Entertainment

A Valedictorian Wasn’t Allowed To Give A Speech Because He’s Gay, So J.Lo Came To His Hometown To Bring His Noise

J.Lo has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and she’s not slowing down any time soon. Just last week, the Puerto Rican superstar took the time to lend her support to 18-year-old gay-identified Nat Werth. She heard that Werth was silenced from speaking on his experience as a gay teenager and denied his right to give a valedictorian speech. Lopez was shocked.

Werth worked hard to graduate from Sheboygan Lutheran High School at the very top of his class. While he didn’t give the speech he was entitled to, his courage has certainly sparked several opportunities to empower the LGBTQ+ community since then.

J.Lo was on her #ItsMyPartyTour, and, apparently, everyone was welcome.

Credit: @NewNowNext / Twitter

She invited Werth to the Milwaukee concert and arranged to meet with him backstage. She wanted to make sure that he felt some support for being out, open, and courageous enough to share in a vulnerable place.

The fact that Werth even wanted to open up about a painful, personal experience to an audience that is likely unreceptive is courageous.

Credit: @JLo / Twitter

Werth decided to take the staged opportunity to talk about his experience of being gay at the Christian school and to offer his understanding of the Biblical passages that are often used by homophobes to condemn homosexuality. 

The school refused to let him give the speech.

Credit: @JLo / Twitter

He let them know that he was willing to cut the parts they didn’t like, knowing it was a controversial move on his part, but one worth taking. The school ultimately told him that, given his “track record,” they couldn’t trust him to stick to the script. Let us remind you his track record landed him a valedictorian title.

The salutatorian gave the speech instead, but Werth was honored with an even bigger stage.

Credit: @mkepride / Twitter

PrideFest Milwaukee honored him with its 2019 Valor Award and gave him an opportunity to finally deliver that speech. He started by telling the crowd, “I came out to my family on my 18th birthday. I knew that being forced out of my home was a very real possibility. I knew that my parents did not approve of gay people but I also knew they needed to know the truth in order to overcome their prejudice.”

“At church, I was taught that there was something wrong with me and that I had to change in order for God to accept me,” he told a [now, sobbing] crowd.

“I took it upon myself to examine the six passages in the Bible that talk about homosexuality. It quickly became clear that God, in fact, does not hate gay people,” he announced to a round of applause. Werth laughed off an “Amen,” in response. 

Werth is also meeting with the Department of Public Instruction to correct Lutheran High’s discrimination towards its LGBT students.

@JLo / Twitter

Since the time of Werth’s graduation and his speech at PrideFest, he’s been getting to work on some policy changes. He informed the crowd that, “the Wisconsin School Choice Program allocates vouchers to students who qualify for financial aid in private institutions. Sheboygan Lutheran participates in this program. It is important to know that School Choice requires participating schools to follow certain guidelines, which include nondiscrimination, the option to take religion classes and the opportunity for students to speak with the board of directors if they would like, all of which Lutheran does not do.”

“No child should be taught by their school that they have to hate themselves to love themselves,” Werth concluded.

@JLo / Twitter

We know that J.Lo–a GLAAD Vanguard Award recipient, is in absolute agreement. Werth had to endure his own school teaching him that the essence of what allows him to love is wrong. The “Free Mom Hugs” signs at Pride make us all weep, but seeing this mami taking the time to give this wronged young man a hug is breaking our hearts into a million pieces and glueing it all back together. ❤️

J.Lo also made sure to tweet out her support for both Werth, and the entire gay community.

@JLo / Twitter

J.Lo is “always standing with” Werth, and what a beautiful way to graduate high school. Werth himself said that meeting J.Lo was “absolutely an amazing experience he will never forget,” Today anchor Carson Daly reported.

READ: Receiving High Praise, J.Lo Uses Gender Neutral Pronouns To Describe Her Sister’s Second Child

Queer People Are Shouting Their Gratitude For Naya Rivera’s Trailblazing Character Santana Lopez

Entertainment

Queer People Are Shouting Their Gratitude For Naya Rivera’s Trailblazing Character Santana Lopez

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There are few queer characters the people can point to in the past as being someone that changed their lives. Santana Lopez, Naya Rivera’s character on “Glee,” is one of them. Even if you’ve never watched “Glee,” Rivera’s character touched you because of how that representation is so important and empowering.

