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Alabama top justice tells judges not to issue gay marriage licenses

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Alabama’s top justice said Wednesday that state probate judges should not issue same-sex marriage licenses, despite the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing gay marriage last year.

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore cited conflicting rulings and said until they are resolved, a prior directive from March telling judges to comply with the state’s gay marriage ban would remain in effect.

He wrote: “Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”

Moore issued a similar order last year. It’s unclear what impact the decision will have in the state, where some officials are issuing the licenses and others are not.

Susan Watson, director of the ACLU of Alabama, called Moore’s order “silly” and said it wouldn’t change the fact that most Alabama judges are issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Moore said in Wednesday’s decision that even though the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated anti-gay marriage laws – he cited laws in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee  — “confusion and uncertainty exist among the probate judges of this State as to the effect” on existing orders in Alabama.

He continued, “Many probate judges are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in accordance with Obergefell (the Supreme Court case); others are issuing marriage licenses only to couples of the opposite gender or have ceased issuing all marriage licenses.”

Moore said the broader issue remains before the Alabama Supreme Court, “which continues to deliberate on the matter.”

About News is the digital news format for About Magazine | About Publications. Providing the latest, and breaking news for the LGBT+ society.

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Concerts

Country Superstar Ty Herndon To Perform At Rich’s Friday Night

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Country Music’s Sexy Cowboy Ty Herndon Returns To Houston Friday Night For Special Performance At Rich’s

HOUSTON – It’s rodeo time and one of country music’s biggest hearts and brightest stars, Ty Herndon is heading to Houston for a ‘one night only’ performance at Rich’s in Midtown. Herndon, known for hits like “Living in the Moment,” and “What Mattered Most,” garnered three number ones, four top ten hits. Beyond charting more than 18 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, Ty Herndon makes his return to Texas tomorrow night.

In an exclusive interview the day before his Houston concert, About Magazine sat down with Ty in his downtown Nashville condo. From the open patio doors sounds of tourists and bachelorette parties can be heard drifting up, Ty sits across the room in a wingback chair; he’s wearing his trademark black t-shirt and skinny jeans and has a big smile. It’s 8:20 am and he’s full of energy.

Ty Herndon

Award Winning Country Superstar Ty Herndon to perform at Rich’s Houston on Friday March 15, 2019.

“I absolutely love Houston,” he says when asked about his return. ” I might as well be from Texas! I feel like I have spent half my life there.” Ty explains he has a deep history, passion and love for Texas. “I have two of the most amazing little God-sons in Houston with the most affirming parents.” Ty hits that stage at Rich’s Houston on Friday, March 15, 2019.

Though his performance is not part of the official Rodeo Houston concert series, Herndon will headline “The Stockyard at Rich’s,” an LGBT country music-themed night hosted by Al Farb. “It’s going to be an exciting show, I am excited to be performing for all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” Ty says.

“I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TEXAS, I FEEL LIKE I AM FROM THERE, AND EXCITED TO RETURN TOMORROW!” -Ty Herndon

In its first-ever country night, Rich’s has pulled out all the stops to ensure Herndon’s performance and the crowd enjoys rodeo season. “My love for country music and country bars for more than 15 years has lead me to tomorrow night,” Jeff Harmon, owner of Rich’s says. “One of the most amazing country music DJ from the Round-Up in Dallas, DJ Jeff Doll will be here to keep the music alive.”

Recently Herndon returned from Las Vegas after being invited to sing the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo. “The NFR just had an openly gay dude sing the National Anthem on the world stage,” Ty is referring to the progress made by the LGBT community.

As an outspoken LGBT Advocate, Herndon, along with GLAAD and CMT produce “Love & Acceptance,” a concert held in Nashville during CMA Fest each year. “We will announce all of our talent in the next few weeks,” Herndon says. ” We have had everyone from Vince Gill to Tanya Tucker to Michael Ray in the past.”

This year is gearing up to be the biggest yet. Love & Acceptance takes place on June 6 at the legendary WildHorse Saloon.

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America or Gilead? New US Law Will Deny Visas to Domestic Partners of UN Officials

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UN Handmaid’s Tale LGBTQ Trump visa

In the latest anti-LGBTQ news out of the Trump Administration — as well as what one could only expect from a Handmaid’s Tale story arc — UN Officials will no longer be able to obtain visas for their domestic partners.

