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Cher reflects on the first time she met gay men

The icon says the encounter was ‘fun’ and ‘animated’

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Andy Garcia and Cher (Screenshot via Facebook)

Cher recalled the first time she met gay men in an interview with GLAAD in promotion of the film “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.”

The music legend is asked why gay men love the music of ABBA so much. Cher laughs and prefaces with “Alright, you may not like this, but …”

“The first gay men I met, I was 12 years old, and I came home from school and there were these two guys in our living room. And they were talking to my mom and her best friend. And I was … they were so happy and excited about everything they were talking about, so animated. And I thought, ‘These guys are much more fun than the regular men that come over to visit.’ And I didn’t know that they were gay, but I just thought, ‘These guys are great,’ and it just started from them,” Cher says.

Cher, who portrays Rudy Sheridan (the mother of Meryl Streep’s Donna), also explained why she picked actor Andy Garcia to play Fernando.

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is currently in theaters.

Watch below.

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Online Culture

Facebook suspends anti-LGBTQ+ hate purveyor ‘Libs of Tik Tok’

Adherent of far-right extremist ideology, Chaya Raichik, has wreaked havoc via her account ‘Libs of Tik Tok’, attacking LGBTQ+ people

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

MENLO PARK, Ca. – For over two years, a Brooklyn real estate agent and fanatical adherent of far-right extremist ideology, Chaya Raichik, has wreaked havoc via her social media accounts ‘Libs of Tik Tok’, attacking LGBTQ+ people with special emphasis on spreading lies and propaganda about transgender people.

Her posts have gained influential allies in far-right conservative circles including the former press secretary for Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis,  Christina Pushaw.

In a profile piece published by Slate magazine journalist Ben Mathis-Lilley earlier this year on April 21, he detailed how Pushaw was able to launch a national narrative of LGBTQ+ people as ‘groomers’ which then helped create a swirling vortex of pedophilia chatter- using Raichik’s Libs of Tik Tok’ posts as a basis by embracing the hate-filled rhetoric posted on Raichik’s numerous accounts.

Raichik’s influence and attacks on LGBTQ+ people took an analogous resemblance to the character of the “Wicked Witch of the West,” in the 1939 classic MGM film, ‘The Wizard Of Oz,’ who would dispatch her flying monkeys to do her evil bidding save for that in Raichik’s case, it ended up being the white Christian nationalist extremist group The Proud Boys.

After a post or tweet by Raichik about an LGBTQ+ event, such as the Drag Queen Story Hours in local libraries being a favored target, invariably the Proud Boys would show up to disrupt the event, in many cases with real or implied threats of violence.

This past week Raichik attacked Boston Children’s Hospital, spreading lies and falsehoods about the healthcare facility’s treatment of transgender youth. Her ‘call to arms’ was then joined by conservative journalist and anti-LGBTQ+ activist Christopher Rufo and The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, a vehement anti-Trans pundit.

The resulting chaos including death threats against Children’s clinicians and staff. was acknowledged by a spokesperson for the Boston Police who told the Blade that officials had stepped up security to augment the efforts by the hospital to protect its staff and that an investigation had been launched.

In a statement posted online, a spokesperson for Boston Children’s wrote: “In response to commentary last week critical of our Gender Multispeciality Service (GeMS) Program, Boston Children’s Hospital has been the target of a large volume of hostile internet activity, phone calls, and harassing emails including threats of violence on our clinicians and staff fueled by misinformation and a lack of understanding and respect for our transgender community.”

As a result of Raichik’s hate campaign and extremism, California-based Meta’s Facebook platform suspended her late Wednesday night which she acknowledged in a tweet.

Later she posted ““Our page is back up on Facebook but we are still locked out and were last told that it’s permanent. Perhaps it was just an ‘error.’” But by Thursday it became apparent the ban was permanent. Yet she communicated that Facebook denied it was a permanent ban.

Facebook has not responded to press requests for comment or information as of Thursday afternoon.

Boston authorities however are engaged in actively pursuing an investigation into the threats made against Children’s based on the lies and misinformation spread by Raichik’s hate campaign.

The United States Department of Justice has also launched an investigation into the threats according to an announcement by the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Rachael Rollins:

“Today’s news about the alleged threats directed at Boston Children’s Hospital transgender health program is disturbing to say the least.  Children deserve an opportunity to thrive and grow as their own authentic selves. Parents/guardians and health care providers who support them in that journey should be allowed to do so free of threats and harassment.  I want to make it clear that the Department of Justice will ensure equal protection of transgender people under the law.