Naya Rivera’s place in LGBTQ+ media representation will be her long-lasting legacy.

Rivera brought us Santana Lopez, a queer Latina navigating the world of high school in a small town. For many, this kind of representation was so rare and often poorly done that Rivera’s command of the role was impactful. You didn’t have to be an avid viewer of the show to understand and appreciate the magnitude of Santana Lopez.

Rivera brought our experience directly to the mainstream and forced our own classmates to think about the way they saw queer people.

Rivera’s ability to capture the awkwardness and terror of being a closeted queer student in high school still resonates. It is a piece of nostalgia that is so deeply ingrained in queer people that it’s hard not to be emotional about Rivera’s sudden and tragic death.

Who can forget the moment Santana used “Landslide” to tell Brittany that she loved her.

The emotion of a love that is not easy to confess and live authentically is real. Ask any queer person you know about coming to terms with her sexuality in high school and you will hear about the fear and excitement. You will hear about the strategic allyships that epitomize the constant battle between being open and staying safe.

Rivera was more than an actress, she was an ally and advocate during her time on “Glee.”

Season 2, when Rivera’s feelings for Brittany (played by Heather Morris) grew, aired from 2010 to 2011. It was a time when marriage equality was not nationwide. Some states still barred same-sex couples from adopting children. Yet, queer high school and college students had a chance to see their experience mirrored because of Rivera’s insistence.

Rivera’s death is a major loss for the queer community that got our strength and courage from her.

Knowing that all of the “Glee” fans were rooting for and falling in love with Santana Lopez gave us a chance to breathe and feel accepted. Adding her Latina heritage was so important. Queer people of color, who have faced increased scrutiny from their own families, had someone representing them completely and sincerely.

Demi Lovato paid tribute by remembering the time she played Santana Lopez’s girlfriend.

The queer Latina love was not lost on fellow queer Latinos. Lovato herself was not out about her sexuality at the time and she admits in her post that Rivera inspired her. Rivera’s efforts to give the character an accurate and respectful storyline will forever be praised and admired as a fully realized manifestation of our experience.

Thank you for being someone we didn’t know we needed, Naya.

Our hearts are broken and our eyes are wet. We send love and hope to your loved ones. Rest in power, mija. We love you and will never forget what you did for our community.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Body Found In Lake Piru After Going Missing During Outing With Son

Solomon Ray Is One Of The Hottest Musicians On Scene Right Now And These Pics Prove It

Entertainment

Solomon Ray Is One Of The Hottest Musicians On Scene Right Now And These Pics Prove It

solomonraymusic / Instagram

Solomon Ray is one of the hottest artists in music right now. The young man is delivering music and lewks that we didn’t know we needed. Let’s take a moment to admire the artist who si giving us some new music.

This is Solomon Ray and he is not shy about showing off who he is.

One of the most iconic quotes from Juan Gabriel and it still rings true today. How many times has someone in your family asked about your sexuality? Like, obviously it is what you suspect it to be so why the third-degree, tía?

He’s a Britney stan, which is still so very important.

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OH, BABY! BABY!

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She might have one of the most bizarre Instagram accounts ever created, but that’s just part of her. Britney is an American treasure and should be protected and honored at all times no matter what. It’s a good thing that Ray understands the importance of loving the pop icon.

He knows how to give you all of those rancho vibes.

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No puedo decidir. La primera foto o la segunda?

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Those chains against the hairy chest are really just everything. Honestly, we should be thanking him for being able to serve us such diverse lewks. We should aspire to have a man that can do both.

Ray even does the thing when he is at work.

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🎶 🎼 🎵

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Just like mami always said, “You can never be overdressed.” Mom instilled in us the importance of always being well put together no matter what. We dress up to hang out in the living room to hang out when the family comes over. Seems like Ray would be the perfect man to bring around.

Look at him being all chill with Mariah Carey.

Like, we get it. You have famous friends and know people who are just incredibly awesome. Well, if you do know Mariah Carey, let’s go ahead and plan a dinner date. You know, for networking.

READ: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Guatemalan Son Is Becoming A Bodybuilder And He Is Definitely A Thirst Trap