‘Love Is Love’: media firm uses LGBT language to send anti-gay message

The Guardian 1/23/18

The “Love Is Love” video begins with a teenage girl, Emily, telling the story of coming out to her parents. “Love is not necessarily between a man and a woman,” she recalls saying. Footage plays of two women, dancing and flirting. “If you’re truly a Christian, you’re on my side … because God is love.”

Between the title and the rainbow flag, you could easily mistake this for a pro-LGBT video from the It Gets Better or Truth Wins Out campaigns. But it’s actually from Anchored North, an evangelical media company that uses short-form videos to proselytize on behalf of Christianity via social media.

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‘Our business is men, and men are not toxic’: Colorado strip club sign raises ire

The Guardian 12/3/17

Deborah Dunafon knew that a big sign outside her strip club that read “Toxic Masculinity Welcome Here” could land her in trouble. But she thought it needed to be said on behalf of her clientele and men everywhere, who she says have been given a bad rap in the news lately.

“I think it’s horrible to accuse men of being toxic, because they’re not,” said Dunafon, who owns the 35-year-old Shotgun Willie’s strip club and a marijuana dispensary in Glendale, Colorado. “Our business is men, and men are not toxic.

“How many men are we gonna pick on until finally there’s no men standing? How would you like a society with men meekly running around with little bonnets on their head?”

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There’s a Film Festival for People Who Get Turned on by Bicycles

VICE 11/17/14

​The genre of bike porn can be taken as literally or as figuratively as you like. Sex with bikes, sex on bikes, sex utilizing bike-related paraphernalia… With “pedalphelia,” the possibilities are limitless. However, few have explored bikes and sexuality quite like Reverend Phil Sano, founder of the Bi​ke Smut Film Festival.

“As long as people have been getting on bikes, people have been getting off on bikes,” he says while sitting outside Velowood Cyclery, the bike shop that hosted the annual festival when it passed through Denver on the first weekend in November. Sano—an ordained minister for something called the Church of Bicycle Jesus in Seattle who looks like what would have happened if David Cross had starred in Boogie Nights—has devoted himself to spreading the gospel of sex and bicycles.

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 7.26.43 PMWhy Bigfoot Porn Author Virginia Wade Quit The Monster Smut Game

(Long Form)

Westword 2/14/14

He smelled of animal hide, which was heady and pungent…. Then he touched my face with the pads of his black fingers.” — Cum For Bigfoot

When her daughter left for college in 2010, the forty-year-old Parker housewife decided it was time to pursue her dream of writing romance novels. “My only goal when I began was just to tell stories, have them published and share them with other people,” she remembers.

She enjoyed writing, but was dismayed by the response after she self-published her first book with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Sales were in the single digits, few people were reading her work — and the ones who were didn’t like it, and wrote nasty reviews. That’s when her husband stepped in. “Do you want to write for fame and get your name out there, or do you want to write for an income?” he asked. When she admitted she’d like to make some money, he handed her a paperback and said, “Then check out what I’ve been reading.”

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 6.03.03 PMCake Wars: The Christian Jihad On Gay Dessert

VICE 1/29/15

As same-sex marriage inches closer toward legalization nationwide, bakeries have emerged as an unlikely new battleground for those opposed to marriage equality.Attempting to mirror anti-discrimination rulings against bakeries that refuse service to gay couples, activists have been contacting LGBT-affirming bakeries requesting custom cakes frosted with anti-gay slogans. When the bakeries decline, the customer claims religious discrimination.

In the most recent incident, Colorado resident Bill Jack filed a religious discrimination complaint with the state’s civil rights office, after Denver’s Azucar Bakery refusing to make a Bible-shaped cake decorated with two-men holding hands, covered by an “X.” The bakery’s owner, Marjorie Silva, told Out Front Colorado that she offered to “bake the cake in the shape of a Bible, and then I told him I’d sell him a [decorating] bag with the right tip and the right icing so he could write those things himself.”

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Westboro_BC_03022010_RichmondVaHow the Westboro Baptist Church Might Unwittingly Help the Pro-Marijuana Movement

VICE 1/9/15

I rode two and a half hours through a snowstorm on December 29 to Pueblo, Colorado, to see the Westboro Baptist Church picket at two marijuana dispensaries. The hate group was in town to protest Pueblo County becoming one of the first in the state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, inspiring 400 counter-protesters to come out in opposition.

