Ireland voted to end its ban on abortion. Here’s why that’s a win for human rights.

In 1983, the person or persons of Ireland voted to ban abortion. 35 year later, they took to the polls once again, reversing that decision in a landslide victory.

Though abortion was already illegal in Ireland prior to the 1983 referendum, social conservatives feared that a court decision could render that statute unconstitutional, much like what took place in the United States with the 1977 Roe v. Wade decision. So in 1983, to prevent the chance of tribunal intervention, Ireland held a public referendum, voting to revise the country’s constitution and adopting the Eighth Amendment, banning abortion in all situations.

In 2017, in response to public pressure, the government announced plans to set this question up for a vote once again. Citizens of Ireland voted on May 25, 2018, and the referendum to lift the ban on abortions won by an impressive margin.

Protesters demonstrate outside the Irish Embassy in London on September 30, 2017, following the announcement of the May 2018 referendum. Photo by Chris J. Ratcliffe/ AFP/ Getty Images.

To consider the nasty history of the Eighth Amendment, appear no further than the histories of Savita Halappanavar.

In 2012, 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar went to the hospital 17 weeks pregnant. Her pregnancy had an unforeseen complication, and she was having what’s known as a septic abortion or miscarriage. There was virtually no chance that she’d be allowed to carry the pregnancy to word, but doctors were prohibited from aiming the pregnancy. Doctors tried to induce labor, resulting in her delivering a stillborn fetus. It was too late for her, however, as the sepsis had gotten worse. She died four days later.

Though the country implemented a statute the following year designed to carve out narrow exceptions to the abortion forbid in cases like Halappanavar’s, abortion rights advocates argued that nothing short of a full repeal would do. Their opinion is shared by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, ruling in 2016 that “the balance that the state party decided to ten-strike between protection of the fetus and the rights of the woman in the present lawsuit cannot be justified.” Other human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, concur.

Horror stories like Halappanavar’s are all too common. In 2007, officials tried to prevent a 17 -year-old known as “Miss D” from leaving the country to obtain an abortion after learning that her fetus would not survive birth. In 2014, a teenage asylum-seeker known as “Miss Y” was subjected to borderline inhumane treatment after learning that she was pregnant, eventually undergoing a coerced Caesarian segment. These examples aren’t about protecting some notion of “life”; they’re about control and forcing women to experience absolute nightmare scenarios.

A woman stands in front of a mural inside the Bernard Shaw pub in Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Charles McQuillan/ Getty Images.

Bor no banning, abortion has always been accessible for the well-off. The two-tiered nature of this is part of the problem.

Since 1980, 170, 000 Irish women have traveled to a foreign country for an abortion, and Ireland attains up virtually 70% of all non-resident abortions in the United Kingdom. Repealing the Eighth Amendment is as much about providing access to all women equally as it is about human rights. Access to health care should not hinge on whether someone has the time and money to take a multi-day international trip.

A man strolls in front of a pro-choice mural in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, on May 10, 2018. Photo by Artur Widak/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Though Ireland has voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, there’s still a bit more work to be did before abortion will be decriminalize — and would still be rife with restrictions.

The next step is for Irish lawmakers to legislate new guidelines on abortion. One popular proposal that’s been floating around would make abortion legal in all cases during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Between 12 and 24 weeks, abortions would be limited to the situation where the life of the mother or long-term viability of the fetus were in danger. After 24 weeks, merely pregnancies involving fatal fetal abnormalities would qualify for an abortion. Additionally, people trying abortions would be subject to mandatory counseling and waiting periods.

It’s hardly the free-for-all “no” campaigners would have had you believe. It’s also short of what “yes” campaigners would hope for. Still, it’s a positive step forward for the country, and it will save lives.

A “Yes” canvasser poses for a photo in Dublin on May 12, 2018. Photo by Artur Widak/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Make sure to visit:


10 heartwarming, beautiful scenes and reactions to Irish people going #HomeToVote.

People are flying home to Ireland for a truly remarkable reason.

On May 25, 2018, Ireland is voting on whether or not to repeal its ban on abortion. According to recent reports, it looks like the repeal is likely to happen, in big proportion thanks to some incredibly engaged — and nomadic — citizens.

