5 LGBT things you need to know today, March 5

1. If you didn’t think drag kings and queens could get any tougher, try military drag queens and kings on for size. Organizers of a drag show at Kadena Air Base that occurred Saturday night in Okinawa, Japan hoped to sell 75 tickets, but 200 tickets came and went almost immediately and they ended up selling 400 tickets in 10 days. The event featuring six gay, lesbian and straight servicemembers was a fundraiser for the Okinawa chapter of Outserve-SLDN, the largest non-profit advocate for the military’s LGBT community. And to answer your question, yes, they did do Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

2. The Chicago Tribune’s Rex W. Huppke takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the “preservation of religious freedom” bills flying around (like the two that failed in the Georgia legislature this week). He says the fear that LGBT couples will trample the religious liberties of wedding cake bakers is justified, because gay couples will “undoubtedly” flock to bakeries run by people whose faith denounces gay marriage because that’s what humans do. “That’s why vegans love steakhouses and everyone in the military is a pacifist,” he writes. Then he interviews an “actual gay person” and it gets better from there.

Q: Rick, we haven’t talked in a while, are you still gay?
A: Yes. Very much so.

Q: When was the first time you ate a gay wedding cake?
A: In Champaign in 2005.

Q: Did you find that the cake made you more gay?
A: Yes. It made me sweeter.

Q: Do you believe gay wedding cakes can turn people gay?
A: I hope so.

Q: I knew it! What is it about wedding cakes baked by gay marriage opponents that makes them so irresistible to gay people? Does the sinfulness of the occasion enhance the taste of the cake?
A: Yes, I think that’s probably it.

3. Should a Supreme Court case on birth control matter to you as much as the anti-gay religious freedom bills? 30 LGBT groups think so, and they’ve signed onto a statement saying the case is “cut from the same cloth” as those like the recently vetoed Arizona law. In the case going before the court on March 25, crafts store chain Hobby Lobby (who have nearly 30 locations across Georgia) will argue that federal health care law infringes on their religious liberty by forcing the company to provide contraceptive coverage to employees. Gay rights groups argue that if the court rules that companies can deny contraceptives based on the religious beliefs of the owners, then that would open the door for them to argue that serving LGBT’s violates their religious beliefs.

“Likely in the future we will have anti-discrimination laws that protect gay people so [this case] is attempting to get pre-emptive religious exemption from that,” said Doug NeJaime, a law professor specializing in gay rights at the University of California, Irvine.

4. And you thought your wedding was gay. Same-sex marriage will be legalized in England and Wales on March 29, and within days after that, composer Benjamin Till and actor Nathan Taylor will tie the knot as part of a TV special called “Our Gay Wedding: The Musical.” The couple are penning music and lyrics that will be sung during the wedding. Gay actor and writer Stephen Fry will be there to narrate. Family and friends will perform ensemble songs. The vows and readings will be sung. A live unicorn will carry the rings in on its horn. Okay, we made that last one up.

“We’ve been together for nearly 12 years and never thought we’d get the chance to get married, for real,” the couple said. “Doing what we both do for a living has meant that we’ve spent our entire lives expressing emotion through song, so getting married in a musical, particularly one that we’re writing ourselves, felt like the most natural thing in the world.”

5. ABC News has a a great story up about a gay marine’s journey from being homeless to joining the ivy league. Elegance Bratton (how about that name?) left his family home in New Jersey when he was 16 because they didn’t accept his sexuality, and he spent the next 10 years homeless. Bratton decided to make a change one morning and signed up with the Marines. “My life remarkably changed for the better.  Over time, once you learned what it is to be a marine and what it means to wear this uniform, it became empowering. For me family has always been a real difficult proposition and now that I’m in this uniform I’m instantly a part of this family anywhere I go in the world,” says Bratton. But he wasn’t done. He applied to and got into Columbia University, where he will graduate from this spring, and he plans to attend NYU’s film school after that. The story highlights the huge issue of LGBT youth homelessness, and why local organizations like Lost-N-Found deserve as much support from the community as possible.

(photo via The Independent)

psaunders@thegavoice.com | @patricksaunders