Following in the footsteps of Time magazine, the Advocate has named Pope Francis Person of the Year, stirring up controversy among LGBT people still stinging from the Catholic Church’s centuries of gay persecution.
While the LGBT newsmagazine acknowledges the Pontiff is still against gay marriage and the use of condoms “a stark change in rhetoric from his two predecessors. This summer, Francis declared “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Of course, the Vatican clarified that his Holiness’ comment didn’t change Church teachings that homosexual acts are sinful.
Chris Cheng, expert marksman and winner of History Channel’s Top Shot, broke down more barriers today when he announced he was gay on his official blog. “While it’s something my friends and family have known for years, I believe now that I have become a television personality and public figure, it is important to be honest and upfront about who Chris Cheng is,” he wrote.
Cheng, 34, won the fourth season of Top Shot in 2012 and, since then, has quit his job at Google to pursue a career as a professional marksman. He says “one reason why I chose to come out publicly is that I’m a gay guy in a gun world.”
He’s not your typical gay celebrity either: In his message, Cheng thanks the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation for supporting his decision to come out.
“Hunters, sport shooting enthusiasts, and collectors are too often stereotyped as part of efforts to politicize guns, as we witnessed last week on the anniversary of the horrific Newtown tragedy,” he continued. “Take it from someone who in a single package is not only gay, but Chinese, Japanese, California-born, a college graduate, a tech geek who worked on cool Google projects, a gun enthusiast and a passionate Second Amendment advocate. Our community is as diverse as anyone’s.”
Cheng is developing a new reality series and prepping Shoot to Win, a book on leadership and shooting, for this summer.
An Illinois judge has ruled that same-sex couples can get married before the state’s new law takes effect in June, if one of the partners is facing a terminal illness.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled on Monday, allowing Elvie Jordan and Challis Gibbs to marry right away, as Gibbs has cancer and may not survive until next summer. “When I die, I want Elvie to be able to say, ’I lost my wife.’ I don’t want her to have to say, ’I lost my civil union partner,” says Gibbs.
Another couple, Vernita Gray and Pat Ewert, were able to get married in November,after they were granted an expedited marriage license because Gray is terminally ill.
A bittersweet victory if ever there was.
Though he’s almost universally believed to be gay Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t discuss his sexuality in public. But in a Wall Street Journal op-ed and a followup address at Auburn University, he spoke eloquently about the need for workplace protections against discrimination:
Those who have suffered discrimination have paid the greatest price for this lack of legal protection. But ultimately we all pay a price … People are much more willing to give of themselves when they feel that their selves are being fully recognized and embraced … If our coworkers cannot be themselves in the workplace, they certainly cannot be their best selves.
Check out his speech, below: