Culture

Two Pulse Survivors Are Hosting An Anti-LGBTQ+ March Just Five Minutes Away From The Nightclub

On June 12, 2016, an armed man entered Pulse Nightclub and opened fire. Forty-nine people died that night as a result and 53 were injured. The shooting was the most deadly shooting at the time. Now, two survivors are claiming they are no longer gay after finding Christ and are marching in the name of conversion five minutes away from the deadly attack.

Angel Colon and Luis Javier Ruiz survived the Pulse Nightclub massacre and have since claimed they are no longer gay men.

Credit: @fearlessidentity / Instagram

In the aftermath of the shooting, Colon and Ruiz have created an organization to promote the debunked and dangerous theory that homosexuality is something that can be changed. It has been scientifically proven that sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be changed at will. There have recently been high-profile examples of former conversion therapy advocates coming out as gay and rejecting the mentality that it is something that can be “fixed.”

As part of their ministry, Colon and Ruiz are hosting a “Freedom March” on Sept. 14 in Orlando five minutes from the remains of the Pulse Nightclub.

Credit: @BillyCorben / Twitter

Ruiz and Colon told NBC News that their mission is not to forcibly change anyone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We’re trying to equip churches, even if they’re not gay-affirming churches, with the resources they need and teach them not to judge the LGBTQ community,” Colon explained to NBC News. “We’re trying to share our stories through ministry and share the testimonies of people who’ve come out of the homosexual lifestyle.”

The march has been received with mixed reviews with many in the LGBTQ+ community seeing the march as an attack on the community.

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There is also a sentiment that the march is an insult to the memories of those who died that night simply for being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“While we honor the freedom for expressions of faith, and hold the beauty of religiosity in our community, we cannot condone the gross misuse of religious text and faith to exploit LGBTQ+ people or support conversion therapy,” Christopher Cuevas, the executive director of QLatinx, wrote in an email to NBC News. “The expressions of our queer and transgender identities are the embodiment of divinity and grace, because we are living our most radical truth by celebrating and centering our LGBTQ+ identity.”

Ruiz has suggested that people can choose their sexuality and their path.

However, what Ruiz fails to understand is that scientific studies are proving more and more that is it the genetic makeup and brain chemistry that dictate a person’s sexual orientation. Studies have proved that people have not better of a chance to change their sexual orientation than they do their hair or eye color.

LGBTQ+-friendly religious organizations have reached out to Orlando asking for help stopping the march.

Credit: @qchristianorg / Twitter

“The Freedom March describes their movement as ‘former homosexuals and transgenders sharing our testimonies and celebrating our freedom.’ At Q Christian Fellowship, our members have far too much experience with the damage that can be done by organizations promoting ‘ex-gay’ ideologies and conversion therapies premised on the false and dangerous claim that people must be ‘delivered from LGBTQ+ lifestyles,'” reads the open letter. “You should be aware that The Freedom March possesses significant organizational overlap with anti-LGBTQ+ groups such as Equipped to Love, the Changed Movement, and Moral Revolution, which describes itself as ‘a company of radicals helping to define a healthy sexuality’ in a ‘generation overwhelmed by conflicting messages about love, lust, and relationships.'”

But, some LGBTQ+ community members are spreading the message of love being the most powerful weapon against this anti-LGBTQ+ movement.

Credit: @emilyjoypoetry / Twitter

Love is one of the most powerful tools in anyone’s arsenal. In the face of a march trying to tell young LGBTQ+ people that they can change, it is important that people raise their voices in love and support. Being LGBTQ+ is okay and natural.

READ: He Survived The Shooting In Orlando And He Is Now Telling His Story

Here’s How Students At A Catholic High School Reacted When School Officials Threatened To Out Their Fellow Gay Peer

Things That Matter

Here’s How Students At A Catholic High School Reacted When School Officials Threatened To Out Their Fellow Gay Peer

Buzzfeed Twitter

Students at a Catholic high school in Los Angles staged last week in unity with a gay classmate who says shows harassed by the school for her sexuality. 

