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J-Pop idol Shinjiro Atae comes out publicly as gay

Telling the fans his story, Shinjiro related that his decision to come Out was based on the seven years he spent living and working in LA



Shinjiro Atae (Screenshot/YouTube 「Into The Light」- Music Video )

TOKYO, Japan – In a rare move in this conservative nation, Shinjiro Atae, a J-Pop idol announced on social media and during an in-person event Wednesday, standing in front of a few thousand fans onstage in a darkish auditorium in central Tokyo, that he was gay.

In a statement posted to his Instagram, the 34-year-old wrote:

To all my fans, today was a very special day for me. For years, I struggled to accept a part of myself…But now, after all I have been through, I finally have the courage to open up to you about something. I am a gay man.

It has taken me a long time to be able to say I am gay. I could not even say it to myself. However, I’ve come to realize it is better, both for me, and for the people I care about, including my fans, to live life authentically than to live a life never accepting who I truly am. I hope people who are struggling with the same feeling will find courage and know they are not alone.

I held this event today because I wanted to tell as many of you as possible directly. For those unable to attend I will be posting my full speech on my website tomorrow so you can hear the news in my own words. The link is in my bio (English subtitles available).

When I think of my work in the entertainment industry and the many things for which I am grateful, it is my relationship with my fans that first comes to mind. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for standing beside me over the years. I’d also like to thank my family, friends, staff members and my fellow AAA members for providing me their full support throughout this process.


Speaking to his fans in Tokyo, Shinjiro Atae known simply as Shinjiro said: “I respect you and consider you deserve to listen to this straight from me,” he mentioned, studying from a letter he had ready. “For years, I struggled to just accept part of myself. However now, in any case I’ve been via, I lastly have the braveness to divulge heart’s contents to you about one thing. I’m a homosexual [gay] man.”

“It has taken me a long time to be able to say I am gay. I could not even say it to myself,” he added.

Telling the fans his story, Shinjiro related that his decision to come Out was based on the seven years he spent living and working in Los Angeles, he noticed how freely gay couples expressed affection in public and had such a intensively supportive community.

“Everybody was so open,” Shinjiro said. “Individuals would speak about their vulnerabilities. In Japan, folks assume it’s finest to not speak about these issues.”

There were drawbacks though he noted to living in LA. When he visited places common with the LGBTQ community in neighborhoods such as West Hollywood, and he bumped into Japanese vacationers and expats, there was the fear somebody may leak a photograph of him at a gay club or out with another guy on a date to the press back in Japan or on Japanese social media.

Shinjiro Atae (Screenshot/YouTube 「Into The Light」- Music Video )

Shinjiro first entered the highly competitive J-Pop scene eighteen years ago at age 14 as a dancer in 2005. Starting with J-Pop powerhouse ‘AAA’ as a dancer he built his career as a performer singing in Japanese and then later in English. AAA quickly built a large and fiercely loyal group of followers, recording eight number 10 hits on Billboard Japan’s Prime 100 chart.

In 2016, as the members of AAA launched into solo acts, Shinjiro moved to LA and studied English among his other music business pursuits.

Building on his LA experiences, Shinjiro realized that his need to be himself and accepting of his sexual orientation was not political. All he needed was to “normalize” being a gay man. The first person though he noted that he needed to tell was his 66-year-old mother.

“I used to be tremendous stunned, and I had by no means imagined it,” she said to a reporter. Asking that her last name not be revealed fearing harassment as there is not wide-spread acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in Japan, she also noted that while she supported her son personally, she was opposed initially when he mentioned he needed to go public. She was anxious about the on-line attacks, bullying or even the resulting discrimination.

However she added; “I’m 200 percent supportive.”

His AAA bandmates were shocked yet showed up on Wednesday to cheer him on. Misako Uno, 37, a AAA member, in a backstage interview told reporters; “I need to be a great cushion” for him.

As the event drew to a close Shinjiro ended debuting his new single and video, “Into The Light.” The English-language song is in apparent reference to his decision to come out.

SHINJIRO/ 「Into The Light」- Music Video –


Celebrity News

Taylor Swift named TIME’s Person of the Year for 2023

In a tradition that dates back to 1927, TIME’s Person of the Year is the annual designation for the person that most shaped the headlines



Taylor Swift (Screenshot/Era's Tour, film documentary release)

NEW YORK – In a tradition that dates back to 1927, TIME’s Person of the Year is the annual designation for the person, group or concept that most shaped the headlines, for good or bad, and this year mega-pop star musical artist Taylor Swift was the magazine’s choice for 2023. 

Swift was among a list of nine candidates which included Hollywood strikers, Chinese President Xi Jinping,  CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman, Trump Prosecutors, Barbie, Russian President Vladimir Putin, King Charles III and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell. The magazine revealed its selection Wednesday morning.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was Time’s 2022 person of the year.

Photograph by Inez and Vinoodh for TIME

The 33-year-old native of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, has been dominating headlines between her record-breaking Era’s Tour, film documentary release and her relationship with Kansas City Chief’s tight end Travis Kelce — among other accomplishments. The Berks County, Pa. native also reached billionaire status this year, thanks to her Era’s tour.

As reported by the Blade, Swift effortlessly incorporates politically charged messages through her music.

Swift’s activism – and on-stage advocacy – includes her pro-LGBTQ+ messaging. In her song, ‘You Need to Calm Down’, Taylor tells homophobic individuals to “calm down” and that they are being “too loud.”

This especially rings true with a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being forwarded in the United States. In the same song, she brings awareness to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation by singing, “Why are you mad? When you could be GLAAD?” 

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Angelica Ross becomes latest Trans talent to choose advocacy over Hollywood bullsh*t

Ross is done. Done with Hollywood, done with us. She says “I’m moving back to Georgia to prepare to run for office



Angelica Ross appearing on the Tamron Hall Show. (Screenshot/YouTube Tamron Hall Show)

HOLLYWOOD – Angelica Ross, Pose and American Horror Story star, appears set to chuck Hollywood’s fantasy horror stories for America’s REAL horror show…. Politics.