Although the White House is spinning the news as a step toward equality, LGBTQ advocates, including the ACLU, have pointed out that it will unfairly target the gay partners of diplomats and employees from countries without marriage equality. The statement to the UN read as follows:

“Same-sex spouses of U.S. diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses […] consistent with [US State] Department policy, partners accompanying members of permanent missions or seeking to join the same must generally be married in order to be eligible” for a visa.

The new policy strikes down a 2009 policy made by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At the time, gay marriage was not legal at a national level in the United States, so Clinton’s policy offered a semblance of equality to same-sex partners. Domestic partnerships granted same-sex couples more rights, although partnerships still do not grant all the same protections as a marriage. Now that the US has legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, the Trump administration claims that the 2009 legislation gave an unfair advantage to same-sex partners. The White House argues that limiting diplomatic visas to married couples prevents preferential treatment.

UN Handmaid’s Tale LGBTQ Trump visaWhat this new policy completely ignores, however, is the reality that the vast majority of UN nations do not recognize gay marriage. In fact, according to an article in Foreign Policy, only 12% of nations in the UN allow same-sex marriage, and in several countries same-sex relationships are actively criminalized. In seven nations, same-sex relationships are punishable by death. The majority of the countries in opposition to gay marriage are African and Asian states, meaning that the new US policy will primarily affect gay couples of color. This makes the policy seem doubly discriminatory. The fact that the United States legalized gay marriage hardly means that gay marriage is legal on a global scale.

The proposed–or rather, demanded–solution is for diplomats to marry their partners at American embassies. Indeed, the United States has issued the ultimatum that domestic partners must become married by December 31st or they will be asked to leave the country. This is unreasonably cruel for multiple reasons. First, a marriage should be a celebration of love and unity that a couple can enjoy with their friends and family members. Instead, couples must hastily put together a ceremony for political reasons, and the majorities of their loved ones will be unable to attend. This ruins what should be a special day for many queer people. Additionally, these diplomats and employees will eventually return to their home country, where many of them will be shunned, fired, or worse for their marriage. The proposed “solution” is neither compassionate nor possible for so many of these people.

My greatest question upon hearing this news was: why? Why enact this policy? How many same-sex domestic partners of diplomats and UN employees can possibly be trying to obtain a visa to the US at this time–one hundred? One thousand? Even if it were ten thousand (and I highly doubt there are), certainly there aren’t enough queer diplomats to pose a significant strain on the economy. The nation-wide impact must be negligible at best. Moreover, these countries aren’t going to change their own domestic stances on gay marriage to accommodate a handful of queer employees abroad. If anything, those countries are more likely to avoid hiring gay people since their visas will be complication. This policy isn’t necessary in any way. It exists only to show queer people around the world that they still aren’t equal, that they are second-class citizens at best.

There’s a chilling scene in the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale where Emily (Alexis Bledel), her wife Sylvia (Clea DuVall), and their young son are attempting to flee the U. S.-turned-Gilead for Canada, where Sylvia is a dual citizen. The scene begins as simple visa troubles; since Emily is not a Canadian citizen, she merely needs to meet with a border patrol agent for a different stamp. Surely she’ll be approved since her wife has citizenship. However, at the gate, they’re told that their marriage is no longer valid. Emily will not–cannot–be granted a visa. She watches her wife and son disappear up at elevator, off to country where they will be safe and protect. And Emily is left behind.

The scariest thing about The Handmaid’s Tale is not how outlandish the world of Gilead is, but rather how close it hits to home. Hopefully civil rights lawyers can begin the process the messy process of reinstating Clinton’s 2009 policy, but until then: Make The Handmaid’s Tale Fiction Again.

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Bullying

Remembering Jamel Myles, 9-Year-Old, Gay, Suicide Victim

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Jamel Myles Suicide Gay Child Bullying

Jamel Myles was a 9-year-old child from Colorado who committed suicide four days into the 2018-19 school year as a result of bullying at school after coming out as gay to his family and classmates. This is his story.

Content Warning:

Suicide, bullying, death.

The following is a true story about the loss of an extremely young LGBTQ child that took place at the beginning of the current school year. About Magazine cautions readers who may have suffered from any of the above keywords in our content warning that this piece may be disturbing, unsettling, and triggering. Reader discretion is advised. 

DENVER — There is no nice way to begin this article. A nine-year-old boy named Jamel Myles committed suicide at the beginning of this school year, and homophobia is to blame.

Over the summer Jamel, a young child who liked Pokemon and YouTube videos, came out to his family as gay. His family members responded well, particularly his mother who immediately affirmed her unconditional support of her young son, reassuring him “I still love you.” In terms of coming out at home, Jamel was actually quite lucky. Though coming out can be frightening and dangerous for most, matters at home continued satisfactorily. With the encouragement of his family bolstering him up, Jamel began the new school year with a tender flame of excitement. He was ready to start the fourth grade, and he was ready to come out to his classmates, too.

