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Chicago breaks the silence with Night of Noise rally

Apr. 18, 2015 - , Hundreds of Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) students from schools across Chicago gathered Friday to conclude the Day of Silence, which protests the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allied (LGBTQA) youth, as the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance hosted their annual Night of Noise rally in downtown Chicago.

James Panther, a Portland-based artist recently named an artist to watch by Out magazine, performed his song "Desirable" and Chicago indie band Mister E. Machine debuted their music video titled "Rosa Marie," which is appropriately an anti-bullying anthem inspired by front man Manny Capozzi's older sister, who helped him through the bullying he faced as a student.

"With the song's uplifting message, we all thought it would be a great tool to use while rallying young people for the day of silence," Lawrence Carter, Youth Engagement Manager at the Illinois Safe School Alliance, told ChicagoPride.com. "We were able to get the song out and have Gay Straight Alliances use the song and its message to help organize their Day Of Silence activities."

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill), a known LGBT rights supporter, shared an inspirational message with the youth gathered on the plaza of the Thompson Center.

"You matter. We are proud of you," said Rep. Quigley, who also spoke on the importance of #BornPerfect, a nationwide campaign that was started by the National Center for Lesbian Rights to ban conversion therapy.

Rep. Quigley also posted on Facebook, "Adolescence isn't easy for anyone. But for our LGBT youth, the stories and statistics are daunting. Negative attitudes towards them puts these youth at increased risk for experiences with violence, compared with other students. They are also at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This must stop. That's why I'm proud to attend Illinois Safe Schools Alliance 'Night of Noise,' breaking the silence these kids face on a daily basis."

The Night of Noise event also featured a resource fair with a selection of community partners designed to provide young people with the resources available to them, including Northwestern University's Impact program. The rally finished off with a DJ Dance Party set.

On the web: http://gopride.com/Zbep

Tim Cook, Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Cox top Out's most powerful gays list
Apr. 18, 2015 - , Tim Cook tops gay glossy Out's ninth annual Power 50 list.

The 54-year-old Cook returned to the top spot in this year's list of the most influential gay people, knocking out last year's champ talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Cook, who claimed the top spot two years ago, came out gay in October, becoming the only openly gay CEO in the Fortune 500.

"Despite some negative reactions — notably in Russia —the world responded largely with a shrug, and continued its massive love affair with the tech giant," Out editors wrote. "Cook's diversity initiative extends beyond his own eloquent coming out. He has added three women to Apple's executive team and altered Apple's charter in order to commit the company to pursuing women and minorities for the board of directors. That's progress."

MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow remained at third place for a second year.

In fourth place was Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. And CNN anchor Anderson Cooper rounded out the top 5.

Actress and transgender advocate Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black) claimed the ninth spot, becoming the first transgender person to finish in the list's top 10.

Hillary Clinton calls on Supreme Court to strike down gay marriage bans
Apr. 16, 2015 - , Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called on the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on gay marriage.

In a statement given to the Washington Blade, campaign spokesperson Adrienne Elrod said: "Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right."

After she left her post as secretary of state in 2013, Clinton recorded a 6-minute video for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in which she endorsed marriage equality for the first time.

"I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples," she said in the video.

During a contentious interview over the summer with Fresh Air host Terry Gross, Clinton said that the issue is best handled by the states.

"For me, marriage had always been a matter left to the states," Clinton said. "And in may of the conversations that I and my colleagues and supporters had, I fully endorsed the efforts by activists who work state-by-state and in fact that is what is working."

(Related: Hillary Clinton annoyed as Terry Gross tries to pin down her views on gay marriage.)


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