In an unprecedented move, 12-year NBA Center Jason Collins has come out of the closet on the cover of Sports Illustrated, making him the first openly gay active professional player from one of the “big four” American sports (baseball, basketball, football and hockey).
Lady Gaga is now under fire from a high profile Russian politician who is accusing her of “illegally” promoting gay rights in their country. Vitaly Milonov, an associate of President Vladimir Putin, is reportedly planning to file a lawsuit against the singer following her concert in his ruling district of St. Petersburg last Sunday. “We saw that in addition to music, songs and such, there were direct calls for 12-year-old citizens to support the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community,” he said. “The main complaints are [her] calls for minors to support the organization of gays and lesbians, the illegal use of the Russian Federation flag at her concert and slander against our country.”
Milonov has co-written a law banning gay “propaganda” in St. Petersburg, and tried unsuccessfully to prohibit the sale of Gaga’s show tickets to anyone under the age of 18. Mother Monster’s representation even claims to have received a phone call prior to the show threatening arrest and $50,000 fines if she were to voice support for the LGBT community onstage. Wow, we thought the Cold War was over! Milonov tried similar tactics against Madonna over the summer, which were met with laughs in the court and disgust from the performer. Luckily, we’re feeling like nothing is going to come of these further legal threats. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has already come to Lady Gaga’s aide in an interview last week, in which he said that “not all human relationships are subject to legal regulation.”
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Only a fabulous ice queen like Madonna could say something nice about a fellow pop star and have it seem like an insult. Or did she insult her and have it feel like praise? We honestly don’t know! In her new interview with The Advocate, the “Give Me All Your Luvin” singer delivers her compliments for Lady Gaga the only way she knows how: with a powerful backhand. “I can see why she has a young gay following. I can see that they connect to her kind of not fitting into the conventional norm.” Madonna said of the “Born This Way” chanteuse. “I mean, she’s not Britney Spears. She’s not built like a brick s–thouse.” Ouch! Though…should Gaga want to be a “s–thouse”? It has the s word in it! Should Britney be offended now? Madonna, you are some kind of beef mastermind.
Compared to Madge’s previous comments about Lady Gaga, however, calling her a poorly constructed outhouse might be as close to an olive branch as we’re going to get. “I thought, What a wonderful way to redo my song. I mean, I recognized the chord changes. I thought it was … interesting,” Madonna told Newsweek last month with regards to Gaga’s “Born This Way,” having also snarked about Gaga’s “obsessions having to do with me” to French paper Le Soir in September. “She seems to have had a challenging upbringing, and so I can see where she would also have that kind of connection, a symbiotic relationship with gay men,” Madonna concludes to The Advocate. Thank…you? That is…sweet? We smell a…duets album?
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Star Trek star Zachary Quinto has publicly acknowledged his homosexuality for the first time in a New York magazine interview. Though a voice in gay rights for many years, the 34-year-old actor had previously declined to speak about his sexuality up until now. He says that it was his role in the recent Broadway re-staging of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America that helped spur his decision to come out formally and become an more active participant in the fight for LGBT equality.
The Broadway drama centers around a gay man who leaves his AIDS-afflicted boyfriend, and Quinto called the part “the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as an actor and the most rewarding.” It exhausted him mentally and made him rethink the current gay community. “As a gay man, it made me feel like there’s still so much work to be done,” he continued, “and there’s still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed.”
While great strides have been made, including the legalization of gay marriage in the State of New York, Quinto is concerned about the abuse that still gets hurled at homosexuals. He was particularly horrified by the death of young Jamey Rodemeyer, who took his own life after being bullied at school for his homosexuality. “As a gay man I look at that and say there’s a hopelessness that surrounds it,” he admits. “But as a human being I look at it and say ‘Why? Where’s this disparity coming from, and why can’t we as a culture and society dig deeper to examine that?’”
The devastating suicide of a boy in upstate New York has prompted Lady Gaga to meet with President Obama for a discussion on anti-bullying legislation. 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, a high school student from Buffalo, took his life on Sunday after being tormented by classmates for his homosexuality. The tragedy has the singer up in arms, calling on support from her fans and the president for young people in Jamey’s situation. “Bullying must become be illegal. It is a hate crime,” she tweeted yesterday. “I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end. Our generation has the power to end it. Trend it #MakeALawForJamey.”
Though no stranger to gay rights, this case has special significance to Mother Monster. Several months back, Jamey posted his own “It Gets Better” support video on Youtube, in which he cited Lady Gaga as a role model and pillar of strength. “She lets me know that I was born this way,” he said at the clip’s conclusion. “Just love yourself and you’re set. And I promise you, it’ll get better.” But the bullying didn’t cease for Jamey. “No one in my school cares about preventing suicide,” Jamey posted to his Tumblr just a few weeks before his death. “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. … What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”
The unbelievably tragic tale has Gaga, and millions of others, furious and heartbroken. “The past days I’ve spent reflecting, crying, and yelling,” she wrote. “I have so much anger. It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someones life.” She hopes that the creation of a law making bullying a hate crime will save others from the agonizing abuse Jamey suffered. No official date for the presidential meeting has been set as of yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear.
[Photo: Getty Images]