Jamel Myles Suicide Gay Child Bullying

Jamel playing with his beloved Pokemon cards.

Four days.

Jamel Myles was relentlessly bullied for four days before he took his own life. Within that short span of time before his death, Jamel had confided in his older sister about what was happening at school. The other kids at his Colorado elementary school had been mocking and insulting him for his sexuality, he told her, with some of his classmates even telling him that he should kill himself. Jamel did not share his bullying with his mother, which she now deeply regrets. She didn’t know that the bullying was taking place until it was too late.

The death of any child is particularly tragic. Children, with their tiny bodies and missing teeth, have not yet developed the cognition to understand the permanence of their actions, nor that of death. Indeed, their brains haven’t yet developed enough to comprehend the finality of their behavior and that of another’s life. They do not realize that there is not another chance, that there is no way to go back. Young boys are particularly in danger, perhaps because of poor impulse control or increased risk-taking behavior. Jamel is one part of an increasing percentage of youth suicides that are plaguing America.

By the same token, it can seem chilling that children so young can bully another student literally to death. Could the prepubescent bullies have truly encouraged a little boy to end his own life? Did they understand the consequences of their words? Perhaps most importantly, do they realize now what they have done wrong?

Although my initial reaction to the news of Jamel’s death was shock and horror, another part of me is now just angry. I am angry that this happened to a child in the year 2018. I am angry that so many adults around me believe that the struggle for LGBT rights ended in 2015 with marriage equality. I am angry that adults are so blind to how their behavior perpetuates despicable prejudice for the next generation. Although, even as I felt the shock of it all when I first learned of Jamel’s death, that same part of me that was so furious understood exactly how this happened.

All it takes are a few intolerant parents. Maybe one of his classmates came from a family of hellfire-and-brimstone Baptists, and that classmate heard every Sunday about how homosexuality is a moral failure that comes directly from Satan. I know that I certainly heard that enough times growing up not all that long ago. Or maybe one of Jamel’s classmates came from a family where the classmate’s dad, upon seeing two men holding hands, would mutter under his breath about how being gay just ‘ain’t right.’ I heard that growing up, too. Or maybe this classmate didn’t have particularly political parents and just heard it on a Christian radio station, or on a Fox News debate, or on some kind of “family values” advertisement, or driving by a protest. Our world drops reminders, both subtle and overt, that gay people are still very much *not* accepted by a large percentage of this country. There are infinite ways that a child can learn to hate.

Jamel Myles Suicide Gay Child Bullying

Jamel lounging playfully inside a box of Cheerios.

So these children absorb tiny cues over and over again, about how to hold prejudice against LGBT individuals. Then these children actually meet a gay person. After nine or ten years of homophobic osmosis, they are ripe with insults and Bible verses and hate speech slogans. One or two children lead the charge, and the rest who don’t know any better but want to be popular and mean-spirited for a laugh join in, too. Four days later, a little boy dies.

People on the internet took to asking, “How could he even know he was gay? He was only 9.” Of course, they never ask that question of straight children, nor do they ask, “Who taught these children so much hate and prejudice?” exasperatedly followed by “They’re only 9.” The latter question is infinitely more pressing.

To address the death of Jamel Myles and to prevent future youth suicides, adults in America need to have a societal reckoning. This will come as no surprise to actual gay people — I’m preaching to the choir here. But the adults that are apolitical, the people who don’t necessarily agree or disagree with gay rights and don’t care enough to act either way: these are the adults that we need to be fighting. Apathy in the face of injustice is just another form of injustice.

Jamel Myles Suicide Gay Child Bullying

Jamel and mother Leia Pierce.

It is not enough to feel indifferent about gay rights. It’s not enough to avoid voting because you believe that it doesn’t affect you. It is not enough to remain silent around homophobic people, even if you don’t agree with them. We each have a responsibility to stick up for LGBT people actively, every single day, every single time an injustice occurs, every single time we hear hate speech. We have a responsibility to teach that sort of love and support to the next generation, too.

If one or two students had stood up for Jamel, if just one of students had parents who had taught them to stick up LGBT people in the face of bullying … could things have ended differently? I think so. I really do think so.

Rest in peace, Jamel Myles.

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Never Forget: A September 11th Appeal

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9/11 United States America Never Forget terrorist attack

September 11th, 2001 – the day of the terrorist attack that changed the United States of America forever.