Irish citizens from around the world are sharing adorable photos online of them flying home to vote for their country to legalize abortion.

Banding together use the hashtag #HomeToVote, people are sharing scenes of their supporting.

Their posts have gone insanely viral, depicting the world just how important a woman’s right to choose is to their country. And people are sincerely moved by their actions.

Like this person, whose friend was helped by a stranger simply to make it home to vote.

And these friends, who joined confederations with the airport security.

And this hilarious Twitter user, who knows just how import social reform is to Irish voters.

This person shared a video of what’s happening at arrivals gates.

And this woman, who went to the airport merely to see it all.

And so. Many. Others .

It’s clear Irish citizens understand just how important this vote is.

According to Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s taoiseach, the referendum is a “once in a generation decision.” Should the proposal to repeal the constitutional clause be defeated, it could be at least 35 years before voters get another say on the matter.

The vote was one of many recent attempts to move Ireland toward being a more progressive society for all.

The country lately legalized same-sex marriage as well as marijuana for certain medical conditions. Repealing the abortion outlaw, which goes back to 1983, would be another marvelous, needed step towards human rights and dignity for all Irish citizens.

Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Judging by these engaged civic leaders and citizens, it’s safe to say they’re well on their way.

Make sure to visit:

Starbucks is closed Tuesday. We’ve got 20 alternatives owned by people of color.

When two black men were unjustly arrested while sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks, Americans were rightfully outraged.

After weeks of lackluster public statements and an increasingly infuriated populace, Starbucks announced it would shut 8,000 of its stores for racial-bias educate on May 29.

Starbucks will have to grapple with its missteps over time. But as the mega corporation begins what is hopefully a first step toward establishing a more all-inclusive and welcoming business, thousands of Americans still need a good flat white to kick off their day.

Want to get some good, fairly priced coffee while also supporting business owners of colouring? We’ve got you covered.

To get through the Starbucks shutdown, we’ve rounded up some unbelievably dope coffee shop from sea to shining sea.

Here are some new places to try in each region of the continental U.S .:


Boon Boona Coffee, Seattle

Known for sourcing coffee from East Africa, Boon Boona Coffee works with coffee farmers across the region to develop relationships and support crop sustainability. The outcome? Some delectable coffee.

Red Bay Coffee, Oakland

Owned by Keba Konte, a former photojournalist and lifelong adventurer, Red Bay specifically staffs women, people of color, and individuals who have formerly been incarcerated. The coffee shop is known for its impressive role in the community and for its ability to make patrons of colour feel right at home.

Photo courtesy of Red Bay Coffee.

Bison Coffeehouse, Portland, Oregon

Touted as the only Native-owned coffee shop in Portland, Bison Coffeehouse serves up “strong, medium, or light” espresso, in-house baked goods, and other yummy treats. It lets visitors to step into an older Portland while also supporting the folks who were there first.

Watts Coffee House, Los Angeles

A staple in South L.A ., Watts Coffee House has coffee, brunch, and everything in between for the bustling, vibrant local community.


Golden Thyme Coffee and Cafe, St. Paul, Minnesota

Nestled in St. Paul, Golden Thyme Coffee& Cafe offers a shivering atmosphere and coffee-based beverages named after some of the world’s most well known jazz musicians. They also sell cakes and treats to appeal to the inevitable sweet tooth.

Crazy Coffee Co ., Overland Park, Kansas

Crazy Coffee Co. serves up everything one might need for their java fixing. The business specializes in drip coffee and offers a variety of flavors for home coffee makers.

Rise and Grind Cafe, Milwaukee

A home for the worker bee, Rise and Grind serves up delectable food options and delicious coffee for guests. They also offer catering for large events.

Whittier Cafe, Denver

Who doesn’t love a good neighborhood cafe? Whittier is just that. With cute sweets, an outdoor patio, a cozy library, and endless coffee options, this is the perfect place to sit, read, and caffeinate before or after a busy day.


Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse, Philadelphia

Owned by Ariell Johnson, Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse is a super neat space for comic nerds and coffee fanatics.