To quote the late Peter Finch of the yesteryear film about media, Network, she is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. She is not the first major transgender talent to do so either. Pose writer, director and producer Janet Mock also came out blazing against Hollywood with both guns a fire, “I am angry” she shouted in a speech she delivered at a Pose premiere party a few years back.  ““F–k Hollywood … Does this make you uncomfortable? It should. It should make you f–king shake in your motherf–king boots. This is speaking truth. This is what ‘Pose’ is.” She asserted about the lesser pay she received than other white producers. “It’s a show, but it means so much to everyone to ‘ensure that we enable black and brown trans women to make it’ because that sounds good. It makes you comfortable to talk like that because then I don’t scare you into facing the f–king truth. You all have stomped on us.”

One black trans woman who stood and cheered her on that night was Angelica Ross.

Ross speculated to The Hollywood Reporter that her spiritual support of Mock that night may have inspired bad blood with top boss Ryan Murphy. “I was in the audience, and I was standing up and supporting her and telling her vocally, ‘I’ve got your back.’ I’m not saying that I agree with the way that she did things, but I’m like, ‘Janet’s very smart. Why would she do something so dramatic?’ And I knew there had to be a reason. And when I talked to her, she told me, ‘Girl, you think this is the first time Ryan Murphy’s hearing me say any of this? I’ve said this all to him.”

Angelica Ross thought Murphy was going to be her hero. Instead, he turned out to be her ghost. She had pitched the idea of an AHS with an all black woman cast. He was on board and enthusiastic.

Until he wasn’t. Then he was gone, no explanation, and no renewal of her for a future season of AHS either.

As Ross tried to make sense, and capitalize on exercising power in Hollywood, (“What I witnessed — my eyes just bucked open. I just wasn’t sure what I was witnessing. I definitely was witnessing a lot of white men on set in kind of a white-male-dominated space”), she found herself embracing another power that was not so insanely confusing: advocacy.   ‘Ever since I’ve been on Pose, your white actors aren’t clocking in like we’re clocking in. We have to go out there now because Pose is this big show. And you’re saying that Pose is not just entertainment, it’s an act of advocacy. You’re not calculating that you have turned your actors also into advocates.”

So, with the ambition of an artist, and the integrity of an advocate, Ross observed the power brokering of those who might not have had power in the past: white women. She was both admiring, and appalled. “Somehow folks like Emma Roberts and others — I mean even Billie Lourd, but Billie Lourd I’m cool with — those girls were able to make moves on the set. They were able to open up their mouths and things moved. Sometimes I didn’t know if I was watching a mean girl or if I was just watching a woman standing up for herself.”

She took the observation to heart and stood up against transphobia and racism on the set. One incident was reportedly when Roberts mistook making a transphobic comment as an “innocent” attempt to be shady. Ross called her out on it. According to Ross, Roberts later regretted her behavior “Emma’s got big balls…This girl is no damsel in distress, ever” and she called to apologize. What ensued was a poignant discussion on what it means to be an “ally.”  Roberts earnestly told Ross she wanted to be one, and that she saw Ross’s advocacy. Ross responded, “You can’t call yourself an ally. It is an action. You need to be real with me in this conversation. I’m being real with you. You were being messy…Oh, so you see me? You see me talking about the anti-Blackness? Are you using your platform to amplify the work that I’m doing? No, you haven’t. So what kind of ally are you?” 

Mic drop.

Ross also found herself having to stand up against the harassment of a crew member who was frequently by her side sporting Trump-ian ilk racism including BUILD THAT WALL and I DON’T KNEEL. She put her foot down and demanded that director John Gray do something about it. Gray did something. He ran to HR,

As the bureaucrats poured though employment manuals trying to find the homogenous “make everyone happy” solution, Ross got pissed and posted about the situation on the X that used to be Twitter. This freaked everyone out, including Murphy himself, and they all demanded she take her post down. 

Clearly all involved were oblivious to the fact that they were suppressing Ross’s ”free speech” while ruminating over the “free speech” rights of the white dude grip on the set.

“I’ve dealt with this before. This is not my first time at the rodeo of dealing with that energy of white people who think that they are doing good but won’t check their own selves when someone Black or of the people they’re trying to help is telling them, ‘You have a blind spot” Ross says.

That is all in the past now though. Ross is done. Done with Hollywood, done with us. She tells the Hollywood Reporter, “I’m moving back to Georgia to prepare to run for office. I’ve been consulting with Renitta Shannon, a former Georgia state representative who also just recently ran for lieutenant governor. I go into candidate and campaign training next month. I have also been speaking with folks like Bruce Franks Jr., who is also a Black politician from Missouri who shook the table. So I’m fully walking away from Hollywood. But I’m always going to be who I am. You don’t have to be on TV to be a creative person, to live a creative life.”

So. A powerful actress got her feelings hurt, but may have learned how to be a better and true ally, and we all are waiting to see her prove it. A hugely powerful, talented and progressive media titan got spanked (again) and hopefully will cherish, elevate and value the well spring he heralded publicly: beautiful forthright trans women of color.

And an advocate burned in the capitalistic, transphobic, racist heat of American business has risen as a phoenix to become a professional powerful ADVOCATE, no more to fight using subtleties and stories, but to star as herself taking on the establishment head on.

That is a show we all need.


Rob Watson is the host of the popular Hollywood-based radio/podcast show RATED LGBT RADIO.

He is an established LGBTQ columnist and blogger having written for many top online publications including The Los Angeles Blade, The Washington Blade, Parents Magazine, the Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, Gay Star News, the New Civil Rights Movement, and more.

He served as Executive Editor for The Good Man Project, has appeared on MSNBC and been quoted in Business Week and Forbes Magazine.

He is CEO of Watson Writes, a marketing communications agency, and can be reached at [email protected] .

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Declared an Icon, John Waters gets Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

His first words as he ascended the podium for the Walk of Fame honor: “Here I am…closer to the gutter than ever”



John Waters receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Screenshot/YouTube Variety)

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Today, the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame became a little more rainbow than it had been before. With gilded star etchings depicting icons on every corner, the powers that be dedicated September 18th to a man who arguably helped thrust LGBTQ visibility into a culture that was probably not ready at the time to receive it. The modern-day fascists amongst us might even call him a “groomer.”

