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Chrissy Teigen Officially Enters The Great Squad Wars Of 2017


Liking Ed Sheeran outside the safety of the hopefully soundproof walls of one’s home is apparently a controversial act in 2017. Despite the singer’s widespread popularity, he’s become an internet punching bag of late due to his “toxic masculinity” problem, as his nice-guy brand has worn thin for many listeners.


Except Chrissy Teigen.


The model sung Sheeran’s praises on social media Sunday night during his performance of “Castle on the Hill” at the Billboard Music Awards.


“Personal opinion everyone shares: Ed Sheeran is a good dude,” the “Lip Sync Battle” host tweeted during the award show. 


Teigen’s track record of spot-on Twitter takes is well-documented, so many of her followers did a double-take when she publicly aligned herself with the singer.












Sheeran is also ― dun dun dun ― on team Taylor Swift, another often-criticized singer. And although he’s been a card-carrying member of Swift’s squad ever since she’d tried to become a Kennedy back in 2012, Teigen hasn’t exactly been the biggest fan of the “1989” singer. She called Swift’s not-so-subtle Kanye West dig at the 2016 Grammys “very uncomfortable.”


Regardless, Teigen’s mentions quickly devolved into a dumpster fire of feuding fandoms who tried to drag her into one squad or another. But if we’ve learned anything about Teigen over the years it’s that she’s not about let anyone ― let alone faceless Twitter trolls ― tell her what to think. 


“Squad people are bonkers. You can like multiple humans,” she tweeted. 






Of course, that only made the problem worse, so Teigen got real and reminded everybody that she probably has a more informed opinion on the matter given that she’s met all of these people IRL. 


“Oh I’m sorry I’ve actually met these people but yeah your favorite is better than anyone, ever,” she added.






Never change, Chrissy. 

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Cher Makes Us ‘Believe’ At The Billboard Music Awards




The spirit of the late ‘90s was alive and well at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night. 


Shortly after Celine Dion sang her 1997 hit “My Heart Will Go On,” Cher killed it onstage with her 1998 No. 1 song “Believe.” She then turned back time to 1989, performing “If I Could Turn Back Time,” in a similar outfit to the one she wore in her legendary music video filmed aboard the USS Missouri.






Everyone was taken with Cher’s performance, even Dion: 









After her two powerhouse performances, Cher was presented with the Icon Award by Gwen Stefani. 


“So, I’ve wanted to do what I do since I was 4 years old, and I’ve been doing it for 53 years,” Cher said as the crowd broke out in applause. “That’s not an applause thing. I’m 71 yesterday. And I can do a 5-minute plank. OK? Just saying.”


She continued, “I want to thank my mom. When I was really young my mom said, ‘You’re not going to be the smartest, you’re not going to be the prettiest. You’re not going to be the most talented. But you’re going to be special. And then when I met Sonny [Bono], he said the same thing. And there was really nothing about me that lead anyone [else] to believe that I was going to be special.”


Cher wrapped up her speech by crediting a lot of her success to plain old luck.


“I work with people you might not know, but they are like the greatest people in our industry,” she told the crowd. “And I just have to say I think luck has so much to do with my success. I think it was mostly luck and a little bit of something thrown in.”

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Celine Dion Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ With Billboard Award Performance




Celine Dion looked and sounded like an angel ― complete with massive wings ― at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night as she performed her smash hit “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic” nearly 20 years after the film’s release. 


Dion, who wore a plunging white gown with huge sleeves, sang the ballad while a montage of scenes from the Oscar-winning movie, released in December 1997, played in the background. 


“This song means a lot to me, and it has played such a huge role in my career,” Dion said in a statement when it was announced earlier this month that she would perform the song at the awards. “I’m so grateful to the late James Horner, and to Will Jennings, for writing it and creating the opportunity for me to be part of ‘Titanic,’ an amazing film whose legacy will continue for generations to come.” 




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Notre Dame Students Walk Out During Mike Pence’s Commencement Speech

Dozens of students walked out of Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday.


One student sported a rainbow cape, while a number of others who walked out in protest bore rainbow flags on their graduation caps. Pence, a former governor of Indiana, has a history of hostility toward the LGBTQ community.


















In his remarks at the Indiana university, the vice president criticized what he called campus “safe spaces” and urged students not to suppress free speech.