The general sentiment among the pro-weed people was that if Westboro has become anti-pot, then full legalization must be around the corner. “They’re making disapproval of cannabis look silly, just like they did with being anti-gay,” said Kayvan Khalatbari, owner of Denver Relief Dispensary and Consulting, who was dressed as a chicken at the Marisol dispensary.

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Stress, Sex and Sociopathy at Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival

VICE 9/4/14

Comedian Ben Kronberg is telling a story about performing fellatio on a dog. Large swaths of the audience at Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival are feeling awkward, and their discomfort drives many of us to laugh still harder. The show is called Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction, a Nerdist Industries podcast that is kicking off this three-day festival with lewd short stories involving Rancid and The Goonies. Before the weekend is over, 3000 people will filter in and out of the bookstores, bars, DIY venues, and a black-metal brewery that host the festival, enduring ab-crunch laughter from comics like Pete Holmes, T.J. Miller and Kumail Nanjiani.

Kronberg was supposed to have written a carnal story about Woodrow Wilson, but he characteristically twisted it into a cringe-worthy erotic nightmare involving incest and beastiality. This Denver-native-turned-New Yorker has made a career of awkward silence, driving Roseanne Barr to shout “go fuck yourself” at him when he appeared onLast Comic Standing in May. Kronberg attracts the kind of people who enjoy being an artistic minority, as does this Erotic Fan Fiction show. In the other words, the kind of people who fetishize uncomfortable public situations.

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 6.00.34 PMI Had a Giant Testicle for Two Years and Didn’t Tell Anyone

VICE 2/6/15

From the ages of 17 to 19, I believed that God had cursed me with a swollen left testicle that was the size and shape of a large pear. I was suffering from a condition known as hydrocele, which basically meant there was an exceptionally large collection of fluid around my testicle that made it look like I’d put a 100-watt lightbulb down my pants. It was the result of blunt-force trauma—my loving sister thought it was hilarious to kick me in the crotch whenever I was napping. As traumatic as it might seem to be cursed with a grapefruit-sized sperm-machine, hydrocele isn’t life-threatening and can be corrected with a pretty simple surgical procedure. Unfortunately, I told no one about my condition and lived with it for about two years.

Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 7.32.46 PMFrom Suicide To Salvation, How One Closeted Minister Became An LGBT Hero

Westword 11/28/13

Reverend Brian Henderson is sitting stiffly in a hospital bed, awaiting another visit from the doctor who will ask if he still wants to kill himself.

Henderson is unshaven, his eyes red. He hardly slept the night before and does not know what he will tell the doctor when the time comes. Typically the picture of clean, confident leadership as the minister of Calvary Baptist Church, Henderson is known as the man with the answers, the cornerstone of support and guidance for both his congregation and his family. But Henderson has a secret, a secret he’s held on to for decades, one that threatens the life he knows, one that threatens to make him take his own life. And now, in March 2012, the secret has started to leak out.

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WhaScreen shot 2015-02-21 at 5.17.26 PMt Does Homophobia Look Like In A Post-Equality World?

Out Front Colorado 12/31/13

When asked the most effective tool for implementing LGBT rights — what the LGBT and allied community has working in its favor more than any other variable — Colorado State Senator Pat Steadman put it simply with one word: “Time.” “As time goes on, things are going to change,” he said. “The older generations are going to be gone, and younger people are more open and have less hang-ups about sexuality.”

It’s something many advocates express — a feeling so pervasive and deep that it weaves its way as a given into everything we assume about the future. Between the dramatic shifts in media representations of LGBT people, the increasing public outcry against high-profile anti-LGBT statements, the gradual expansion of marriage equality in more and more states and the recent Supreme Court decisions abolishing DOMA and Prop. 8, young people today are growing up in a gay-friendly world that would’ve been unimaginable generations ago. This group of pro-gay millennials — who show overwhelming support for marriage equality and LGBT rights in polls — will continue to expand their proportion among the country’s voters and will eventually become its leaders, to presumably enact the laws and policies that today’s LGBT advocates refer to as full equality.