We call him John Waters.

Waters first arrived in Hollywood in 1970. He parked at Hollywood & Vine and received his first bit of Los Angeles recognition.

He got a jaywalking ticket.

Outspoken and brash, Waters introduced outsider culture and heralded gay and transgender visibility into American cinema when the Stonewall uprising was still a very recent memory. His 1972 film Pink Flamingos was brazenly transgender affirming. It powerfully and glamorously flew in the faces of audiences while trans people only faced marginalization and were stigmatized in the Nixon Viet Nam and Watergate era.

His film Hairspray was first a cult favorite and in later iterations, a hit Broadway musical, and a second mainstream hit movie. It featured LGBTQ characters and a leading character in drag. Waters has also written several LGBTQ themed books including Shock Value and Role Models.

Part of the charm of John Waters is his knack for not taking himself, or any of us, too seriously. His first words as he ascended the podium for the Walk of Fame honor: “Here I am…closer to the gutter than ever!”

“I hope the most desperate showbiz rejects walk over me here and feel some sort of respect and strength,” he said later paying tribute to his greatest inspirations: the underdogs.

Waters dedicated his star to his parents. Pat and John Waters, who had been horrified by his earliest films, but encouraged him to pursue Hollywood none-the-less.  “What else could I do?” he mused.

All in all, Waters was “astonished” over the tribute.  He thanked Outfest for sponsoring the event and for thinking he was “gay enough to receive it.”

Ever the director, and thinking ahead, he took a moment to make a recommendation for whom he thinks should be Hollywood Boulevard’s next star recipient:


Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin summed up John Waters this way: “John Waters is a national treasure, a unique and original voice in American cinema. His films are subversive, hilarious, and thought-provoking, and they have helped to change the way we think about outsider culture and LGBTQ+ representation.”

Now Waters has his day, and his star, immortalized forever on the famous Hollywood path. We can only hope his effect on American culture, where the “outsider” can stand tall, proves to be as solid.

John Waters Walk of Fame Ceremony:


Rob Watson is the host of the popular Hollywood-based radio/podcast show RATED LGBT RADIO.

He is an established LGBTQ columnist and blogger having written for many top online publications including The Los Angeles Blade, The Washington Blade, Parents Magazine, the Huffington Post, LGBTQ Nation, Gay Star News, the New Civil Rights Movement, and more.

He served as Executive Editor for The Good Man Project, has appeared on MSNBC and been quoted in Business Week and Forbes Magazine.

He is CEO of Watson Writes, a marketing communications agency, and can be reached at [email protected] .

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Lil Nas X Toronto Film Festival appearance delayed by bomb threat

The 48th Toronto International Film Festival had opened on September 7th and runs till September 17th, 2023



Singer-songwriter & rapper Lil Nas X answering questions after the premiere of the documentary at Roy Thomson Hall Saturday. (Screenshot/YouTube TIFF)

TORONTO, Canada – The widely anticipated global premiere of the documentary “Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero” at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was forced to be delayed after homophobic bomb threat festival organizers said.

The 48th Toronto International Film Festival which opened on September 7 and runs till September 17, was briefly delayed Saturday night after a threat was made according to a TIFF spokesman. Variety reported:

The gala screening was scheduled for a 10 p.m. start at Roy Thomson Hall, one of TIFF’s premier venues. The documentary’s co-directors Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel and editor Andrew Morrow arrived on the red carpet first, posing with fans that lined the entryway. But as their subject, pop superstar Lil Nas X, pulled up in his car to join them, organizers were informed that a bomb threat had been called in and the artist was told to hold, sources told Variety. The threat specifically targeted the rapper for being a Black queer artist, one source added.

In statements to Variety and other media outlets Saturday after the incident, the TIFF spokesperson said:

“Earlier this evening, we were made aware by the Toronto Police Service of an investigation in the vicinity of the red carpet for the ‘Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero’ screening. Our standard security measures remained in place during this time and the screening commenced with a slight delay. To our knowledge, this was a general threat and not directed at the film or the artist.”

A spokesperson for Toronto Police on Sunday said: “Yesterday, at the TIFF, a passerby uttered a threat towards private security,” “Out of an abundance of caution, the Toronto Police and the private security swept the scene and cleared within 20 minutes. The threat was general and did not target any one person.”

LIL NAS X: LONG LIVE MONTERO at TIFF 2023 | Q&A with Lil Nas X:

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The parrothead nation mourns, Jimmy Buffett has died at 76

He regaled audiences with songs about the faces and places he’d seen during his lifetime journey along the road less travelled



Jimmy Buffett 1946-2023 (Screenshot/YouTube CBS Mornings)

SAG HARBOR, New York, – His was a voice that chronicled an easy going homage to beach bum lifestyles speaking to generations with storytelling lyrics once compared with writers’ Ernest Hemingway’s eye for detail and Mark Twain’s inclination for mischievous humor.

Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett has died at age 76 according to an announcement on his social media accounts. The September 1st statement noted that Buffet was surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs.

He had rescheduled concerts this past May and acknowledged he had been hospitalized for an unspecified illness. Buffett had been fighting Merkel Cell Skin Cancer for four years. He continued to perform during treatment, playing his last show, a surprise appearance in Rhode Island, in early July.

In addition to being a bard for several generations of Americans needing the escapism and feel good vibe his music brought, the self-described workaholic was very much a shrewd businessman whose empire beyond concerts and music landed him a place on Forbes’ America’s Richest Celebrities list with a worth of over a billion dollars in 2023.

Based on the title of Buffett’s beloved signature song, ‘Margaritaville’ his holdings included nightclubs, restaurants, a musician’s typical business model of album sales, concert tickets and souvenir T-shirts. Buffett was also accomplished writer with several New York Times bestselling novels published.

