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us-supreme-court-marriage

In its order list released today, the United States Supreme Court finally agreed to settle the question of whether or not the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right for same-sex couples to marry. The high court agreed to hear four cases from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky, all states within the Sixth Circuit. It seems likely, though not certain, that the court will hear oral arguments on the cases later this spring, making a ruling on the issue likely before the court takes its summer break at the end of June.

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madhu-bai-kinnar-transgender-mayor

Madhu Bai Kinnar made history in India this past weekend. The 35-year-old low-caste transgender woman became the country’s first openly transgender to win a mayor election.

According to the state election commission, she won by more than 4,500 votes in Raigarh in the central state of Chhattisgarh. Kinnar, a member of the Dalit caste previously known as untouchables, earned a living by singing and dancing on trains according to the Press Trust of India. Now she’s been chosen to represent her community.

“People have shown faith in me. I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I’ll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams,” Kinnar said to The Guardian. “It was the public support that encouraged me to enter the poll fray for the first time and because of their support only, I emerged as the winner.”

Kinnar’s victory comes just months after India ruled that transgender be recognized as a third gender. Congrats to Madhu and the transgender community in India.

2014-time-person-of-the-year

Or rather, should I say people of the year. TIME has opted to go with more than one person who aren’t exactly household names for its Person Of The Year honors. The publication features five covers honoring Ebola fighters who have worked on the ground in West Africa to put an end to the outbreak.

“The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year.” – Time editor Nancy Gibbs

The five individuals singled out are Liberian surgeon Dr. Jerry Brown, Ebola survivor Salame Karwah, ambulance supervisor and Ebola survivor Foday Gallah, American health educator Ella Watson-Stryker and Dr. Kent Brantly who became the first American to be infected with the disease and transported to a Stateside hospital. Check out the other covers below.

The runners-up for this year’s Person of the Year included the Ferguson Protestors, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Taylor Swift, who like Miley Cyrus last year, made the longer shortlist but fell short.

check out the other covers after the jump

the-hunted-rogue

With amazing role models like Laverne Cox stepping into the spotlight my personal hope is that these brave individuals will help give a much needed voice to the Transgender community. Two such people looking to be heard are Jade Olivia Braddock and Cyril Blake, authors of a gory and gripping Werewolves tale in The Solstice Moon Series. They’ve already successfully self-published the first book of the series “An Awaited Reckoning,” which you can read the first 2 chapters HERE. Jade and Cyril are now on track to publish the second book in the series The Hunted Rogue and are challenging well know celebrity allies of the LGBT community to help them with their Kickstarter campaign, which was featured as a staff pick. So far the campaign has managed to raise $3,033 out of their $6000 goal and they only have a few days left.

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annalynne-mccord-human-trafficking

90210 alum AnnaLynne McCord premiered her directorial debut effort this week. I Choose is a short film that tackles human trafficking. It’s a topic McCord is passionate about. She recently revealed in an essay for Cosmopolitan that she was the victim of sexual assault when she was 18-years-old.

“When I was on ’90210? a few years ago, the character I played, Naomi, was raped by someone she knew. I welcomed the story line, thinking it was impor­tant for viewers. I memorized my lines and rehearsed the scenes. I felt ready to go. Then when the cameras were rolling on an intense scene — a fight with an unsupportive friend after the assault — I broke down, sobbing uncontrolla­bly. My castmates thought I had done a great job playing the part. They had no idea that I had actually been sexually assaulted by someone I knew in real life.” – McCord

McCord enlisted her real-life boyfriend Dominic Purcell to star in the project which she also wrote and produced. The silent, 10-minute, black-and-white clip illustrates the difference between women who choose sexual adventures — and those who are forced into them against their will. I Choose was inspired by “the personal stories of the resilient survivors of the Cambodian sex trade.”

In addition to spreading awareness, the campaign is hoping to raise funds for Lotus House, a 5-story home she’s building for Cambodian sex slave survivors who are in search of a “new beginning.” Watch the film below.

watch film after the jump

camp-out

The Haus of Jaja is throwing another fantastic charity event in TO here this month and you should be there!

Valentines Day showed the premiere of Jaja’s charity chops, and the event was a raging success raising thousands for the LGBT Youth line. This time Camp OUT is once again being held at the Pilot Tavern and this time is supporting LGBT youth in going to camp this Summer.

PFLAG Durham Region’s Youth Leadership camp is in jeopardy due to last minute funding cuts. But with your support, we can give these kids the chance they deserve to regroup, recharge, and thrive!

The event is an early one from 5pm to 9pm and promises a good time, with great music, a fun dance floor, special guests, and draws and raffles. This time I will not be covered in balloons in my underwear, but I will be there to show these guys, doing great things for our community and surrounding communities, my support. Come down on June 19th for a smore, some bug juice punch, and a lot of fun. It’ll be a gooder.

For more info, head over to the Facebook event.

Related Stories:

clay-aiken-congressman

Clay Aiken and Keith Crisco were in a heated battle for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District race. The primary which took place last week was so close (369 votes in favor for Aiken), both men were awaiting the results of an official canvass of votes by state election officials on Tuesday before deciding how to proceed.

Crisco sadly passed away at his home today. The 71-year-old politician tragically died as a result of injuries sustained from a fall at his Asheboro, North Carolina home. He was confirmed dead on the scene when the emergency workers arrived. Crisco is survived by his wife, Jane, his three children, and six grandchildren. Our condolences go out to his family.

beverly-hills-hotel-gay-rights-brunei

In its twelve year history, the annual Oscars Night Before Party has always been held at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Next year, the party held by the Motion Picture & Television Fund is cutting ties with the hotel due to its ties to Brunei. The small Southeast Asian country instituted a severe anti-gay penal code last week. The luxury hotel is part of the Dorchester Collection which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

MPTF’s top executives issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that they have “deep concern about the recent enactment of laws in Brunei that call for violent punishment, including amputation and death by stoning, against those engaging in same-sex activity and extramarital sexual relations and those committing adultery. We expressed very clearly that we cannot condone or tolerate these harsh and repressive laws and as a result support a business owned by the Sultan of Brunei or a Brunei sovereign fund associated with the government of Brunei.”

other major corporations boycotting after the jump

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