gay player in any major league sport. When Rogers came out he stated, "I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined." He added in his Nightline interview, "It’s hard to describe the feeling but you go to work thinking, I hope no one figures I’m gay. Guys on your team are your best friends. If you’re not the same as them, you’re an outcast." Asked if he heard homophobic slurs in the locker room, he answered, "All the time I heard gay slurs hanging out with friends in high school & everywhere, so that discourages you." Watch Video:

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