Buffett’s music tells the stories of the hustlers, the beach bums and the pirates from all corners of the world. Through it all are woven the themes of escapism, wanderlust and an unbridled curiosity that makes life a journey worth taking.

The White House issued a statement Saturday from President Joe Biden who said:

“A poet of paradise, Jimmy Buffett was an American music icon who inspired generations to step back and find the joy in life and in one another.
His witty, wistful songs celebrate a uniquely American cast of characters and seaside folkways, weaving together an unforgettable musical mix of country, folk, rock, pop, and calypso into something uniquely his own.
We had the honor to meet and get to know Jimmy over the years, and he was in life as he was performing on stage – full of goodwill and joy, using his gift to bring people together.
Over more than 50 studio and live albums and thousands of performances to devoted Parrot Heads around the world, Jimmy reminded us how much the simple things in life matter – the people we love, the places we’re from, the hopes we have on the horizon.
A two-time Grammy nominee and winner of multiple country music awards, he was also a best-selling writer, businessman, pilot, and conservationist who championed the waters and Gulf Coast that he so loved.
Jill and I send our love to his wife of 46 years, Jane; to their children, Savannah, Sarah, and Cameron; to their grandchildren; and to the millions of fans who will continue to love him even as his ship now sails for new shores.”

Buffett embraced a litany of progressive causes including LGBTQ rights. In 2016, and although several other music headliners had canceled concerts due to an anti-LGBTQ law in North Carolina, Buffett, as always loyal to his fans decided to play the two concerts scheduled but took to his social media and released a statement castigating the law as “stupid.”

”Time has fortunately reversed a lot of that way of thinking. But now another stupid law, based on stupid assumptions, has sprung up like kudzu in North Carolina,” the singer-songwriter wrote adding a quote from the movie Forrest Gump, telling his fans, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Read Jimmy Buffett’s full statement here:

As a traveling musician for 40 years, I played many shows years ago, in many states where you could go to prison for 20 years for smoking a joint. It was a stupid law based on stupid assumptions. Time has fortunately reversed a lot of that way of thinking. But now another stupid law, based on stupid assumptions, has sprung up like kudzu in North Carolina, where we are scheduled to play shows next week in Raleigh and Charlotte.

North Carolina was there for me as a performer in the early days and I have always felt a loyalty to fans there that goes deep. Rightly so, a lot of people are reacting to the stupid law. I happen to believe that the majority of our fans in North Carolina feel the way I do about that law. I am lucky enough to have found a job in the business of fun. These shows were booked and sold out long before the governor signed that stupid law. I am not going to let stupidity or bigotry trump fun for my loyal fans this year. We will be playing in Raleigh and Charlotte next week.

That said, as for the future of shows in North Carolina, it would definitely depend on whether that stupid law is repealed. That is up to the good people of North Carolina and there are many, and I am confident that they will see that the right thing will be done. As Forrest said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Fins Up,
Jimmy Buffett

For over 50 years Buffett regaled audiences with songs about the faces and places he’d seen during his lifetime journey along the road less travelled. 

His biography reads:

Buffett was born on Christmas day 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi and raised in the port town of Mobile, Alabama. His grandfather, James Delaney Buffett, was a captain on a steamship and his father J.D. traveled to India and Africa with the Army Corps of Engineers before settling in Mobile. For young Jimmy, the Gulf of Mexico was the doorway to a world of adventure where the characters he heard about in his grandfather’s stories were waiting to be discovered. The siren call of exotic ports was in contrast to his days as a parochial school student and an altar boy, and it only took a guitar to take him off course from the life his parents had imagined for him.

When Jimmy saw how a fraternity brother in college with a guitar garnered the attention of the girls, he quickly learned a few basic chords and started playing himself. Suddenly Jimmy’s world opened up – while he still attended classes, he quickly had his first band and went from busking the streets of New Orleans to playing 6 nights a week at Bourbon Street clubs.

After graduation, Jimmy headed to Nashville to work for Billboard Magazine and to try his luck as a folk-country singer, releasing his first record, “Down To Earth” in 1970. However it was a fateful trip to Key West, Florida with Jerry Jeff Walker in 1971 that would give Jimmy the inspiration to merge his musicality, wanderlust and storytelling.

Key West in the 1970s was not the tourist-friendly town it is today – it was the last outpost of smugglers, con-men, artists and free-spirits who simply couldn’t run any further south in the mainland United States. It was there that the young musician thrown into the midst of this eclectic mix found his true voice as a songwriter – telling the stories of the wanderers, the adventurers and the forlorn.

In 1974, his song “Come Monday” from the fourth studio album “Living and Dying in ¾ Time” entered the Billboard charts, eventually peaking at number 30. That year found Jimmy touring solo-acoustic and performing at well-known folk venues across the country, from the Troubadour in Los Angeles to Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He hasn’t stopped touring since.

And then in 1977 came “Margaritaville.” A laid-back anthem about escapism and life in the tropics, the song spent 22 weeks on the Billboard chart, peaking at number 8. It catapulted Jimmy to national fame and, nearly a decade later, inspired Jimmy to launch a business empire.

After 27 studio albums, New York Times bestselling books, a Broadway play, numerous movie and television appearances, Grammy nominations and Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards, it was still the music that inspired Jimmy. He was just as likely to pop up and play an impromptu set alone at a Caribbean beach bar as he was to be on stage in front of 30,000 loyal ‘Parrothead’ fans.

And after logging millions of miles on the road, on the ocean and in the air, distant ports still beckoned and the same unbridled curiosity drove him to keep looking for that next story to share via song.

Jimmy Buffett’s classic – Come Monday with a never before seen introduction from the man himself.

and the song that began it all:

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Adam Rippon blasts Lance Armstrong for anti-trans views

The Olympic figure skater icon, who also won a season of Dancing With The Stars, spills the tea on what really happened on ‘Stars on Mars’



Adam Rippon on Stars on Mars (Screenshot/YouTube Fox)

PASADENA — Now that Adam Rippon has conquered Mars on a reality TV show, he’s taking off the gloves to his faux spacesuit and telling the planet what really happened when fellow contestant Lance Armstrong let loose with his views on transgender athletes. 

