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BREAKING! - Gay marriage declared legal in all 50 US states

The decision means gay marriage is now legal in all 50 US states

 

The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriages are now legal in all 50 states.

The landmark 5-4 decision means gay couples have the right to marry anywhere in the US. Gay marriage had previously been illegal in 13 of the 50 states.

The announcement follows decades of campaigning and activism in the US and is arguably the biggest civil rights case in a generation.

Following the announcement, US President Barack Obama said on Twitter: "Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else."

IBT

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Hillary Clinton Releases Powerful Marriage Equality Video Ahead of SCOTUS Ruling

"Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."

Hillary Clinton has been an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights for years, but as she moves forward with her second run for president, the cause has become a central platform issue for the Democratic hopeful.

And now, ahead of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, which could be announced tomorrow, Friday, or Monday, Clinton has released a powerful tribute to marriage equality: a video simply titled, 'Equal.'

A compilation of wedding videos and proposals, Clinton begins by marking the radical change that American society has undergone:

"This progress was not easily won, people fought and organized and campaigns in public sqaures and private spaces, to change not only laws but hearts and minds." 

She then concludes with a phrase made iconic from her 2011 speech at the United Nations in Geneva on LGBT rights:

"Being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights." 

Out

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Japan’s bridal industry starts accepting LGBT couples

 

FUKUOKA – The bridal industry in Japan has started accepting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples as understanding of sexual minorities increases in society.

Hotel Greges in the city of Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, which offers bridal services as part of its operations, has been conducting a training program for its staffers, inviting as a lecturer a transgender man who will marry this autumn.

In a survey of 70,000 people ages 20 to 59 conducted by the ad agency Dentsu in April, 1 in 13, or 7.6 percent, said they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

For LGBT couples, marriage is a huge barrier. They want to be congratulated by their families and friends even though their marriages are not legally approved. One wedding hall operator has refused to accept a wedding ceremony for a homosexual couple.

Dentsu expects that more LGBT people would publicly declare their sexual orientation and that demand for wedding services would grow if social understanding for such people deepened.

Hotel Greges launched the training program about LGBT couples in May for all of its staffers and contracted photographers.

The hotel also launched a special section for LGBT marriages on its website.

The lecturer in the training program, Koyoomi Matsuoka, a 30-year-old company employee in the city of Fukuoka, became a man in a sex change operation last year after suffering from gender identity disorder.

“LGBT people have a strong tendency to be defensive, as they were bullied at school or work,” Matsuoka said. “Carefully choosing words and paying a little attention is important” when hotel staffers work with LGBT people.

Matsuoka will marry a woman with whom he started a relationship five years ago. The ceremony will be at Hotel Greges in October. This will be the first wedding ceremony for an LGBT couple at the hotel.

The manager of the hotel, Masahide Susaki, said he will fully participate in the training program now that the hotel has decided to accept LGBT couples.

Hotel Granvia Kyoto has already accepted foreign LGBT couples, and is ready to accept Japanese couples as well.

the japan times

Ruby Takes A Trip' -



Ruby finds more than she bargained for along her journey in LA! BBC 1991.

This is the Ruby we know & love, but knowing what we know about her now, quite a lot of this has a more serious side to it. You see her laugh & smile, but when she says I'm lost, and looks troubled, we now know that's not a joke, and only a foretaste of things to come. Success, fame, money, children, a great husband and a lovely home - it shows that being happy takes more than this.

I hope you're better now Ruby ;-) xxx I.A.

Absolut Love - Lesbian couple featured in landmark #LoveIsLove campaign.

It’s Pride season, and trusted Swedish vodka brand Absolut supports the LGBT community again with the release of their limited edition Absolut Colors bottle, which appears to be wrapped in the rainbow flag. And that’s not all! To support the launch of the Colors bottle, Absolut chose one lesbian couple, Paige and Amanda, to spotlight in a new video campaign.

The couple, who fell in love at first sight, were filmed by out filmmaker Molly Schiot as they returned to the beach where they had their first date. There, a series of clues led to Paige’s surprise proposal to Amanda.

The objective of Absolut’s #LoveIsLove campaign—and of the romantic and inspiring film—is to show how all love is equal. 