As Attorney General Merrick Garland recently said, “At the Justice Department, we view confronting hate crimes as both our legal and our moral obligation.” I have made confronting hate crimes a priority of my administration, establishing a unit dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of civil rights violations. We also have worked tirelessly to send a message to hate groups that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is open for business. Our newly established hotline, 1-83-END-H8-NOW has resulted in dozens of calls and we will continue to pursue all leads. While free speech is indeed the cornerstone of our great nation, fear, intimidation and threats are not. I will not sit idly by and allow hate-based criminal activity to continue in our District.”

The Blade has reached out to Twitter for comment as several thousand users have complained in tweets directed at Twitter Support that Raichik’s account with its openly ongoing hate tweet campaign against the LGBTQ+ community “does in fact violate” Twitter community standards and needs to be suspended or banned. There has been no response yet from Twitter.

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Sports

Tom Brady’s new out gay teammate: Carl Nassib returns to Tampa

Carl Nassib returns to Florida as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly sign the NFL free agent to a one-year deal

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Carl Nassib speaks publicly for first time since coming out as gay in August 2021 (Screenshot/YouTube KUVV Fox 5 Las Vegas)

TAMPA – Carl Nassib, who made headlines in June 2021 when he became the NFL’s first out gay active player, reportedly has signed a one-year contract with his former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The 29-year-old defensive end was released by the Las Vegas Raiders in March, and became a free agent. NFL sources said that was due to his contracted salary amount—$7.75 million—and not any reflection on his sexual orientation.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news with a tweet

When Nassib came out last summer, he announced he was donating $100K to The Trevor Project, and for Pride Month this year he made a new pledge to help LGBTQ youth. He promised to match donations to The Trevor Project, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.

Will Bucs quarterback Tom Brady welcome Nassib? As Outsports reported, he’s never made any comments about playing with someone gay. Brady’s former Patriots teammate Ryan O’Callaghan recalled that before he came out in 2017, following his retirement, there was one time that he missed the team bus and Brady gave him a ride in his car to that day’s practice.

O’Callaghan told Outsports he believes Brady would have “absolutely” accepted him if he had come out at that time.

“Being married to a super model I’m sure he’s met a few gay people in his life,” said O’Callaghan. Brady wed Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bündchen in 2009.

Legendary Boston sports columnist Steve Buckley of The Athletic came out as gay in 2011 while at the Boston Herald. He told Outsports Brady has always been friendly and cooperative, even after Buckley came out.

This is the second time around at Raymond James Stadium for Nassib. He played for the Bucs for two seasons prior to joining the Raiders in 2020. His NFL career began in 2016 with the Cleveland Browns. 

As Jason Owens reported for Yahoo! Sports, Nassib was far more productive in Tampa as a part-time starter, recording 6.5 sacks in 2018 and six sacks in 2019. The NFL’s website shows he played just 242 defensive snaps and earned 1.5 sacks last season. 

In 86 games including 37 starts, Nassib’s recorded 22 career sacks, 164 tackles, 53 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles.

In addition to Brady, Nassib’s new teammates are Akiem Hicks and William Gholston at defensive end and outside linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. Given that the Bucs finished seventh in the NFL in sacks last season with 47, Nassib will be expected to improve Tampa Bay’s chances when their season begins Sept. 11 in Dallas.

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Notables

LGBTQ journalist Chuck Colbert died: reported on Catholic sexual abuse

“Chuck was extraordinarily principled and helpful, especially when addressing issues related to the LGBTQ community and the Catholic Church”

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National LGBTQ Task Force Communications Director Cathy Renna (L) with journalist Chuck Colbert (Photo courtesy of Cathy Renna)

By Karen Ocamb | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Chuck Colbert had a touch of old Cary Grant in him — dashing and debonair in his tuxedo at swank LGBTQ events. But he was also deeply humble and bursting with joy from his lifelong devotion to the core beliefs of the Catholic Church.

His journalistic discipline controlling his personal anguish over the proclamations about homosexuality enabled him as an out gay man to report professionally on the sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church in the early 2000s.

As a regular freelance contributor to the National Catholic Reporter and other media outlets, Chuck debunked tirades against gays and often underscored how girls and young women had been raped and abused by priests and church officials, too. 

I thought about this a lot when I heard that Chuck had died on June 30. He was 67. 

I was shocked by his sudden passing and how long it took to find out he had died. I met him decades ago through the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. Why did it take a month and a half for news of his passing to spread? 

Chuck’s friend Karen Allshouse posted news on his Facebook page:  “I’ve learned that while visiting in Johnstown [Pennsylvania] he developed a serious medical issue (involving his esophagus reportedly) and he needed to be transferred to a higher level of medical care and was transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital. Respiratory complications developed and he died. For those who are concerned about his mom – a former high school teacher of his (English) accompanied his mom to the cemetery for the committal service.”

