Buff CNN Host Chris Cuomo Calls Out Congressman For Attacking Journalist

I write a lot about bullying, especially in regard to LGBT bullying that still happens are too frequently.

Sadly, we’re currently living in a time where some public figures, even some of our leaders, show respect for bullies.

Whether its dictators like Russian President Vladimir Putin or North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump seems to revere them even though they’re famous for demeaning and diminishing those they see as beneath them.

This week, that dynamic was put on display yet again while Trump campaigned in Montana.

During the appearance, the Trumpster praised Montana’s only congressman, Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, for “body slamming” a reporter, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, last year for asking a question he didn’t like about healthcare.

“Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type!” Trump said as the crowd cheered.

For his actions, Gianforte eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault in June 2017 for his attack on Jacobs. He was sentenced to a 180-day deferred sentence, 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger management and a $300 fine along with an $85 court fee.

Hunky CNN host Chris Cuomo called out Trump and Gianforte last night on his evening show, Cuomo Primetime, for the terrible message they send as bullies.

“There is no question about what he did being wrong and illegal,” said Cuomo said of Gianforte’s bodyslam. “But the president celebrated him at a rally. Why does Trump praise bullies? Time and again, he celebrates punks who go after the little guy,” he continued.

“Everything Gianforte did is weak, okay?” Cuomo continued. “He attacked someone who wasn’t a threat, was at every disadvantage, Gianforte showed no control, no confidence, no respect for his office or his constituents or for the law. He is weak. And if he doesn’t like it, he can come body slam me as well. I welcome it.”



By the way, in case you hadn’t noticed Cuomo is jacked AF. Don’t expect Gianforte to show up at Cuomo’s door anytime soon.

Cuomo contrasted Trump and Gianforte with NBA superstar LeBron James, who during a recent basketball game was overheard telling his teammates, “Anytime you fall, your brother will come pick you up.”

Because that’s what true leaders do. Someone falls, you lift them up.

“Crazy and sad days when the lessons we teach our kids - ‘don’t be a bully;’ ‘strength isn’t knocking down, it’s lifting up’ - now those lessons must also be directed at our president,” said Cuomo as he closed the segment.

These are crazy times. But fortunately, there are lots of men and women (like Cuomo) who aren’t afraid for calling bullies out for their weakness.

As the internet meme goes: “This is Chris. Chris doesn’t tolerate bullies. Be like Chris.”

And while I’m on the subject, let’s admire Cuomo not only for his positive message, but for his positively buffed biceps.







The opinions presented here represent those of the author and not of Instinct Magazine or its contributors.

(h/t The Hill)

Intersex People Are Still Misunderstood by Physicians and Family Alike

Intersex: The often-omitted I in LGBTQI (I admit usually don't include it). In addition to it being omitted frequently, it is still very misunderstood by many, including medical professionals as well as parents of intersex children.

Intersex individuals are people who were born with genitals that do not match the shapes of traditional male or female sex organs, and, as such, their bodies do not fit traditional male and female characteristics. Because of this, many doctors decide to perform surgeries in order to "correct" an intersex person's genitals, often asking the parents if they want their children to live as male or female, explains Dr. Arlene M. Baratz, a mother of two intersex daughters, according to Thomas Reuters Foundation. Doctors recommend these surgeries as they believe that the intersex children couldn't possibly live a comfortable life with ambiguous genitals.

Not only is infant surgery incredibly dangerous, but it is also potentially very damaging to one's mental health. Infants, with their limited cognitive ability, are not able to possibly understand their gender in any real sense of the word, so it stands to reason that there should not be any procedures to permanently alter their appearance in regard to sex organs. Yet groups such as Societies for Pediatric Urology and the American Urological Association advocate for such surgeries, despite evidence showing that these surgeries do more harm than good. 

According to Human Rights Watch, the damages following intersex surgeries include irreversible alterations of genitals and gonads that result in the intersex person having to be placed on hormones for the rest of their life, involuntary sterilization, the risks of incontinence, being surgically assigned the wrong sex, and much more. Plus, the surgery is unnecessary at such a young age (or any age, technically), as children are too young to understand the implications of such surgeries and having ambiguous genitals is not a life-threatening incident, so the surgery is completely cosmetic and should only be performed under the consent of the intersex person.