“I don’t really think Lance Armstrong is somebody who should be really concerned about the fairness of competition,” said Rippon, the out gay Olympian who spent weeks in an Australian desert and emerged the winner of “Stars on Mars.” The Fox TV show simulated a mission to Mars, but with celebrities and sports figures competing for a trophy, instead of actual astronauts. 

Now back home with his husband, the retired figure skater is speaking with reporters about the show’s most controversial moment. 

In an episode that aired in July, Armstrong, the disgraced cyclist caught doping, was talking with former MMA fighter and outspoken transphobe Ronda Rousey in the Habitat, about how he felt trans athletes should be restricted to competing in their own division, separate from cisgender men’s and women’s athletes. 

“By the way, I sound like a right-wing lunatic. I’m not,” Armstrong said. “I’m the most liberal person.” 

Armstrong went on to claim to support trans rights, but questioned how segregating athletes could be seen as “unfair.”

“I don’t need to hear what the greatest cheater in American history has to say about what he thinks is an unfair advantage,” Rippon told The Daily Beast.

“We’re trying to navigate that conversation without trying to [address] this big elephant in the room and be like, ‘You’re a cheater. Like, what are you concerned about?’” Rippon said to CinemaBlend.

“It was just so inappropriate,” the retired Olympian said. “Nobody wanted to have this conversation. Especially on this cute little reality show where we all had to live together for weeks on end.”

Armstrong’s statements made Rippon and their fellow “celebronauts” visibly uncomfortable. Singer and actress Tinashe told Armstrong, “I think we just have to care about if you otherize people.” Real Housewife Porsha Williams agreed, pointing out that this wasn’t the appropriate place for such comments. Former Modern Family star Ariel Winter was visibly uncomfortable, rolling her eyes. 


And that was all viewers saw. 

“The way that it’s on the show, that is what happened, but it was 10 times longer. This was an hour-long event that like happened while we were filming. And so, it honestly made me really uncomfortable,” Rippon told CinemaBlend. “It just wasn’t the setting to have that sort of conversation.”

Rippon says that Armstrong chose to bring it up again at dinner the following day. “(The) problem with America is that nobody wants to have these uncomfortable conversations,” he recalled the former cyclist saying. Armstrong then directly addressed the Olympic gold medalist, asking him why he wouldn’t engage.

“I’m not afraid of having difficult conversations,” Rippon told The Daily Beast. “But if we’re going to fully open that particular conversation, I want trans athletes [present], I want people who are doing research into this [to be there], and people who are real proponents of seeing women’s sports succeed.”

While also revealing that Winter confronted Armstrong off-camera about his doping scandal, Rippon told CinemaBlend his reason for sharing these stories is for the opportunity to speak up for trans athletes. 

“Trans athletes in sports is such a popular topic to talk about. And really, there is still so much conversation to be had. And there’s more research to be done. But I believe that if we want this research and we want to paint a clear picture of what it means to have trans people in sports, we need to allow them in sports to be able to do this research,” said Rippon, noting that 24 states ban trans student-athletes from competing according to their gender identity. 

“There are no studies that can be done if you’re constantly and permanently discouraging trans athletes from being involved. There is no conversation to be had. I think that’s why it’s so important,” he said. “There is a lot of research out there, which is why there are trans athletes competing. But if we want more research and we want more studies, we need more athletes to be involved.”

The Olympian icon, who also won a season of Dancing With The Stars, spoke about the value of being able to compete in sports, and doing so openly, as your true self.

“I know all of the great things that sports have given me, and I really feel that everybody should be afforded that same opportunity. At the end of the day, the medals and the trophies, they’re awesome. But the greatest gifts that I have from sports are the moments where I pushed myself further than I thought I could, the way that I dealt with high-pressure situations, and the people and connections that I made. And that’s what sports is all about,” he said. “Yeah, we all want to win. We all want to do our best. But like that feeling of community, that’s what sports is all about. It’s this unifying place for so many people, I know that in sports was the first time that I created this group of friends that I’m still friends with to this day.”

And what did Rippon win by outlasting Armstrong, Rousey, Winter, Tinashe, Williams, Andy Richter, former NBA superstar Paul Pierce and others? A trophy engraved with the words, “Brightest Star in the Galaxy” — which he describes as “truly just a patch glued onto a paperweight, which is so funny and amazing.” It now sits on display in his home office.

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Carlos Santana delivers anti-trans remarks at New Jersey concert 

Transgender people are more visible than they used to be, with about 5% of Americans younger than 30 identifying as trans or nonbinary



Carlos Santana making transphobic comments during a concert in the resort city of Atlantic City, NJ. (Screenshot/YouTube)

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – A video clip of 76-year-old rocker Carlos Santana making transphobic comments during a concert in this resort city has surfaced this week causing controversy.

In a clip posted online to multiple social media platforms, the musician can be heard saying: “When God made you and me, before we came out of the womb, you know who you are and what you are. Later on, when you grow out of it, you see things, and you start believing that you could be something that sounds good, but you know it ain’t right. Because a woman is a woman and a man is a man. That’s it. Whatever you wanna do in the closet, that’s your business. I’m OK with that.”

Then the GRAMMY Award winning guitarist is heard saying as a follow-up to his previous statement making a hand gesture, ”I am like this with my brother Dave Chappelle.”

Chappelle is a comedian known for his controversial social commentary, and has come under fire for telling transphobic jokes. Anti-transgender jokes in Chappelle’s Netflix special “The Closer” sparked further controversy, and caused The Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington D.C. to reconsider officially renaming its theater, but not after Chappelle, the school’s most famous alumni, as had been expected.

Santana Video Clip:

On Thursday in a post on his Facebook Page he apologized:

I am sorry for my insensitive comments. They don’t reflect that I want to honor and respect all person’s ideals and beliefs. I realize that what I said hurt people and that was not my intent. I sincerely apologize to the transgender community and everyone I offended.