Where were you on 9/11? That’s the question everyone asks. Every person alive that day remembers where they were 8:26 AM Eastern Time when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north-facing side of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

We will never forget.

At this time on September 11th, I was in California. My then-husband was in tech school in Port Hueneme just outside of LA, and my mother had called me to tell me to turn on the television. When I did so, my heart sank; I flipped it on just in time to discover a plane had hit the North Tower, and then watched as United Flight 175 hit the South Tower. Everything changed at that point. Instantly, the situation went from a tragic accident to the realization that the United States of America was under attack.

I jumped in the car and drove immediately to the naval base, where it took 2 ½ hours to get through security and onto the base that day. They searched every car that came through with mirrors and bomb-sniffing dogs. I learned that every military base was on high alert once I’d arrived, while also hearing a lot of terrifying talk about sending out troops before they’d even finished tech school. Already, we were at war. The air on base was thick and adherent with anger, fear, and excitement.

But my point in writing this isn’t about where we were when the planes hit those towers. My point in writing this is not one that explicitly relates to the number of lives that were lost (although this cannot and should not ever be forgotten or undermined), nor which politics landed us in that position in the first place, nor all of the conspiracy theories. It’s about who we were as a country on that fateful day.

My point in writing this is that September 11, 2001 is the last time I remember our country being united. Today, that makes me twice as sad.

I’d like to impress upon you, readers, a disclaimer here: I am well cognizant of the fact that a part of that unity from that day forward, came from a large, unnecessary, and xenophobic place toward the many Americans who identify as Islamic and Middle Eastern, as well as those from other areas of South Asia, such as India. Even just seventeen years ago, this was a time in which many caucasian Americans were not being held accountable for their white privilege. And although we are slowly but surely getting better about making sure that white privilege is being more carefully monitored and examined, we still have a very long way to go before it meets a necessary extinction. In no way do I condone that behavior, nor will I ever insinuate that it was right or just. But that isn’t the unity I’m placing my specifics on. The unity of which I speak is that in which neighbors checked on one another, picked up each other’s children from school, made phone calls to their friends and loved ones, held strangers as they cried in the deafeningly silent streets of Manhattan. The unity of which I speak is the compassion we showed one another — not the response from bigots and a presidential administration that targeted innocent people in countries overseas while using xenophobia to try to further unite the country. That part will always remain to be wrong.

The very thing that makes me proud to be an American is the legendary American spirit, the audacity that we have always had as a people to stand together or alone against the greatest odds. Nothing showed that American spirit more than on September 11th or in the weeks that followed. The unity, support, and compassion that we displayed toward our fellow American citizens in need that day was nothing short of inspiring.

Somehow, in the throes of the current political climate — one that daily rips further apart the left from the right, the upper from the lower class, the young and the old, the cis and the trans, the gay and the straight — we as Americans have forgotten that part. We, the People of the United States of America, have forgotten that we all play on the same team. And in that loss of cognizance, we have forgotten our neighbors, forgotten how to listen, and forgotten our common goals.

Yet we remember the tragedy. We remember the lives that were lost (as we should always). We remember the brave first responders and volunteers who died or are still dying slowly from complications that came following their insurmountably brave heroism. We remember our politicians that spoke and acted eloquently and strongly during that time, as well as the ones who could have done better in this aspect.

But we, the People, have forgotten ourselves.

Now is the time to remember. It’s time to remember who we are as Americans; to put aside our egos and our pride and remember that, as with any team, success is hollow if not all those working toward it can attain it. It is time for we as Americans to get back to our common goals — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness equally and for all.

When you remember September 11th, mourn our losses, love those who have sacrificed, and celebrate our nation’s resilience to being torn apart by a few bad people. Though it is important to bear in mind that the religion a terrorist claims to align with and the color of a terrorist’s skin does not make every person of that skin pigment or faith a terrorist. In fact, the vast majority are nothing like those terrorists. But I implore of you now, on the anniversary of one of our nation’s most tragic days, to not forget our compassion, to not forget who we are.

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Opinion: Michelle Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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The seemingly harmless 32-year-old comic tore the Trump administration and the media to shreds with her White House Correspondents’ Dinner stand-up gig … and it was beautiful.

The White House Correspondents’ Association (you know, those people who sit in the press room of the White House shouting questions that typically go unanswered or answered falsely by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders) is treated annually with a nice dinner at the White House. The dinner is typically attended by the bulk of the administration, the president and vice president, members of the association intertwined with celebrities and other Washington big-wigs. However, in both 2017 and now 2018, Donald J. Trump has made the choice to not attend the festivities for one reason or another. In his place in 2018, Trump sent Huckabee Sanders.

