advocates protest removal of gay marriage resolution from June 12 council meeting
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
"Prince Harry saved me" saysgay soldier
A gay British soldier who believed he was going to be bashed to death by troops from a rival regiment says Prince Harry rescued him from a homophobic attack.
Harry was his tank commander back in 2008 when the incident happened. Trooper James Wharton told the prince that he feared he was going to be murdered after six soldiers threatened to “batter” him.
‘I told him, ‘I think I’m going to be murdered by the infantry.’ I climbed into the turret and talked Harry through exactly what had happened. He had a complete look of bewilderment on his face.
“I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. He said, ‘Right, I’m going to sort this shit out once and for all.’”
“He climbed out of the tank and I poked my head out of the turret a few moments later to see him having a go,” Wharton said.
“I could see he wasn’t holding back.”
Wharton (pictured above) says Harry also warned the other soldiers they would face severe discipline if they continued to threaten the gay trooper.
“I will always be grateful to Harry and I will never forget what happened.” Wharton now reflects. “Until he went over and dealt with everything I was on track for a battering.”
The revelations come as Wharton’s book about his 10-year military career is about to be published, with extracts appearing in British paper the Daily Mail.
A former Lance Corporal, Wharton was one of the servicemen who made up the official escort for the Queen as she went to Westminster Abbey for the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
He quit the army this year, bringing to an end a high-profile role as the most prominent out gay soldier in the UK.
Wharton says he and Harry served together in Canada for several months, sharing many stories and laughs during their training.
“Harry happened to mention that he and his brother had been told they were gay icons, the former solider recalls. “I laughed and told him that I didn’t think that was the case. He became really adamant saying, “What? What? We are! Our press people told us.”
“Harry then asked if he couldn’t be a gay icon because he was ginger. It was all very funny.”
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KRISTIN CHENOWETH: FROM WICKED TO GLEE
AUTHOR: Garrett Bithell
AUTHOR: Garrett Bithell
She’s short, tiny and has a speaking voice that sounds like Betty Boop fused with Marilyn Monroe. But Kristin Chenoweth has become one of the most revered musical theatre performers of her generation, even crossing the line into a hugely successful television career with her sheer talent and popularity. By Garrett Bithell.
Eight times a week, for nine months, Kristin Chenoweth would float into Broadway’s George Gershwin Theatre on a bubble as Glinda in Wicked, and utter the first line of the musical: “The Wicked Witch of the West is dead.” But one evening, after giving herself two herniated discs from the famous Glinda hair-flip, her doctor gave her a whole Vicodin pill to take before the show. At 97 pounds and just 4 feet 11 inches tall, the little pill knocked Chenoweth out of the park.
“I came in on a bubble alright,” she says. “Literally and metaphorically! I saw the three thousand people in the audience and I was just so happy! Then I tried to get my first line out... I apparently finished the show, but I don’t remember it at all. Some people said it was my best performance ever, which is mildly concerning!”
Although Chenoweth had already cultivated a successful musical theatre career, including a Tony Award for playing Sally in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, it was the Wickedjuggernaut that well and truly catapulted her into the zeitgeist. The shiny world of TV soon beckoned and she left Wicked in 2004 to join the cast of The West Wing as media consultant Annabeth Schott. For her performance, she was nominated twice, along with the cast, for a Screen Actors Guild Award. She appeared in the final two seasons of the program until 2009. Chenoweth also played Olive Snook in the television series Pushing Daisies, which garnered her an Emmy Award in 2009.
Above: Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, with Idina Menzel in Wicked in 2003.
Later that year, Chenoweth guest starred as April Rhodes in Glee, a role she continues to reprise. She has been lavished with praise for her role, and nominated for a further two Emmys. But it’s because the show explores characters that echo her own personal experience at school as a bullied glee kid that her success in the role means so much.
“But in a way, I think anyone who says they weren’t bullied, and that even goes for the bully as well, isn’t being honest,” Chenoweth says. “Everybody has felt it – even as an adult, it’s just a case of what kind of bully you have.
“Obviously I don’t ever want people to be bullied – but did some of those experiences shape who I am today? Yeah. I made me tougher. We have a big campaign in the United States called ‘It Gets Better’, and it really does. It’s the nerds who run the world, and I was a big one in school. I had a unique speaking voice, I’m 4’11’’ – there are a lot of things to bully! It just goes to show: don’t peak in high school!”
Above: Kristin Chenoweth as April Rhodes, with Matthew Morrison in Glee in 2009.
Chenoweth was confronted with a different form of bullying only recently when she accepted a role on Good Christian Bitches in 2011. Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Kim Gatlin, the series centres on a recently widowed woman who moves her family back to the upscale Dallas, Texas neighbourhood where she grew up. As a former high school bully, she hopes to win over her old classmates only to discover she is the centre of malicious gossip in the Christian community. Chenoweth, who is Christian herself, was lampooned by her conservative religious fan base for taking the piss out of the Bible belt.
