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Social conservatives defend ‘Duck Dynasty’

A&E suspended Phil Robertson for homophobic, racist comments

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Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, gay news, Washington Blade
Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, gay news, Washington Blade

Phil Robertson (Photo courtesy of A&E)

A&E continues to face criticism over its decision to indefinitely suspend the patriarch of the reality show “Duck Dynasty” after he made homophobic and racially insensitive comments during a magazine interview.

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown sent an e-mail to supporters that contained a link to a petition urging A&E to apologize to Phil Robertson and allow him to once again appear on the show hours after the network announced it had placed the reality show star on indefinite “hiatus.”

“The gay lobby bullies are at it again,” wrote Brown. “This time they’ve attacked one of the most popular Christians in America — Phil Robertson, patriarch of Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family.”

Robertson said during an interview that will appear in GQ magazine’s January issue that “to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus.”

“That’s just me,” the patriarch of the A&E reality show that takes place in Northeastern Louisiana told GQ during an interview for the magazine’s January issue. “I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Robertson went on to describe homosexuality as a sin. He also discussed his experiences growing up in Louisiana before the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” said Robertson, who noted he worked in cotton fields alongside black people. “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal described Robertson and his family as “great citizens” of his state in a statement that criticized A&E’s decision to suspend the “Duck Dynasty” star.

“I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV,” said Jindal. “I find a good bit of it offensive, but I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is among those who also defended Robertson.

“What Phil said was not hate speech. It was the truth,” said Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association on his Twitter account after A&E announced it had suspended Robertson. “The truth is only hate speech to those who hate the truth.”

The Robertson family thanked “Duck Dynasty” fans for their “prayers and support” in a Dec. 19 statement posted to their website.

“While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible,” the statement reads. “Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.”

TMZ on Dec. 19 posted a video to its website that shows Robertson speaking at a Pennsylvania church in 2010. He described gays and lesbians as “insolent, arrogant, God-haters” during his sermon.

“They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless,” said Robertson. “They invent ways of doing evil.”

Louisiana is among the states in which marriage rights for same-sex couples remain constitutionally banned.

The state’s hate crimes law includes sexual orientation, but not gender identity and expression. Louisiana’s anti-discrimination statute does not include LGBT-specific protections.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, told the Washington Blade late last week that Robertson’s comments “don’t surprise me because they reflect the reality that discrimination and bigotry persist in the South.” Her group continues to lead efforts in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples and other LGBT-specific issues in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and other Southern states.

“His comments reflect a climate of pervasive discrimination and bigotry for LGBT people in the South from cradle to grave,” said Beach-Ferrara, referring to the lawsuit the Southern Poverty Law Center last week filed against a Mississippi school district on behalf of a lesbian student who said she experienced anti-LGBT bullying and harassment from her classmates and administrators. “People suffer because of this.”

Log Cabin Republicans on Dec. 20 announced it would mediate a “Moonshine Summit” between Robertson and his family and A&E.

“Phil, you have your views and we have ours, but I think you’d be surprised how much we all have in common,” said Gregory T. Angelo, the group’s executive director. “We’re conservative, we’re guided by our faith and we believe in freedom of speech. Most important, we are all children of God; that’s the most important thing we have in common.”

The Robertson family said in its statement it remains “in discussions with A&E” about the show’s future.

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Arts & Entertainment

10 LGBTQ events this week

Set sail on the Potomac and celebrate the beginning of summer in Rehoboth

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(Washington Blade file photos by Molly Byrom, Joey DiGuglielmo and Michael Key)

Below are our picks for some oDf the most fun and creative things to do this week in D.C. that are of special interest to the LGBTQ community.

Number Nine 11th Anniversary

Number Nine (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Wednesday, May 19
5 p.m.
Number Nine
1435 P Street, N.W.
Facebook

The gay bar Number Nine celebrates 11 years of business on Wednesday with an old school 2-4-1 happy hour.

DC Boys of Leather Happy Hour (fundraiser for DC Abortion Fund)

Thursday, May 19
6-9 p.m.
Trade
1410 14th Street, N.W.
Facebook

Join the DC boys of Leather for its monthly happy hour. This month’s gathering is raising money for the DC Abortion Fund: a local DC organization that provides financial support for residents of and visitors to DC in their reproductive health care.

Taste of Point

Thursday, May 19
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Room & Board
1840 14th Street, N.W.
$50-$100 advance / $120 door
Facebook

The Point Foundation, an organization that provides LGBTQ youth scholarships and mentorships, is holding its “Spring Garden Party” on May 19th at Room & Board. Several local restaurants are participating.

Blade Summer Kickoff Party

Friday, May 20
5-7 p.m.
The Pines
56 Baltimore Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
$20
Facebook

Join the Washington Blade for our 15th annual Summer Kickoff Party in Rehoboth Beach, Del. The special guest this year is Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.

Miss Freddie’s 2022

Destiny B. Childs at the Miss Freddie’s pageant. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Friday, May 20
5-7 p.m.
Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
555 23rd Street S
Arlington, Va.
$10 cover
Facebook

The annual Miss Freddie’s drag pageant returns in person at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant in Arlington, Va. on Friday.

