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Israel Folau’s church labeled ‘isolated hate group’

An attendee of embattled rugby star Israel Folau’s church has said she was ‘greatly disturbed’ by what she saw there. A Christian parent of a young rugby player became concerned when Folau, who was recently fired over homophobic social media posts, invited players to his family’s church. Folau’s father Eni set up the Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Sydney’s north-west in 2013. But, the parent told the Sydney Morning Herald, she found the church preaching ‘false teachings and counterfeit Christianity’. ‘I’ve gone, I’ve checked it out and I would call them an isolated hate group.’ The Folau family reportedly believe ‘only we have the truth’. Only their version of baptism is enough to prevent people from heading to hell, they reportedly say. Attendees of the Folau church told the Herald they had contacted the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL). But, ACL head Martyn Iles who has backed Folau’s court case against his former employer, said he had ‘never heard’ Folau say anything that contradicts mainstream Christian belief. Another local minister, however, described folau as ‘effectively what we used to call a heretic’. Israel Folau’s hate speech Folau, a devout Christian, posted an image to social media in April saying ‘hell awaits homosexuals’. Rugby Australia found him guilty of a ‘high-level breach’ of his code of conduct. His lucrative four-year contract was worth AUS$1.0 million (US$700,000) annually. The former Australia international and New South Wales Waratahs player was seeking AUS$3 million (US$2,076,000/€1,836,000) to fight the ruling in court. After GoFundMe suspended ...

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Politician continues social media assualt on gay Hong Kong protest leader

A pro-establishment Hong Kong lawmaker doubled down on her attacks on a gay protest leader last week. Ann Chiang Lai-wan had previously accused Jimmy Sham, who has helped organized million-strong marches against a government bill, of hiding his sexuality. Chiang earlier this month shared footage of Sham in drag. ‘Important news, please spread around’ she wrote. Comments on the post included: ‘Corrupting social morals, just disgusting’ and ‘Deliberately concealing that, for power, money or fame?’, according to the South China Morning Post. LGBTI rights activists appealed to the city’s equality watchdog. And, Facebook took down the post as it does ‘not allow content that attacks someone based on their sexual orientation’, according to the SCMP. Sham, of the Civil Human Rights Front, welcomed the action. ‘By saying [my sexual orientation] was important news, Chiang was effectively endorsing questionable views in the video. Shouldn’t we demand more from our honourable lawmakers?’ He said. Sham also said he had been public about his sexuality and identified himself as a member of LGBTI rights group Rainbow Action, according to the SCMP. But, on Friday (19 July), Chiang took to Facebook to go after Sham. ‘If the line “important news, please spread around” is an attack, that only proves that although you’ve come out, you’re not ready yet.’ ‘Jimmy Sham, if you’ve already come out, then face it. Don’t easily complain someone’s attacking you, understood?’ What is happening in Hong Kong? Hong Kongers have launched unprecedented demonstrations against the government as they protest an ...

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Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories cosmetics now available for pre-order

Lady Gaga fans rejoice! Her cosmetics collection, under the brand name Haus Laboratories, is now available for pre-order. Tell me more To the launch of #HAUSLABORATORIES. Cheers to a wonderful day 1 @hauslabs pic.twitter.com/B7uWRwcBlu — Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) July 16, 2019 ‘When I was young, I never felt beautiful. And as I struggled to find a sense of both inner and outer beauty, I discovered the power of makeup. I remember watching my mother put her makeup on every morning, basking in the glow of her power to put on her bravest face as the hard working woman she was,’ Gaga writes on the Haus Laboratories website. ‘I then began to experiment with makeup as a way to make my dreams of being as strong as my mother become true. It was then that I invented Lady Gaga. I found the superhero within me by looking in the mirror and seeing who I wanted to be. Sometimes beauty doesn’t come naturally from within. But I’m so grateful that makeup inspired a bravery in me I didn’t know I had. I’ve come to accept that I discovered my beauty by having the ability to invent myself and transform. They said I was weird, but really, I was just Born This Way.’ The Amazon page for the collection features an image of Gaga next to the words, ‘Our Haus, Your Rules’ and ‘Your Glam, Your Expression, Your Artistry.’ It also shows diverse models wearing the Haus Laboratories makeup looks. The collection The ...