The evening always boasts at least one entertainer, who in the past have included Jay Leno, Bob Hope, Wanda Sykes, Aretha Franklin, and many others. Last year, Daily Show senior correspondent, Hasan Minhaj, entertained the room, making one-liners about Trump, his staff, the turn-over rate (which even in late April of 2017 was alarmingly high), Russia, and, of course, the press. Minhaj committed himself to performing at the expense of the administration, and was widely regarded for doing so tastefully. This year, (also) Daily Show contributor/writer, Michelle Wolf, was tasked with the honor of performing … and she took no prisoners.

It was mesmerizing.

Throughout the bulk of her performance, Michelle Wolf took jabs at Donald Trump (“Trump is racist, though. He loves white nationalists, which is a weird term for a Nazi. Calling a Nazi a ‘white nationalist’ is like calling a pedophile a ‘kid friend,’ or Harvey Weinstein a ‘ladies man,’ which isn’t really fair — he also likes plants.”), Mike Pence (“Mike Pence is what happens when Anderson Cooper isn’t gay.”), Sarah Huckabee Sanders (“I loved you as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale. Mike Pence, if you haven’t seen it, you would love it.”), the press corps (about CNN:“You guys love breaking news, and you did it, you broke it! Good work!”) and so many others. When she took the stage, it was probably a general assumption that this tiny, 32-year-old, not-that-famous comedienne from Pennsylvania was going to perform some quick burns, but that she would do so apologetically and with respect to the administration.

What’s the old saying about assuming?

Michelle took the stage and held her own. She had no problem roasting individuals who were seated before her, and even those just a few chairs from her (read: Sanders). She delivered jokes with impeccable comedic timing and proved to the entire world that she’s just as pissed about the state of our nation’s government as many of us are. And by the time the dust had settled, Michelle Wolf became a name that everyone in America would soon know.

However, much like the 2016 election, reactions to the event were … well … divided. While many liberals and anti-Trump advocates rallied around Wolf and lamented their praises, the right, the administration, as well as a great deal of the media, felt differently. Just this morning, even the White House Correspondents’ Association president, Margaret Talev, even released a statement via Twitter responding to Saturday’s monologue. In the statement, Talev outlines that the spirit of the WHCD was “not to divide people”, and went so far as to state that Wolf’s set was not in the spirit of that mission.

Even the president felt the need to take to Twitter to comment on the performance he had not even the courage to attend, stating that Wolf “bombed.” Conversely, many big-names from the left have stepped up and sworn their allegiance to Wolf, supporting her and defending her in social media battles.

Celebrities Support Michelle WolfYes, Michelle Wolf put on a performance that is going to be long-remembered, as well as one that will be go down in history as controversial. But why was it so controversial? It didn’t seem controversial when a scathing performance was given by the aforementioned Minhaj the year before. And while he too was met with criticism for some of his remarks by the right, the amount of blowback didn’t include a personal letter from the WHCA.

And why is it that America is so angry? (Let’s be honest, it’s mostly because she’s a liberal woman, and liberal women apparently shouldn’t have opinions … least of all express them). Wolf did her job. Not just as a comic (and it was really freaking funny), but as an American. She used the opportunity to point out through satire and rhetoric the issues that a great deal of Americans have with the administration, as well as the press (and even added to the end of her set that Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean water.). And while you may not often hear the words ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ being shouted throughout the halls of the White House as they were last night (then again, how can I really know that?), Wolf’s commentary was tasteful and rewarding.

Trump is racist, though. He loves white nationalists, which is a weird term for a Nazi. Calling a Nazi a ‘white nationalist’ is like calling a pedophile a ‘kid friend,’ or Harvey Weinstein a ‘ladies man,’ which isn’t really fair — he also likes plants.

—Michelle Wolf

Everyone is concerned for Sarah Huckabee Sanders and President Trump for what Wolf had to say about them; but what about what those two say to all of us on a daily basis? It’s no secret that Donald Trump is a compulsive liar. He usually gets caught in his lies, denies them, is presented with evidence, denies that, and then comes around and says, “Oh, sure. Yeah. I think that did happen. But it’s okay, because it was just me.” Huckabee Sanders does nothing to help that situation, as she conveniently holds a title that requires her to relay a great deal of those lies to the press. And the problem with the both of them? As they’re spewing bullshit to America, they’re doing so with faces that read clearly: I believe what I’m saying is true. To add insult to injury, Trump doesn’t just tell lies, he’s also a self-proclaimed sexual assailant (refer to the Billy Bush recording travesty), and talks about people—often his constituents, mind you—as if they’re not people, but pawns in his real-life game of Monopoly.

