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— There’s a lot to love about the new Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. For starters, it’s from the brilliant brain of SNL and 30 Rock vet, Tina Fey. Plus, it’s got the lovable Ellie Kemper (from Bridesmaids and The Office) in the titular role as a the former member of a doomsday cult who starts her life over in New York City. We’re laughing already. The series drops Friday.
Empire actor Malik Yoba revealed in a recent interview with Black Film that lead co-star Jussie Smollett is gay. Smollett's character Jamal Lyon came out publicly via song in a recent episode of the show and Smollett himself is an advocate of gay rights such as the NOH8 Campaign. Yoba frankly confirmed Smollett’s orientation in the interview, citing that the two actors share a close relationship.
"I think that our show represents a huge opportunity to stay in the culture beyond entertainment value and there’s an intrinsic nature of you have the gay factor, right? So, obviously, Lee is gay. That was an important storyline for him. I think it’s important for people to see themselves. Even within the Black community. But if you aren’t really, really taking it off of screen and making it live you aren’t really, really taking it off of screen and making it live in the community in a significant way…like I know Jussie, he is gay, and he’s very committed to issues around the LGBT community.He and I have a very close relationship."
However, in a recent appearance on Sway In The Morning, Smollett was asked on-air if he is gay and he neither denied nor confirmed it, saying he chooses not to talk regarding his personal life.
"I am not willing to confirm or deny anything, I live my life…if anyone is looking to put me in a box, then that’s not going to happen. But if you really want to know about me, just watch, because I don’t hide anything. I just don’t choose to talk about my personal life."
Smollett expressed irritation with magazines hailing the show as a "black gay" show. "This is not a gay black show, this is a show about human experiences," Smollett said, calling the single-category view of the show "silly," and "unfair."
The internet rumor mill believes that Smollett is currently seeing The Read guest co-host, actor and YouTube personality Dustin Ross after a post on Ross’ Instagram of the two together. The two actors played love interests in the movie The Skinny.You can watch Smollett address the gay rumors and how the smash hit Empire is more than just a "black gay show," with Sway In The Morning, AFTER THE JUMP…
The Log Cabin Republicans, a 38-year-old organization that had unsuccessfully sought a charter from the state party several times in the past, received the formal imprimatur on a 861-293 vote at the party’s biannual convention in Sacramento.
It is among the first gay groups officially sanctioned by a state Republican Party.
Brandon Gesicki, a delegate from Carmel who supported the effort, said the vote showed how much the party in California has changed in recent years.
“It would have been the complete opposite 15 years ago,” said Gesicki, who also turned in a proxy vote from former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado supporting the recognition. “The fringe does not control the party anymore. We truly are a big tent once again.”
The LA Times reports that despite the decision to charter Log Cabin, the California GOP platform still includes anti-LGBT language:
John Briscoe, president of the socially conservative California Republican Assembly, pointed to Log Cabin’s support of same-sex marriage.
“I have a hard time understanding how we’re going to charter an organization that’s in opposition to our platform,” he said during the debate.
The party’s official platform says homosexuality is unacceptable.
“We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption,” the platform says.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that while some social conservatives like Briscoe voiced strong opposition to the decision, the vast majority of those attending the state GOP convention supported it.
And, many said, their inclusion was long overdue.
“We’re Republicans,” said Brandon Gesicki, a longtime GOP strategist. “We’re not East Germany.”
“Get out of the back of the bus,” said Scott Wilk, Republican Assembly Caucus chair to the Log Cabin group at the close of the debate. “You deserve a seat.”
Former Ohio solicitor general Ben Mizer has been promoted to Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Mizer is one of more than a dozen out gay lawyers Holder and the Obama administration have appointed to senior positions at the Department of Justice, according to The Victory Fund.
“Ben Mizer’s unassailable integrity, sound judgment and steadfast commitment to the mission of this department are just a few of the reasons he’s been chosen to serve as the new Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division – a critical and demanding post, and one in which he will undoubtedly thrive,” said Attorney General Holder in a statement. “Ben’s work here in Washington and as Solicitor General for the state of Ohio has put him in some of the most challenging and demanding positions a lawyer can encounter. But in every instance, Ben has repeatedly demonstrated that he is both a gifted lawyer and a capable leader."
If confirmed, Ben would be the second most senior openly gay official at the Department of Justice. Stuart F. Delery, the gay senior Justice Department lawyer who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of the Obama Administration back in 2012 and previously served as head of the Civil Division, was promoted to Associate Attorney General back in September. Delery is the department's no.3 lawyer and the highest-ranking openly gay official to ever serve in the DoJ.