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Iconic actress & longtime LGBTQ+ Ally Betty White has died at 99

The beloved actress who was set to celebrate her 100th birthday on January 17, 2022 died overnight in Los Angeles

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Betty White defends the LGBTQ+ Community on Larry King Now, 22 Apr 2014

LOS ANGELES – Betty White, the beloved actress and animal rights advocate who stood by the LGBTQ+ community as a strong ally died overnight at her home in Brentwood, in West Los Angeles, her friend and agent Jeff Witjas told the Washington Post Friday. She was 99.

White, who was due to celebrate her 100th birthday on January 17 had tweeted on Tuesday, December 28:

“My 100th birthday… I cannot believe it is coming up, and People Magazine is celebrating with me! The new issue of @people is available on newsstands nationwide tomorrow.

Reacting to the news about White’s death from their home in Wilmington, Delaware, when asked by reporters during an informal press gaggle, President Joe Biden said, “That’s a shame. She was a lovely lady.” The First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden said, “Who didn’t love Betty White? We’re so sad.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement Friday saying:

“Betty was a trailblazer, and easily one of the most beloved and lasting figures in television. She co-founded her own production company in the 1950s, one of two women at the time wielding creative control on both sides of the camera. Her 80-year career is the longest for any woman in television, and her work on Golden Girls created a cultural touchstone that remains relevant almost 40 years after its premiere.

“But above all else, she was a beacon of hope throughout her career, bringing joy and humor to everything she did. Although she may not have been born here, she was a timeless Californian treasure, through and through, and was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2010. Betty happily shared her talents with the world, and her spark will live on, inspiring generations to come.”

A new book celebrating White’s life and career by veteran entertainment journalist Ray Richmond provides a narrative to the Emmy award winning actress’s journey in Hollywood, including hosting an early variety-talk show.

White became a TV sitcom star in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls.” Her appearance on “Saturday Night Live” in 2010 earned her a new generation of admirers.

A nationwide theatrical event of “Betty White: 100 Years Young — A Birthday Celebration,” was scheduled for Jan. 17, which would have been her 100th birthday, the Associated Press reported.

The one-day-only movie event is set to highlight moments the actress had during her career with appearances by Ryan Reynolds, Tina Fey, Robert Redford, and Morgan Freeman. The AP notes that in light of White’s death it is unknown if the event will proceed.

Betty White surprises Morgan Freeman at the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award

In an interview with Frontiers LA magazine Features Editor Jeremy Kinser, a portion of which was published in The Advocate on October 10, 2011, White attributed her huge following in the LGBTQ+ community to her racy characters and her love of animals.

“Throughout my career, I’ve always portrayed characters that were humorous, but also weren’t afraid to speak their minds, especially when it came to racy or controversial topics,” says White, whose résumé includes The Mary Tyler Moore Show‘s sardonic Sue Ann Niven and The Golden Girls‘ naïve Rose Nyland. “I think this struck a chord with the LGBT community. We both also share a very strong love for animals. When you combine the two, it’s a very strong match.”

White was also an early supporter of same-sex marriage telling Parade magazine in 2010 –”I don’t care who anybody sleeps with,” she said . “If a couple has been together all that time – and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones – I think it’s fine if they want to get married. I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”

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Bette Midler’s July 4 tweet on women’s rights interpreted as ‘transphobic’

The immediate response chided the Grammy winner for her use of language that is the consistent transphobic message by right-wing groups

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Bette Midler at the HRC National Dinner in Washington D.C., October 2010. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

LOS ANGELES – A July 4 tweet by gay icon Bette Midler to her 2.1 million followers has LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and activists labeling the language transphobic. The 76-year-old award-winning actress and singer was responding to the ongoing aftershocks of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Midler has been a consistent supporter of LGBTQ+ people including presenting awards at both GLAAD and Human Rights Campaign events. Because of this stance previously, many in the LGBTQ+ community are dismayed at the language chosen in her tweet.

Midler wrote: “WOMEN OF THE WORLD! We are being stripped of our rights over our bodies, our lives and even of our name!

“They don’t call us ‘women’ anymore; they call us ‘birthing people’ or ‘menstruators’, and even ‘people with vaginas’! Don’t let them erase you! Every human on earth owes you!”

The immediate response chided the Grammy winner for her use of language that has been part of the consistent transphobic messaging by right-wing conservative groups and other celebrities such ‘Harry Potter’ author JK Rowling who has gained a reputation for being a TERF (The acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist), also referred to as ‘Gender Critical.’

Evan Urquhart, a senior community manager for Slate magazine expressed his disappointment in Midler, as a fan, and as a trans male.

Freelance MSNBC contributor, journalist and columnist Katelyn Burns was blunt in her response to Midler’s statement:

Increasingly anti-transgender activists, particularly anti-trans extremists in both the United States and the UK have slammed healthcare officials for encouraging staff to use phrases such as “birthing people” alongside women or co-parent when treating LGBTQ+ patients, among other inclusive terms. Often claiming that using gender-neutral terms all but “erases” women when it isn’t actually the case PinkNewsUK noted.

