Rammstein defy homophobic Russian laws

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Many queer activists are working to expose and push back against the state-backed homophobia in Russia. This work is vital, and earlier this week, members of the German industrial metal band Rammstein, did their part in being allies with a smooch on the lips.

Rammstein has been on a bit of a bender with their queer allyship in their current performance tour. They’ve waved Pride flags in Poland as a response to the anti-queer efforts there, and they’ve been kissing a little bit. So much so, that fans have conjoined the names of the two guitarists who have been doing the kissing (Paul Landers and Richard Kruspe) into the mononym “Paulchard.”

At a stop in Russia, Paulchard kissed again. And while that seems par the course, in Russia there’s a “gay propaganda” law that’s been in effect since 2013. That law makes the distribution of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” among minors illegal and an offence punishable by imprisonment and fines. Two men kissing on a major stage and taking photos of that to post on Instagram would definitely fall in that category.

While it seems the pair have made it through without any trouble, according to the law, “foreigners may be arrested and detained for up to 15 days, then deported or fined up to 5,000 rubies and deported.” What’s more, is the band posted the photo to Instagram with the caption “Russia we love you,” in Russian.

Bay Gays

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TV station ABC7news dug up an interesting piece of history allowing us a look at how gay people were portrayed in the media in the America of the 1970s. The documentary was made in 1976 and is called “Bay Gays.” It was shocking at the time, and opened up viewers to “the gayest city in the country.”

“The four part series starts before the rainbow flag was a a symbol for a united community. Before Harvey Milk was elected supervisor, before the White Night riots that followed his death, before HIV and AIDS devastated a community, before same-sex marriage was legal.” says ABC.

 

First They Came

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Mass shootings are a regualr occurrence in the United States, so it’s heartbreaking but not surprising when a 16-year-old high school student like Odessa Shlain Goldberg says she no longer trusts people, no matter if strangers or otherwise as much as she used to.

These violent outbursts of a divided society affected her life in several ways, from shooting drills at school to an unshakeable fear in crowded places. It’s also what led her to her topic for the Our Pride Student Video Competition, for which she won first place.

Her film combines Rufus Wainwright’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and Martin Niemöller post-World War II poem First They Came with images of various mass shootings in the US.

‘The film illustrates how passivity in the face of injustice is complicity during World War II, but instead reframes and rewrites the 1946 poem to focus on the prolific, devastating shootings in schools and public institutions,’ Goldberg said of her film.

Surviving homelessness as a queer teen

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Travis was disowned by his family at 17 for being gay. He used his savings to move to Los Angeles and lived on the street for weeks before the Los Angeles LGBT Center provided him a bed and helped him find a job. Now he’s helping others in his situation.

“In my mom’s house, it’s God first and then family,” said Travis in a heartbreaking interview. Check out his story below.

YouTuber Daniel Howell came out

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Daniel Howell, a YouTuber from the UK with 6.5 million subscribers came out in a video titled Basically I’m gay. “We live in a heteronormative world,” the 27-year-old says. “What this means is that most people are presumed to be straight so, if you’re not, at some point you have to come out. So yep: I’m here, I’m queer and don’t worry, I’m still filled with existential fear.”

In the 45-minute video, Howell goes on to explain his coming out journey, why he has decided to do so now, and just what queerness means to him.