“Recently brands seem to be frequently capitalizing off of the LGBT community, but a brand like Absolut holds a precious hand with history as they very much have supported the community since day 1,” says Schiot. “I was very grateful that Absolut hired me to bring this very personal subject to life, especially during a time where many of us still are not recognized as equal.”

Curve

My Wife Lost Her Ring - Kate Clinton Has A Solution

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Diva 1981

Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed. All these characters twist their way through an intricate and stylish French language thriller.

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"I’m Vivianne Miedema, and I don’t play like men do.”

As the World Cup in Canada gives women’s soccer its time in the spotlight, fans, coaches, the news media and the players themselves are closely watching the stars of the women’s game. And then likening them to men.

So anyone watching the matches is likely to hear France’s best player referred to as the female Zidane and Sweden’s as the female Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Marta, the Brazilian star and five-time world player of the year, was once described as “Pelé in a skirt” by Pelé himself.

Some of the players do not especially welcome the comparisons. Vivianne Miedema, the 18-year-old star of the Dutch team, is often called the female Arjen Robben, after the wing who led the Netherlands to the World Cup semifinals last summer.

 

Louisa Necib has been called the female Zinedine Zidane.

“Yeah, I get that a lot,” Miedema told FIFA.com. “But Arjen plays very differently to me. It’s really cool to be compared to him, but, as a woman, it’s a bit strange to always be compared to a man. I’m Vivianne Miedema, and I don’t play like men do.” Lotta Schelin, Sweden’s star, is often compared to Ibrahimovic, the dominant player on her country’s men’s team.

“The comparisons are nice in a way,” Schelin said last year. “But although he inspires me, and I love watching him play, there are big differences between us, too. And I like that young girls look up to me as Lotta Schelin, not as the female Zlatan.”

Julie Foudy was a star on the 1999 World Cup team that put women’s soccer on the sports radar in the United States, and she is now an analyst and commentator for ESPN. She said she wished players in the Cup were more often compared to female stars of the past like Mia Hamm. But she knows that because of the ubiquity of men’s soccer, comparisons to men are inevitable.

Women’s World Cup: Players to Follow

Once you get past the faces on magazine covers and the world players of the year, there are plenty of other stars who could be game changers at the World Cup.

 
“I get it, because that’s what people see on television,” Foudy said. “There’s no opportunity to follow the women’s game. It’s really hard to find it.” Many female players are avid followers of the men’s game, Foudy said, and the players themselves are often the sources of the comparisons to men.

“Messi’s my role model,” Ramona Bachmann of Switzerland told FIFA.com. “He’s so exceptional, it’s like he’s from another planet.”\ Gaelle Enganamouit, who scored a surprise hat trick in Cameroon’s opener, even compares herself to her country’s most famous men’s player. “In my view, Samuel Eto’o is the greatest forward in the world,” she said. “I’ve always said that one day I will be the Samuel Eto’o of women’s football.”

 

Marta has been called the female Ronaldinho. Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Enganamouit’s team is making its women’s World Cup debut.

“They are the first generation,” Foudy noted. “There is no Michelle Akers or Mia Hamm for them. You hope the next wave behind them will have them as role models.” There is nothing new about comparisons like this.

In Brazil, where interest in women’s soccer lags far behind that for the men’s game, Marta has long been compared not only to Pelé but to other famous men’s players; another of her nicknames is the female Ronaldinho. Louisa Necib of France is the female Zinedine Zidane, also a French player of Algerian ancestry.

Zidane led France’s men to the World Cup title in 1998. And the phenomenon is not unique to women’s soccer. Sheryl Swoopes, the three-time W.N.B.A. most valuable player, has often been called the female Michael Jordan. But the male-female comparisons do not seem to be so common in individual women’s sports; Serena Williams, Lindsey Vonn and the mixed martial arts champion Ronda Rousey are mostly recognized for their own achievements, rather than as female versions of Roger Federer, Bode Miller and Brock Lesnar.

But because many people follow women’s soccer only once every four years, when they reach for an analogy it will always be easier to find a comparison in the men’s game. Foudy said she “would not necessarily go to a male player” when making a comparison on the air. On ESPN the other day, she compared the current South Korean player Ji So-yun to the former Chinese women’s star Sun Wen. But Foudy is in the minority. Ji’s nickname is Ji Messi.

