American Gods star reveals how the show inspired her to come out as bisexual

Yetide Badaki plays the goddess Bilquis in American Gods (Paul Butterfield/FilmMagic/Getty)

American Gods actor Yetide Badaki has revealed how her role on the show helped her feel comfortable enough to come out as bisexual.

The Nigerian-born American stars in the Neil Gaiman fantasy series as Bilquis, the legendary Queen of Sheba and ancient goddess of love.

Interviewed by Digital Spy ahead of the third series, Badaki spoke of how the “empowering” role helped her find the freedom to be open about her own sexuality.

“I feel like this show is always willing to have these conversations, and always willing to open it up,” she said. “I’ve experienced personally how that kind of open discourse allows for personal freedom.

“I came out as bisexual last year. I would say it’s very much thanks to this show, and the discussions they’re having.”

As she approached the role Badaki found a sense of symbiosis with her character and often found herself asking: “What would Bilquis do?” The discussions she had as she explored this question helped her to “own” her sexuality.

“I was so happy to be having conversations about sexual empowerment and sex positivity, because I think there is so much that goes on in the silence, in the darkness. That’s where things go in the cracks,” she mused.

“But when we are able to own our own sexuality, and actually have conversations around it, that becomes something that’s healthier for everybody involved. I always say that regression comes from repression.

“When you’re actually able to face whatever it is, that’s when growth and evolution can occur. So that’s been something that I’m very proud to be a part of.”

She hinted at what’s to come from season three of American Gods, promising viewers will see “more than one side” to Bilquis – and even a major fight scene.

“I love that we are cementing this idea that love is not passive. It’s not just something that rolls over,” she said. “There is a lot of fire behind love, and there’s a lot of passion behind love. And that love does work to move things forward.”

American Gods season 3 airs on Starz in the US, and on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

Liar Tom Cotton, Wrestling Spreaders, White House Ushers, Texas GOP and QAnon, Big Gay Ice Cream, Dr. Birx, Joe Exotic: Sunday HOT LINKS

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TOM COTTON. Arkansas GOP senator lied about being an Army Ranger: “In his first run for Congress, Cotton leaned heavily on his military service, claiming to have been ‘a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ and, in a campaign ad, to have ‘volunteered to be an Army Ranger.’ In reality, Cotton was never part of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the elite unit that plans and conducts joint special military operations as part of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.”

PETTY. Trump dismissed White House ushers before Bidens’ arrival so there would be nobody to greet them. “The Trumps sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no one to help the Bidens when they arrived,” a well-placed official not associated with the incoming Biden team told National Journal. “So petty.”

Kevin McCarthy antifaKevin McCarthy antifa

BACKTRACKING. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy now says Trump did not incite Capitol insurrectionists: “‘I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally,’ McCarthy, a Republican who represents Bakersfield, said during a news conference. Eight days earlier, during a Jan. 13 House debate on whether to impeach Trump, McCarthy said the president was to blame for the violence, though he voted against impeachment.”

RUDY GIULIANI. $20K per day ask to work for Trump: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, conceded on Friday night that an associate had sent an email to campaign officials asking that Mr. Giuliani be paid $20,000 a day for his work after the Nov. 3 election, but he insisted he was unaware of it at the time.”

WE ARE THE STORM. Texas Republican Party adopts QAnon slogan: “West, a former Florida congressman, indicated he drew inspiration for the slogan from an unattributed quote that he likes: ‘The devil whispers to the warrior slyly can it withstand the coming storm. The warrior responds, ‘I am the storm.” Others, however, saw something more nefarious: a dog whistle to the QAnon conspiracy movement — the one that President Donald Trump notably declined to denounce Wednesday, saying he did not know much about it while also speaking favorably of its followers. … The concept of ‘the storm’ is a significant part of QAnon vernacular, said Mark Fenster, a law professor at the University of Florida who studies conspiracy theories.”

NYC. Big Gay Ice Cream shop’s original location to close amid pandemic.

TIGER KING. Frustrated by Trump pardon snub, Joe Exotic pivots to Biden: “Exotic feels disdain for Trump, he says partly because 45 ended up just hiding out in the White House after the riot … never saying a word about the people who died. Long story short … it seems Joe is all pro-Joe now, and even claims in his emails to have new evidence in his case that he hopes the Biden administration will consider.”

DR. BIRX. She always considered quitting: “Dr. Deborah Birx, the former coordinator of the Trump White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, says nothing in her four decades of public service prepared her for the chaotic Trump White House or the politically charged handling of the pandemic, telling ‘Face the Nation”‘ she ‘always’ considered quitting her post.In an interview to air on Sunday’s ‘Face the Nation,’ Birx told moderator Margaret Brennan that even close colleagues who she had worked with during decades of research into the AIDS virus questioned her political allegiance amid a flurry of criticism against the Trump White House’s response to the virus.”