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Love, Simon’s Nick Robinson to join Broadway’s To Kill A Mockingbird

Love, Simon star Nick Robinson will make his Broadway debut in Aaron Sorkin’s hit adaptation of Harper Lee’s book To Kill A Mockingbird. He will play Jem Finch, replacing outgoing Will Pullen, starting in November. Tell me more This won’t be the first time Robinson has been cast as the role of Jem, Scout Finch’s brother. Back in 2007, Robinson made his stage debut at age 12 in this role for a production at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre. This Seattle production, like the Broadway one, was directed by Bartlett Sher. While that Seattle production was adapted by Christopher Sergel and featured kids playing the childrens’ roles, Sorkin’s adaptation features adults in the kids’ roles. This allows Robinson to easily transition into the role. Robinson’s first show with the Broadway production will be on Tuesday, 5 November. He will be entering the production alongside Ed Harris. Harris will be taking over the role of Atticus Finch from Jeff Daniels. This will mark the second year the show has been on at the Shubert Theatre. Anything else? The sell-out production of To Kill A Mockingbird currently holds the record for highest grossing American play in Broadway history. The production began previews on 1 November 2018, recouping its capitalization a mere 19 weeks later and filling seats at each show. See Also Love, Simon director on why Simon doesn’t use Grindr, chances of sequel Love, Simon is a wonderful film – and it’s a miracle it exists There is a queer opera at Glyndebourne ...

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These are some of the A-list celebrities who have donated to Pete Buttigieg

Financial records reveal which big-name celebrities have donated money to the campaign of Pete Buttigieg. The United States is in the early stages of its next presidential election. With over 20 Democrats vying for the party nomination to face Donald Trump in the general election, fundraising is one way to make a mark. Buttigieg is currently leading the pack of donations, with a $24.8 million haul. Part of this is attributed to financial support from several celebrities. After bursting onto the political scene earlier this year, Buttigieg has impressed many. He’s the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana and the first openly gay presidential candidate of a major political party. So which celebrities are on the Mayor Pete train? Significant figures from various industries have donated thousands to Buttigieg’s campaign. In the music industry, his fans included Joan Jett and David Geffen, who have donated $150 and the max of $5,600, respectively. Fashion icons Anna Wintour and Tom Ford have also donated — $2,800 from the head of Vogue and $5,600 from the designer. Other donors include Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Stone, who both donated $5,600. Gwyneth Paltrow, George Takei, and Barbra Streisand also count among his donors. Celeb support for Buttigieg isn’t surprising. Several A-listers have been talking about him since he first emerged on the national stage. Some of these supporters, like DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi, and Sean Hayes, are also co-hosting a fundraising event for him. A major component of political campaigns Buttigieg, however, isn’t ...

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13 Philadelphia police officers fired for homophobic, racist messages

The Philadelphia Police Department are set to fire 13 officers for offensive social media posts, which included homophobic and racist sentiments. This discipline was the result of research done by by the Plain View Project. They published thousands of Facebook posts from jurisdictions around the country, including Philadelphia, in June. Following the publication of these posts, the Philadelphia Police Department launched an internal investigations. Overall, the department removed 72 officers from street duty. They gave 13 a 30-day suspension with the intent to formally dismiss them. Four other officers received a 30-day suspension, three received no other formal discipline, and the rest received varying consequences from formal reprimands to 5-day suspensions. What did the messages say? Most of the messages reviewed were homophobic, racist, and Islamophobic in nature. In one post from 2014, an officer wrote a suspect ‘should be taken out back and put down like the rabid animal he is’. More recently in February, a different officer commented on a news article about an alleged murderer and wrote: ‘Hang him.’ In other posts, officers described Islam as a ‘cult’ which glorified death. Police Commissioner Richard Ross and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney held a press conference about the matter on Thursday (18 July). Ross said the 13 officers set to be fired all made posts that advocated violence. He added every officer going forward will receive training about social media and off-duty behavior. Kenney commented at the conference: ‘We have a duty to represent ourselves and our city. We ...