I considered Chuck a loving friend and a journalistic colleague but I realized I actually knew little about him. Our friendship ranged from email exchanges to quick chats at events to deep conversations about religion, including the influence of Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ.

If anyone sought to imitate Christ, it was Chuck Colbert. He was kind without thinking about it. He walked the walk and scolded those who didn’t but claimed to have created the path. 

On March 17, 2002, two months after the Boston Globe exposed the sexual child abuse by priests rotting the foundation of the Boston archdiocese (depicted in the movie “Spotlight”), Chuck wrote an op-ed in the Boston Herald entitled Leaders of Catholic Church Must Listen to All the Faithful.”  

“Clearly, the Catholic Church in Boston is in crisis. Some blame ‘militant homosexuals’ among the clergy, branding them ‘a true plague on the priesthood.’ Is the crisis, in fact, rooted there?Let me offer another perspective—one based on more than 25 years of faith life as a convert. First, I have failed, somehow, to encounter any Catholic church culture characterized by ‘priestly homosexuals run amok with no fear of condemnation.’ The reality is significantly more boring,” Chuck wrote. 

He went on to describe his scholarly and theological journey from the University of Notre Dame to Georgetown University, Harvard University and Weston Jesuit School of Theology, receiving degrees at each stop. 

“Still, it was not until I arrived in Cambridge 15 years ago that my spiritual desolation over the conflict between my sexual identity and my religious conviction found its positive counterpart: consolation,” Chuck wrote in the Boston Herald. “The catalyst for that life-saving, personal transformation began when a bright and theologically astute Jesuit priest became my spiritual director.

“He listened,” Chuck continued. “Over time, I broke the silence of my anguished pilgrim journey and its struggle with homosexuality. He understood that I carried with me the heavy baggage of church teaching, those deeply wounding, soul-shaming words from the Catechism, ‘objective disorder’ and ‘intrinsic evil,’ that pathologize (and objectify) same-gender love and its sexual expression. Through the respectful, nonjudgmental listening and guidance of spiritual direction and through richer encounters of God’s grace in the sacraments, therapy, and prayer, I came to experience God’s unconditional love. I now feel, to the core of my being, that God loves me (I suspect you) along with all my quirky postmodern, American, but very human, strengths and vulnerabilities.”

Chuck became an expert reporter covering the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. During a May 7, 2002 appearance on CNN, Chuck responded to a question about the culpability of Cardinal Bernard Law, Archbishop of Boston. 

“I think the question raises a very interesting question, or point,” Chuck said. “And it is not just the personality of the cardinal. Other bishops who were auxiliary bishops at the time [of  Fr. John Geoghan’s arrest for child molestation and release] and are now bishops in other places, as the [Father Paul] Shanley documents have been revealed, these show higher levels of involvement of knowledge. And so it is systemic — but it is also the leadership, the broad leadership that Cardinal Law mustered to either handle or mishandle this scandal, and I think that we will see more of that come out in court.”

Chuck’s expertise was invaluable to the LGBTQ community, as National LGBTQ Task Force Communications Director Cathy Renna told the Windy City Times.

“Chuck was a friend and colleague—one who was extraordinarily principled and helpful, especially when addressing issues related to the LGBTQ community and the Catholic Church. He was instrumental in helping us frame and address the abuse scandal when church leaders scapegoated gay priests, as a person of faith and an intellectual,” Renna said. “[W]orking with him was a vital part of my work taking on the Catholic Church hierarchy while at GLAAD, along with other queer and allied groups. But he was also a pleasure to be friends with, who found joy in life and our community, and was one of the people I most looked forward to seeing at the NLGJA convention and other events. He will be greatly missed.”

Chuck caused some ripples in my life after an interview we did for the online LGBTQ press trade newsletter Press Pass Q in 2016 about my being laid off as news editor by my longtime publisher Frontiers Newsmagazine.

Chuck had interviewed Bobby Blair, chief executive officer of Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, and the new publisher of Frontiers. “Unfortunately, Karen fell where we realized we were moving toward a digital and Millennial audience, and we wanted to give the generation of Millennials a real shot at creating our content,” Blair told Chuck. “Did you get that on tape?” I asked him. 

Chuck Colbert summed up his philosophy via a quote from Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace:

“Life is everything. Life is God. Everything shifts and moves, and this movement is God. And while there is life, there is delight in the self-awareness of the divinity. To love life is to love God. The hardest and most blissful thing is to love this life in one’s suffering, in the guiltlessness of suffering.”  

********************

Karen Ocamb an award winning veteran journalist and the former editor of the Los Angeles Blade, has chronicled the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Southern California for over 30 plus years.

She is currently the Director of Media Relations for Public Justice.

She lives in West Hollywood with her two beloved furry ‘kids’ and writes occasional commentary on issues of concern for the greater LGBTQ+ community.

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