Rough House

Friday, May 20
10 p.m.
Green Lantern
1335 Green Court
$10
Facebook

Join DJs Lemz, Sean Morris, Dean Sullivan and the Barber Streisand and check your clothes at the door for a night of “hands on, lights off” dancing.

Booty Cruise Tea Dance

Saturday, May 21
2-4:30 p.m.
Potomac River
Meet at 3050 K Street, N.W.
$76
Facebook | Eventbrite

Set sail with Fruity Boi Productions & N/S/A Play on the Booty Cruise Tea Dance with an open bar on Saturday. The boat leaves promptly at 2 p.m.

Worthy Mentoring Pride Brunch

Carson Kressley (Blade file photo by Molly Byrom)

Sunday, May 22
12-3 p.m.
Four Seasons Hotel
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
$150+
Facebook | Website

Original “Queer Eye” guru Carson Kressley hosts the Worthy Mentoring brunch. With a gourmet brunch, bottomless drinks, multiple DJs, drag queens and a good cause, Sunday’s event is one of the hottest tickets in town.

DC Gay Flag Football League Finals

D.C. Gay Flag Football League (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Sunday, May 22
games 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Carter Barron Fields
afterparty and awards 3 p.m. at the Dirty Goose
913 U Street, N.W.
Website

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League holds their final games of the season at Carter Barron Fields and then celebrates with an end-of-season party and awards ceremony at the Dirty Goose on Sunday.

Onyx Code Red: Crimson Cosplay

Sunday, May 22
9 p.m.-2 a.m.
5380 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite C
Alexandria, Va.
$25-$100
Eventbrite

Break out your leather, fetish, and kinky looks for a night of fun and a great cause. Red is the color, cosplay is the theme on Sunday night.

If you would like to let us know about an upcoming event, email [email protected] with details.

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Arts & Entertainment

Disney donating all profits from Pride Collection to LGBTQ+ organizations and charities

“Disney has a long history of supporting LGBTQ+ organizations & charities- the Pride Collection is showing our support for the community”

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The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company announced Monday that it is donating all of the profits of its pride merchandise to charities that help the LGBTQ community. The announcement comes over the company’s battles with Florida’s Republican political leadership over the passage of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ measure and more recent government actions that removed the self-governing law over Disney-held properties known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

In a post on the company’s blog, Disney Senior Vice President, Global Marketing Lisa Becket, who identifies a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself wrote:

“Disney has a long history of supporting LGBTQIA+ organizations and charities around the world, including GLSEN in the U.S. This year, we are further deepening our support. We will be donating all of our profits from the Disney Pride Collection sales now through June 30, 2022, to organizations that support LGBTQIA+ youth and families. This includes merchandise from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars.

In the U.S., profits from the collection will benefit GLSEN,  PFLAGThe Trevor ProjectZebra CoalitionLos Angeles LGBT CenterLGBT Center Orange CountySan Francisco LGBT Center and Ali Forney Center. Profits from other regions around the world will continue to support local charities in those countries. You can learn more about these organizations and their incredible, impactful work by visiting TWDCPrideCollection.com

I’m proud to share just a bit about what we are doing for the LGBTQIA+ community and to joyfully celebrate Pride not just for the month of June, but all year-round.”

The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company
The Disney Pride Collection courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

The company also noted:

“The Disney Pride Collection is just one way Disney Parks, Experiences and Products is showing our support for the LGBTQIA+ community during the month of June. There’s plenty to celebrate at our theme parks and resorts, from entertainment and art displays to festive décor, Disney PhotoPass Service photo opportunities, and themed food and beverage offerings. We’ll also be highlighting inspirational and celebratory stories about our guests, cast and community on the Disney Parks Blog and across our social media channels.”

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Sports

British soccer player comes out

Jake Daniels is Blackpool FC forward

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Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels/Blackpool FC UK

A 17-year-old professional soccer player has made history only the second person in the past 30 years to acknowledge their sexual orientation publicly in the sport in the U.K.

Blackpool FC forward Jake Daniels joins with Justinus Soni “Justin” Fashanu as the only two footballers to declare themselves openly out. Fashanu had come out in an exclusive with The Sun tabloid newspaper on Oct. 22, 1990, and later retired in 1997. He later passed away in London in May 1998.

Daniels made his announcement via a statement released by the team on its webpage:

“This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch. I’ve made my first-team debut, scored 30 goals for the youth team, signed my first professional contract and shared success with my teammates, going on a great run in the FA Youth Cup and lifting the Lancashire FA Pro-Youth Cup. 

But off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am. I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.

It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.        

In reaching this point, I’ve had some of the best support and advice from my family, my club, my agent and Stonewall, who have all been incredibly pro-active in putting my interests and welfare first. I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.   

I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in. I want to be a role model myself by doing this.

There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality. I just want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in.

You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.

Jake”

The team itself also noted:

“Blackpool Football Club has worked closely with Stonewall and the relevant footballing organizations to support Jake and is incredibly proud that he has reached a stage where he is empowered to express himself both on-and-off the pitch.

It is vital that we all promote an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves, and that football leads the way in removing any form of discrimination and prejudice.”

The largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the UK, Stonewall tweeted:

Blackpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in seaside resort of Blackpool on the Irish Sea coast of England.

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