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UK. Gay couple from Somerset now afraid to hold hands in public after chase by homophobic thugs. “My partner is terrified, we both thought we were going to get beaten.”

LOUISIANA. Wrestling tournament was super spreader event: “The state Department of Health announced a coronavirus outbreak connected to last week’s 48th Louisiana Classic wrestling tournament in Gonzales, saying the department has received more than 20 reports of athletes, staff and attendees testing positive for COVID-19.”

RUSSIA. Police arrest over 1,300 at pro-Navalny protests: “Navalny, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was jailed for at least 30 days upon his return to Moscow from Germany, where he was recovering after being poisoned with a deadly nerve agent. He is being held in the notorious Matrosskaya Tishina prison.”

TALK TO THE DEAD. Microsoft patents chatbots using the personal information of dead people: “The idea that you would be able, in the future, to speak to a simulation of someone who has passed on is not new. It is famously the plot of the Black Mirror episode ‘Be Right Back’, where a young woman uses a service to scrape data from her deceased partner to create a chatbot – and eventually a robot.”

NEW RULE OF THE DAY. Hello, Douchebags.

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SUNDAY BLONDE. Ricky Martin.

Joe Biden’s advocacy encouraged him to come out. Now he’s running Biden’s social media.

On May 6, 2012, Joe Biden made an appearance on Meet the Press. The then-Vice President told moderator David Gregory that he supported marriage equality, stating that Americans will come to understand “what this is all about … who do you love? Who do you love, and will you be loyal to the person you love?”

Biden changed the country by declaring he was “absolutely comfortable with gay marriage. He also changed the life of LGBTQ people — such as Brendan Cohen, who was a senior at his Madison, Wisconsin high school at the time. He came out after Biden’s declaration.

Related: Kamala Harris’ husband will officially be called the “Second Gentleman”

Cohen, now 26, officially started as the social media manager for now-President Biden and other digital interfaces representing him. Previously, he served in Biden’s Presidential campaign nearly from the start in May 2019, working in various platform and editorial roles, until its eventual success.

“In high school, as I was coming to terms with the fact that I was a gay man, I realized pretty early on that one political party supported my rights and the other didn’t. It was the initial spark that got me to start paying attention and got me involved,” Cohen told Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Laura Schulte.

“I remember Vice President Biden on Meet the Press expressing his support for same-sex marriage — and for a kid who was scared and in the closet at the time it meant the world and helped give me the confidence to come out and live openly,” he reminisced.

Cohen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree of science in political science and digital studies in 2017. He immediately began working for Democratic Party candidates, and eventually became the digital director for the Dan Koh’s primary congressional campaign in Massachusetts, and Tony Evers’ gubernatorial campaign in Wisconsin. The latter was successful.

After, Cohen set his sights on working for a Presidential campaign. He applied as soon as Biden declared candidacy, the Journal-Sentinel reported.

“It was honestly a dream come true,” he said.

Cohen had previously lived in Washington D.C., and prepared to travel with Biden as the campaign got more competitive, but the growing threat of coronavirus ended up requiring Cohen to work from home for much of the most crucial points of Biden’s candidacy. Cohen ended up living back in Wisconsin for some time.

But “once the pandemic forced us to go exclusively online,” Cohen was elated that he would have “a lot of freedom” as everyone involved in Biden’s campaign was “kind of operating in this new territory.”

“We had a lot of freedom to do all these virtual events and really get our message out to the American people in a digital-first way.”

It all eventually paid off, with Biden coming up victorious in a grueling, competitive Democratic primary, and eventually in the general election, which saw the largest turnout ever.

He described celebrating the victory, via Zoom, with his coworkers as the best moment of his time working for Biden.

Now, as he leaves Wisconsin to return to Washington D.C. again, he is more than ready to get to work like the rest of the administration. “I think we have a duty and an important job to communicate with the American people in an effective and clear manner,” Cohen expressed.

“Gone are the days of erratic tweets — just a lot of hard work restoring the soul of the nation and building back better,” he tweeted in December.

He will miss, but support, his beloved Green Bay Packers from afar, in addition to his love for cheese curds and Spotted Cow beer.

He’s not too worried about his work, even in light of the previous President’s removal from several digital platforms for a pattern of allegedly inciteful statements. “I don’t necessarily get intimidated but I’m more excited by the opportunity, especially as we get underway,” Cohen said.

Jill Biden Visits Whitman-Walker Health HIV/AIDS Clinic On Her 2nd Day As First Lady

First lady Dr. Jill Biden on Friday visited the D.C-based Whitman-Walker Health HIV/AIDS clinic, which has been serving the D.C-area since 1973 as a clinic for the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

Jill Biden’s visit was intended “to highlight and promote support services for cancer patients and caregivers, as well as hear about the impact of COVID-19 on access to health care, including cancer screenings and prevention efforts,” per the guidance.