“While this institution has maintained an atmosphere of civility and open debate, far too many campuses across America have become characterized by speech codes, safe spaces, tone policing, administration-sanctioned political correctness ― all of which amounts to the suppression of free speech,” he said. “These practices are destructive of learning and the pursuit of knowledge.”


Pence is not the only political speaker who’s received a mixed welcome at the university. In 2009, then-President Barack Obama faced protests over his support for abortion rights, with some graduates choosing to skip the ceremony altogether. 

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‘Backpack Kid’ Upstaged Katy Perry On ‘SNL’ And Mesmerized The Internet




It takes a lot to upstage Katy Perry, but Backpack Kid managed to do it.


Perry, who channeled Beetlejuice in a black and white striped coat, performed “Swish Swish” ― which is thought to be a Taylor Swift diss track ― on the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” this weekend.


The pop star was flanked by drag queens on both sides of a runway, before she moved aside to let them do their thing. Then a star was born: 








Backpack Kid, as the people of Twitter dubbed him, stepped onto the runway and mesmerized the world with his backpack and the way he moved. (For the record, Backpack Kid’s real name is Russell Horning, he’s 15, and he’s on Instagram.)


People were delighted. They were in awe. They were confused. They had questions. They knew he had stolen the show.  




































Will we see more of Backpack Kid? Time will tell. 

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With All Eyes On Trump, Texas May Soon Pass Horrific Anti-LGBTQ Laws


As the Texas legislative session comes to its final days, far-right religious zealots are benefiting from a national media focused like a laser beam on the widening crisis surrounding the Trump presidency.


Anti-LGBTQ Republican legislators in Texas ― who have the full backing of GOP Governor Greg Abbott ― are also now using a stealth strategy, adding discriminatory amendments to must-pass legislation pertaining to agencies regulating nurses, lawyers and pharmacists rather than pushing broad-based “religious liberty” bills that garner a lot of attention. (Many of those kinds of bills ― an “avalanche” of them this year, which I wrote about back in March ― were successfully beaten back by Democrats or look like they’re in trouble, including a trans ”bathroom” bill.)


The results of this under-the-radar approach, by the end of this session on May 29 (though there’s always the chance of an extension with a special session), may be laws which will allow medical professionals to deny care to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people and emergency contraception for rape survivors, while allowing pharmacists to deny birth control to women and hormone therapy to trans people. 


One sweeping bill that has received a fair amount of national media attention, HB 3859, would allow state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to turn away applicants on religious grounds, denying parents who are LGBT, or even those who are Jewish, Muslim or atheist. It passed the Texas House and is now moving through the Senate, causing a great deal of concern because similar bills have been passed in other states, including in South Dakota this year. 


Getting less attention, however, are the insidious attempts to write discrimination into must-pass bills that have already been debated. An amendment added at the last minute to a nursing care bill, HB 2950, for example, would bar the Texas Board of Nursing from punishing discriminatory actions if they are committed in the service of a nurse’s “religious beliefs.” According to the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), a watchdog and activist group, a nurse could “cite his religious beliefs as a reason to refuse to care for a gay patient on the grounds that he believes homosexuality is a sin” or is against his faith. “A nurse who believes that men are the head of the household,” the group also notes, “could breach client confidentiality to disclose a woman’s medical condition to her husband against her wishes.”



One sweeping bill would allow state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to turn away applicants on religious grounds, denying parents who are LGBT.



Under an amendment added to HB 2561, pharmacists could opt-out of the practices that are standard among pharmacists across the country, based on personal religious convictions. A pharmacist could decide not to fill a prescription for hormone therapy for a transgender customer, claiming doing so goes against his or her religious beliefs about gender. Or, in another example TFN offers, a “pharmacist could use religion as a justification to refuse to serve African-American customers because she believes the Bible mandates the segregation of the races.”


And two bills that would regulate legal services, SB 302 and SB 303, now have amendments which allow for religious refusal by state-licensed attorneys. If these bills become law with these amendments an attorney could deny his or her duty to inform a client about his or her rights in a divorce proceeding, for example, even trying to talk the client out of getting a divorce, all based on the attorney’s religious objection to divorce. 



A pharmacist could decide not to fill a prescription for hormone therapy for a transgender customer, claiming doing so goes against his or her religious beliefs about gender.