The self-proclaimed first black women to own a comic book-coffee shop hybrid in the Northeast, Johnson offers a warm smile and works with her staff to create an inclusive space for those who are comic book experts — and those who just want an excellent beaker of coffee.

Busboys and Poets, Washington , D.C .

Owned by Iraqi-American immigrant Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets is a coffee shop, restaurant, bookstore, and bar wrap into one.

With several locations in the DMV area, Busboys and Poets staff are trained to work with diverse patrons and people of color are visible in leadership postures, kitchen, and bar staff — and everything in between. Enjoy a delicious cup of coffee while reading one of the lounge’s many volumes by writers and scholars of color.

Photo courtesy of Busboys and Poets.

Serengeti Teas and Spices, New York City

For anyone who prefers tea over coffee, Serengeti Teas and Spices is an excellent alternative. Located in Harlem, this tea shop serves teas from a number of African nations. Their personnel — many of whom are African immigrants — offer advice on how to choose the right tea, and the cozy environment will ensure that you feel as peaceful as is practicable while enjoying your drinking.

Black Swan Espresso, Newark, New Jersey

Black Swan Espresso, Newark’s first specialty coffee and tea shop, specializes in using international coffee beans in all their roasts. The atmosphere is pretty sweet, too.


Tres Leches Cafe, Phoenix

Tres Leches Cafe is owned by Latinx cafe experts. In addition to coffee, the Mexican cafe offers unique treats inspired by Mexican desserts like churros, dulce de leche, and, of course, tres leches.

Kaffeine Coffee, Houston

One of the best ways to get away from the scorching Texas heat is to find a coffee shop that serves up a great iced coffee with lovely customer service. Kaffeine Coffee offers both in the city’s hopping downtown area.

Pie+ Lattes. Our version of Pilates.****: @jenndguez

A post shared by Kaffeine Coffee (@ kaffeinecoffee) on

Pinon Coffee House, Albuquerque

Pinon Coffee House offers espresso-based drinks, nitro cold brew, and other options induced with their own classic Dark Pinon coffee.

Throughgood Coffee, Houston

A hip new place in Houston, Throughgood Coffee caters to millennials, but clearly has coffee criteria rooted in the old-school techniques. It’s staffed largely by people of color and serves the diverse Houston community with respect and Southern hospitality.


Dee’s Coffee , New Orleans

Stationed in a bustling city of world-renowned music, food, and cultural activities, Dee’s Coffee allows people to take a step back from the wildness and enjoy a cozy, safe atmosphere. Owned and staffed by people of color, Dee’s Coffee serves tea, a number of coffees, and locally attained tarts.

Cafe Ulu, Atlanta

Atlanta is known for housing industries with some of the coolest vibes around, and Cafe Ulu handily satisfies that criterion. The cafe centers black culture and the historical influence of coffee and the coffee trade.

Beyu Caffe, Durham, North Carolina

Beyu Caffee dives into bohemian culture with gusto. In addition to some amazing coffee selections, they offer a full bar and live jazz for patrons.

The Terminal Cafe, Nashville

Perfect for those who are gluten free or health-conscious, The Terminal Cafe offers great coffee with food alternatives like gluten-free waffles and French toast with apples. Lovely vibes are thankfully included.

And these are just a few of the options.

From city to city, state to country, and corner to corner, there are endless coffee shops owned by people of color to match just about any savor. As you explore new coffee and tea shops, support people of color and local businesses by learning, investigating, and opening up to new places.

You may simply find some great cold brew along the way.

Make sure to visit:

I’m teaching my 6- and 7-year-old boys about consent. Here’s how it’s gone so far.

The second week of first grade, my 6-year-old son came home and told me, very seriously, “Mama, I have a girlfriend, and I love her.”

I didn’t laugh at him or tell him he is too young to have a girlfriend, and I didn’t minimise his feelings. We had a very serious dialogue about his girlfriend: what he likes about her, what they talk about at lunch, and what games they play on the playground at recess. I asked questions about her; some he knew the response to, and some he didn’t.

Nearly every day after that for some time, we talked about his girlfriend, and in every conversation, in some way, we talked about consent — what it means, what it looks like, and how I expect him to act.

