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Amazon Prime doc tells story of Black, queer civil rights pioneer

RBG quoted Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray before Supreme Court

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Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios)

WASHINGTON – No one could have imagined the life of Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray, the Black, queer, gender nonconforming civil rights pioneer who lived from 1910 to 1985.

Few people have done as much to make the world more just than Murray. Last year, Murray’s scholarship was used to help the ACLU successfully argue before the Supreme Court that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ+ people from being fired in the workplace because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Yet, many people don’t know who Murray was.

“My Name is Pauli Murray,” a new documentary playing in select theaters and streaming on Amazon Prime, tells the story of Murray’s fascinating life. The engrossing film is co-directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, who directed “RBG,” the popular documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“RBG” is a good documentary. Yet, the 131-minutes-long “My Name is Pauli Murray” is even better.

Conveying the complexity of Murray’s life in a doc of that short length would fell many mortals. But West and Cohen are up to the task.

Using recordings of Murray’s voice; Murray’s letters, footage of everything from Murray with one of her dogs to Harlem in the 1930s along with interviews with Murray’s family and biographers, the film draws you into Murray’s world.

To say Murray was a Renaissance woman isn’t trite. Murray was a lawyer, poet, writer, activist and educator. That’s just the tip of the iceberg!

For decades, Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt were friends. Murray was a co-founder of the National Organization for Women. Gay writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes were her writing buddies. Murray and Baldwin were the first Black writers to be invited to the distinguished MacDowell writing colony.

In her 60s, Murray left her tenured position teaching at Brandeis University to go to seminary. She became the first Black woman to be ordained a priest by the Episcopal Church.

It doesn’t stop there! A paper Murray wrote as a Howard Law School student was a key element of Thurgood Marshall’s strategy in overthrowing racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. Ruth Bader Ginsburg quoted Murray when she argued against sex discrimination before the Supreme Court.

While she was alive, Murray was closeted about much of her personal life. Murray had a decades-long relationship with Irene Barlow. But, because of the times in which she lived, Murray couldn’t be open about their relationship.

Murray felt that she was misgendered—like a man in a woman’s body. This, too, Murray kept secret.

In “My Name is Pauli Murray,” Murray’s family and biographers refer to Murray with the pronouns “she and her.” A non-binary activist refers to Murray as “they.”

Murray is having a much-deserved moment. In 2016, Yale University named one of its residential colleges after Murray. It was the first time a Yale college was named after a person of color or an (openly) LGBTQ+ person. In 1965, Murray was the first African American to graduate from Yale with a doctorate in judicial science.

In 2017, the National Park Service, part of the Department of the Interior, Murray’s family home in Durham, N.C., as a National Historic Landmark.

Watching, “My Name is Pauli Murray,” you’re bowled over by Murray’s resilience and achievements. Fifteen years before Rosa Parks, she protested racial segregation on buses.

“I’ve lived to see my lost causes found,” Murray says.

It’s hard to humanize an icon. But, the filmmakers don’t place Murray on Mount Olympus.

Even as a child, we learn, Murray wanted to wear pants. That was fine during the week, her Aunt Pauline said, but Murray would have to wear a dress to church on Sunday. Though, few understood Murray’s feelings, Aunt Pauline called Murray “my boy girl.”

Murray and Barlow never lived together. Yet, you get a sense of their intimacy from the letters they exchanged. They called each other “Linus” and “Charlie Brown” (characters in the Peanuts comic strip) and wrote of longing to “share” listening to Brahms’ Fourth Symphony and the New York Times crossroad puzzle.

“My Name is Pauli Murray” will leave you talking about Murray and how to honor her legacy. That would have made Murray happy.

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Tom Daley: Bad Dad Jokes!

Terrible jokes, but I love them! Not sure if Lance does…

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Los Angeles Blade Screenshot via YouTube

LONDON – British Olympian and gold medalist diver Tom Daley along with his husband D. Lance Black pass along some really terrible ‘Dad’ jokes.

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SPLC listed hate group launches homophobic attack on Hilton Hotels Ad

Hilton Worldwide has been noted and recognized for its ongoing commitment to being an LGBTQ+ affirming corporation for the LGBTQ+ community

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Graphic courtesy of Hilton Worldwide

TUPELO, Ms. – In a petition and donation solicitation mass emailing this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center listed anti-LGBTQ+ hate and extremist group, One Million Moms railed against the McLean, Virginia- based Hilton Worldwide for an LGBTQ+ affirming advert.

Monica Cole, the group’s executive director which GLAAD has labeled ‘One Meddling Mom,’ called out the global hospitality giant for an advert originally run in the beginning of December that showed a couple of gay parents, checking into their hotel room with their sleeping kid using the Hilton mobile app.