Here is my personal goal that I strive to achieve every day. I want to honor and respect all person’s ideals and beliefs whether they are LGBTQ or not. This is the planet of free will and we have all been given this gift. I will now pursue this goal to be happy and have fun, and for everyone to believe what they want and follow in your hearts without fear. It takes courage to grow and glow in the light that you are and to be true, genuine, and authentic. We grow and learn to shine our light with Love and compliments. Have a glorious existence. Peace.

Carlos Santana

NBC News Out reported that in recent weeks, several other rock musicians have added to the conversation with similar comments. Paul Stanley of KISS and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister have both been criticized for describing gender-affirming care for kids as a “sad and dangerous fad.” (Snider was consequently dropped off of the lineup for San Francisco Pride.)

Alice Cooper also offered his two cents on the matter in a recent interview with Stereogum: “I’m understanding that there are cases of transgender, but I’m afraid that it’s also a fad,” he said. “I find it wrong when you’ve got a six-year-old kid who has no idea. He just wants to play, and you’re confusing him telling him, ‘Yeah, you’re a boy, but you could be a girl if you want to be.’”

Santana’s comments come as upwards of 500 anti-LGBTQ bills circulate across legislatures in the U.S., as tracked by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU explains that many of these proposals are directly focused at transgender youth.

Current statistics from Pew Research Center show transgender people are more visible than they used to be, with about 5% of Americans younger than 30 identifying as trans or nonbinary — but data shows violence against trans people is high.

According to an Anti-Defamation League report on Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate & Extremism Incidents, 2022-23, 138 of the 356 total incidents of violence or harassment were targeting drag events and performers. While not all people who perform at or support drag events are transgender, the two communities are historically intrinsically linked.

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Elliot Page offers up advice & encouragement for LGBTQ+ youth

The 36-year-old Canadian actor discussed his autobiography Pageboy, that details his life and transition, which was published on June 6, 2023



Elliot Page speaks with audience members during a Q&A at the Creativity Stage during the 2023 Library of Congress National Book Festival. (Screenshot/YouTube Library of Congress)

WASHINGTON – Academy-award nominee Elliot Page interacted with LGBTQ+ and other young people during an audience question and answer period from the Creativity Stage at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center this past weekend for the 2023 Library of Congress National Book Festival.

The annual event was founded in 2001 by former First Lady Laura Bush and the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, who died in November of 2018. The book festival brings together authors, the public, and includes book-signings, musical performances, storytelling, panel discussions, demonstrations of illustration and new technologies.

The 36-year-old Canadian actor discussed his autobiography/memoir Pageboy, that details his life and transition, which was published on June 6, 2023. Upon its release, the book debuted atop The New York Times Best Seller List for Nonfiction.

Afterwards he took questions from the audience.


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Why Wayne Brady coming Out as pansexual is a big deal

Brady, 51, shot to stardom in 1998 on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” the TV show that showcased his enormous talent at improvisation



Wayne Brady (Screenshot/YouTube People Magazine)

MALIBU, Calif. – Someday it won’t matter when a celebrity comes out as LGBTQ+, but until that day comes, when every orientation and identity is embraced, accepted and respected equally, this is how it goes: Wayne Brady told TikTok and Instagram followers that he is pansexual, and People magazine told the world. 

“I am pansexual,” he told the magazine’s Jason Sheeler in an exclusive interview. “Bisexual — with an open mind!” Brady added. 

Sheeler explained to People readers that this means he is “attracted to persons regardless of their sex or gender.” In its wide-ranging media guide, GLAAD defines “pansexual” as “an adjective used to describe a person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to any person, regardless of gender identity. This is one of several terms under the bi+ umbrella.” 

As the most mainstream television personality to come out so far, Brady is a standout among other pan celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Janelle Monáe, Cara Delevingne, Asia Kate Dillion, Jazz Jennings and JoJo Siwa. 


As someone who gets to bring joy to others daily on tv, it’s been ironic that I don’t experience it as much as I’d like. I advocate mental health for all and a part of that is self transparency. In doing my work, I’ve come to see a few truths, one of them being that I want to be free to love whomever I want. This truth makes me Pan and part of the lgbtq+ family. It’s scary as hell to say out loud but here it is. The people I admire the most are the ones brave enough to be themselves unapologetically. This shouldn’t shake anyone’s world, but if it bothers you at all, that’s your business:) I was so afraid of having my manhood questioned, but screw that. A “real man” in my eyes, isn’t afraid to be honest and happy. From now on, I’ll be over here living my best life! I love you @Mandietaketa @Maile Masako @Jason

♬ original sound – Shannon

Brady, 51, shot to stardom in 1998 on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” the TV show that showcased his enormous talent at improvisation, a program that’s still on the air with Brady now serving as an executive producer. The Georgia native is also an actor with dozens of credits to his name, in movies, on Broadway and on television, and served as the host of the rebooted “Let’s Make A Deal.” 

The first person Brady came out to was his ex-wife, Mandie Taketa. “I just said, ‘Great.’ As I knew coming out would help him be happier,” she said. 

Taketa is co-parenting a toddler with both Brady and her partner, Jason Fordham. Brady and Taketa, 47, also have a daughter, Maile, 20. The blended family of four are currently filming a reality show for Hulu, according to the magazine. 

“I love all people equally, and now that includes myself,” said Brady. That’s a turnaround from a bitter time more than 20 years ago, when the actor had a falling out with a writer on “The Chappelle Show.” It was over a joke that Brady insisted as recently as 2021 offended him mostly because it wasn’t funny: “White people love Wayne Brady because he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X,” the late Paul Mooney said on Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedy show. 

Brady was later invited to appear on the show in a hilarious and memorable sketch that portrayed him in an entirely different light.

For People magazine, Brady wrote his own coming out story, which appears below in full: 

I’m pansexual.

In doing my research, both with myself and just with the world, I couldn’t say if I was bisexual, because I had to really see what that was, especially because I really have not gotten a chance to act on anything. So, I came to pansexual because — and I know that I’m completely messing up the dictionary meaning — but to me, pan means being able to be attracted to anyone who identifies as gay, straight, bi, transsexual or non-binary. Being able to be attracted across the board. And, I think, at least for me for right now, that is the proper place. I took pan to mean that not only can I be attracted to any of these people or types physically, but I could be attracted to the person that is there.