Have we so quickly forgotten how he accused Megyn Kelly of having “blood coming out of her wherever” when she chastised him for his behavior during a debate? Are we ignoring how he mocked a disabled news reporter on live TV at a rally held in South Carolina? Are we forgetting how his temper tantrums have brought us to the brink of nuclear war more times than a few? What about his proposed ban on transgender military members? What about the time he claimed that sexual assault in the military is just what happens when men and women work together? Oh, and there was that time he joked about dating his own daughter (that one still makes me cringe).

Wolf did what Wolf was there to do and she did a damn fine job doing so. The backlash she’s receiving is basically to say that we are now supposed to hold the comics in this country to a higher standard than we are the leader of the free world. And that sort of assertion is, quite frankly, ridiculous. She tackled issues that people don’t want to talk about, including the press pandering to the president for ratings and money.

Wolf wasn’t what the crowd was expecting that night at the WHCD … and thankfully so. Whether you like what she had to say about the president, his administration, or the press, Wolf showed up and did her job the way that a comedian is supposed to (and much unlike the president’s record has proven, she did so without insulting the image or body of a single woman). When is the Trump administration going to show up to do their jobs the way they’re supposed to?

You can watch Michelle’s full remarks here.

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Entertainment

Re-Imagined ‘How Do I Live’ By LeAnn Rimes Available Now

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LeAnn Rimes Strips Down ‘How Do I Live’ for Re-Imagined Version as Thank You to Fans

Re-Imagine ‘How Do I Live’ By LeAnn Rimes Available Now

(NASHVILLE)  – It has been twenty-one years since LeAnn Rimes released possibly the greatest love song ever. Today, Rimes releases Re-Imagine, a beautiful rendition where she bares her soul, breaking down How Do I Live”.

According to Billboard “How Do I Live” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1997, reaching chart milestones left and right. The song eventually spent a then-record 69 weeks on the chart, nearly half of that in the top 10 alone — a record only recently broken by Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You” last year. And if you look at Billboard’s All-Time Top 100 songs ranking, you’ll see Rimes’ name sitting pretty at No. 4 for “Live.”

Download today!

Re-Imagine is a slowed-down version of ‘How Do I Live.” The production is less smoke and mirrors and highlights what we have known all along, Rime’s vocals can still melt your heart, and cut deep, really deep. Re-Imagine takes you on a spiritual journey allowing you to experience “How Do I Live” like the very first time.

The new song, produced by powerhouse Darrell Brown serves as a personal thank you from Rimes to her fans. Re-Imagine is available at iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon.

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Entertainment News

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Holiday Album

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Carols for a Cure Broadway HIV/AIDS BROADWAY CARES EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS

Broadway’s Carols for a Cure is full of holiday favorites sung by Broadway stars for HIV/AIDS.

The Christmas season is in full show tune swing now that the 19th volume of Broadway’s Carols for a Cure has arrived.  The latest compilation from the beloved series continues Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ tradition of pairing the casts from award-winning Broadway musicals with seasonal songs that are both classic and new.  Once again, the result is pure magic and is sure to help make the 2017 holiday season shine brighter than ever before.

“These are all new, original recordings, creatively arranged and performed by the incredibly talented performers and musicians from the 2017 Broadway season,” explains producer Lynn Pinto who, once again, collaborates with engineer Andros Rodriguez on the album. Pinto allows each company a great deal of freedom in choosing the material and the style of the arrangement. She adds, “We record the musicians and singers in layers, utilizing isolation booths for a higher quality recording. It gives the album a unique sound from most cast albums and allows us to showcase some of the best voices and instrumentalists in the world.”

The first Broadway’s Carols for a Cure album debuted in 1999, making this year’s album the 19th in the annual series.  Fans of Broadway will be overjoyed  to hear recordings from Tony Award winning casts of Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, Come From Away and many more:

ALADDIN O Come All Ye Faithful 

ANASTASIA All Those Christmas Cliches 

AVENUE Q The 12 Days of Christmas

BEAUTIFUL Love at Christmas Time

A BRONX TALE I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

CATS Joy to the World

CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Do You Hear What I Hear?