It’s not difficult to imagine the far-reaching implications of these amendments and bills for LGBTQ people and many others if they become law. Yet, with so little attention on them, especially outside of Texas, a lot can happen under the radar very quickly. We’ve seen this many times before when draconian anti-LGBTQ laws were passed. With little media attention, Mississippi, in 2014, and Arkansas, in 2015, passed profoundly anti-LGBTQ laws, while equally heinous laws in Arizona, in 2014, and in Indiana in 2015, received a great deal of national attention and were thwarted.


So, even in the the face of the tremendous danger of Donald Trump and his reckless presidency ― and the rightful focus on it by the national media ― we must sound the alarm, as loudly as we can, about what’s happening in Texas in the last days of the current legislative session. 


 Follow Michelangelo Signorile on Twitter:  


 


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‘Bachelorette’ Contestant Criticized For Transphobic Reply To Dating Questionnaire






"The Bachelorette” doesn’t officially kick off its 13th season until Monday night, but one of the 31 men vying for Rachel Lindsay’s love has already started off on the wrong foot.


ABC posted contestants’ bios to its website this week, and Bryce, a 30-year-old firefighter, has been criticized for how he responded to a certain question: What’s your biggest date fear?” 


“The chick is actually a dude,” Bryce responded, per The Wrap


The contestant invited swift backlash from the LGBTQ community, including comments from “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” alum Sharon Needles and transgender actress Jen Richards. 














ABC provided The Wrap with a statement denouncing Bryce’s answer. “This comment does not reflect the views of ABC, Warner Horizon or bachelorette Rachel Lindsay,” a representative stated. The network promptly removed the line from its website.


As Refinery29 points out, Bryce wasn’t the only contestant to display uninformed views about transgender people. Lucas, a man who lists his occupation as “whaboom,” stated that if he could have lunch with any one person, dead or alive, he’d choose Bruce Jenner (”dead”) and Caitlyn Jenner (”alive”). 


“Would be a very interesting convo,” Lucas said.


“Lucas is fetishizing the experience of a trans woman,” Refinery29’s R.A. Farley wrote. “I’d like to think that Lucas wants to talk to Caitlyn Jenner in an effort to understand the trans experience. But I can’t help but think that’s not the case.”


Those missteps aside, Season 13 of “The Bachelorette” has been praised for being the series’ most progressive yet, with a black bachelorette and a more diverse set of contestants than ever before. The series returns to ABC Monday at 9 p.m. ET.

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Meryl Streep Is Doing A ‘Mamma Mia’ Sequel So We Can Dance, We Can Jive






Ten years after we never really found out who fathered Sophie, “Mamma Mia! The Movie” is getting a sequel. 


Original cast members Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski will return for “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!,” according to Deadline.


We can also get ready for some ABBA deep cuts: Variety reports the sequel will include songs that weren’t used in the first movie, along with a few reprised favorites. 


The 2008 film followed Sophie (Seyfried) as she attempted to find her father before her wedding on the sparkling Greek island where she lived with her mother, Donna (Streep). The plot of the sequel is not yet known, but there is a release date: July 20, 2018.


Universal nabbed “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” screenwriter Ol Parker to handle the script and direct. Producers and lyricists from the original ― a box office hit that earned $144 million domestically ― are also set to return. 






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15 Times Queer Christians And Their Allies Fought The Good Fight For Equality


It is a testament to the incredible vitality of queer spirituality that, despite centuries of both physical persecution and theological abuse, many queer people still have faith. 


According to a Pew Research Center survey, about 59 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans report being affiliated with a religious tradition. Forty-eight percent identified as Christian, while a significant number identified with non-Christian faiths like Judaism and Buddhism.


Those affiliations aren’t easy to maintain.  Overwhelming majorities of lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans say major American Christian traditions are unwelcoming to their community. Seventy-nine percent of the LGBT adults Pew surveyed described the Catholic church (79 percent) as unfriendly towards people who are LGBT, while 73 percent said the same about evangelical churches. Queer Americans are also much less likely to be Christian than the general public.


And with vehemently anti-queer religious conservatives filling out the ranks of President Donald Trump’s administration, it’s clear that the complicated relationship between Christianity and the LGBTQ community will get even more tense. 


Still, because the relentless work of queer Christian activists and theologians, there is much to be thankful for. Their activism has revitalized and challenged America’s faith community in important, history-altering ways that must not be forgotten.


And the victories certainly aren’t contained to Christianity ― there have been advances in Judaism, Islam, and other faiths.