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 5.24.33 PMWhy Are So Many Gays and Lesbians Suspicious Of Bi-Sexuals?

Out Front Colorado 10/15/13

Here’s a phrase you don’t hear often: “Moving to Texas made me a lot more open-minded.” Typically, someone calling her- or himself a Texan comes with a lot of baggage and assumptions: That person must be a Republican, pro-military, on the extreme ends of masculine or feminine appearance, have a manicured lawn and so forth. But when Jules Bethea moved from Aurora to Dallas  she received one of her first lessons that stereotypes aren’t always accurate — or comfortable.

“I didn’t even know gay people existed until I went to high school in Texas,” said Bethea, whose conservative upbringing didn’t allow for a nuanced approach to race relations, let alone sexuality. “Dallas had an amazing music scene, and a really amazing gay scene. I met this guy named Ronnie, and we both had fake IDs so we could go to the gay clubs and punk shows. Before moving to Texas, I hardly knew what sex was.”

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 5.30.23 PMJosephine Baker and other LGBT Faces of Black History Month

Out Front Colorado 2/12/13

As the struggles for racial and sexual equality continue today, we’re taking a moment to look at the brave LGBT African-Americans who helped alter the course of history for the better, advancing the rights and public perception of minorities who clearly had so much to offer, yet were dismissed, ridiculed and even assaulted when they spoke up. Many of these great icons are no longer with us today, and while there is nothing we can do to change the struggles they endured in the past, we hope to honor them and inspire future leaders by telling their stories and treasuring their memory.

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 5.07.26 PMTrans Comedian Jordan Wieleba Is Afraid Of No One

Out Front Colorado 1/21/13

More than music or theater, standup comedy is a medium where your personal identity goes under the spotlight. And, unlike those other two art forms, it can also sometimes be the last gasp of homophobia in the entertainment industry.

So you could understand why Jordan Wieleba waited five years into his standup comedy career to publicly transform it into her standup comedy career. “I was petrified,” Wieleba remembers of coming out as a woman not only to her family, but to a community of fans and colleagues who’d spent half a decade getting to know Jordan-the-boy. “For some people, it’s still taboo. People have called me a pervert, or called it a fetish. But what I do with my act is try to educate people through humor, show them we’re not all Crying Gameand Silence of the Lambs.”

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 5.41.27 PMSexuality In The Religions Of The World

Out Front Colorado 12/4/12

Sigmund Freud once said, “the behavior of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life.” That suggests that many religions hands-off approach to sex – feel free to take that phrase figuratively or literally – has been a serious disservice to our moral and spiritual guidance. As the supposed guideposts for spirituality – the instructive link between mortal humans and the divine – religious institutions have forever struggled with the question of how to deal with sex.

Take a look at any of the dozens of major religions today and it won’t be long before you find dead-ends of denial and repression. Some beliefs hoist this banner proudly, while others pay less lip service to their ancient texts commandments of who you are allowed to share your body with.

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 5.46.09 PMTwo-Spirit: Gender Fluidity In Native American History

It’s a story we’re familiar with: A young boy and girl are placed before a box of toys, and they plow with a mindless vigor, selecting Barbies or G.I. Joes, tea sets or slingshots, plastic hammers or baby dolls that really pee. Some parents assume their boys will naturally select the guns, hammers and soldiers, while the girls will be more drawn toward the kitchenware. This is not the case with all children; some girls want to be G.I. Joe, while some boys want to be Barbie.

“Many Native American tribes, if they observed a boy playing with girls and learning feminine skills, they may have a ceremony to guide him in that direction,” said Alistair Bane, a Denver resident and descendent of the Shawnee Tribe.

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Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 5.50.46 PMI Spent The Afternoon With Anti-Gay Protestors During A Pride Parade

Out Front Colorado 6/20/12

Like the panting dogs, glistening abs and thumping house music, another inevitable – yet less welcome – tradition of Denver’s 37 year old PrideFest Parade are the anti-gay protesters.

While the LGBT scene has gone through many cultural and political changes over the decades, the message of these homophobic haters has remained stubbornly consistent: Turn away from your sinful lifestyle immediately, less God bring Hellfire down on you, and possibly the rest of us.

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