At the clinic, Jill Biden met with Naseema Shafi, CEO of Whitman Walker Health, and Kim Thiboldeaux, chief executive officer of the Cancer Support Community.

Among the questions the first lady asked were how is the clinic getting the word out to patients and how is it addressing mental health issues.

Broadband access was also discussed as health officials said Medicare and Medicaid patients not being able to do televisits. Jill Biden noted that many teachers “can’t reach a lot of their students” and the issue must be addressed nationally.

She concluded public remarks at the clinic by saying President Biden wants to take care of the virus, get everyone vaccinated, then move on to other priorities.

The Blade notes that Jill Biden wasn’t the first person to tour the clinic as first lady. “In 1989, Barbara Bush visited the clinic, where she held a baby and hugged a gay man who were both dying of AIDS. Hillary Clinton as first lady and Bernadatte Chirac, former first lady of France, have also visited the clinic. Following the visit to the clinic, Jill Biden made a surprise stop to the U.S. Capitol, where she delivered a basket of cookies to U.S. service members in honor of the National Guard. One appeared to hand her a challenge coin. The service members posed for a group photo, then uttered a “hooah” in salute.”

“Dr. Biden held an open conversation in front of White House pool press with Shafi, Thiboldeaux, and others at the clinic who serve patients with HIV and AIDS. She also ran into patients seeking PrEP or other sexual health services,” reports LGBTQNation. “She addressed concerns about the accessibility issues that many of Walker-Whitman’s patients, among others, face in trying to set-up or attend televisits. Dr. Biden, who remains an educator, said that she heard similar issues amongst the other educators she sat and talked to within her first full day in the first lady capacity.”

“You know we’re in your corner,” she said.

“By prioritizing the foremost LGBTQ community health center in Washington, D.C. as one of her first public visits, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden has highlighted that the health and wellness of our community is a top priority,” President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Alphonso David said in a statement. He described Whitman-Walker Health as a “crucial” provider.

“From day one, the President and the First Lady’s commitment to taking immediate action to improve the lives of LGBTQ people has been a welcome breath of fresh air,” he added.

Lesbian mother begs Joe Biden to ‘please be the president our children need’ in powerful open letter

A lesbian mother published a poignant open letter in Between the Lines this week urging president Joe Biden to support LGBT+ families during his administration.

Writing to Biden ahead of his historic inauguration Wednesday (20 January), Dana Rudolph, founder and publisher of Mombian, painted a troubling picture of an America where four years of Trump have gutted protections won under the previous Obama administration, of which Biden was a part.

She began by explaining her young son’s fears for their family.

“My son was just a few months too young to vote in the last election, but watched it with great concern, for its results would directly impact him and his family

“Would the next administration be one that treated his family with equality? Would it view families like his as part of the rich fabric of American diversity or as aberrations? I’d like to think he has reason for hope.”

The letter referenced a New York Times article which reported that at a 2012 fundraiser, when pressed about marriage equality, Biden spoke about the young children of a gay couple.

He reportedly said: “I look at those two beautiful kids. I wish everybody could see this. All you got to do is look in the eyes of those kids. And no one can wonder; no one can wonder whether or not they are cared for and nurtured and loved and reinforced. And folks, what’s happening is, everybody is beginning to see it.”

Dana Rudolph is a writer and regularly speaks publicly about online activism and LGBT+ parenting.Dana Rudolph is a writer and regularly speaks publicly about online activism and LGBT+ parenting.
Dana Rudolph is a writer and regularly speaks publicly about online activism and LGBT+ parenting. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty)

“Marriage equality didn’t hinge on these encounters alone,” Rudolph continued. “It was the work of thousands of people over many years — but your remarks were a turning point for the administration’s willingness to back it publicly. I hope that as president, you will continue to champion equality for all families.”

Rudolph also wrote about the two lesbian mothers in Biden’s administration: principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and deputy White House communications director Pili Tobar. While neither will work directly on LGBT+ policy, she shared her hope that their very presence will remind the president “that all parents and our children deserve equality”. She also made the important point that LGBT+ families are not just impacted by child services and healthcare policy.

“There are no areas of your administration that will not touch us, for we are woven into the fabric of the American people.”

She closed the letter by speaking again about her son, writing: “I want the country in which my son reaches adulthood to be one of equality, justice and compassion, not only for LGBTQ people and families but for all.

“I’m sure that as a parent yourself, you know what it is like to want such good for your children. Please be the president our country, and our country’s children, need.”

Biden has a largely strong track record on LGBT+ rights – though he has not always been a perfect ally. Today, however, he is considered a powerful ally, especially now that he has taken office.