I didn’t objectify the little girl by referring to her as “your little girlfriend” as I’ve heard other adults tease their own children. I didn’t attain jokes about him being a heartbreaker or tell him that the girls is likely to be falling all over him by high school. I didn’t tell him his feelings don’t matter — and I definitely didn’t tell him her impressions don’t matter. I suppose the seeds of misogyny are planted with terms as much as behavior, and I treated his emotions severely because, for him, being in love for the first time is the most serious thing in the world. He will remember this little girl just as I remember my first boyfriend, and how I manage things now is setting the tone for the future.

I wasn’t expecting to have these dialogues in the context of a relationship quites so soon.

His older brother is more introverted, with the exception of the occasional fleeting crush. But I have been talking about consent and modeling it since my sons were newborns.

The idea that young man need to learn about consent in high school or college goes hand-in-hand with the idea that sex education shouldn’t learn from them before then, either. Consent is an ongoing conversation in our home, framed to suit the situation. But now that my son has a girlfriend, I’m finding ways to introduce the concept of consent within a relationship on a level that he can understand.

From the time my sons were very little — before they could even talk — I started teaching them about body independence and consent.

“Do you want me to tickle you? ” “Can I pick you up? ” “Do you want me to brush your hair? “

I would ask whenever I could, waiting for their answer before proceeding further. Yes, of course, there are times when a young child needs to be picked up or hair needs to be brushed whether they want it or not, but there are just as many times when children can be given — and deserve — the right to choose. And so I let them choose whenever I can.

Teaching them that no one can touch them without permission was the first step in teaching them about respecting the boundaries of others.

With my sons at 6 and 7 years old now, I model the respect I expect them to extend to others. It is an ongoing lesson, as the most important lessons always are.

Of course they opposed — what siblings don’t? But I teach them that, whatever the game or activity, if someone says “Stop! ” or “No! ” they are to stop what they are doing.

To that aim, I try to stay out of their bickers and give them time to sort them out. If they don’t stop, there are outcomes. We talk about how it feels to have someone keep chasing, tickling, or bothering you when you’ve told them to stop. I watch their empathy for others grow as they consider how it feels to be little and have grownups want to touch their faces or hug them without permission. They’re learning, and it gives me hope.

But now I’m having daily conversations with my youngest son about girlfriends and what is — and isn’t — OK.

He knows he has to ask if she wants a hug before he touches her. He knows that it’s rude to refer to her as “my girlfriend” when talking about her and that it’s better, and more respectful, to use her name.

He knows that if he gives her a gift, he should dedicate her a chance to respond instead of inundating her with more gifts. “Let’s wait and see how she feels about this lovely image you made her before you depict another one, ” I tell him, explaining how overwhelming it can be to have person give you gifts when you’re not ready for them or haven’t had a chance to return the affection. Of course, I’m thinking about the son I knew my junior year of high school who would constantly leave me trinkets of his affection at my locker — affection that wasn’t reciprocated and stimulated me uncomfortable, especially after I asked him to stop.

I don’t know if I’m doing this right, honestly.

There are times when I think to myself, “But he’s merely 6! Why are we even having this conversation? ” And then I remind myself, “If not now, when? ”

I know what it means to be a girl in this world, and my sons are starting to hear my #MeToo narratives, the ones they’re old enough to understand. How do I talk about what’s incorrect in the world if I’m not willing to talk about the right behaviors, the right way to treat girls?

I know my sons have a good role model in their father and in our matrimony. I know they watch how my husband interacts with me, and I see it reflected in how they treat me. It’s a start, but I know it’s not sufficient in a world that sends mixed messages to boys about girl children and how to treat them.

It’s been eye-opening, ensure how my children consider consent.

I’ve insured how those early lessons in teaching them about their own right to say no going to go a long way in teaching them the empathy and respect they prove for others now.

I know we’re not done; we’re only just starting. I know it’s merely going to get more complicated as they get older.

But at the end of the working day , no matter their age, the core lesson is the same: respect people, care about how the objective is impression in your interactions with them, and remember that others have a right to feeling differently than you do and to define boundaries for what is OK with them. The situations will change, but those words will be repeated again and again.