In honor of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which falls on May 17 every year, HuffPost has gathered together these 15 iconic moments of hope in queer Christianity from around the world.  From evangelical churches embracing their LGBTQ members to Christian musicians making the choice to come out, these moments from the past five years are reminders of how far we’ve come, and how much more we need to accomplish.


Special thanks to Brandan Robertson, a queer Christian activist, John Gustav-Wrathall, of Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Rev. Broderick Greer, an Episcopal priest and queer theologian, and Ross Murray, GLAAD’s lead on faith matters, for offering their suggestions for this list.


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Last Words: Valentina Reflects On Her Time On ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Throughout the ninth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Huffington Post Queer Voices will interview each departing queen on the Saturday following the air date of their elimination episode. Check HuffPost Queer Voices weekly to read about these queens’ reflections on their time on the show, as well as their legacies as queer artists and performers. Check out the previous interview with Jaymes MansfieldKimora BlacCharlie HidesEureka O’HaraCynthia Lee FontaineAja and Farrah Moan.


“RuPaul’s Drag Race” delivered a shocking blow this week when fan-favorite Valentina was sent packing ― largely because she didn’t know the words during her lip-sync.


Many people watching season nine thought that Valentina was a guaranteed top three finalist ― if not this season’s winner. The controversy surrounding her elimination spilled into the online Reddit community earlier in the week with the “Drag Race” subreddit melting down and former “Drag Race” contestant Phi Phi O’Hara somehow ending up at the center of the drama (head here to read more).


But, as with any season of “Drag Race,” fan favorites go home. In this interview with HuffPost, Valentina reflects on her sudden departure, Latinx representation on the show and what she wants people to take away from her contribution to the “Drag Race” world.



HuffPost: This came as quite a surprise for many fans of the show. Was it a surprise for you when it happened?


Valentina: Yes, it was a total surprise. I was in a state of shock and it’s a moment I don’t want to re-live ever again.


How did it feel to become the fan favorite of the season so quickly? Why do you think you resonated so strongly with fans?


I think I resonated with fans with my authenticity and my level of passion and love for my craft. I also have a really strong Latino fanbase and I think that I’ve been able to captivate them because they feel that they are finally represented and see a little of themselves in me.


As someone who entered the competition as such a young queen, do you feel like you changed and grew at all during your time on “Drag Race”? 


I did, definitely. There was so much that I learned about the craft of drag. I walked into the experience knowing that I wanted to elevate the art form of drag.



So much of the show’s fanbase now is young, teen and preteen girls. Why do you think “Drag Race” resonates so profoundly with them?


I think probably because they get to identify with our stories, and those young kids are at a point in their life where they still truly have their freedom in whatever they do. And those are the things that drag queens can do, by just living their truth unapologetically. There’s a lot of power behind that.


Why is it important to you to have your Latinx identity so visible and part of your identity as a queen? How can “Drag Race” help further understandings of Latinx culture?


It’s important because there isn’t a lot of Latino, or positive Latino, representation in the media ― let alone openly gay. I think it’s important for me to shed light onto my culture. It’s a huge responsibility, but walking onto “Drag Race,” I wanted to do this and show that [Latinx people are] more than a gardener, or a cleaner, or the butt of a joke. Being Latino is grand as well.


With “Drag Race” being on VH1 this season, do you see any important political implications of the show being on such a mainstream network at this specific moment in time?


It does have a political impact because I’m there to shed light to my culture when my community has been considered criminals and rapists. I’m there to show that we’re kind, and intellectual, and elegant and regal. It’s a rough political time, but I’m there to show that we’re fabulous and amazing. Just like any other American. 


What do you want to do with the platform “Drag Race” has given you?


This opportunity and platform that “Drag Race” has given me allows for me to continue achieving my goals and my dreams. And I hope to become the face of drag within all of Latin America.


Out of everyone left in the competition who are you rooting for?


I don’t know who’ll win yet, but if I were to watch as a fan I would probably be rooting for Nina Bo’Nina Brown. I really love her work.


What do you want people to understand about who Valentina is going forward?


That I’m very grateful to anybody who loves me, and that I love them back.


”RuPaul’s Drag Race” airs on Friday nights at 8 PM ET/PT on VH1. Check out “Untucked” below. Missed last week’s interview with Farrah Moan? Head here.

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