‘Drag Race’ Serves Rom-Coms, Drama and Murder on the Runway [RECAP and RANKINGS]

Give Symone the crown. I don’t really know what else to say. We’re merely weeks, and nary into an elimination, into another strong season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but the frontrunner is clear.

What’s striking about Symone’s meteoric rise (and we’ll dive deeper into her many shining star qualities shortly) is how it’s against the backdrop of such fierce competition. This season’s COVID-triggered format change gave us more time to fall in love with season 13’s queens. The split gave everyone more screentime, and the result was a strong first impression for all. Even beyond that, in just a few short challenges, several queens seized the opportunity to show exactly what they can do. Rosé, Gottmik, Tina Burner, Olivia and Denali have made big impacts already, but no one comes close to outdoing Symone.

She helped carry an episode with an overly-long, lackluster challenge, but all the girls deserve some credit for elevating the proceedings on and off the mainstage.

Let’s get into it!

The time has come for the joining of the two halves of the cast, and you know how this goes. The winners talk some low-grade trash about the Pork Chop gals. Elliott hides to eavesdrop on the ladies talking about her. It all just feels like going through the motions. Not much to see here.

Well, there is a moment in which Elliott tries to snipe at Tamisha for voting her off in the Loading Dock. Clearly outmatched, you can almost see the flames swelling behind Tamisha’ eyes. Lala Ri, in interview, tells us back in Atlanta, Tamisha is known to fight. There’s no blood spilled here, but it’s a taste of Tamisha’s edgier side.

When Ru arrives to introduce this week’s challenge, she also comes bearing bad news: Someone WILL go home this week. The stakes are set, and Ru has taken the liberty of splitting the gals into three teams for a group acting challenge. Just in time for Hallmark Channel aficionados to start their withdrawals, the RuPaulmark Channel is here with three new holiday-themed trailers featuring the queens.

Team “Misery Loves Company” (Olivia, Elliott, Denali, Kahmora)

Eager to prove herself to the winning queens, Denali nabs the leading role for herself. She regrets it almost immediately into filming when it becomes clear she can’t handle remembering the lines, nor does she catch the references in the script.

Elliott and Olivia are fine, if uninspired, but it hardly matters. Kahmora is such an unmitigated disaster, everyone looks like Meryl Streep by comparison.

Kahmora’s task is to play a talking tree. It’s not quite second lobster, but it’s far from the juiciest role here. In fact, Kahmora is in a green screen suit, with only her face showing. Olivia clocks her for still padding drag body, but I applaud that level of commitment. I mean, she could use all the goodwill she can get. She reads her three lines as if she’s streaming on bad wi-fi. Ross tries desperately to get her to nail Tyra Bank’s intonation on the infamous “We were all rooting for you!” reference, but Kahmora doesn’t just have a mental block, she has mental fortress. It’s relentless, and it never gets there.

In the finished video, it’s clear when Denali isn’t in on the joke. Kahmora’s discomfort oozes from the screen. It doesn’t look good for her.

Team “God Loves Flags” (Lala Ri, Utica, Symone, Rosé)

Already the story with the strongest punny title, the powerful pairing of Rosé and Symone significantly boosts the material. As the central character, Symone shows up with a fully embodied character, a ton of intentional choices and a commitment to every take rarely seen in these early challenges. She’s just so undeniably watchable, and I’m consistently impressed with how clear-eyed and present she is when she’s performing. What a joy to watch!

Rosé too manages to spin some gold from straw. She plays a gnome (sure, go with it) who inspires Symone’s character to keep the flag factory open on Flag Day. Or something. Rosé throws herself fully into the role and while it feels a little capital-D Dramatic Arts, her serious commitment to the role improves it significantly.

Lala is fine, but it’s the real bare minimum. There’s not a clear stumble or anything, just a general lack of oomph. Utica also seems a little lost in the sauce (more than usual), but she has an iconic moment in the workroom. RuPaul asks Utica point blank if she’s smoked marijuana, and the quirky queen responds in a gut-busting sequences of coy reactions that has everyone in stitches. It never gets less funny the more you watch it. Unfortunately, there’s none of that humor in her performance.

Team “April Fool’s Rush In” (Kandy, Tamisha, Gottmik, Tina, Joey)

Right out of the gate, Kandy declares which part she’s taking. It’s a bold move in the absence of any official team leader, but the other girls just let it slide. I guess there’s no denying that the role of Whoopi Cushion is perfect and Kandy, and she, predictably, slays the big, physical comedy.

Tina takes a Joan Crawford-esque character and gives us … literally Joan Crawford. Tamisha has a hard time at first trying to inject the right amount of Cher into her character, but Ross is able to coach her to a fun final product. Joey Jay doesn’t take the direction quite as well, and the end result is mediocre at best. Gottmik gives Joan Cusack in Addams Family Values on the outside, but doesn’t quite live up to the legend in terms of performance.

