This week, LGBT people in Russia expressed their thanks to the international community for speaking out about repressive anti-gay laws in the former Soviet Union. The campaign, called “From Russia with Love,” saw gays from Arkhangelsk to Vladivostok photographing themselves holding simple “thank you” signs in various languages. (Anything more organized might have gotten themselves arrested.) “We would like to thank all the people around the world who support us and express their concern about the events in our country in hope of making a difference and pulling Russia out of a tightening medieval darkness,” said organizer Natalia Tsymbalova. Check out more images from across Russia here.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told the Chattanooga Times Free Press there’s “no huge demand” for LGBT equality in his state, which is why he’s not even considering extending health benefits to partners of gay state employees. “First of all, I don’t sense a huge demand from most Tennesseans,” he claims. “If you went across Tennessee and looked at it, to me, it’s just, A: not something where there’s a lot of demand [for], or B: in terms of folks who would favor that.”
About that: Knoxville and Chattanooga are lining up to extend such benefits, and the fundamentalist Christian bastion of Collegedale already has them. But, sure—there’s no demand for equal benefits. It just kind of happened.
Finnish director Dome Karukosk (Heart of a Lion) is working on a biopic about legendary gay artist Tom of Finland, a.k.a. Touko Laaksonen—and is getting access to tons of archival images and notes from Laaksonen’s estate. “It’s impossible to overstate the impact Tom’s work has had on the image and self-image of gay men all over the world,” said Aleksi Bardy, producer of the yet-to-be-named movie. “He created the archetypes that now form an integral part of the iconography of popular culture, both gay and straight.”
Casting for the Tom of Finland movie will be announced early next year, but might we suggest Channing Tatum and Chris Evans as two of Laaksonen’s models?
We’re still grappling with the 2013 Winter Games, but FIFA—soccer’s international governing body—is already putting pressure on Qatar to change its anti-gay laws before the World Cup comes there in 2022. (Homosexuality is punishable by lashes and jailtime in the Middle Eastern country.) “Qatar wants to host the tournament at the start of a new decade, they will want to present an internationally welcoming face,” says Director of Football Against Racism, Piara Powar, who is part of a taskforce addressing the issue “With FIFA’s help we are sure it will be possible to win over the Qataris, so that they come into line with the rest of the world… and change the law on homosexuality.” Before then, though, the World Cup will be held in Russia in 2018. Oh boy.
Congrats to the cast and crew of the Logo online series EastSiders, which picked up Best Drama at the recent LA Weekly Web Awards. Set in the L.A. gayborhood of Silverlake, the online dramedy stars Kit Williamson and Van Hansis as boyfriends trying to make it work in the wake of an infidelity. Check out the full season of EastSiders on Logo.com.