“I grew up in that very area,” she says. “I know those women exist, and I would never ever do something that made fun of God, because I am a God person. I think there’s a difference between having fun with a world and making fun of a world. But it is a world that exists – I grew up in the Bible belt and that’s how it is!”
Another common source of conflict for Chenoweth’s religious fan base is her outspoken support of GLBT rights, same-sex marriage and deep connection to the gay community. But she is not one to be beaten into submission any more. “One of the things I’ve come to understand is that I don’t have to reconcile my Christian faith with my gay rights advocacy, others do,” she states. “And whether they can or not is not up to me.”
Above: Kristin Chenoweth as Annabeth Schott in The West Wing in 2004.
Chenoweth is touring Australia for the first time throughout June. Supported by a cast of singers, dancers and actors, the concert will showcase her wide-ranging skills from musical theatre and opera, to country music and her self-penned material.
Indeed this versatility, and Chenoweth’s achievements in the entertainment industry generally, are even more impressive considering she suffers badly from Ménière’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that affects hearing and balance. It is characterised by episodes of vertigo, low-pitched tinnitus, and hearing loss.
“It is the most awkward, horrifying thing to have in my industry,” she says. “There have been times on stage when my co-stars have basically held me up to keep me from falling down, or even going into the orchestra pit. My peripheral vision is completely off and I hear a tone that switches ears – and let me tell you, trying to maintain perfect pitch when you hear a C# is not easy. I also can’t really dance any more because I can’t turn.
“I don’t mean to be ‘woe is me’ because everybody has their Achilles’ heel, but this is mine. I’d like to kick Ménière’s disease’s arse. If I could chop off my little finger – and I play the piano and the guitar – to not have it any more, I would. That’s how much I hate it! But you know what? Life is pretty wonderful and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can, regardless.”
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Monday, June 10, 2013
TASMANIAN GOVERNMENT EXTENDS LGBT GRANTS PROGRAM
The Tasmanian Government is continuing with its LGBTI grants program which offers $50,000 each year to projects proven to assist the LGBTI community.
The Minister for Community Development Cassy O’Connor (pictured) told Budget Estimates that the funding in the 2013-14 budget allocated to the program is part of the government’s continued commitment to the LGBT community.
“As a progressive Government, we’ve fought hard to achieve equality and fight discrimination through policies like same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption,” she said.
“Supporting the LGBTI community and tackling prejudice and isn’t just about strong social policy. We also need to fund research that underpins good intervention strategies and policy.
“The program supports research and evidence-based projects that benefit the LGBTI community by helping to reduce discrimination and prejudice.”
The original grants program was due to run over three years from 2010 and designed to increase the number of Tasmanians who are accept of diversity and improve the resilience and capacity of the LGBTI community.
In 2013 the successful applications included the University of Tasmania, Relationships Australia Tasmania and TasPride.
“Family violence in the LGBTI community is an under-researched area, and information about its prevalence is limited,” O’Connor said.
“The LGBTI Grants Program provides an excellent opportunity to support that research.”
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Gay Australian conservative journalist and speech writer dies aged 61
Christopher Pearson, columnist for The Australian and speech writer for Australia's conservative former Prime Minister John Howard, has died aged 61.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott paid tribute to Pearson saying he was one of Australia's 'finest conservative intellects' and a 'steadfast' friend.
'I valued Christopher's counsel and his wisdom,' Abbott said, Sydney Morning Herald reports.
'I suspect he never fully appreciated the impact he had on others and the sense of gratitude we have for him. Australia will miss him.'
In a column for The Australian in 2009, Pearson wrote about reconciling his homosexuality with his Catholic faith. He converted to Catholicism in 1999 after being raised an Anglican.
'I could never have been happy as a gay Christian - with or without a rainbow sash - because it always seemed to me a contradiction in terms,' Pearson wrote, adding that he 'reluctantly concluded that St Paul was right about homosexual sex'.
Pearson was a vocal opponent to gay marriage. He wrote in his column for The Australian in 2010 that arguments in support of same-sex marriage are shallow and that the Australian Greens party's 'line' that all loving couples deserve to be treated equally is 'specious'.
National director of Australian Marriage Equality Rodney Croome said to Gay Star News:
'Christopher Pearson was profoundly wrong about homosexuality, faith, family and marriage. Homosexuals are not "wallflowers at the great dance of the generations", as he once wrote. Our destiny is to be fully integrated into our families and communities. But his strong views did some good, inspiring me and others to hone our case for equality and inclusion.'