While intersex people do face challenges because they don't fit the male/female mold, the challenges are often external, as many, as stated previously, are ignorant about what being intersex is and what it isn't, and, as such, act in a hurtful way. It is important to understand that intersex people are still humans first, regardless of how their genitals look. Because of this, doctors should hold off on performing and cosmetic surgeries until the intersex person is old enough to understand what the surgery entails and the risks involved with having it performed. More importantly, it is imperative that people get educated on the concept of being intersex so the bigotry and fear can subside. 

h/t: Thomas Reuters FoundationHuman Rights Watch

Florida Judge Dismisses Charges Against Men Arrested In Private Sex Club

In August, Instinct reported on a police sting operation that resulted in the arrests of 13 men having consensual sex in a private area of the Pleasure Emporium Adult Boutique in Hollywood, South Florida.

Now, Judge Ginger Lerner Wren  has dismissed all the charges against two of the defendants.

At the time of the arrests, police officers had gone to the trouble of paying $25 to enter locked, private rooms at the back of the Pleasure Emporium in South Florida where men were masturbating and engaging in oral sex.

The state had argued that an unsuspecting patron of Pleasure Emporium could accidentally observe the sexual activity.

But the judge disagreed.

“The Court finds that the Pleasure Emporium is not a public place under F.S. 800.03 where the patrons who access the private viewing theaters where consensual sexual activity occurs in the presence of other consenting adults objectively and subjectively possess a reasonable expectation of privacy,” Judge Wren wrote in her ruling.

Following the raid, the  police department released the names and photos of those arrested to the media. Several major media outlets published that information which, in effect, outed some of them to their coworkers and families.

One man was apparently fired from his job due to the public outings.

Rhonda F. Gelfman,  a lawyer who represented one of the defendants, told South Florida Gay News, “We are quite pleased with the court ruling, and justice was appropriately served,”

Unfortunately, some of the other defendants have already pleaded guilty to their charges.

Gelfman said that while it might be difficult to get their guilty pleas thrown out, “We may be able to assist them.”

Meanwhile, the Sun-Sentinel reports that while the Hollywood Police Department is spending it’s time busting gay men for consensual sex, the HPD is none too worked up about investigating actual sex crimes.

In 2014, HPD reported it had 94 rape kits sitting in storage, and some hadn't been tested for as many as nine years.

(h/t South Florida Gay News, Sun-Sentinel)

Australian Senators Wish to Preserve Religious "Ethos" in Law Barring LGBTQ Discrimination

I've recently written about the Australian Prime Minister's decision to prohibit religious schools from expelling LGBTQ students and firing teachers based on their sexuality that was created by Australia's Green party. While this is most assuredly a good thing, some people are not happy with it. Most noticeably among the naysayers are Australia's Labor senators who say that this new policy is ultimately negative because they wish for schools to retain their religious "ethos" by allowing expulsion of students and firing of staff based on their sexuality, The Guardian reports.

During a debate on Wednesday, it was revealed that many Labor senators had serious objections to the bill that would protect LGBTQ students and staff members. They object to the bill because while it puts protections in place for LGBTQ individuals, it does not provide assurance that religious schools can retain their ecclesiastical character. 

Because of this objection, the bill may be stalled. The Labor Coalition says that they will create their own bill that would allow for protection for students but not for teachers. So... discrimination is bad against one group but the same exact discrimination is okay for another group? Makes perfect sense.

A labor senator, Jacinta Collins, which is the woman in the picture above, protests the bill as she believes that it's necessary for religious schools "to be run in accordance with their beliefs" and for their parents' religious convictions be honored as their children get an education. She also believes that adding protections for LGBTQ students and staff undermines the beliefs of religious schools and is myopic in regard to factoring in both sides. Collins wants legislation that recognizes that religious schools have policies in place that match their belief system, i.e. not hiring LGBTQ teachers and not allowing discussion of marriage equality.

Simply existing as an LGBTQ shouldn't be a reason for discrimination, but unfortunately it is a reality. Respecting the belief system of religious schools is not incompatible with placing protections for LGBTQ students and staff, as everyone has the right to an education and employment. These protections do not run counter to beliefs in a Christian sense because, as far as I know, the Bible never mentions that LGBTQ people should not be educated or hired. The Labor party will continue to work with parliament to reach an agreement.

h/t: The Guardian

Democratic Senators Urge Pompeo to Reinstate G-4 Visas

In July, the United Nations was given orders to not issue G-4 visas to same-sex diplomats whose relationships are not recognized by their native country's government. The giving of the visas was a policy created by Hillary Clinton. If you want to read more about the recent decision, check out Randy Slovacek's article "Trump Administration Will No Longer Grant Visas To Same-Sex Partners Of Diplomats." Many people thought that this decision was unfair as the majority of countries do noy recognize same-sex relationships as legitimate, so denying spousal visas to diplomats from those countries creates discriminatory policies. Under this new policy, diplomats' partners would have to show proof of legal marriage or leave the US within thirty days. The problem with this, of course, is that the diplomats and their partners can't get married to each other in either the US or their country of origin, so it is almost guaranteed that the diplomats' partners would have to return to their home country that does not have protections of LGBTQ people.

However, things are getting done to reverse this decision. Twenty Democratic senators beseeched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reinstate the issuing of the G-4 visas, as denying diplomats whose relationships are not recognized in other countries, the UN is setting an unfair and discriminatory precedent, according to Politico.

Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Chris Coon of Delaware are heading this movement to reverse the decision, writing letters to Pompeo that recognize how discriminatory this new policy is and showing that barring partners of diplomats from entering the US goes directly against the equality that LGBTQ people have earned in the US, and instead, closely mirrors the discriminatory practices of the countries in which same-sex marriages aren't recognized. Out of 69 countries that criminalize same-sex relationships, in 10 of them, LGBTQ are met with the death penalty for their sexual orientation. 

With the ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, the United States showed the world that it is a country that favors equal rights for all citizens (although sometimes it doesn't seem like it) but with this new decision, the US government reverted back to a time when things weren't so equal. The United States has a great deal of influence in the world, and by creating discriminatory policies, we are showing the world that the people running the US government think that it's acceptable to discriminate.

It's not.

h/t: Politico

Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate is First to Attend Pride Parade

Stacey Abrams made history by being the first major candidate for Georgia's governorship to attend and participate in the Atlanta Pride Parade, according to US News.

Abrams has been making waves in Georgia and made waves during the pride parade while she rode on top of a white Jeep as people chanted her name. Stacey Abrams, if elected, would be the first black woman in the position of governor.

Her policies include opposition to the religious liberty laws that have become so popular in the US, as she believes (and I do too) that such laws are discriminatory towards LGBTQ individuals and should definitely be opposed. 

Her participation in the pride parade is definitely a good sign, as it shows that politics and politicians are evolving and are becoming more open-minded towards things such as LGBTQ rights. It is my hope that politicians continue to go down this path because it's a good indicator of progress for LGBTQ rights and a sign that our voices are being heard. So get out there and vote!

h/t: USNews

Kansas Sued Over Regressive Birth Certificate Policy

Lambda Legal, an organization that focuses on equal rights and protections for LGBTQ people files a federal lawsuit against the state of Kansas because of the state's regressive views of gender on birth certificates, Lambda Legal reports.

The lawsuit seeks to challenge Kansas' unwillingness to change the gender marker on birth certificates for transgender people. Out of the fifty states in the Union, only three have not moved towards a more progressive stance on gender. The other two states are Tennessee and Ohio. The population of Kansas is almost three million according to the census so it stands to reason that there will be at least one transgender person living there.

Luc Bensimon, a forty-six-year-old transgender man living un Topeka, Kansas says that by having a birth certificate that says female, it complicates his life and that because his birth certificate says female but his gender identity is male, it makes it easier for people to discriminate against him. In addition, by not having the option to correct gender markers, transgender individuals have to live a lie outside of their control. This policy is discriminatory towards transgender and nonbinary people and displays an antiquated view of gender identity. 

The lawsuit, Foster v. Andersen, says that transgender people's rights are being violated under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Constitution, as well as having their first amendment free speech rights violated by not allowing them to correct their gender on their birth certificates. This refusal also contrasts with Kansas' policy of allowing people to change their gender on their driver's licenses and state ID cards.

Transgender people are people like you and me and they deserve the same rights as everyone else. However, that is not the case for many who face discrimination and violence due to their gender identity. By Lambda Legal suing the state of Kansas, they have the ability to effect change and add to the progress that the transgender community has already made.

h/t: Lambda Legal, US Census

Why it's Vital for Brands to Support the LGBTQ Community in 2018

It's hard to believe that 20 years ago (even 10 years ago) many brands/businesses/companies etc wouldn't support the LGBTQ community in any capacity. It was actually taboo to do so early on, and could've meant major problems should any of them have made even a tiny amount of effort to show that they were with us.

My have times changed. Thousands of businesses have done a complete 180 and supported us in ways that we could've never imagined all that time ago. It's progress that showcases just how hard our community has worked for decades, and is something to not be taken lightly especially in the times that we are living today.

Many brands out there are recognized as being National LGBT Chamber of Commerce certified. The NGLCC is an important not-for-profit organization that's mission is to expand the economic opportunities and advancements of the LGBTQ community, 

The certification comes from ones that are LGBT-owned, and the perks in having this sort of privilege is quite incredible. There's the ability to openly network with other companies, building relationships with larger corporation  and so much more. There are currently over 1,000 businesses certified across the United States.

One of which is Chicago-based Epic Popcorn, which is owned by Chicagoland CFO and Crain’s Chicago 2018 Notable LGBTQ Executive Bill Rossi. In addition to Epic Popcorn, Bill is a CFO for multiple businesses, and often speaks about his experiences in the LGBTQ community as a C-suite executive.

He spoke with me at Instinct about being the first popcorn company to be NGLCC certified and his opinion on why others should be as well. Take a look.

How does it feel to be the first NGLCC certified popcorn company out there? 

We are truly honored and excited to be the first and look forward to where we can go from here. I was actually quite surprised there weren’t others when we submitted but as of today we are still the 1st and only NGLCC Certified popcorn company in the U.S.

Did you have a mission for your brand to be LGBTQ-inclusive from the get go? 

It has always been part of who we are and what we stand for to be inclusive and was definitely part of the plan from the beginning.

Do you feel more brands out there should be doing the same (if they already aren't doing so)? 

Definitely others should work towards becoming NGLCC Certified and show the LGBT strength and numbers to the business community as well as the general public.

For more information on the NGLCC, click here.

Gay Trump-Supporter Apologizes For Racist Tirade "I Was Drinking"

Last week, Instinct reported on a racist tirade by a gay New Yorker aimed at his Lyft driver.

Robert Ortiz, a gay, Trump-supporter saw his 16 minute racist rant go viral after he called Brooklyn Lyft driver Shawn Pepas Lettman the n-word because Lettman wouldn’t play the music Ortiz wanted to hear.

In the video, Ortiz is seen calling the police and announcing he won’t leave the car until he receives a refund for his $8.01 ride.

Ortiz’s new internet fame led to his dismissal from his job at a local health care clinic.

Now, he’s speaking to the local press saying he’s not a racist and he was just really, really drunk when he went off on Lettman.

“At the end of the day, my actions were unjustifiable,” Ortiz tells PIX11 News. “There’s nothing that I can say behind that to say ‘But this.’ I was drinking. A lot of the stuff that I said I didn’t even remember until the next day.”

“That’s not how I was raised to treat people.,” he continues. “I grew up in the projects, so I just wanna make sure that people understand that I’m not racist - I’m Puerto Rican, I’m from the Bronx, I’m gay.”

But he does still believe he and his friends were “treated differently” by Lettman.

“Like, we know discrimination, you smell it in the air,” he says. “You just know when someone’s uncomfortable with you.”

Ortiz says that since the video went viral he’s received countless threats and hate messages.  

At this point Ortiz says he wants to move on from the sad debacle. “I just want to go on with my life. I’m not racist, my actions were completely wrong. I wouldn’t want anyone to speak to the way that I spoke to him.”

He concludes with a straight up apology: “The only thing that I can say is that I’m sorry.”

Watch the report from PIX 11 News below.



(h/t PIX11 News)

Polish Police Protected Pride Parade, Permitting Partiers Passage Past Protesters


In Lublin, Poland, police brought out, riot gear, tear gas, as well as a water cannon, but it wasn't to suppress Pride Parade goers, but instead these suppressant tools were used against right-wing extremists that were adamant in trying to block an LGBTQ celebration.

The first parade of its kind in Lublin brought out more than 1,000 celebrants this past Saturday. Just shy of 1/3 of that number were found to be present but on the opposing side of the celebration. Safety in numbers?  Well, when you have the support of the police to push aside the 300 right-wing opponents that were blocking the Pride march, you continue to march as tear gas, concussion grenades, and a water cannon pushed the protestors aside.


Mayor Krzysztof Zuk had cited security concerns and banned the parade, but the Lublin’s Court of Appeals overturned that ban on Friday. Seems he was right to believe there would be security concerns, but the marchers was protected by the police and we thank them for that. 

Pride parades in Poland's capital city of Warsaw have been going on for 17 years, but this was the first time one occurred in Lublin, Warsaw, roughly 112 miles southeast of Warsaw and about 60 miles from the Ukrainian border.

h/t: ETvB English