On Grammy red carpet, stars speak out against anti-LGBTQ legislation

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Little Big Town speaks with GLAAD. Screenshot via YouTube.

The tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash, alongside his 13-year-old daughter and 7 other people, cast a somber mood over Sunday night’s 62nd Grammy Awards ceremony. A breathtaking opening number by host and multiple Grammy-winner Alicia Keys and members of Boys II Men paid tribute to the basketball superstar, setting the stage for an evening which was peppered with speeches and performances dedicated to Bryant’s memory.

The passing of Bryant was not the only shadow hanging over the evening, however. With this week’s news of the signing into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee of his state’s controversial measure allowing adoption agencies to deny service to same-sex couples on the basis of “religious freedom,” the resurgent specter of anti-LGBTQ discrimination also haunted the proceedings, made all the more glaring by a lack of any mention in a presentation that included several wins by out LGBTQ artists.

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Taylor Swift explains why she got political in new Netflix doc

By : Jeremy Williams
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(Screenshot from YouTube)

“I need to be on the right side of history,” pop icon Taylor Swift says about her jump into the political arena in the trailer to a new documentary film coming to Netflix Jan. 31. “Miss Americana,” directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Lana Wilson, follows Swift throughout the making of her album “Lover” and as she finds her political voice over the last few years.

Prior to the 2018 mid-term elections, Swift had been quiet publicly on matters of politics until she came out in an Instagram post endorsing two Democratic candidates in her home state of Tennessee in October 2018. Less than a year later, Swift encouraged her fans to support The Equality Act — legislation designed to protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination on the basis of  sexual orientation and gender identity — in the music video for her single “You Need To Calm Down,” which featured dozens of LGBTQ entertainers.

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Kristin Chenoweth covers, duets with fellow legends

By : Gregg Shapiro
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On “For The Girls,” the legendary Kristin Chenoweth’s most contemporary, pop-oriented studio album in nearly 10 years, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning performer pays tribute to several of her musical icons.

The list includes Judy Garland, Eydie Gorme, Barbra Streisand, Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton.

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Taylor Swift, Janet Mock to be honored by GLAAD

By : Wire Report
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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Taylor Swift and writer-director-producer Janet Mock will be honored at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards for their advocacy for LGBTQ issues.

The pop star will receive the Vanguard Award, which is presented to allies who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. Mock, who is best known for her work on the FX series “Pose,” will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, presented to a LGBTQ media professional.

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Actress Sara Gilbert separates from wife, singer Linda Perry

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Sara Gilbert and Linda Perry at an Evening with Women event in 2014. (Photo by Greg Hernandez, from Wikimedia Commons)

LOS ANGELES (AP) | Actress Sara Gilbert has filed for legal separation from her wife of five years, singer and songwriter Linda Perry.

Gilbert filed the separation documents in Los Angeles Superior Court Dec. 27. The papers cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split, and requests that neither woman receive spousal support.

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Olivia Newton-John talks cannabis, Christmas and community ahead of ‘Grease’ sing-a-long in Tampa

By : Kirk Hartlage
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This holiday season Olivia Newton-John is dreaming of a green Christmas in more ways than one.

Despite battling breast cancer for the third time, the singer and actress is maintaining a busy schedule of events that keeps her connected to her fans while still raising money and awareness about the disease.

Just a few weeks ago she raised lots of green – a reported $2.7 million – through an auction of outfits and other items from her career. Among the items sold: Newton-John’s “Bad Sandy” leather jacket and skintight pants from “Grease.” The black satin pants were purchased by Spanx founder Sara Blakely, a Clearwater native and “Grease” superfan who once hired Newton-John to sing at her wedding.

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Pantene releases new trans-inclusive holiday ad

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In partnership with GLAAD and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, Pantene is launching a new ad campaign this season in hope of promoting awareness of the challenges facing many LGBTQ+ people during the holidays.

As reported by People, the ad features TCLA’s performing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and hopes to spread some love during a time of the year that can often be difficult for those whose gender identity or sexual orientation aren’t accepted by their families. Intercut with the chorus singing are scenes of individual members as they prepare for their own holiday homecomings.

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Saxophonist Dave Koz talks music, touring and the magic of Christmas

By : Lora Korpar
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Saxophonist Dave Koz is spreading the Christmas spirit this holiday season with a new album and his 22nd annual Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour.

The multiple Grammy-nominated, openly gay jazz artist has been in the music business for nearly 30 years, keeping busy not just with his music, but with radio shows, cruises, wine and more.

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Elton John blasts security guards with foul-mouthed rant over treatment of female fan

By : John Paul King of the washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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Singer and LGBTQ icon Elton John lashed out verbally at security guards from the stage of his concert in Perth, Australia on Dec. 1, hurling expletives at them over their treatment of a woman in the audience.

The Grammy, Oscar, Tony and Golden Globe winner was in the middle of a performance at HBF Park Stadium when he exploded into a tirade full of four-letter words after spotting two concert security staffers attempting to remove the female fan from the stadium.

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After apology, Azealia Banks doubles down on homophobia

By : John Paul King of the washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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ABOVE: Azealia Banks performing at Brixton Academy in London in 2012. (Photo by Tim Boddy, courtesy of Flickr)

In what might be described as a social media whirlwind over the last few days, controversial rapper Azealia Banks has apologized for one homophobic rant, before sending out a new one in a post that teased her retirement from music altogether.

It started in October, when the 28-year-old Banks posted a video on Instagram in which she called out queer singer Frank Ocean a “dumbass n****” for launching a club event called “PrEP+” and implied that gay men use the drug as an excuse for promiscuous behavior.

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Billy Porter teams with Idina Menzel to record a holiday classic

By : John Paul King of the washington blade, courtesy of the national LGBT media association
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ABOVE: Billy Porter and Idina Menzel keeping warm in their new video duet (Image via YouTube)

As Christmas approaches each year, it comes with the anticipation (and maybe also the dread) of the next glittery, fabulous new holiday single to be dropped by a pop star.

This season has already brought us Sam Smith’s rendition of Donna Summer’s classic “I Feel Love” (okay, not exactly a Christmas song, but coupled with those Target holiday commercials it seems as festive as “Jingle Bells”), but the winner might just have landed under our trees courtesy of not one, but two of Broadway’s brightest lights.

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Taylor Swift tweets support for gay fan who came out to her music

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Taylor Swift, photo via Swift’s Facebook page.

When Reid Arthur used Taylor Swift’s music to publicly come out at his university last week, he had no idea the pop star herself would personally voice her support.

Arthur and a group of his friends took part in a Lip Sync battle on stage at the Quaker-founded, George Fox University in Oregon, performing a a mash-up of the Taylor Swift songs “You Need To Calm Down” and “…Ready For It.” At one point in the routine, Arthur took center stage as his friends grabbed the sleeves of his sequined jacket, pulling it off to reveal a white top with rainbow ribbons hanging from the sleeves. The audience gave a huge cheer in response

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