NYTimes

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As A Black Lesbian, Queerness Is Not Made In My Image

I am unable to marry my Blackness and my queerness in my mind. I will pull myself apart.

It starts superficially. I clutch at my hair and despair at the frizz and kink and curl. I go to a white salon for only the third time in my life and ask the gay hairdresser to ‘make me look dykey’. He laughs knowingly and shaves me an undercut that I will rub in disbelief for weeks afterward. Then he cuts my ‘fro into an asymmetric shape that disappears as soon as my hair dries and shrinks up on itself. It is not enough.

I seek out archetypal white queer women. They blur into one another. I want to absorb their neat, slight frames and short, slick hair. I envy their effortless, palatable masculinity and their place at the top of the queer hierarchy. I sleep with one after the other, searching to solidify my sense of self. It is not enough.

I am 18 and have fled to Brighton, the “Gay Capital” of England. I leave the sterile suburbs in the Midlands I have been suffering for the past eight years, ever since I was dragged from my childhood in East London. I tell myself that by the sea I will be free to accept my want for women. I will no longer give myself over to men who repulse and bore me in equal measure.

I am expecting smooth sailing. I haven’t thought to consider that not all queer women are safe harbor.

I study for my degree semi-attentively during the day with my tiny handful of straight friends, and at night I go in search of something more. I start attending a feminist collective made up entirely of queers (and one token straight girl). They all seem sweet enough and I am grateful for the space, though I am often the only Black person present and I learn to brace myself for the flicks of ingrained racism that make me flinch. I become aware that though my queerness is nothing peculiar here in this supposed haven of liberation, my Blackness is.

Brighton is a small city and the same faces swim in my vision at every party, club night, conference, discussion group, and talk. We are all tangled together in a mess of sex and politics. It is a comfort at first — that everyone is everywhere. There is a ubiquity to social situations which I sometimes wistfully mistake for the steadiness of community and chosen family. I come to realize we just have nowhere else to go.

This isn’t to say that I don’t make good friends whom I love and trust. And it’s not to say that I don’t spend many deliriously happy hours downing tequila shots and dancing on sticky dance floors while I thank g-d for my new, gay life. There is just always something missing. I struggle to shake the sense that I am an impostor, an outsider. I know that the ropes tying us together are taut and tenuous and liable to break at any given moment.

Queerness is not made in my image. When I am around white lesbians and bisexual women, I often feel apart. At one gathering I listen to a white lesbian I thought was my friend moan on and on about how “cruel” anti-racist activism is. “What about our feelings; why can’t you just be nice?!” she cries. I resist the urge to kick her in the shins and shake the self-involvedness out of her. She’s more than capable of realizing how ridiculous a straight person would sound if they whined about gay people’s fight for acceptance being hurtful to them. She, and others like her, are blessed with an ability to detach from the politics of life, enabling her to bleat limply about some hippy, kumbaya, let’s-all-just-get-along bullshit that I cannot and will not access.

For them, politics is a separate sphere, detached from the personal. Politics is the fight for “equal” marriage, and the language of sameness that erases our real and vital difference. For them, it is carefully planned protests and meetings and badges and crocheted slogans and decorated cupcakes.

There are also superficial but significant divides between me and the white people around me — like when I’m wondering what the hell anti-folk punk is and why white queers love it so much. Or why they’re all falling over themselves about Sleater-Kinney and Amanda fucking Palmer. Or when I giggle at the way they dance unhindered by adherence to that little thing we call the beat.

I am both staunchly proud of my Blackness and frustrated at the way it separates me from the queer women around me. Sometimes it is a sea and sometimes it is the smallest, sleekest stream, but there is always a space between us. In this space is a bitterness at my inability to ever relax or feel at home. When we go to the gay club, I’m constantly and consistently fighting off white queers who want to touch my hair and tell me stories about their Black friends and snap their fingers at me and call me girlfriend. In a place that is meant to be mine as a member of the LGBT community, I feel like an exotic intruder. So I try to drain the ocean, to suck the river dry. To fix a facade of content.

I start seeing a white queer a few years older than me.

