Boyfriend Of Sydney Siege Fatality Speaks, Spanish TV Personality Comes Out: Today In Gay

First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, IndianaAfter he was hired on last year at First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Indiana, Pastor David Mantor forced openly gay choir director Adam Fraley to resign. Mantor also ousted a lay leader at the church who supported Fraley.

Attendance plummeted by 80% and now the church is being forced to close its doors at the end of the year. “This church is closing precisely because of David Mantor, precisely because of the issues surrounding gay rights in the church,” a parishioner told The Raw Story

Mantor insists donations and attendance have been dropping for 30 years and the church’s closing has nothing to do with his bigotry.  “This is a problem that’s going on everywhere, and that’s why we’re closing,” he says.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 5.29.57 PMSpanish TV personality Sandra Barneda revealed that she’s in a relationship with a woman Wednesday during her talk show, Hable Con Ellas (Talk With Women)

Barneda was asked what couple she would choose to repopulate the human species in the event of nuclear holocaust.  “My partner, who is a woman and I won’t tell you her name, and the most handsome and fertile guy on Earth.”

Tirana, AlbaniaThe first LGBT homeless shelter has opened in Albania this week. Streha (“The Shelter”) offers housing for up to six months, as well as vocational training, mental-health care and other services.

Founded by gay rights group Alenaca LGBT and ProLGBT, It is the first shelter of its kind in the Balkans and one of the first in Eastern Europe.

eric holderAttorney General Eric Holder said this week that the Justice Department considers workplace discrimination against trans people covered within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Previously only discrimination based on a person’s assigned sex at birth could be recognized as grounds for discrimination. Holder says the statutes will now include gender identity.

“This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status,” he stated. “This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants. And it reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.”

There are still no federal protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

100457750-tim-cook-on-stage-getty.1910x1000Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a “substantial” contribution to HRC, dog-eared for the group’s campaign to bring LGBT equality to his home state of Alabama.

The exact amount of the donation hasn’t been revealed, but HRC’s Project One America campaign has a budget of $8.5 million to pay for advertising, fliers and staffers in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, where their efforts will be focused.

Cook came out as gay six weeks ago in a Businessweek article.


The grieving boyfriend of Tori Johnson, the cafe manager who died protecting customers during the Sydney hostage siege, spoke to the press today.

Thomas Zinn, who had been in a relationship with Johnson for 14 years, told Australia’s Today show, that Johnson was “humble, fair, and generous.” He also said the impromptu flower memorial that has cropped up in Martin Place near the incident has brought him some solace.

“This tragedy will remain with us forever. But the uniting effects of this week, how they have galvanized our city, our country makes us even more proud of Tori and Katrina and proud of all Australians,” Zinn said in a statement on behalf of Johnson’s parents.

Attorney Katrina Dawson was the other hostage killed during the siege.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.