Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ohio: Convicted Murderer Attempts To Escape Execution Via "Gay Panic" Defense

Back in 1985, Robert Van Hook, pictured left, strangled and stabbed 25-year-old David Self to death in Cincinnati, before stealing some of his belongings and fleeing. He is currently scheduled to be executed on July 18.

Van Hook is now attempting to claim "gay panic" as a defense for his actions in order to save his life.

Prosecutors call the ploy “nonsense,” pointing out it fit into a well established pattern of behavior.

“This is a man who had cynically manipulated homosexuals for years. He posed as a gay [man]; he frequented bars that were gay and he preyed on vulnerable victims who were gay,” the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office said in a filing with the board.

Van Hook’s attorneys say their client was suffering from the effects of abuse he experienced as a child They add he was “troubled by increasing questions about his own sexual identity.”

Currently, two states have laws banning gay or trans panic defenses: Illinois and California.

Last month, James Miller of Texas, successfully used the strategy to avoid a prison.

Miller said he stabbed his neighbor, Daniel Spencer, after he had tried to kiss him.

Miller was sentenced to only ten years probation after being found guilty of criminally negligent homicide.

Think on that for a while...

InstaHunk Round-Up

Hottie Eliad Cohen enjoys Pride down in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Eye-candy for your Memorial Day weekend beginning with the beguiling Eliad Cohen (above) who's enjoying Pride down in Puerto Vallarta ;)

A post shared by Steve Raider (@steve_raider) on

Just Because...

Rugby players grab and hold strong legs and butt in a scrimmage

In case you ever wondered why rugby is called "The Beautiful Game..."

NFL Owners Vs. Military Veterans On New #TakeTheKnee Rule

(Colin Kaepernick - photo credit: Brook Ward)

This week, the NFL announced new rules regarding players "taking a knee" during the national anthem at NFL games.

The new options are: Stay in the locker room until after the anthem, or come out and stand - no taking a knee in peaceful protest. Those who do will be fined according to the NFL.

The practice was begun by quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality against African-Americans.

Donald Trump got involved and re-framed the issue saying the players are purposefully disrespecting the flag and anthem. He's wrong.

Experts say the rule change is illegal because the league adopted its new policy without bargaining with the players union. When employees, including football players, are represented by a union, the employer — including a football league — can’t change the terms of employment without discussing the change with the union.

The folks at Buzzfeed put the owners' statements alongside those of actual veterans who put their lives on the line for Americans to have the right to protest peacefully.

I'll weigh in with this: this country was founded on the freedom to express ourselves in a peaceful manner. While some folks may buy Trump's fake framing of the issue - that taking a knee is meant as a direct hit on our flag and anthem - the facts show it's not the truth.

And, as you'll see below, plenty of military veterans are open about the fact that they can love our flag AND support Americans exercising their constitutional right to peacefully protest.

Watch below.

Ireland Repeals Restrictive Abortion Law In Landslide Vote

In a landslide victory for women's rights, Ireland has voted to repeal its restrictive abortion laws despite opposition from the Catholic Church.

The official tally was 1,429,981 "Yes" votes to 723,632 "No" votes resulting in a two-thirds majority: 66.4% yes to 33.6% no.

From The New York Times:

Ireland voted decisively to repeal one of the world’s more restrictive abortion bans, the prime minister said Saturday, sweeping aside generations of conservative patriarchy and dealing the latest in a series of stinging rebukes to the Roman Catholic Church.

The surprising landslide cemented the nation’s liberal shift at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise in Europe and the Trump administration is imposing curbs on abortion rights in the United States. In the past three years alone, Ireland has installed a gay man as prime minister and has voted in another referendum to allow same-sex marriage.

But this was a particularly wrenching issue for Irish voters, even for supporters of the measure. And it was not clear until the end that the momentum toward socially liberal policies would be powerful enough to sweep away the deeply ingrained opposition to abortion.

Hawaii's Governor Signs"Ex-Gay" Therapy Ban Into Law

Hawaii News Now reports the good news that the Aloha state is now the 12th in the country to legally ban so-called "conversion therapy" for minors.

Hawaii is now the 12th state in the country with a law that prohibits therapists from offering so-called “conversion therapy” to minors. Conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, is universally rejected by national organizations that guide accepted practices for licensed psychological professionals and is considered a pseudoscience.

But it remains pervasive in some corners. The new law, signed by the governor Friday, applies to psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists. Act 13 also establishes a temporary sexual orientation task force in the state Health Department to address concerns from minors who see counseling on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The law goes into effect July 1.

