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Ramon Johnson

Ramon's Gay Life Blog


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Arcade Fire: Sorry No Trans* Actors Allowed

Wednesday May 28, 2014
Win Butler of Arcade Fire is feeling the heat after being criticized for using a straight instead of Trans* actor in their video 'We Exist'. He says it was better for exposure, but the decision has opened deeper questions about whether Trans* characters should be played by real Trans* people. Read more...

Trans*Hacks: 4 Ways To Help Trans*folk Get Around Content Filters

Wednesday May 28, 2014
Discrimination isn't just experienced in person. Trans* people face a tremendous amount of discrimination both on and offline. Often, the services they need is trapped behind content filters that assume the information is explicit or 'inappropriate'. These filters are meant to protect, but instead restrict information that can increase the health and well-being of Trans*folks. That's why a group of Trans* hactivists are taking matters into their own hands by helping Trans* people get the resources they need. Here are 4 ways you can help Trans* people hack the Web.

The Guardian Features Namibia's First Gay Married Couple

Wednesday May 21, 2014
What's it like living as an openly gay couple in a country where homosexuality is illegal? In this heartfelt video and social media interview, Newlyweds Ricardo Amunjera and Marc Themba talk about how they met, their religion, hanging out with family and, of course, love.

The Guardian held a Q&A with Amunjera, 31, and Themba, 30, who are thought to be Namibia's first gay married couple. Although same sex marriage is illegal in Namibia, Amunjera -- Mr Gay Namibia 2013 -- told The Guardian that he believes "the best way you can help somebody is by telling them your story." So, the couple went to neighboring South Africa in April 2013, married and returned to Namibia to advocate for LGBT rights.

Homophobia and transphobia are common throughout Namibia, which is why Amunjera says he is planning to set up a local support group in his home town. "Acceptance begins at home," Amunjera says. "It's all about love, at the end of the day."

Why Same Sex Marriage in Oregon Will Stand

Wednesday May 21, 2014
This has been an extraordinary week for same sex marriage in America. With Monday's federal court ruling, same sex marriage is now legal in Oregon.

According to the Oregonian, unlike other states with court ruled legalization, no one has legal standing to appeal U.S. District Judge Michael McShane's ruling, although anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has made a failed attempt to halt the decision with an emergency stay.

Some of the plaintiffs in the case were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which also played an integral role in a federal judge's decision that struck down Pennsylvania's gay marriage ban Tuesday.

Another Gay Marriage Victory, This Time in Pennsylvania

Wednesday May 21, 2014
A federal court has overturned Pennsylvania's same sex marriage ban, ruling it unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in Harrisburg struck down Pennsylvania's 1996 law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and also required the state to recognize the unions of those who wed elsewhere. The suit was brought forward by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of 25 plaintiffs.

Jones referenced Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision to end segregation sixty years ago. "In the sixty years since Brown was decided, 'separate' has thankfully faded into history, and only 'equal' remains. Similarly in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned and replaced simply by marriage," he wrote.

With Jones' decision, Pennsylvania is the 14th consecutive win for same sex marriage in states across the country following the Supreme Court's ruling against a federal law banning gay marriage last year.

Is Derrick Gordon Dating CSI's Gerald McCullouch?

Wednesday May 7, 2014
It would seem so, at least according to a kiss they shared on the red carpet at last weekend's GLAAD Awards. The smooch (check it out here), TMZ says, was shared just moments after the couple arrived to the annual awards show.

"Gordon -- who only went public about his sexuality last month -- was honored at the event ... and afterward wrote, "22 years old now...4 years ago I wouldnt have never imagine my life changing so much and being at the GLAAD AWARDS...IM TRULY BLESSED!!!!" TMZ reported.

Comments on the internet are full of speculation about whether the two are actually a couple, how they met and whether Gordon already has a partner or not.

Gordon, a sophomore starter on the UMass basketball team, came out of the closet as gay in April. Derrick is now the first openly gay and active NCAA Division 1 basketball player.

Clay Is Close, But It's Too Early To Get Excited

Wednesday May 7, 2014
Clay Aiken is no stranger to competition, neither is he intimidated by a close race. It's a good thing, because so far he's keeping a clear head in the race for North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District. Tuesday's Democratic congressional primary between frontrunners Aiken and textile entrepreneur Keith Crisco is still too early to call.

According to LGBTNation, each candidate holds 40 percent of the vote and Aiken leads by a slim 372 votes. The winner will face off with incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers in November.

Michael Sam Awarded Ashe Courage Prize

Wednesday May 7, 2014
Missouri defensive end and NFL draft hopeful Michael Sam is the winner of this year's Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

ESPN says the coveted prize will go to Sam for "his courage and honesty that resonates beyond sports."

Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, will become the first active openly gay NFL player once the draft is complete. Sam says he's honored to receive the award, particularly since it is about courage.

The award is named after Arthur Ashe who died in 1993 after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion. Ashe then went on to become one of the most important advocates for AIDS awareness.

As an Ashe Award winner, Sam will join an impressive list of courageous people, like Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Cathy Freeman, Nelson Mandela and Pat Summitt.

What is Tarab NYC? And Why You Should Care

Wednesday May 7, 2014
There isn't always a welcoming space for LGBT Arabs among the estimated 3.5 million Arab-identified Americans. They are pushed into silence from cultures that often feel sexuality is a private matter. However, a new party and resource in New York City called Tarab hopes to give a voice and community to LGBT Arabs seeking more than traditional home.

Tarab says it is a safe social space for queer people from Southwest Asia and North Africa (aka Middle East) of all sexual orientations and gender identities. They seek to create a place where entertainment can intersect with both old and new cultural traditions. It is estimated that each Tarab event is attended by around 100 people.

Why does this matter?

Ultimately, what Tarab provides is an escape from a double life that many LGBT Arab-Americans find themselves living within. Not only does Tarab's new social atmosphere throw a good party; it allows LGBT Arab-Americans an opportunity to bring together multiple cultural identities into one safe space.

"I was craving community because there was this idea that I could only be one identity at a time," said Tarab creator Bashar Makhay.

Many of us can relate to the tense feelings that arise when cultural traditions clash with other senses of belonging.

Concerning Queer: Reflections on James Franco

Wednesday April 30, 2014
In a series of reflections on what it means to be 'queer', film critic and guest author Carlos Lopes contemplates gay life through what's missing in both the eyes of a film about S & M gay sex and a straight actor's fascination with gay film. More...
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