Teaching consent is not a one-time discussion. It’s something I want my sons to think about every single day.

This story originally appeared on Ravishly and is reprinted here with permission. More from Ravishly 😛 TAGEND

Everyone Needs Consent, Including Your Significant Other

Celibacy Can’t Replace Consent: How Evangelical Sex Ed Fails Teens

To My 13 -Year-Old Self: I’m Sorry No One Taught You About Your Period

Steven Bannon claimed MLK would be proud of Trump. King’s daughter shut him down.

Steve Bannon used to say Martin Luther King Jr. “would be proud” of Donald Trump. Umm, what ?

In predictable, reality-bending fashion, Trump’s former strategist and consultant Steve Bannon made a bold assert about how King would feel about Trump’s performance thus far in his presidency. Speaking to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, he said, “If you look at the policies of Donald Trump, anybody … Martin Luther King would be proud of him, of what he’s done for the black and Hispanic community for jobs.”

Maitlis clarified — somehow with a straight face — “You believe Martin Luther King would be proud of Donald Trump as president? ”

Bafflingly, Bannon charged straight ahead:

“You don’t guess Martin Luther King would be proud? Seem at the unemployment we had in the black community five years ago. You don’t suppose Martin Luther King would sit there and run’ Yes, you’re putting young black men and women to work. There’s the lowest unemployment we’ve had in history. And wages are starting to rise among the working class. And you’ve eventually stopped the illegal foreigner labor forces coming in and vying with them every day, and destroying the schools and destroying the healthcare.’ Absolutely.”

Mmm ‘kay.

Before we get to what King’s daughter had to say about that, let’s rapidly review those unemployment numbers .

Indeed, the black unemployment rate is the lowest it’s ever seen. But that rate has been falling steadily since the middle of Obama’s term as president. Bannon specifies the altered in the rate from five years ago, but neglects to acknowledge that the vast majority of that drop-off happened under Obama.

Here’s the government’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics chart for black unemployment since 2008 😛 TAGEND

The same goes for Hispanic unemployment. Yes, it’s the lowest it’s been in 25 years, but it’s also been steadily dropping since 2011 😛 TAGEND

Trump’s policies have not generated some kind of dramatic turnaround in unemployment — the trend is simply continuing. There have been no miracles performed here, unless you consider riding on someone’s economic coattails a miracle.

Now, on to King’s response.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice shut Bannon down — real quick.

Bernice King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest child, reacted to Bannon’s interview, and let’s just say she’s not having it.

Bernice King shared this image on Twitter the morning after Bannon’s interview. I imagine that’s precisely the face she made when “shes seen” it. Photo by Joe Raedle/ Getty Images.

” #SteveBannon has dangerously and erroneously co-opted my father’s name, run and terms, ” King wrote on Twitter. “Bannon’s assertion that my father, #MLK would be proud of Donald Trump wholly dismisses Daddy’s commitment to people of all races, nationalities, etc. being treated with dignity and respect.”

She then explained how her “father’s concerns were not sectional, but global.”

Screenshot via Bernice King/ Twitter .

Setting the record straight on what her father actually would and wouldn’t do, King wrote, “Further, he would not refer to people as ‘illegal aliens.’ The term is degrading and does not reflect his notion that we are all a part of the human family.” She added that he’d never pit one group against another.

Screenshot via Bernice King/ Twitter .

But she wasn’t done. She called Bannon’s commentaries “empty calories, ” and explained how her father would be “extremely disturbed” by the current political climate that emboldens people to “easily express and demonstrate brutality, predominantly toward people of color and immigrants.”

Screenshot via Bernice King/ Twitter .

King capped off her commentary with how her father would actually view those unemployment numbers:

Screenshot via Bernice King/ Twitter .

Well, there you have it, Mr. Bannon.

People of all political stripes try to mold Martin Luther King Jr. to fit their agenda. It’s a problem.

While usually more subtle and less blatantly ridiculous than Bannon’s assertions, people often opt small pieces of King’s message to suit their narrative. But such simplification dishonors the man and his accomplishments. At the core, King was a radical humanitarian. He championed not only the black American, but the poor person, the immigrant, and every human being experiencing oppression and injustice.