“Today I signed SB 270, which prohibits therapists from offering ’sexual orientation change efforts’ or ’conversion therapy’ to patients under the age of 18,” Ige wrote on Facebook.

“Overwhelming scientific research has shown that ’conversion therapy’ is not effective and frequently has lasting, harmful psychological impacts on minors,” Ige continued. “This practice is neither medically nor ethically appropriate.”

“I’m proud to join the 11 other states who have banned conversion therapy and send a strong message to our LGBT youth: that sexual orientation is not an illness to be ’cured’—we accept you just the way you are. #BornPerfect.”

The practice of "conversion therapy" on minors has also been banned in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and about three dozen cities and counties.

Out Music: Eli Lieb "The Nights We Lived"

Randy Report favorite Eli Lieb has released his new album The Nights We Lived and a new music video for the title tune.

Out and proud indie singer/songwriter Eli Lieb recently released his new album, The Nights We Lived.

In July of 2013, Eli got the attention of the music world with his power pop anthem, “Young Love.” Music blog Idolator called it “an instantly catchy, uplifting pop/rock anthem that sounds like a cross between Katy Perry and Bruce Springsteen.”

Thanks to its strong pop hook and a message of living out and proud, the song and the video struck a chord with many people. The music video for “Young Love” since garnered almost 8 million YouTube views.

In October of 2013, Eli was inspired to record a cover of “Wrecking Ball” that went viral in just 24 hours. The video was promoted in social media by singers Adam Lambert and Lucy Hale, and celebrities Rosie O’Donnell and Bob Harper. Eli’s cover of “Wrecking Ball” reached one million views in under a week, and at this writing the video has over 5.3 million views.

I recently spoke to the handsome artist about his work.

Asked if he sets out to tell a specific story in his music, Eli says, "A lot of times my songs really do just come out. When I look back at it, it's almost like I don't really remember writing it. Whatever comes out, I just let it be, and it'll very quickly start to manifest and I'll understand what it's about."

"I write songs and I somehow have managed to be able to put experience into a song."

Having spent some years in Los Angeles, and although he acknowledges good friends there, Eli is open about how it wasn't a good fit for him.

"It was just so dog-eat-dog and every cliché you hear about it is true. It's very, very hard to find a genuine relationship and to trust a genuine relationship because everybody has some ulterior motive, and if they think you're a shiny object, they're all over you," says Eli. "And then the second they see any kind of scuff in that shine, they're gone."

You can check out my interview via podcast below:

Eli says the title track of his latest album, “The Nights We Lived,” is his most intimate recording yet.

“It documents specific time periods in my life,” he said. “I picked this song as the title track to the album because the whole record is an accumulation of experiences that have lead to who and where I am today.”

The music video uses footage spanning 15 years as Eli takes a musical look back, and it's a life full of ups and downs, including a complicated, abusive relationship:

When I was 29 I fell in love with a monster

Hidden in the sly cloak of a charmer

Plotting to destroy all of me

That's when I learned what love and abuse was

Yeah I think I still have a few of his scars

If you look closely you can see

The track, authentic and raw in its emotional landscape, delivers fat, rich production with 80s power anthem vocals.

As a journalist who loves mainstream pop music, I'm happy to share Eli's latest music with you.

As a pop music fan, I can honestly say I personally plunk down my money to buy Eli's music. I think he's great. He connects; he's open; and he understands the power of music.

And as an LGBT activist, I'm always jazzed to see an artist as talented as Eli present our lives and loves so fully in his music.

Check out the music video for “The Nights We Lived” below. You should definitely check out more of his music on his YouTube channel here. ("Zeppelin" totally kills...)

Eli's new album is currently available at all digital download sites.

Friday, May 25, 2018

News Round-Up: May 25, 2018

Hot, handsome, woofy guy
(image via kenneth-in-the-212)
Some news items you might have missed:

• I don't know who this guy is, but Kenneth-in-the-212 found him and I just had to look at him some more... ;)

• Even with the recent announcement that the NFL will fine players who take a knee during the national anthem, New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson says he'll pay any fine levied against his players.

• Out country artist Ty Herndon talks about the upcoming Concert for Love & Acceptance.

• LGBTQ people are leaving hostile countries in Asia for the more accepting lands of New Zealand.

• George Takei says he bears no ill will towards his accuser who has now walked back his accusation that Takei sexually assaulted him almost 40 years ago.

• Here's the setup: On the UK series Celebrity Juice, TV personality Mark Wright and comedian Joel Dommett complete an obstacle course while passing a banana between their mouths because...?

Who cares?