This week’s runway is all about trains, and it is a consistently strong showing from all the girls, save for Kandy, whose outfit is such a disappointment, it lands her in the bottom three despite over-delivering in the challenge. The lewks are such stunners that even Denali’s colorful feathered ensemble and Kahmora’s glamorous gold dragon gown can’t spare them from the bottom two. (More on the rest of the lewks in the rankings below.)

The judges also throw Lala Ri in the bottom for her middle of the road showing. (I would’ve stuck Elliott, Joey Jay or Utica in that slot first.)

Of course, Rosé and Symone get top honors. BUT, Symone’s mind-blowing tracksuit/do-rag train runway is one for the herstory books. Even if Rosé didn’t disappoint in a blue pantsuit, Symone gave us drag! fashion! humor! everything! Reader, I leapt to my feet and applauded.

Denali is forced to lip sync against Kahmora to Crystal Water’s “100% Pure Love,” and it is a massacre. Yes, Kahmora is restrained by her heavy gown, but, gurl, she knew she was going to be lip syncing. How DARE she come out without a catsuit under the dragon dress like some sort of sartorial Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. It’s an only slightly more mobile version of Charlie Hides infamous final sync, but even if she could crank it up to a four, it wouldn’t stand a chance.

Denali does a flawless lip sync that is edge-of-your-seat THRILLING. The judges are delighted, and I’m not just entertained, I am sports entertained. If this were a WWE match, they would call it a “squash.” The winner is never in doubt. Denali shantays, and Kahmora sashays away.

Next week: Symone faces her toughest task yet, a sewing challenge.

So how does our little blended chosen family fit into the rankings this week? Find out below, and leave your rankings in the comments.

  1. Symone, obviously. I’ve spilled enough pixels extolling her performance and runway this season, but I’ve got more! In the makeup mirrors, Symone shared a story of her first time ever in full drag — at her prom! She was fearless, and it was all thanks to the power of drag. This gal gets it. She understands the artistry and the impact of drag, and she knows how to wield both wisely. What a superstar.
  2. Rosé is a pro, and she approaches each challenge accordingly. She’s calculating, perhaps too much so. I must admit, I felt a little warmed to her on this week’s Untucked as she comforted Denali. Unlike other tender moments of Rosé, which — I’m sorry! — sometimes come off disingenuous and performative. However, in her pep talk with Denali, she felt more honest; not only hyping Denali up, but egging her on. There was intensity there that felt like the real Rosé. If you’re going to be cutthroat, just be cutthroat. After all, who likes warm rosé?
  3. It’s tough to find fault with Tina‘s performance this week, but not impossible. Both her character and her locomotive-themed runway were very on-the-nose. They’re excellently executed, but it’s starting to feel a bit repetitive when the joke is always taking things literally. It’s funny and tongue-in-cheek, but the charm wears off with each beat. Still, Tina has the skills to go far.
  4. Olivia may have flown under the radar this week, but enough can’t be said about what a strong, consistent performance she’s had thus far in the competition. I missed the tiny purses a little bit, but glad she knew when to rest the game. Her runway was creative and gorgeous, and her performance perfectly met the challenge.
  5. Yes, Gottmik‘s bedazzled leaf blower was everything, but the rest of the ensemble was a little lackluster without the prop. It was still beautiful, but I wanted more. Gottmik’s creative genius is her greatest strength, so the more restrictive character challenges aren’t going to be the best showcase.
  6. Tamisha keeps having these flashes of brilliance, and you just know she’s got IT in there. I want so badly for her to get over her confidence issues and fully unload. She got to the funny eventually in the sketch, and I was once again enamored by her hot pink handmade runway.
  7. She may have been in the bottom two this week, but Denali still managed to come out looking not only like a winner, but still a strong contender for the crown. I don’t think her performance was that egregious, but let’s not kid ourselves: this is all about the lip sync. She’s not just a lip sync assassin, she’s a lip sync grim reaper. I mean, damn. There are so many little moments that had me gagged, but my favorite is when the camera caught her facing the safe queens just as she synced “I’m gonna be here til the end” like a genuine threat. Watch out, y’all.
  8. Lala Ri had her best night on the runway in her head-to-toe snakeskin presentation. The challenge really wasn’t that bad, but she seemed happy to just be good enough. I’d almost rather have seen a bold swing and a big miss. She needs to step it up if she’s going to stay in the race.
  9. During the marijuana exchange with Ru, I finally feel like I “got” Utica. She had me rolling. I was less charmed by her thin characterization and only mildly amusing Carol Burnett-inspired runway. I love Utica’s ideas, I just wish she would take them all to the next level. The concepts are there, but the execution always feels like a B-effort.
  10. Yikes. It’s not a good sign that Kandy Muse is struggling to make it to runways already. Her first dual-runway mini-challenge was a miss, the lamé was a letdown and this week’s hastily hitched train never quite made it out of the station. Whoopi was a character that was perfect for Kandy’s huge personality, but outside those seemingly custom-made opportunities, can Kandy conform to the challenges ahead?
  11. So, Joey Jay may have been a little prophetic declaring herself a “filler queen.” The social media stud has fewer fans on the judging table. Gurl was a mess during filming, displaying a level of inexperience that felt like a bigger hindrance than previous amateur actresses, like the hysterical Heidi. I’ll give her props for the lips/tongue train runway, but overall, I feel like I understand the Joey Jay persona, and now I’m ready to see more.
  12. There were a couple of queens who said the quiet parts out loud about Elliott this week. First, Kahmora called out her lack of clearly defined drag style, and then typically kind Utica said she has a cold energy. These two reads seemed to apply to Elliott this week in the video and on the runway, where both presentations were, like, ok, I guess?
  13. I mean, what more is there to say about Kahmora? She is gorgeous (in and out of drag), she has wonderful clothes. I really feel for her situation, where it doesn’t seem like she has the strongest support system back home, but, whatever the reason, she’s not ready for the Race. The performance was inexcusable, and failing to prepare for the lip sync seemed like surrender. On top of all that, there was no coming back from Denali’s dance of destruction.