 People think they really know me. That has its advantages and disadvantages. 

Like with any blessing, I’m like, “How cool.” It’s cool that people like me, especially doing a show, like Let’s Make a Deal, or when various companies or networks think, “I want Wayne Brady to host this,” what a blessing! What a blessing to be in people’s homes every day and connect with them. I love that piece of it. But there are days that I’m not a fan of it. Because, really, I’m an actor. I don’t want to lead personality-first. 

There’s a reason why I live in a canyon in Malibu and not in the middle of Hollywood. I’m an introvert. Shy. I always have been. I had a very thick stutter at one point during my childhood, growing up in Orlando, brought on by anxiety and bullying and stress. I couldn’t communicate the way that I wanted to until I started acting, singing and performing.

As characters. I was Tigger and Goofy and a Toy Soldier in the Disney Christmas parade. I loved that because you see the work. You don’t necessarily see me. I love bringing joy, which is why I love being a character: if I can do that as a character, so maybe the character is Wayne Brady. There’s a lot of therapy that I’m doing right now. I wish I didn’t care what people think of me, but the fact of the matter is, I do care. It’s a weird dichotomy, going from a screaming audience to sitting in a house, just chilling all by yourself.

Robin Williams’ death in 2014 really impacted me — and set me on my path to self-discovery. 

After Robin’s death, I got involved in certain groups, like Glenn Close’s group, Bring Change to Mind, being very vocal about mental health. And not just the buzzword of mental health, but really what do I have to do to function in this big world and still be okay with yourself and more importantly, to love yourself so that you don’t hurt yourself? Not even just physically hurting yourself, but not taking care of yourself because you are depressed and frightened and weighed down.

Once I opened that door to myself though, I had to start learning about myself, and I had to start owning up to things that maybe I’d either repressed, suppressed, or just didn’t wanna deal with. I’ve done a lot of work on a lot of other things until now, one of the last things on that checklist was, what’s one of the last things that you need to be really happy and to be truly, authentically yourself? I gave joy at work.  But the pity is then I come home, and I don’t have that joy. I have joy because I love my daughter and I love my family. I love being a dad more than chocolate ice cream. But that can’t be my only joy. I have to love myself. And that’s when I realized that I had a problem because if I can spend everything on stage and on camera but then I come home and there is a love deficit, what is going on? That was my rock bottom. 

I was never suicidal, but I have empathy for those who face those thoughts. 

I understand it now. I got to a point where I thought, “I’m not here, then whatever this pain is, whatever this loneliness is, this soul-crushing loneliness, I could stop it. I could be absolutely pain-free of whatever this is inside of me.” And when I felt that, I went, “Oh, s–t. Okay. let’s get to the bottom of it. Let’s do it now.” 

I did all the therapy I could do. I was treated for love addiction. It’s a part of my journey. I had to start examining why I was looking for myself and happiness in a slew of people. If I marry this person, then everything will be fine. If I date this person, everything will be fine. I’ll be good. I’ll be fixed. That is obviously a problem. And so, in doing that work, I now know absolutely that love addiction is borne of trauma. I can’t feel any shame around that, just like I wouldn’t shame somebody if they said they were addicted to meth or cocaine. That’s a sickness.

What am I looking for in these people that I can’t find in myself? And then leaving a wake of people and never being satisfied and then going back to being lonely. Fast forward to recently asking myself the question: “Wayne, um, are you gay?” And the answer was no because despite having been in all of these unsuccessful relationships and now dealing with what I know can be diagnosed as love addiction, I started to go, “Okay, I’m feeling something, but I just don’t know how to get there.” And then I felt like a fraud.

I’ve been attracted to men at times in my life. But I have never dated a man.

Let’s be really honest: I’ve also been attracted to certain men in my life, but I’ve always pushed that aside because of how I was raised, and because I live in today’s world, and it’s scary as s–t. What’s the fastest way to hurt another man? I’m gonna call you out of your name. I’m gonna call you gay. I’m gonna emasculate you. I’m gonna use the F-word. I learned that very early from the people around me, they’re like, “Oh, so those are bad things? Yeah. You, you don’t wanna be that.” 

So, what does it mean if I feel something? I don’t think I’m gay, but what if I feel something for another [man]… That’s still gay. I was already bullied about a bunch of other s–t. I didn’t wanna add a top hat on top of that suit.

I’ve dealt with the shame.

A shame cake, just eating it every single day — and then worried about… people finding out. I’ve always had a wonderful community of friends who are in the LGBTQ+ community, people that I’ve grown up with in shows, gays and lesbians, and, later in life, my trans relatives and my niece. I’ve always had that community, but I’ve always felt like a sham because I wasn’t being forthcoming with myself. I could speak out about Black issues because I can’t hide that. And you can play at being an ally, but until the day that you can truly say, “This is who I am, and I wanna stand next to you,” that’s not… I always wanted that day to come.

I’ve told myself in the past, also, nobody needs to know my personal business. The world can absolutely go without knowing that Wayne identifies as pan. But that gave me license to still live in the shadows and to be secretive. What does that feel like to actually not be shameful, to not feel like, “Oh, I can’t be part of this conversation because I’m lying?” I had to break that behavior. 

I’m now trying to be the most Wayne Brady I can be. 

I don’t know about most, actually. I’m still coming together. But If I’m healthy, then I can go onstage at Let’s Make A Deal and be the best Wayne Brady that everybody wants and expects. I can be the best dad that Maile needs. I can be the best friend to Mandie, the best son to my mother, and one day, the best partner to someone, because I’m doing this for me. Not dating yet though! [Laughs] I am single, but it’s not about being with someone right now. I’ve got some work to do still. Then, Wayne as a single, open-minded pansexual can make a decision and be free and open to other people.

