Mychal Denzel Smith doesn't consider himself to be a "physically imposing figure." So it surprised the 5-foot-8 writer when he made a man 3 inches taller, and perhaps 30-40 lbs. heavier, tremble before him. That's because Smith didn't consider himself to be the guy's "type." When asked by the amateur Casanova about the type of men he likes, Smith responded "Women." Suddenly face to face with the other man's "fear-frosted eyes," Smith reacted . . . with a handshake. "[W]e should be actively rooting out the homophobia in our communities and our own thinking that makes coming out such a brave act. Our goal should not be making coming out safe, but to make it unnecessary," Smith said, explaining "What it Means to be an Ally" for Ebony magazine. Here's your friendly reminder of what you need to know:
- Berlin sightseers are bringing Holocaust remembrance to a bigger audience . . . by uploading their images onto Grindr? Users are snapping self-portraits beside the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe ("Just like Anne Frank") that are later reblogged at Totem and Taboo: Grindr remembers the holocaust. The cheeky app's CEO Joel Simkhai recently complimented bloggers Zion Afuta and Boris Cukierman for bringing together "a community on Grindr to share and inspire others . . . in memory of the Holocaust."
- Hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis of Seattle are singing about the "Same Love" both gay and lesbian couples feel for each other that homophobes believe "can be cured with some treatment and religion." Inspired by his gay uncles - whom he included in the music video - Macklemore described "Same Love" 's sound as both "an anthem for change and acceptance" and "a shotgun blast in a widely homophobic hip hop community." Now that's my jam! (Read Macklemore's liner notes for "Same Love" here.)
- Blogger Positively Dating, a 34-year-old, HIV+ New Yorker, isn't too shy to share the NSFW "trials and tribulations" of getting past the first date if it gets the LGBT community talking about how HIV "affects us socially," rather than focus our conversations solely upon preventing it, or "how to live a 'normal' life with it."
- There are young conservatives supporting your freedom to marry. No, seriously. Meet the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry leadership committee, comprised of Madeline Koch and Craig Stowell - famed for their impassioned speeches supporting marriage equality delivered from the floors of their statehouses - alongside a veritable Who's Who list of conservative leaders under 40 hoping to change the Republican Party from the inside out.
- "I just don't know if people will listen . . . [N]o one's going to listen if I don't talk," Shane Bitney Crone lamented online. More than two months later, nearly 3 million people tuned into his emotional tribute for late boyfriend Tom Bridegroom, and heard him. Now Shane's original 10-minute video has morphed into a full-length documentary film (Bridegroom), and shattered records at fundraising site Kickstarter along the way to the tune of approximately $384,000 (and growing!)
- Since May 2011, HIV/AIDS projects targeting at-risk communities throughout the Indian state of West Bengal are at a standstill. Under the elected Trinamool Congress Party's rule, hundreds of their staff members are unemployed, and the West Bengal State AIDS Prevention and Control Society (WBSAPCS) has withheld funds from international donors, such as World Bank, for up to six months at a time. Now 11 of these community-based HIV/AIDS prevention groups, helping the region's estimated 10,000 MSM and transgender individuals, no longer qualify for funding.
- Twenty-two-year-old Tim Griffin, a gay Eagle Scout, doesn't need to be reminded a Scout is loyal. That's because 10 of his 30 co-workers at Camp Winton in Amador County, Calif. immediately quit their jobs after the eight-year veteran of the camp received his letter of termination from the Sacramento-based Golden Empire Council.
(Hello graphic via Photobucket)