How would you rank the queens this week?

LGBTQ Sports winners and losers for this new era

This work week may have been one day shorter for many because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday but a lot happened in these last seven days, and there was also sports. Here are this week’s LGBTQ sports winners and losers.

Hig Roberts
Kacey Cole

I’m breathing again,’ the skier says of his newly out life and the widespread acceptance he’s seen.

Campbell’s comments were first unearthed by a reporter with his own history of homophobic tweets. While the apologies are welcome, we brand Campbell and the Detroit Free Press reporter as losers until we see them working toward becoming better examples for young people by actively fighting homophobia.

Players on 22 NFL teams have already had an out gay teammate, including six players with the Arizona Cardinals.

Hank Aaron - Atlanta Braves
The Moment

Aaron will forever be associated with home runs and social justice. When those two worlds collided, with society at its ugliest, he persevered and emerged a hero.

From left to right, Maria López, Mack Beggs and KC
Sports Equality Foundation

Sports Equality Foundation launched a TikTok account in partnership with Outsports to encourage LGBTQ athletes to be their true and authentic selves. Click here to see the videos!

Jackson says he “gets on better” with women.

On day one of his presidency, Joe Biden clarifies that the Supreme Court’s anti-discrimination ruling allows trans athletes to compete according to their gender identity.

A transgender American’s challenge to, and hopes for, the new administration in Washington, D.C.

Sexual harassment has no place in baseball or any workplace, and believe me: if queer women want to see your dick pics, we’ll ask.

Young LGBTQ athletes are reclaiming the word “queer,” and pushing back against labels.

The ACLU helped lead the opposition to HB112, which has been dubbed a ‘carbon copy’ of Idaho’s anti-trans legislation.

Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones
Eleanor Jones

A soccer-mad trans teen in soccer-mad Seattle made one of the great plays in sports in 2020 by pushing a youth league to become more open.

Hogan and Steelz’s victory makes them the first to hold Impact’s women’s tag team titles in nearly eight years.

The iconic fashion brand cut ties with Thomas after he dropped an anti-gay slur at a PGA Event.

Aerial Powers
Aerial Powers
Team Liquid

Powers will chair the esports behemoth’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Chris McLeod fought his sexuality for years in an unforgiving sport, but now is determined to help others reach their potential.

Premiering next month, “Steelers” showcases how LGBTQ players and coaches are finding community in rugby.

Esera Tuaolo and Hate Is Wrong host conversations and a celebration about LGBTQ inclusion, around the Super Bowl.

That’s all for this week! I’ll bring you another list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name I missed, or want to challenge my choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message me via any social media, or just plain email me at Thanks!

Teen sensation Jojo Siwa comes out & changes the world for LGBTQ youth

Teen star sensation Jojo Siwa has officially come out.

Siwa first came to prominence as one of the students featured in two seasons of the reality show Dance Moms. From there, she has grown into a YouTube personality, teen entertainer, and one of the most influential people in the world, according to Time Magazine.

Related: “Star Trek” actress Mary Wiseman comes out as queer & proud

Siwa, 17, has now publicly shared that she is gay for the first time, after hints of late have sparked online speculation about the teen.

She confirmed the news by showing off a gift from her cousin. It was a shirt that read “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.”