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Trans activists in India demand to see full text of controversial bill

Transgender rights activists in India called on the government to release the full text of a controversial transgender rights bill. Government lawmakers were on Friday expected to table the bill to the Upper House of parliament. Leaders altered some of the most controversial provisions following a months-long backlash from the trans community, local media reported. But, rights advocates this week called for cabinet to make the whole text available in multiple languages. They also demanded parliament consulted the trans community and made relevant modifications, according to the wire. Why is the transgender bill so controversial? India recognized transgender as a third gender in a landmark ruling in 2014. The ruling guaranteed them the fundamental rights enshrined in India’s constitution. But, transgender people remain marginalized and at risk of abuse. Last year, cabinet drafted a Transgender Rights Bill. The Lower House of Parliament passed the bill in December. The government claims it will ‘mitigate the stigma, discrimination, and abuse’. But, the trans community have labled it a ‘travesty of justice’ and a ‘burial of rights’. They warn it fails to uphold rights guaranteed in the 2014 court ruling. For example, the bill criminalized begging for transgender people. India’s capital Delhi decriminalized begging last year. It also forced trans people to seek approval from a ‘screening committee’ before changing gender. What’s more, there were no provisions for the rights to marriage or family life for trans people. And, the bill contained no policies for protecting and including trans people on public transport, ...

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The Cats trailer is here and it’s the weirdest thing you’ll see all year

Well, it happened. The Cats trailer arrived and the world will never be the same. Tom Hooper of The King’s Speech and Les Miserables fame is bringing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 80s musical to this big screen with a star-studded cast. The musical tells the story of the Jellicles, a tribe of cats who must make the Jellicle choice in a single night. This choice decides which single cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back with a new life. The cast includes Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Taylor Swift as Bombalurina, Ian McKellen as Gus the Theatre Cat, Idris Elba as Macavity, James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots, and Laurie Davidson as Mr. Mistoffelees. Newcomer Francesca Hayward is playing Victoria, a young white cat. Though in the musical Victoria is a non-singing role and one of the principal dancers, the movie seems to have made her the protagonist. A brief Cats explainer… Believe it or not, Cats did not orginate with the famed composer who also created The Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Chris Superstar. While Webber’s musical is the best-known version of the story, it’s an adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, published in 1939. In his collection of whimsical poems, Eliot explores cat psychology and sociology. Many of the poem titles made their way to the musical in some form, such as The Song of the Jellicles and Macavity: ...

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Kevin Spacey gets criminal charges against him dropped

Massachusetts prosecutors dropped criminal charges relating to indecent assault against Kevin Spacey. This case first came about in 2017, when journalist Heather Unruh tweeted Spacey once assaulted a loved one. In due time, the loved one turned out to be her son. He claimed Spacey assaulted him in a Nantucket restaurant underneath a table. Spacey denied the allegations. The case has proved difficult for prosecutors. Their decision to drop the criminal charges comes more than a week after Unruh’s son dropped his civil lawsuit agains the actor. How did we get here? Most of the difficulties with the case center around a missing cellphone. The accuser said he lost the phone he had the night of the alleged incident. He also denied to lawyers that he deleted messages or altered any messages he provided. When he took the stand in the case, however, he pleaded the Fifth after the defense asked him if he knew that altering evidence is a crime. The Fifth Amendment grants people the right not to self-incriminate. Following his testimony, the judge demanded it be stricken from the record. The judge then asked how the prosecution wished to proceed when the accuser refused to testify. Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe announced the prosecution was dropping the charge of indecent assault and battery on Wednesday (17 July). They made this decision ‘due to an unavailability of the complaining witness’. Unruh’s son did not receive a settlement in the civil case. Instead, she suggested her son ...

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53% of Singaporeans would react negatively if a family member came out

More than half of Singaporeans would react negatively if they found out a close family member was LGBTI, according to a recent poll. In an online survey, Yahoo Singapore asked 887 Singaporeans in June how they reacted to a number of LGBTI situations. When asked about an LGBTI family member, 53% of the respondents reacted negatively. What’s more, 14% expressed a ‘strongly negative’ response. And, 39% reported a ‘somewhat negative’ reactions. The poll also quizzed Singaporeans’ reaction to a colleague coming out. But, 46% reported a negative reaction while 53% reported a positive reaction. Yahoo Singapore revealed this week the same poll found 80% of Singaporeans agreed LGBTI people face discrimination. Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code punishes sex between two men with up to two years in prison. This month, the conservative city-state’s Prime Minister said the law would be in place ‘for some time’. But, he said, the city still welcomed everybody. While rarely enforced, recent polls reveal the majority of the conservative state’s resident support retaining the law. Rights activists have launched a renewed push to repeal Section 377A after India abolished its similar colonial-era law (Section 377) in September last year. Singaporeans react to Li Huanwu’s wedding The survey also revealed responses to a high-profile same-sex marriage. Li Huanwu, a member of Singapore’s influential Lee family, married his long-term partner in South Africa in May. Li is the nephew of the current prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, and the grandson of Singapore’s first prime minister and founding ...

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