Thank goodness for Bernice King’s perspective in the age of cherry-pickingMLK quotes and whitewashing his legacy. We need to keep defending truth and shut down those who try to bend reality to justify racism and fear-mongering.

Make sure to visit:

An NFL star thinks we’re asking the wrong question about the league’s new anthem rule.

Ahead of the 2018 season, the NFL announced a new rule designed to put a stop to silent protests during the national anthem.

Seemingly designed as a compromise — even if it’s not — meant to quash the tradition started by former 49 ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, the new regulation states that players can choose not to be on the field during the anthem( this was the norm until 2009, when the league mandated that players be on the sidelines during the anthem ), adding that players who are on the field must “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”

The new rule triggered outcry, with some accusing the NFL of corporate censorship in its endeavour to shut down protest and others( including Donald Trump) saying the league didn’t go far enough.

Photo by Steve Dykes/ Getty Images.

The NFL Players’ Association( NFLPA) released a statement conveying frustration that the league didn’t consult them before implementing this new rule. On the other hand, President Trump said that while he agrees with the new rule, “maybe[ players who stay in the locker rooms] shouldn’t be in the country.”

One of the most thoughtful responses to the new regulation received from Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho, who pledged to keep fighting for what’s right.

Sam Acho. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images.

“Obviously, from the beginning , no one’s intent, and no one’s purpose, was to disrespect the flag, ” Acho said in a statement first reported by NBC 5 Chicago’s Mike Berman.

Acho went on to note that the purpose of the protests have always been to take a stand against the police brutality facing people of color, recommitting himself to detecting “a way to stand up for people who are being unjustly treated, find a way to stick up for justice in whatever style, shape, or kind you can possibly do it.”

When it comes to the question of whether he’s OK with the new regulation, he proposed a different topic for himself and other players: “What do you do now? “

“Obviously, the protests have brought a ton of awareness to the abuses of power that are going on in our country, and I think that was a great method to start our dialogue. And now … we’re find action, ” he wrote , noting that he, his teammates, and many others in the NFL are putting time and fund towards off-field activism work.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images.

It’s been nearly two years since Kaepernick took a knee, and we’re still talking.

“I think a lot of players are happy about the conversations that are happening. So the protests served these objectives, ” Acho concluded:

“And if guys still want to protest, plainly the ruling is if you don’t want to stand for the anthem, according to the owners, you can stay inside . … I will say we continue to do what we’re doing and speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

It’s easy to ignore the underlying issue being protested, to smear players as spoiled, and to argue that they should do more off the field if they actually care about these issues.

The truth is that, as Acho and the NFLPA have said, players do do a lot of work off the field to help their communities and to fight for causes they believe in.

Kaepernick donated a million dollars to charity and traveled across the U.S. helping people out. Veterans around the country have come out in subsistence of the expres of free speech shown in these pre-game protests, even if they don’t inevitably agree with the cause or the method.

As Acho told, though, the new regulation is what it is. The real question is how NFL players — and the rest of us — can help continue this conversation and work for a better world.

After all, there’s nothing more patriotic than working to attain your country a place where we are all truly equal .

Photo by Adam Bettcher/ Getty Images.

Make sure to visit:

Ian McKellen got real candid about Hollywood sticking up for straight, white men.

Hollywood has some serious issues. It treats women awfully, overlooks people of color, and erases disabled and LGBTQ people from its stories, for starters.

Someone who doesn’t need reminding of the industry’s embarrassing failings is openly gay performer Ian McKellen.

Photo by Tristan Fewings/ WPA Pool/ Getty Images.

The 78 -year-old stage and film actor who’s spent the better part of his life working in the industry get candid with Time Out London about Hollywood’s tendency to only defend and empower white men and their heteronormative stories.

Take Albus Dumbledore, for example. Years ago, author J.K. Rowling divulged that the wizard principal in “Harry Potter” is gay. Yet in the newer movies in the franchise, filmmakers have shied away from permitting the character to display any sense of explicit queerness, to the disappointment of many fans.