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO reacted on Twitter writing:

“From Pamela Paul in the opinion pages of The New York Times to right-wing activists including Jordan Peterson to notables like Bette Midler and Macy Gray, the recent anti-transgender rhetoric in the media and online is contributing to the dangerous and completely inaccurate narrative that trans people are somehow threatening the overall rights of cisgender women. Women and trans people are in a common fight for bodily autonomy and the right to privacy. Cisgender women, trans people, and nonbinary people must stand together against those who seek to divide us. As a feminist and a cisgender woman, I will never stop fighting for my trans and nonbinary friends, family, and colleagues.”

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Lil Nas X gives E! Pop his heartfelt message for LGBTQ+ youth

He’s made a major mark on LGBTQ representation in music- but like plenty of young queer people, he went through many struggles of his own

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Lil Nas X (Screenshot/YouTube E! Pop)

NEW YORK CITY – During the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s ceremony held last Thursday at the the Marriott Marquis in the center of the Theater District at Times Square, honoree Lil Nas X who was bestowed with the Hal David Starlight Award for promising young songwriters, gave E! Pop some words of wisdom for young members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Just keep going,” he exclusively told E! News’ Daily Pop at the 2022 Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony on June 16. “Keep trying new things and keeping your head up in this world.”

The “Industry Baby” rapper has made a major mark on LGBTQ+ representation in the music industry, but like plenty of young queer people, he went through many struggles of his own.

“There’s gonna be a lot of people, they wanna try to knock you down over and over,” the Grammy winner shared on the red carpet. “You’re gonna knock yourself down sometimes. There are gonna be a lot of intrusive thoughts you don’t want to be there, but just keep going.”

As for the celeb Lil Nas X was most excited to see in attendance? “I’m really nervous to meet Mariah [Carey],” he told Daily Pop, who herself was a part of this year’s Songwriting Hall of Fame inductees.

Also inducted into this year’s class was Pharrell Williams, who told E! News that he was feeling an “immense sense of gratitude.”

“But then, the other side of is it like, ‘Damn, what am I doing here?'” Williams said. “There are legends in here tonight. And so, just to be in the same room with them is a complete honor, and again, just give honor and reverence to everything that they have done.”

Lil Nas X REALLY Nervous to Meet Mariah Carey | Daily Pop | E! News:

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Australian newspaper claims its inquiry forced Rebel Wilson to self-Out

Wilson had announced her relationship on an Instagram post this past week with a picture of herself alongside Agruma

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Rebel Wilson/Twitter account

SYDNEY, New South Wales, Australia – A columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, one of Australia’s largest daily newspapers, disclosed in an op-ed piece published Saturday June 11, (Friday U.S.) that the paper had sent a request for comment to actress Rebel Wilson on her latest romantic partner, LA leisure wear designer Ramona Agruma.

The piece, written by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Hornery, says that;

“[…] this media outlet emailed Rebel Wilson’s representatives on Thursday morning, giving her two days to comment on her new relationship with another woman, … before publishing a single word.”

According to Hornery, “Up to now, Wilson had identified publicly as a heterosexual woman.”

Wilson, had announced her relationship on an Instagram post this past week with a picture of herself alongside Agruma writing;

“I thought I was searching for a Disney Prince… but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess 💗🌈💗#loveislove

Hornery took aim at what he alluded to as a bit of hypocrisy in Wilson’s Insta post writing:

Wilson opted to gazump the story, posting about her new “Disney Princess” on Instagram early Friday morning, the same platform she had previously used to brag about her handsome ex-boyfriend, wealthy American beer baron Jacob Busch.

She even had her “bestie”, the actor Hugh Sheridan, doing radio interviews on breakfast FM on Friday morning, during which he gloated about introducing the women to each other six months ago. Apparently they had hit it off pretty much immediately, but had kept the relationship under wraps.”

Hornery also pointed out that the actress had previously sued another publication;

Considering how bitterly Wilson had complained about poor journalism standards when she successfully sued Woman’s Day for defamation, her choice to ignore our discreet, genuine and honest queries was, in our view, underwhelming.

Of course who anyone dates is their business, but Wilson happily fed such prurient interest when she had a hunky boyfriend on her arm.

Wilson had sued in the Victorian Supreme Court, Melbourne, Australia, and on June 15, 2017 was awarded AUD$4.56 million ($3.6 million, £2.7 million) after winning a defamation action against Woman’s Day magazine.

The jury decided that Wilson was defamed in eight articles in 2015 calling her a serial liar.

“The damage suffered by Miss Wilson warrants a substantial damages award to vindicate her and nail the lie,” Justice John Dixon said and added:

“Substantial vindication can only be achieved by an award of damages that underscores that Ms Wilson’s reputation as an actress of integrity was wrongly damaged in a manner that affected her marketability in a huge worldwide marketplace.”

Afterwards the actress tweeted she would give any payout to charity.

Hornery was critical of Wilson’s actions noting:

This is understood to be Wilson’s first same-sex relationship, at age 42 and in an era when same-sex marriage is legal in many parts of the world and – thanks to decades of battling for equality – sexual orientation is no longer something to be hidden, even in Hollywood.

Up to now, Wilson had identified publicly as a heterosexual woman. It is unlikely she would have experienced the sort of discrimination let alone homophobia – subconscious or overt – that sadly still affects so many gay, lesbian and non-hetero people.

The Blade has reached out to Wilson’s management team for comment.

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