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National Guard troops secure the US Capitol on Friday/Nathan James photo

Picture it: an incumbent President who loses a fair, free, and legitimate election to his challenger refuses to accept defeat. For weeks, he tries to overturn the outcome in dozens of court cases but gets rebuffed by judges at every turn. Undeterred, the disgruntled leader tries to sway public opinion, and implores his Vice President to overturn the counting of the Electoral College votes in Congress. When his Veep demurs, citing the Constitution, the President Incites his followers to carry out a coup, storming the Capitol Building, killing and injuring the cops whose job it is to protect Congress, and plotting to imprison Senators or Representatives with flexible handcuffs used by police to make mass arrests. For hours, the insurrectionists run rampant while members of Congress are evacuated one step ahead of the howling mob. …


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Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy, inspired by the historic first space flights of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and American Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, Jr., addressed a joint session of Congress and challenged his countrymen to “achieve the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth”. It was a momentous proposal, made before it was truly known to be possible, with many of the materials needed yet to be invented, the computer science yet to be discovered. Historians put Kennedy’s vision down to the infamous Cold War rivalry with the then-Soviet Union for world hegemony. Space achievement, it was thought, was a key indicator of the superiority of democracy over communism. …


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The scales of justice aren’t always even?Creative Commons

Indiana’s Attorney General, Curtis Hill, is arguing before the Supreme Court that same-sex parents of adopted or biological children should not appear on their birth certificates, because, in Indiana’s view, such entries should be reserved for straight couples only. At issue is last January’s lower court decision which held that the Hoosier State’s laws limiting who can be listed as a parent were unconstitutional. The AG wants the high court to reverse that ruling, effectively removing parental rights from same-sex parents, including the ability of both parents to speak for their child in hospitals, school enrollment, and as legal guardians.

That this case originated in a state where Vice President Mike Pence, as Governor, happily signed a Turn Away The Gays bill into law, permitting individuals and businesses to legally refuse goods or services to LGBTQ people. The same hard-hearted attitude apparently carries forward in this new attempt to squelch the parental rights of same-sex couples, whether the children are adopted, inseminated from a donor and carried to term, or conceived and born in the usual way. It’s part of a growing number of anti-LGBTQ cases on the Supreme Court’s docket that will be heard by an ultra-conservative panel of judges, following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg earlier this fall. Unsurprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t even wait for RBG’s body to get cold, hypocritically announcing on the night of her death, that his Republicans would confirm a conservative replacement for her on the SCOTUS bench, ahead of the election. The rushed confirmation of hard-right jurist Amy Coney Barrett in record time, tilted the balance of justice on the Supreme Court for decades to come. …


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Courtesy NPR

Here we are, just one week out from the most consequential presidential election since 1860. There appears to be no shortage of gay men who will not only vote against their own best interests, but against the rest of us in the LGBTQ+ community. In recent weeks, there have been very loud, very public “Trump Pride” rallies in cities like Tampa, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee, during which attendees have gathered to extol President Trump as an “ally” of gays, lesbians, and people of trans experience. Not content to merely hold rallies for Trump, they have taken to making baseless accusations against the Democratic Party, including a vile suggestion that it advocates executing LGBTQ people. …


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Courtesy US Supreme Court

With last night’s passing of longtime Supreme Court jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg after an extended battle with pancreatic cancer, the legal landscape for LGBTQ+ Americans — and many others — is precariously poised to undergo some radical changes. If Trump and his Republican sycophants have their way, the high court might be shifted even further to the right, affecting many of its past and future decisions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already announced his hypocritical plan to swiftly confirm Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg with just 46 days remaining until the election.

This flies in the face of his 2016 declaration, a full nine months before that year’s election, that his GOP-controlled Senate would refuse to vote on then-President Obana’s SCOTUS nominee, because it was an election year. McConnell stated, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” The Kentucky senator went on to hold the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia for Trump, robbing Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland of his rightful hearing. …


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Social media post allegedly made by Corey Hannon/IG

It’s been two full weeks since Independence Day Weekend, when throngs of gay travelers descended on The Pines to party and cavort on the beaches, often sans masks or social distancing, provoking much consternation on social media and among the locals. Although there were no major mass gatherings scheduled for the holiday, (except the traditional Low Tea and the Blue Whale’s capacity-limited Show Tunes Sunday), would-be revelers were undeterred in their quest to burn off pent-up energy from months of lockdowns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They came across the Great South Bay in their hundreds, with at least one individual known to have signs and symptoms of the virus, joining them aboard the Ferry for the half-hour crossing. That was former flight attendant Corey Hannon, who ignited a firestorm of rage by first posting a very inflammatory Tweet, in which he lashed out at those who criticized his indifference. …


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On this subdued Pride Weekend, when all the traditional marches, parades, and celebrations have been virtually transformed, one out, gay comedian has found new ways to keep us laughing through the darkest of times. He’s hysterically side=splitting funnyman Ike Avelli, whose raunchy, ribald, and often very human stand-up has ticked funny bones from coast to coast, and flyover country, too. Ike discovered his comedic talents in 2009, when he did an impromptu routine at his company’s holiday party, and never looked back. For the past five years, he’s toured America doing his signature show, 50 Shades Of Gay, which comes back home to NYC’s Triad Theater on August 8th for a special fifth anniversary performance. Joining Ike at this famous venue are film star and cabaret impresario Tym Moss, super drag sensation Jacqueline Dupree, and actor Sam Oz Stone. …


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On the first full day of summer in the City of Brotherly Love, LGBTQ+ Philadelphians and their allies turned out in Center City’s LOVE Park for the Philly Queer March For Black Lives, (Recommit To Pride) rally of solidarity between gay, lesbian, and transgender people of all genders, races, colors, and ethnicities, and the city’s Black community. Following several weeks of civil unrest after the police killings of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, an Atlanta man shot twice in the back, Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ organizations and leaders came together to orchestrate the Pride Week gathering. …


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When celebrating Pride Month, it’s important to commemorate the greatness of those whose efforts to uplift and advance the LGBTQ+ community, though they may no longer be among us. This is the legacy of one pioneering young man from Philadelphia, whose gifts of dedication and service have changed the landscape for us in the City of Brotherly Love. His name was Dante Austin, an Army veteran, advocate, and the first openly gay deputy in the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. Dante later became the sheriff’s citywide LGBTQ liaison, encouraging other “family” to enlist, and building bridges between law enforcement and the community. …


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For the past nine years, Broadway Sings For Pride has been a celebration of LGBTQ+ people in New York theater, highlighting their innumerable contributions to the arts on stage, television, prose, and film. Broadway Sings For Pride is a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about the LGBTQ community and its issues, through the presentation of top-tier entertainment. An annual benefit concert during Pride Month brings out a plethora of LGBTQ+ performers, which in past years included film star and cabaret impresario Tym Moss, reality TV mogul Andy Cohen, Broadway diva Frenchie Davis, and Emmy/Grammy/Tony award-winner Neil Patrick Harris. …

About

Nathan James

Nathan James is an LGBTQ, journalist, playwright, and radio personality. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/nathanjamesFB, or on Twitter as @RealNathanJames

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