According to a recent report published by Buzzfeed, officials at the school threatened to out high school senior Magali Rodriguez. Following Buzzfeed’s report, which was published last Thursday, students at Bishop Amat Memorial High School, staged a walkout on Friday.

Bishop Amat students organized a walkout protesting the alleged actions of officials at their school on Friday.

According to Buzzfeed, Rodriguez attended Bishop Amat, for three years. The high school senior said that the incidents began to occur during her freshman year when she first began dating her girlfriend when the school’s dean confronted the couple and claimed that students had “complained about their relationship.”

 During her time at the school, Rodriguez claimed that she had been subjected to various disciplinary meetings and counseling sessions. She was also kept from sitting beside her girlfriend during lunch hours. In the report by Buzzfeed, Rodriguez claimed that school officials had threatened to out her to her parents if she refused to comply with their rules, which were not forced onto the straight students in relationships at the school. Rodriguez claims that though she was never publicly affectionate with her girlfriend at school, she felt constantly monitored by officials at the school. In one incident, Rodriguez said that a staff member approached the two teenagers during summer school and told them that they would both go to hell and that “she was trying to get them expelled.”

At the time, Rodriguez had come out to her peers but had not yet come out to her parents. 

Ultimately, Rodriguez’s grades and mental health took a toll until she decided to write her parents a letter and come out.

“Rodriguez, a high school senior, tried to stay positive and get through it, but after more than three years, she was at breaking point,” reported Buzzfeed. “She was crying every day before school, her grades suffered, and spending time on campus brought intense waves of anxiety. So she decided to speak up — first to her parents and now publicly.”

Ultimately Rodriguez’s parents withdrew her from the Catholic school. Speaking to Buzzfeed Rodriguez’s mother  Martha Tapia-Rodriguez condemned the school for how they treated her daughter saying, “They took it upon themselves to parent our daughter, to counsel her, to lecture her.”

When news of the way the school had treated Rodriguez went public, her former peers decided to stage a walkout.

The walkout took place during the student’s seventh period on Friday and lasted for an hour and a half until the school day ended. 

Several students BuzzFeed News spoke to Saturday said they hadn’t heard about Rodriguez’s experience prior to the article, and were shocked to learn how she was treated. One anonymous student who took part in the walkout spoke to Buzzfeed about the incident saying, “I never would’ve imagined Amat to be an environment like this… Once I started to read about the article I was in full shock. I decided to walk out to stand up for her.” This same student claimed that while teachers had commented on the situation saying that there were “two sides to every story” none attempted to put a stop to the protest.

According to the unnamed student, the school’s principal made an announcement before the school lunch bell that they were aware of the Buzzfeed report and had offered counseling services to students who had concerns. 

Two hundred students took part in the walkout, and according to the student interviewed by Buzzfeed, students chanted prayers for Rodriguez. Some called her via FaceTime to show what was being done. 

“I decided to walk out because I wanted to take a stand,” another student told Buzzfeed. “I didn’t agree with what the administration did with the situation and I feel like it was a good idea for the student body to stand as one to show our support for Magali.”

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Trailer Is Here And There Are Latinas Playing Latinas

Entertainment

‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Trailer Is Here And There Are Latinas Playing Latinas

Showtime

We all knew Showtime was creating a sequel series to “The L Word,” the first-ever primetime television series that starred actual lesbians, but we didn’t know it’d air so soon. Earlier this week, Showtime released an extended trailer for “The L Word: Generation Q” along with the news that the iconic second installment would air on Dec. 8. 

The show is set to take place ten years later and represents a new generation of queer women. As iconic as West Hollywood is to the LGBTQ+ community of Los Angeles, our generation knows that Silver Lake is where you can really let your armpit hair grow out and find young love. Oh, and you can’t have a show set on the East Side of Los Angeles without a crew of Latinas to adequately represent the culture.