Time Out London’s Phil de Semlyen asked McKellen, who routinely gets mistaken for the actors who actually played Dumbledore on screen — Richard Harris till his death, then Michael Gamdon — about the ongoing disagreement: “The younger Dumbledore isn’t explicitly gay in the new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movie. Why do you think there are so few gay characters in blockbusters? “

McKellen responded:

“Isn’t he? That’s a pity. Well , nobody seems to Hollywood for social commentary, do they? They only recently discovered that there were black people in the world. Hollywood has mistreated women in every possible way throughout its history. Gay humen don’t exist . ‘Gods and Monsters’[ in 1998 ], I believe, was the beginning of Hollywood admitting that there were gay people knocking around, even though half of Hollywood is gay.”

You can’t knock him for a lack of candor.

Photo by Ernesto S. Ruscio/ Getty Images.

Do you think his commentary seems melodramatic or unnecessarily harsh ? They seem pretty on-the-nose to me.

Keep in mind, Hollywood is just now reckoning with its massive sexual abuse epidemic, its white-washed and racist systems of production, and the fact the industry is still run by an overwhelmingly straight, cisgender, white, and older group of men who choose which projects get made and by whom.

McKellen’s commentaries also come on the heels of a damning new report from GLAAD on LGBTQ representation in cinema.

In its Studio Responsibility Index, the advocacy group found a sharp decline in the percentage of queer-inclusive movies across the largest production studios. Between 2016 and 2017, that figure dropped from 18.4% to 12.8% — the lowest since GLAAD began tracking data six years ago.

It’s easy to assume progress simply happens . But it doesn’t.

McKellen rightly suggested that Hollywood continues to fail girls, people of color, and other marginalized groups. But he’s also been around for quite a long time, and he’s hopeful the future is bright for LGBTQ people — on screen and off.

“When I go to schools to talk about lesbian rights, the children can’t believe it, ” McKellen explained of younger generations presenting adoption. “It’s not an issue for them.”

Queer kids deserve to see a world on screen that reflects their own. And if it takes a gay wizard flicking his wand to assist send that message, sign me up for the next train to Hogwarts.

Learn more about GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index findings here .

Make sure to visit:

A poem about pronouns is bringing people to happy tears.

Three years ago, Theo Nicole Lorenz began running by the gender-neutral pronoun “they.” Some people didn’t get it.

Lorenz is nonbinary, means that they don’t identify as a human or a woman. About 3 years ago, they ditched the more standard gendered pronouns( “he/ him/ his” or “she/ her/ hers”) in favor of “they/ them/ theirs.”

The whole conception of being nonbinary is something that people sometimes have a tough time wrapping their heads around, but sometimes life only doesn’t are appropriate for neat little boxes.

“I knew there would be pushback, ” Lorenz says about make further efforts to get people on board with their pronouns. “When you start using they/ them pronouns, abruptly everyone around you is an English major, you know? “

Photo courtesy of Theo Nicole Lorenz.

It’s taken a few years, but Lorenz has received a great ally in their 73 -year-old Aunt Suzy.

“When I first came out to her, she understood my gender identity but not my pronouns, ” Lorenz says. “She said, ‘We always knew you were different, and we love you simply the style you are.’ But also, on my pronouns — ‘I don’t know if I can get are applied to that. I’ll try.’ It’s taken her a few years.”

On May 21, Lorenz shared a lyric written by Suzy for her church writing group. It was heartwarming, and really gets to the core of the whole pronoun issue.

“This person I know
Wants to be called a they.
It[ could] bring us much closer
To watch them that way.

It’s a strange thing to think
And harder to say,
But they is so happy
When the effort is made.

For all the theys and thems
It is this that I pray,
We be kind and accepting
And just let them be they.”

What stimulates the poem even more touching is that Lorenz and their aunt have always had a special relationship.

Lorenz credits Aunt Suzy with inspiring their interest in art, which led to a career as a professional illustrator. “Whenever she and my late uncle were doing well, they’d send me fund for art renders. Her home was my creative retreat growing up, ” they say.

“We’re both quiet artist forms who’d instead stay home in a cocoon of cats and B movies than party, ” they add. “Every day we get together it’s like no time has passed at all, and we talk for hours. Throughout her life she’s been a belly dancer, discoverer, painter, woodcarver, and scuba diver, and I’ve always looked up to her.”