CHICAGO This Is The Night 

COME FROM AWAY It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

DEAR EVAN HANSEN Down In Yon Forest

GROUNDHOG DAY Oh Little Town of Punx, PA

HAMILTON Chester

JERSEY BOYS (National)Let’s Have an Old Fashioned Jersey Christmas

KINKY BOOTS Hark! The Herald Angel Sing

THE LION KING Everyone’s a Kid at Christmas

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Old Fashioned Christmas

SCHOOL OF ROCK Yule of Rock

WAITRESS I Wonder What You Got For Me

WAR PAINT I Can’t Wait For Christmas

WICKED God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Highlights are copious but include Billy Porter and the cast of Kinky Boots singing an all-new, rockin’ version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and the cast of A Bronx Tale performing “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” in a New Yawker-style that will have listeners humming for days.

Additionally, Meghan Toohey (Sara Barielles’ long-time guitarist) serves up a lovely 1960s-style original song, “Wonder What You Got For Me,” featuring the talented Anastacia McCleskey and the rest of the company and band from Waitress; and Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, the composer/lyricist team behind Anastasia perform their original carol, “All Those Christmas Cliches,” along with their award-winning cast.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with serious illnesses including HIV/AIDS receive the health care and support they need.  In addition, they provide financial support in the form of grants to HIV/AIDS and family service organizations throughout the country.

“The 19th volume of Broadway’s Carols for a Cure is the best yet,” promises Lynn Pinto.  “It exudes such warmth, like a cozy blanket on a snowy Winter’s day.”

“Broadway’s Carols for a Cure” can be purchased in the web store at BroadwayCares.org or by calling Broadway Cares at 212-840-0770.  The individual tracks are also available on iTunes.

Singles from the album can be purchased on here on iTunes

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What Is a Fetus by Any Other Name?

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Trump CDC transgender fetus science

Are the scientists of the CDC pandering to the right in order to gain congressional approval? And if so, what could be next?

OPINION: Today, as I was scrolling through Facebook to pass the time, I came across an article written by The Hill. I didn’t think much of it at first, but after the first read, I found myself frantically searching the web, hoping that it wasn’t true. After getting the same information from the Chicago Tribune and AOL, I had to admit that what I was seeing was, in fact, real.

What was being reported is a direct attack on the first amendment to the constitution. This amendment grants protections in respect to establishment and the exercise of religion, the right to peacefully assemble, the freedom of the press, and even the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The one protection that most people remember, however, is the one the article threatened: freedom of speech.

On December 14th, officials with the CDC circulated a list of words that they are now forbidden to use in official budget policy documents for the 2019 year, which is due to be released in February. These words are: evidence-based, science-based, vulnerable, entitlement, fetus, diversity, and transgender. According to the articles, these banned words may also be excluded from official documents in other branches of Trump’s health department.

An analyst who attended the CDC meeting told the Washington Post that the CDC was given alternatives to some of these words. In place of “evidence” or “science-based” they were instructed to use the following: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes”.

It is widely known that the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to stifle the media. From calling reports that aren’t flattering “fake news” to denying the smallest of facts when confronted, great lengths have been taken to keep us from the truth. Even the repeal of net neutrality is a way for the people to only see what the government wants us to see. By allowing corporations to control our access to the internet, then the decision of what we learn is left in the hands of those that can profit from our ignorance. For them to directly ban words like this is a direct contradiction to what the first amendment protects. How far will Trump go to change the way we think? If we no longer call an unborn child a fetus, will it be easier to ban abortion? If we no longer refer to research as science-based, will it be simpler to replace the truth with what they want us to believe? Already we see Republicans citing the bible as if it were verified fact, and as if we all should believe as they do. If we don’t openly use the word transgender, then how will we ever receive equal treatment in life?

First, official documents in the CDC. What’s next? Modifying scientific facts our children are taught in their science classes? Many people want to believe that we possess an awareness of the world around us and the current events in our country. In the end, however, how can we know that the news we hear every day isn’t information that has been filtered and edited to be more palatable?

Update: A memo sent to NBC News from CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald stated that no words had officially been banned from the CDC. The statement read:

“The CDC remains committed to our public health mission as a science- and evidence-based institution, providing for the common defense of the country against health threats. Science is and will remain the foundation of our work … As I have said previously, there are no banned, prohibited or forbidden words at the CDC — period.”

Dr. Fitzgerald went on to explain that the discussion of verbiage had been a topic of discussion at a staff-level meeting to find the best way for 2019 budgets to pass the Republican-led Congress. However, as Dr. Sandro Galea, who serves as dean of Boston University’s School of Public Health, stated to the Associated Press, “If you are saying you cannot use words like ‘transgender’ and ‘diversity,’ it’s a clear statement that you cannot pay attention to these issues.” This could be seen as applicable, even if the words are simply be dismissed from budgetary discussions to win a right-sided vote. 