We can expect our favorite lesbians to return to the show, and we love how their lives have developed.

Credit: @lonelycapshaw / Twitter

Jennifer Beals returns as Bette Porter, who, of course, is running for Mayor of Los Angeles, ensuring that “The L Word” will remain true to its nature as a political platform for LGBTQ+ issues. Kate Moening is forever Shane McCutcheon and is continuing to thrive as a hairdresser. Leisha Hailey will play Alice Pieszecki, who has fully blossomed into the bisexual talk show host we all knew she’d become.

Then, there’s the new generation of queer. Rosanny Zayas will be playing Sophie Suarez, a TV producer.

Credit: @rosannyzayas / Instagram

You might recognize her from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” as Daisy. Otherwise, this is Zayas’ breakout role. Zayas is Dominican, and by the looks of her Instagram, is struggling to be a Latina de las islas in California. In a selfie with a friend, Zayas posted, “the only Dominicans in Cali!!!!! Where are theyyyy!!!! I’m a little kid lost in the giant supermarket of California!!”

Arienne Mandi will be playing Dani Nuñez, a Public Relations Executive.

Credit: @arienne_mandi / Instagram

According to Deadline, Dani will be a “powerful and calculating PR executive whose ambition is only tested by her conscience.” We love a strong Latina. Mandi is best known for her lead role in the indie feature film “Baja.” She’s also appeared on “Hawaii Five-0,” “NCIS,” and “NCIS: LA.”

We can also expect Freddy Miyares, made famous in Netflix’s “When They See Us,” to appear in five episodes.

Credit: freddymiyares / Instagram

Miyares will play José Garcia, “a charming and kind artist who is trying to move on from his complicated past.” Meanwhile, Carlos Leal, best known from “Better Call Saul,” will have a recurring role as Rodolfo, “a strong-willed, manipulative CEO who strives to provide what he thinks is best for his family.”

Oh, and remember Bette and Tina’s daughter, Angelica? 

Credit: @lyt48 / Twitter

While it looks like Tina won’t be making a reappearance in the show, we’ll get to see Angelica navigate the world as a strong-willed teenager. Angelica, who goes by “Angie” now, will be played by Jordan Hull. We’re waiting at the edge of our seats to see how the showrunners clean up the mess Tina left behind. #TeamBette

Needless to say, the gay Internet is having a moment.

Credit: @shippychaos / Twitter

We have an air date now, you guys! We’re already planning the premiere watch party. The trailer gave us all a glimpse into the lives that our veteran lesbians went on to make for themselves. So, that’s emotional. “I’M CRYING, LITERALLY CRYING, THERE ARE TEARS RUNNING DOWN MY FACE,” tweets one Leticia. To top it off, the new cast seems to actually represent the undeniable Latinidad of Los Angeles. “Yah, I’m getting chicana #TheLWord vibes #LatinxWomxnMagic,” tweets ‘Kween’.

For those of us who started to peek open the closet door because of “The L Word,” enjoying its sequel will be a reclamation of the experience.

Credit: @SHO_TheLWord / Twitter

Thankfully, Hollywood has since gifted the queer Latinx community FX’s “Pose,” Starz’s “Vida,” and Pop!’s “One Day at a Time.” No matter how “The L Word” lives up to the current high bar, we have mad respect.

You can watch “The L Word: Generation Q” on Sunday, December 8 at 10pm ET/PT, only on Showtime.

Credit: @iLeoSheng / Twitter

The series will be a mere eight episodes long, in comparison to the twelve to thirteen episodes granted per season of the original. The sequel series is being executive produced by Marja-Lewis Ryan, famous for her work on “The Four-Faced Liar” and “6 Balloons.” Original series creator Ilene Chaiken continues to play a major hand in the production of its sequel.

READ: This Lesbian Relationship In A Televisa Telenovela Is Setting Off A Firestorm Of Love And Support Around The World