Siwa wore the shirt in a post to social media on January 22, writing “my cousin got me a new shirt” and thanking her for it. She also shared comments congratulating her and fans expressing how proud they are of her.

“She changed history today for the future of LGBTQ youth,” out online personality Tana Mongeau said on Instagram.

A screenshot of Jojo Siwa's story, featuring a repost of a story by Tana Mongeau saying
A screenshot of Jojo Siwa’s story, featuring a repost of a story by Tana Mongeau Screenshot / Instagram

Fellow out entertainer Lil Nas X joked in response, “if u spell ‘swag’ backwards, it’s ‘gay’. coincidence?”

The likes of Bretman Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, James Charles, Smashmouth, Todrick Hall, and Trixie Mattel have expressed their excitement and well wishes for Siwa’s coming out.

Earlier in the week, journalist Yashar Ali shared social media-posted videos of Siwa, namely one of her singing along to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. “This feels like a big deal if it is what I think it is,” he tweeted, “JoJo Siwa is hugely popular with kids.”

The video, originally posted to TikTok, has been viewed at least 25 million times on its original platform alone, in less than a week.

Siwanators, as her fans are known, were quick to defend Siwa and establish that she doesn’t need to “come out” as long as the people in her life that she wanted to know were aware. Siwa shared some of their defenses.

At just 17, Siwa is already one of the most celebrated entertainers in the world. “JoJo Siwa is a ray of sunshine in a world that seems scary right now,” Kim Kardashian West wrote in her profile of the artist for TIME in September 2020.

“As a parent, you want your kids to admire positive figures. There’s no one more positive than JoJo… it’s no wonder my 7-year-old daughter North and millions of other children around the world adore her,” Kardashian West wrote at the time. “At some point, she’ll evolve and grow up a little bit, and that’s O.K. The people who love and support her will always be there.”

To date, Siwa has garnered over 12 million subscribers on YouTube alone. She has released three international-charting extended plays (EPs), and her debut single, “BOOMERANG,” came out when she was 13. It has been officially certified Platinum twice — while the video has earned over 930 million views — since 2016.

Siwa has already taken home Reality Television Awards, and Industry Dance Awards, and four Kids’ Choice Awards.

After starring on Dance Moms from 2015 to 2016, Siwa signed to Nickelodeon and has appeared on some of television’s top shows, co-hosting Lip Sync Battles Shorties with Nick Cannon and guest-starring on Spongebob Squarepants, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Celebrity Watch Party. She was one of the recently revealed hidden stars on the third season of the popular singing competition show The Masked Singer.

Siwa also recently starred in Meghan Trainor’s “I Believe in Santa” video, dancing in place for the pregnant singer.

She is known for her trademark colorful hair bows, and has a line of signature hair bows with the retailer Claire’s. She originates from Omaha, Nebraska and hopes to make it to Broadway, according to IMDb. She’s previously expressed how much she loves other out singers such as Miley Cyrus and the late Freddie Mercury.

Hank Aaron embodied what athletes endured to fight for a better world

The image forever associated with Henry “Hank” Aaron is of wrists that could’ve powered downtown Atlanta sending an Al Downing pitch into orbit to immortalize him as the man who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record.

Befitting the magnitude of that sequence, Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Milo Hamilton attempted to capture all of the night’s emotions for posterity. Naturally, for sheer poetry, you couldn’t beat Scully’s “What a marvelous moment for the country and the world! A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the deep south for breaking the record of an all-time baseball idol…”

But if you were looking for an honest summation of what it actually felt to be the Black man breaking that particular all-time baseball idol’s record, the most accurate words for the moment were spoken by Aaron himself. After circling the bases, being lifted up by his teammates, and crushed by his mother in a bear hug, Aaron was handed a microphone and in front of a sold-out Fulton County Stadium, admitted:

“I just thank God it’s all over with.”

The truth was that 715 was a marvelous moment to watch. But, as only Aaron knew, it was hell to live through.

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We write a lot about the intersection of athletes and social justice on Outsports. Their heroic stories inspire and uplift us. But it’s important not to overlook the sacrifices that often accompany an athlete’s transformation into an inspirational figure — especially if they teach us some unpleasant truths about who we are.

Next to Jackie Robinson, I believe Henry Louis Aaron was the most important person in baseball history. Inspired by Robinson, he was also the most prominent star to take up the mantle of civil rights advocacy for the Black community following the Dodger legend’s retirement.

Aaron’s activism took many forms. Sometimes it emerged through doing his job better than any other player in the game, as when he broke the color line in the Class-A South Atlantic League in Jacksonville, Fla., as a 19 year old in 1953.