Cole decried the advert saying; “Hilton’s current commercial “Make an Entrance with the Hilton App” attempts to normalize sin by featuring two men together with a young boy. The two dads are shown walking through the hotel lobby and to their room while one dad carries the sleeping toddler.”

She then continued her objection writing; “Promoting same sex relationships has nothing to do with marketing their company. Yet Hilton wants to make it clear where they stand on this controversial topic, instead of remaining neutral in the culture war. One Million Moms continues to stand up for biblical truth, which is very clear in Romans 1:26-27 about this particular type of sexual perversion.

One Million Moms must remain diligent. Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature.”

Hilton Worldwide has been noted and recognized for its ongoing commitment to being an LGBTQ+ affirming corporation for the LGBTQ+ community and has earned excellent scores on the Human Rights campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for several years as an affirming and safe working environment for LGBTQ+ employees.

Jeremy Hooper, the founder of Good As You a popular LGBTQ+ rights website known for both its strong opposition research and its irreverent tone and a veteran commentator as well as strategist focused on LGBTQ rights wrote:

In the decade that I have been aware of One Million Moms, she [ Cole ] is quite literally the only staff member I have ever heard anyone name. She is the one and only person who appears on their petitions, as well as the one and only person who speaks for them to the media. She is the mom. Her. Solo. One person, supposedly representing one million.”

OMM is pretty capable when it comes to getting ink. It’s typically dismissive, if not outright derisive, press. Most often the anti-LGBTQ campaign to which it is attached goes absolutely nowhere and the company under attack continues right along serving its entire customer base rather than cutting out the share that AFA/OMM believes to be anti-godly mistakes. Still, Monica Cole and her minuscule operation that masquerades as “millions” does get people talking.” Hooper added.

Cole finishes off her attack on Hilton writing:

“Hilton attempting to redefine the family crosses a line Hilton should have never crossed. There is concern about the way this advertisement is pushing the LGBTQ agenda, but an even greater concern is that the commercial is airing when children are likely to be watching television. To make matters worse, this advertisement has aired during family viewing time such as football games and primetime.

TAKE ACTION! If you agree that this ad is inappropriate, sign our petition urging Hilton to pull its “Two Gay Dads” commercial immediately. And please share this with your friends and family,” she urges the emailing’s recipients.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the 45-year-old American Family Association, (AFA), as a hate and extremist group, which Cole’s One Million Moms group is a part of for its lies and harmful propaganda about LGBTQ+ people.

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Hilton – Make an Entrance with the Hilton App (2021)

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Facebook group offers some LGBTQ+ people a stand-in family

Blevins says he was blessed with affirming parents said the overwhelming response his TikTok received inspired him to start the group

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LA Blade file photo

EASTERN TENNESSEE – The Facebook group TikTok Stand In Families is helping LGBTQ+ people with unaccepting families by giving them love, comfort and family – even if it’s just for one day. 

USA Today reports that the group, which has nearly 30,000 queer people and allies, started with a TikTok video that showed a stranger offering to stand with same-sex couples whose parents didn’t support them. 

“There’s parents that want to be there for you on your big day, and we’ll be your biggest fans,” Daniel Blevins said in the video.

@the_zombie_dan

#gay #lgbtq #alphabetmafia #samesexwedding

♬ original sound – Zombie Dan

Blevins, the group’s co-founder who says he was blessed with affirming parents, told the newspaper that the overwhelming response his TikTok received inspired him to start the group with his friend Rae Otto. 

“For me, it’s kind of a way of giving them what I had,” said Blevins, an Eastern Tennessee dad. 

According to the newspaper, it fills a void for LGBTQ+ people with unaccepting families and “sends a message: You are enough, and you are not alone.”

The two choose to keep the group private, especially for those who are not out. According to USA Today, they also moderate posts to ensure that their group is a safe place.  

Bec Mueffelmann – a Durham, North Carolina, resident who uses they/them pronouns – was scrolling through their “For You” page one day when they saw Blevins’ video. 

“This group provides a point of connection online, if they just need somebody to listen like in a private message, but it also does a good job of connecting people physically,” Mueffelmann, 32, told the paper. 

Mueffelmann is married and lives with members of their “chosen family,” but is no longer in contact with their biological family, according to the newspaper. 

“My parents, particularly, were not making much of an effort with my pronouns,” they said. “So I got to a place of realizing I needed a break to evaluate and to tell them what was up and give myself some space to heal.”

Mueffelmann and their husband joined the Facebook group in October, a few weeks shy of their birthday, after connecting with another member, Sarah Beth Craven, who would later tell the group that this Thanksgiving would be her first without her family.

Otto, the group’s other founder, told the newspaper, “I’m not an emotional person, but for me, it’s been emotional.”

“I’ve even found family through the group myself,” she added. “I went out to Atlanta this year to go visit somebody who I consider my chosen mother and spent the week with her … and Dan, he’s my chosen brother. I consider him blood.”

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