Texas man recounts first time seeing an openly gay couple as a closeted teen

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: A defiant fist is raised at a vigil for the worst mass shooing in United States history on June 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, United States. A gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida early yesterday morning before suspect Omar Mateen also died on-scene. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A defiant fist is raised at a vigil for the worst mass shooing in United States history on June 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, United States.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

The first time Bryan Washington from Texas ever saw an openly gay couple, he was a teenager visiting family in Jamaica.

Read: Then and now: Austin celebrates anniversary of marriage equality

In a personal essay in The New York Times titled “Intolerance and Love in Jamaica,” the 23-year-old writer details a memory from growing up as a closeted gay teen from a small Texas town. He was visiting Jamaica for the first time for a family reunion and was weary of the country’s tolerance for the LGBT community.

“I’d heard stories about the situation for queer folks in Jamaica, but they were hard to put in perspective — I had nothing to compare them with. I lived in a small town in Texas. I’d have sooner set myself on fire than come out. I’d never seen a pair of gay people, and I had yet to find them in books, so the notion of a happy ending felt pretty amorphous. Like some pot at the end of this camouflage rainbow.”

During a family outing, they come across a happy gay couple on the beach. “It was warm to watch, like electricity, as if I’d seen the last dinosaurs,” Washington writes. But then, his uncle began to throw rocks at the couple and his aunt booed. Washington decided he would never come back.

Read: Orlando shooting: In Austin, hundreds hold vigils in honor of victims

But as he got older, something changed his mind. To read Washington’s full story, you can read his essay here. 

Billboard depicts Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz leaning in for kiss

CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), talk during a broadcast break in the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), talk during a broadcast break in the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“Love Trumps Hate” reads a new billboard in Cleveland, Ohio that depicts Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz leaning in for a kiss.

The billboard was paid for by Planting Peace, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, and comes just one week before the Republican National Convention takes place in the same city.

Read: Cruz, silent on endorsement, accepts Trump offer to speak in Cleveland 

In a statement on its website, the group said the billboard is intended to call “for the immediate change in the Republican party platform with regard to our LGBT family and LGBT rights.”

Houston man rejected by Austin Airbnb lister for being gay

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Photo via Airbnb

After Houston’s Buddy Fisher booked himself an Airbnb in Austin for the city’s Pride festival, he soon received a “cancellation” notice from the site.

According to KVUE, that’s when the lister named Wasif sent him a message that read: “No LGBT people, please. I do not support people who are against humanity. Sorry.”

Related link: Austin’s tech community lobbies against Uber, Lyft, HomeAway and Airbnb

Fisher said Airbnb quickly apologized and has removed the lister who is no longer allowed to put properties on the site. Though Fisher said he’s upset about the incident, he told KVUE he is still planning to come to Austin.

To watch the full report, click here.

 

Then and now: Austin celebrates anniversary of marriage equality

People celebrate the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Austin, Texas on Friday, June 26, 2016. Shelby Tauber / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
People celebrate the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Austin, Texas on Friday, June 26, 2016. Shelby Tauber / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Austin on June 26, 2015 was a day full of LGBT pride, celebrations in the streets and impromptu weddings — it’s the day the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on gay marriage, requiring all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize such unions performed in other states.

Sunday marked one year since the Obergefell v. Hodge ruling, and Austinites came out to celebrate. Couples like Collin Acock and Shane Parsons reflected on the historic day while also celebrating their wedding anniversary. Groups like Equality Texas used the anniversary as a day to call on the LGBT community to fight against discrimination.

In honor of the anniversary, take a look back at the day SCOTUS made history and the events surrounding the decision.

 

For complete coverage of gay marriage in Texas, go here. 

 

How you talk about the Orlando mass shooting might depend on your political party

A rainbow appears behind the U.S. flag flying at half-staff on top of the Tacoma Dome, Monday, June 13, 2016, in Tacoma, Wash. Flags across the state were at half-staff Monday to honor the victims of a mass shooting early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A rainbow appears behind the U.S. flag flying at half-staff on top of the Tacoma Dome, Monday, June 13, 2016, in Tacoma, Wash. Flags across the state were at half-staff Monday to honor the victims of a mass shooting early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

After 49 people were killed at gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Fla. this week, lawmakers, news organizations and the American public let their reactions be known. But how does the conversation differ between political parties?

The New York Times did a breakdown of terms and topics used when Republicans and Democrats discuss the attack. The Times noticed that Democrats focused on weapons and referred to the attack as a “mass shooting.”

“This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets.” — Hilary Clinton

But Republicans avoided the word “shooting” and tended to call the attack a “terrorist attack.”

“It was the worst terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, and the second of its kind in six months.” — Donald Trump

Other differences in rhetoric included use of the phrase ‘radical Islam,’ placement of blame on either guns or criminals and willingness to mention the LGBT community. See these comparisons and more here.