Despite enduring a torrent of racial slurs, fastballs aimed at his head, death threats, and witnessing fans throw rocks at a Black teammate in the middle of a game, Aaron never wavered from his mission and won the league’s MVP award. In so doing, he blazed a trail for Black players in one of the most hostile of all the minor leagues.

Other times, Aaron took the lead in calling attention to his community’s needs off the field. Just before he tied Ruth’s record on Opening Day of 1974, Aaron paused during a routine press conference to remark that he had requested a moment of silence during pregame ceremonies to mark the sixth anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

This was well before the era when invoking King’s name scored an immediate applause break. It wasn’t until nine years later when MLK Day was adopted as a federal holiday. At that moment, Aaron was using his star status to promote a cause that meant everything to him and his community.

2011 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Trustees Emmy Award Presentation
Henry Aaron with Martin Luther King III.
Photo by Marc Bryan-Brown/WireImage

All that Aaron represented came to a head during his protracted chase of Ruth’s record. Beneath the imagery of the 715th home run’s transformation into instant baseball nostalgia was buried the real story of his quest. An almost unfathomable avalanche of abuse and indignities that Aaron had to endure just because he was a Black man who dared to take his rightful place in history.

Take a moment to read one of the hateful letters Aaron received during the chase. Perhaps the one that ends with “KKK Forever” scrawled in the corner almost as an afterthought. Or the one where the writer is too timid to spell out “damn” but is perfectly fine repeatedly typing the entire N-word. In all caps.

Now multiply that letter by a thousand. Actually, make that several thousand. And imagine that hate mail arriving day after day for months on end. That was just the start of what Aaron had to endure, all while dealing with the added pressure of trying to hit more home runs than anyone who ever lived.

Atlanta Braves - Hank Aaron 715th Home Run Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images

The threats were so real that Aaron’s daughter had to have FBI protection while enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. So real that the Atlanta Journal had pre-written his obituary just in case someone behind one of the death threats actually did the unspeakable. This was the environment in which Aaron attempted to break a cherished record and, more importantly, call America’s attention to its own systemic racism.

Ultimately, Aaron found the strength to continue and cemented his legend with home run after home run. His story ended in triumph and his place as one of baseball’s and humanity’s best was secure. But the abuse he endured also became indelibly linked to his story of heroism and it’s something that we should never forget.

In “The Last Hero,” biographer Howard Bryant quoted Aaron on what 715 actually meant to him:

“It still hurts a little bit inside because I think it has chipped away at a part of my life that I will never have again. I didn’t enjoy myself. It was hard for me to enjoy something that I had worked very hard for. God had given me the ability to play baseball, and people in this country kind of chipped away at me. So it was tough. And all of those things happened simply because I was a Black person.”

Henry Aaron will be revered as long as athletes who use their platform to make a better world are regarded as heroes. His story is also about the price those athletes can pay along the path to heroism.

We owe it to him to tell his story in full. Because that’s the only way we can hope to achieve that better world that he wanted.

A Lesbian Mom Is Behind Bernie Sanders’ Viral Mittens And She’s Been Flooded With Requests

The Vermont school teacher behind the now-viral mittens worn by Senator Bernie Sanders during President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday said she’s been flooded with requests from people wanting to buy a pair. But they’re no longer for sale.

“Thanks for all the interest in Bernie’s mittens!” Jen Ellis wrote on Twitter. “I’m so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration. Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on ETSY who make them.”

The mittens that sparked thousands of internet memes were made from repurposed sweaters and recycled plastic the 42-year-old who works as a second-grade teacher in Essex Junction, Vermont, with her partner, Liz, and their kindergarten-age daughter.

“I don’t have any mittens to sell. I don’t really do it a lot any more. I’m flattered that they want them, but there are lots of people on Etsy who sell them and hopefully people will get some business from them. But I’m not going to quit my day job,” Ellis told the Jewish Insider in an interview on Wednesday night.

She explained that the demand had been overwhelming. “I am a second grade teacher, and I’m a mom, and all that keeps me really busy. There’s no possible way I could make 6,000 pairs of mittens, and every time I go into my email, another several hundred people have emailed me.”

She went on to say: “I hate to disappoint people, but the mittens, they’re one-of-a-kind and they’re unique and sometimes in this world, you just can’t get everything you want.”

“It’s been unexpected,” she said of their sudden social media fame. “He must really like them if he chose to wear them.”

Ellis said she was not a regular social media user, and had struggled to remember the login for her Twitter account.

Asked about his outfit, Sanders told CBS News in an interview after the ceremony: “In Vermont, we dress warm – we know something about the cold. We’re not so concerned about good fashion. We want to keep warm. And that’s what I did today.”

Sanders’ outfit quickly became an internet meme.

He was Photoshopped into historic photographs, comic panels and the subway, while sitting, arms folded, wrapped up warm against the DC winter weather, wearing the cozy pair of mittens.