A sample of some of Lorenz’s artwork. Images via

A common complaint people have about referring to an individual person as “they” is that it’s usually used as a plural pronoun.

But in truth, the singular “they” dates back hundreds of years, and most people use it regularly without even realizing it. For instance, if someone cuts you off in traffic, you’re likely to say “They cut me off! ” even though it’s clearly just person or persons driving the car.

We often use singular “they” whenever we’re referring to someone whose gender isn’t readily known, especially in casual conversation; so use it for someone who specifically uses it shouldn’t be too tough.

For Lorenz, employing a person’s prounouns is actually merely a way to demonstrate common courtesy and show that you view them as a legitimate individual in the world.

“Using someone’s correct pronouns is a small, vital style to tell them, ‘You belong here, ‘” they say. “When you refuse to use someone’s pronouns, you’re denying their identity. In the case of ‘they/ them’ pronouns, a lot of people use grammar as an excuse to refuse it, which is like saying, ‘I value the grammar I learned in 9th grade more than your comfort.'”

We can all choose to be kind. As Aunt Suzy says, “just let them be they.”

Make sure to visit:

A gay man had a private conversation with the pope. What he said was game-changing.

An unexpected response from the pope may signal an important switching in the Catholic Church’s views on faggot identity.

Photo by Marvin Recinos/ AFP/ Getty Images.

According to CNN, Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a Chilean priest, spent three days in April 2018 with Pope Francis at the Vatican. During site visits, Cruz discussed his sexuality with the pope, which sparked a surprising response.

“You know Juan Carlos, that does not matter, ” Cruz says the pope told him. “God made you like this. God loves you like this. The pope loves you like this, and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say.”

Photo by Ettore Ferrari/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Though the Vatican has declined to comment on the conversation — with Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke telling CNN that “We do not usually comment on the pope’s private conversations” — social media users around the world were quick to comment on the unusually progressive view of faggot identity from the church.

Given the church’s history with faggot someones, the pope’s alleged commentaries are an important — albeit incipient — move toward advance.

From pushing gay leaders out of the church to condemning queer congregants, the church’s problematic history has understandably caused many someones to leave the church or disregard it entirely.

Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP/ Getty Images

The pope himself is far from perfect, too. He’s declined to apologize about the Catholic Church’s past problematic behavior toward indigenous communities, and he still doesn’t affirm transgender individuals. Yet one would be remiss to not acknowledge that he is easily the most progressive pope in the Church’s history and has frustrated many conservatives in the church with his nonjudgmental commentaries on lesbian matrimony, his motion toward holding the Church accountable for its role in systematic sexual abuse, his unique beliefs on the existence of hell, and his history of acknowledging climate change.

Photo by Max Rossi/ AFP/ Getty Images.

He’s complicated and imperfect, but for many queer Christians and Catholics, the pope’s words are meaningful.

Queer people don’t owe anything to the Catholic Church nor do they need the church’s support to live their best and brightest lives. But, it’s impossible to contradict the profound impact of religion — both positive and negative — on many individuals’ lives, including people who identify for the purposes of the LGBTQ umbrella. Many faggot people do find religion deep important, and they deserve to have a leader who asserts their livelihood.

Make sure to visit:

The money bail industry harms the most vulnerable. John Legend wants to end it now.

Imagine doing something dumb but relatively harmless in your youth.

Maybe stealing a T-shirt or smoking marijuana with a friend.

Instead of a reprimand and a route to attain things right, you’re thrown into jail at 15 years old to await your trial. Maybe if you’re from a lower socioeconomic family in a larger city like New York or Los Angeles — where bail can run $2,000 – $5,000 or more — neither you nor any close family members can afford to make bail.

So you’re stick, sitting, waiting, and expending some of the most important point years of your life in a space that’s historically inhumane and unsafe and a foundation for anger, loneliness, and depression.

This is the reality for thousands of adolescents and and adults across the country, and Grammy-winning musician John Legend wants to stop it.

Photo by Roy Rochlin/ Getty Images.

In a compelling video, Legend partnered with Color for Change to demand that the U.S. objective the money bail system now.