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Editor’s Note: World AIDS Day

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World AIDS Day 2017

A note on World AIDS Day from About editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez.

Hi, everyone. I hope you’ve all had a lovely week and are wrapping up your Fridays differently than I am – by not working.

As most of you who are in the LGBTQIA community know, today is World AIDS Day, a day specifically targeted at remembering those who have lost their lives to the HIV/AIDS virus, as well as to spreading education about the importance of safe sex, prevention, and living with HIV/AIDS.

I want to start by saying that there is nothing shameful about living with HIV/AIDS. I, myself, am HIV-negative, so there are a lot of aspect to HIV/AIDS that I cannot speak to. But as a person who is very sexually active and who has been with multiple gay male partners in his life, it’s extremely important to me that I am tested regularly, and that I take the precautions necessary to prevent myself from contracting HIV. And I believe it is equally important that we all get tested frequently. We have to so that we can live longer and healthier lives with those we love.

But back to my previous point: having HIV/AIDS is not a shameful thing. It’s not something that a person does to themselves. It is not a reflection of the kind of person someone is. It is not a scarlet letter they should have to wear for everyone to see. HIV/AIDS is an illness, and one that takes lives every single day. It does not, however, define a person who is living with it, nor should it affect the way that others look at them. It should not serve as an excuse for anyone to pass judgment on them. Again, it’s an illness that affects far too many people because preventative medications and healthcare are expensive, and because the LGBTQIA community does not have proper and comprehensive sex education throughout almost all of the United States of America.

The real trouble here is, nothing is 100% effective. You can utilize expensive condoms and take PrEP as prescribed, but you are never going to be 100% protected from transmission. That said, science has brought the LGBTQIA community very far in terms of prevention. True, PrEP provides a 92-99% reduction rate in your risk of transmitting HIV, but 1-8% of potential transmission is still a potential for transmission. That’s why being tested is (again) so very important. While I cannot – nor would I ever try to – speak for an HIV-positive person or try to expound upon their experiences, I can say that it is not a virus that anyone would want. For decades, our community has battled HIV – back to when it was still referred to as GRID (gay-related immunodeficiency disease) – before even that. In that same span of time, innumerable people have lost their lives to this disease.

However, science is constantly looking for ways to make us safer, because HIV/AIDS is not a virus of perverse sex or to just being gay. It’s a virus that limits our ability to love freely and live long, healthy lives. HIV/AIDS has long been used against the queer community by the conservative side of politics as a tactic to restrict the rights of queer people. And in many ways, that has served a hindrance to scientists who work their entire careers trying to find a cure for it. But no one is giving up.

We’re lucky that the number of queer people who are living with HIV/AIDS has diminished. Lucky, because no one deserves to live with something so nightmarish. Still, it is possible to live a long, happy, and relatively healthy life with HIV/AIDS. It’s not always an end-all. In fact, more people are living now much longer lives than ever before with HIV and AIDS. And that’s really something, because it was nearly unheard of just thirty years ago.

So, with all that said, About Magazine did not publish any content related to World AIDS Day, as we have a number of articles for you that will be released starting tomorrow, Saturday, the 2nd of December. We aren’t putting a time parameter on when these articles will end, as we believe that HIV/AIDS should be normalized and discussed all throughout the year. However, given what we recognize today, the next week will serve more information than normal. These articles will talk about the importance of sexual education for queer youth in schools, preventative measures for HIV, resources for people living with HIV/AIDS, a history of World AIDS Day, lists of myths about HIV/AIDS and the people affected by it, some personal stories from those in the Houston LGBTQIA community that are living with this virus, and much more.

It’s our earnest hope here at About that everyone will learn something from these pieces, and take this information to share it with the people you love and in your life. If you have questions you don’t know a credible answer to, hopefully we can help provide it, or at least point you in the right direction. Our goal here at About is always to make sure that this community lives well, happy, and healthy lives. So, please take the time to read some of the information if you’re unsure of anything about HIV/AIDS. And always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or if there’s something you think we should touch on. You can reach us at info@about-online.com.

For anyone reading this, please know that you are important, that you are special, that you are beautiful, and that you are loved, regardless of your HIV status or anything else you may feel defines you. Because nothing defines you other than what’s in your heart and how you treat others around you.

Choose kindness.

Choose community.

Choose love.

 

Anthony Ramirez
Editor-in-Chief 
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