Follow Wayne Brady on Instagram at @mrbradybaby and on TikTok at @waynebrady

Wayne Brady Comes Out as Pansexual | PEOPLE:

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A legacy bigger than ‘Pee-Wee,’ Paul Reubens dies at age 70

Though he never declared himself to be queer, he became a queer hero, simply by outlasting the hatred until it was forgotten and irrelevant



Paul Reubens in 'Pee-Wee's Big Adventure' (Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

LOS ANGELES – Even though most of us assumed he was gay, Paul Reubens never officially came out.

He scarcely had to, really. His public image – indelibly associated with a character whose name became essentially synonymous with his own – was built on a foundation of camp, and the children’s TV series that brought him into the households of millions of grateful parents was renowned for its ability to offer genuinely innocent entertainment for kids while simultaneously keeping the grown-ups in the room laughing with the kind of winking adult humor that would go right over the little ones’ heads.

Much of that humor was laced with obvious queer subtext, and the overall look and tone of the show, from its kitschy design to Pee-Wee’s starry-eyed fondness for his friend Cowboy Curtis (as portrayed by a young Laurence Fishburne), made his queerness appear so obvious that coming out would be a mere formality.

This was queer underground culture exploding into the mainstream under camouflage of whimsy, all being orchestrated by a master showman who had to know exactly what he was doing.

Yet in the public record, there was never any verification of Reubens’s place on the sexuality spectrum. Indeed, the facts favor a heterosexual orientation – a temporary “marriage” to Doris Duke heiress Chandi Heffner, concocted as an impromptu publicity stunt, and his long-term relationship with actress Debi Mazar, whom he credited with helping him overcome his depression after the notorious 1991 public indecency charge that derailed his career.

As to that incident, Reubens came to be as known for it as much as for being Pee-Wee. Arrested for public masturbation during a surprise police inspection at an adult theater in Sarasota, Fla., he avoided the misdemeanor charge with a plea bargain and 75 hours of community service – but the real punishment, which no court of law could stay, was assured as soon as the news of his salacious “crime” broke to the press the day after his arrest.

A victim of “cancel culture” before the term had ever been coined, he became the butt of 1,000 prurient jokes by late-night TV comedians; worse, he was the target of countless tabloid “exposés” playing to the alarmist fears and prejudices of religious conservatives. Both Reubens and his bow-tied alter-ego quickly became persona non grata in the eyes of pop culture.

A decade later, there was another scandal. In 2002, after Reubens was named by an informant in the child pornography case against fellow actor Jeffrey Jones, Los Angeles police raided his home and found images they claimed depicted minors engaged in sexual conduct; though the material consisted mostly of old beefcake magazines and other gay-themed vintage erotica, he was charged with misdemeanor possession.

There was another plea bargain, this time leading to a three-year registration as a sex offender, but Reubens maintained his innocence, characterizing the images in question as art rather than pornography – an eternal debate that hardly mattered to anyone who had already made up their mind about him.

Incredibly, perhaps, that wasn’t the end of his story. In 2010, he mounted a new version of “The Pee-Wee Herman Show” stage performance that had originally launched the character in the early 1980s, and thanks to a shift in attitudes, coupled with inexorable childhood nostalgia from the now-grown fans of his TV show, the rebooted Pee-Wee was a hit once more. After a sold-out Los Angeles run, the production moved to Broadway for a limited engagement and played to equally packed houses.

Reubens would continue to be active. After several attempts to develop a new film project for the character – the first, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” (1985), had been a surprise sensation that established director Tim Burton as a star in his own right – he succeeded with Netflix’s “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday” (2016), which took him on a cross-country quest fueled by his budding “bromance” with hunky actor Joe Manganiello. More overtly gay in subtext than any of his prior efforts, it still became a hit; in retrospect it felt like the moment when Reubens – and Pee-Wee, of course – finally achieved redemption.

Looking at the legacy he has left behind, however, perhaps he never really needed redemption. In the context of their time, his “crimes” were surely sensationalized by what is now an all-too-familiar pattern of culture warfare, in which the hardcore religious right, emboldened by the Reagan-era political maneuvering that amplified their influence and bent on enforced conformity to social “norms” as they defined them, embarked on a campaign to dismiss, demean, and demonize a beloved public figure they saw as dangerous.

That he was never officially “out” was immaterial – what he represented was queer as could be, and that was all that mattered. They took him down with gleeful abandon, either way, because they recognized the subversive message of acceptance embedded in his goofy comedy.

They weren’t wrong. It’s easy to draw a direct line of influence between the subversive camp of “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” and the drag queen story hours that have so many conservatives clutching their pearls today. Pee-Wee was paving the way for a future they feared, and they made it their mission to stop him.

That might sound like a conspiracy theory, but no conspiracy is necessary when there’s a shared commitment to a common goal; given the well-documented history of police persecution toward openly queer expression, it doesn’t take much imagination to read between the lines and surmise a deeper intent behind his arrests, and all that would then be required from civilian homophobes would be to decry his immorality in the name of “saving the children”— a tactic so familiar as to be banal.

Of course, it’s easy to see patterns and speculate about what’s behind them; but even if Paul Reubens was an unfortunate victim of overzealous law enforcement who literally got caught with his pants down, the result was the same. He was made into a pariah because he carried a vision of a world where queerness could be family-friendly, too.

Seen that way, the eventual comeback of Paul Reubens seems less like a redemption than a triumph against small-minded bigotry. In the end, the good will he temporarily lost came back with a vengeance, because instead of giving up, he kept fighting. He survived the best efforts to erase him from cultural memory and was welcomed back to the spotlight with open arms.

Now, in the wake of his passing at 70 after a six-year bout with cancer that he kept secret, headlines of his obituary are describing him as “beloved.” 

Reubens’s real contribution may well be summed up in the example he set for the rest of us. Though he never declared himself to be queer, he became a queer hero, simply by outlasting the hatred until it was forgotten and irrelevant.

In a time when such hate has turned itself against so many, and with such terrifying virulence, that accomplishment stands as a much-needed reminder that, though it may sometimes overwhelm us, it can never truly defeat us if we stay the course – and if Pee-Wee was able to do it, then maybe the rest of us can, too.

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