I look at her thin, white, masculine body. I look at my curvy, brown, feminine body. I think about how I endure people day in day out touching me, grabbing me, taking me as their own. I know that she will not understand, and worse, that she doesn’t want to. She thinks my anger is pathological, some kind of inherent flaw, rather than the understandable result of the residual buildup of years of racist and misogynistic microaggressions.

She is the epitome of cool, moneyed queerness, living in a beautiful townhouse with high ceilings and even higher rent. She is clearly uncomfortable when I talk about the racial tensions in the queer community and thinks it odd that I “allow” myself to be upset by such things.

After our first date, we kiss on the beach. After our third date, she tells me that she doesn’t want to see me anymore. She thinks I am “too much” for her. She says she just doesn’t care too deeply about anything anymore; she’s aged out and moved on and my clear dedication to politics puts her off. I know that continuing to pursue her will be a disaster. I have been shrinking myself and flattening my fury for her, and it is still “too much”. There is nothing here for me, but still I long for it. I wish that I could say that I walked away and never looked back, but a couple of weeks later we meet for ostensibly platonic drinks, end up in bed together, and I’m hooked back in. I am disgusted at how pleased I am with myself.

She believes that everyone is treated equally under the law. I bite my tongue. She believes I make racism worse by acknowledging it. I bite my tongue. She tells me that I would have a better life if I just put aside my colour-coded view of the world. I bite my tongue.

I am attractive to her superficially and artificially. When she takes in the lay of my hips and the widths of me. When she is wrapped up in the reams of curls and the lazy green of my eyes and the gold sand of my skin. When I shut my mouth. When the truth of me is pacified and pushed down. When I am not fearless and free, but cowed and obedient. When I play dumb, play low and lacking.

I know she can see our racial divergence; she just can’t acknowledge its implications. She always compliments my afro, coaxes me to wear it out instead of tied on top of my head. She tells me over and over how beautiful I am, how unusual I am. She loves my difference when it doesn’t challenge her. She loves my difference when she can consume it without accepting what that difference means for me. Existing at the merge of gay and Black and woman means there will probably never be a time when I can be cool and quiet.

I hate her a little bit. Every time she shrugs off my realities I am incensed and deeply jealous. I want to be as smooth and unruffled as her. She never gets worked up. I never see her still surface ripple. She patronisingly ascribes any hint of racial distress I exhibit as a symptom of my age. She wields the six years she has on me like they contain the answers to the fucking universe.

I hear myself lie: “You know, you’re probably right. I’m just going to stop caring.”

“There, isn’t it so much easier?” she says. “Aren’t you so much better like this?”

Her joy at my compliance is sickening. I want to snatch the words back.

Proximity to whiteness does not lighten me or my heart. It reifies my Blackness. I feel more apart than ever, even when this girl and I are as close as it is possible to be. If I had any self-respect I would let her go and I wouldn’t mourn for a second. But it is not until my best friend meets her and unequivocally tells me how awful she is for me that I find the strength to cut her off.

I go to bars, I go to clubs. I am surrounded by pale faces. There is something akin to awe in their gazes and the slight tilt of their heads as I pass, actions laced with the slightly sinister. Their lust laps over; it is leaking from their pores and covering me, strengthening me. I am galvanised. Made strong so I can be torn down over and over.

I am so aware of myself. My self as woman. My self as spectacle. My self as something Other. The slight bounce of my breasts and the kink of my hair.

I get involved with a different girl who seems to care about very little beyond drugs and repressing her feelings. The only time I ever feel wholly positive toward her is when we’re in bed together and neither of us is saying anything. Well, maybe that’s not strictly true — I love the ferocity of her compliments about my appearance. I should be impervious to shallow aesthetic compliments, but I can’t shake the voice in my head that says my prettiness is only worth something if it is appreciated by white women. They are the majority, they are the standard, they are everything and everywhere. So it is their approval I must win if I want to perform my queerness correctly.

She thinks I care too deeply, think too freely. She tells me to quiet my discomfort when our friends make racist jokes while we sit around watching TV. She doesn’t care when a white gay man goes on a rant at me about his right to say ‘n*gger’.

I am the first girl she has ever been with, and I am consumed with the kind but misguided urge to paint queerness in the best light possible. I don’t want to upset her or tell her straight up how much she hurts me, in case she recoils from me and by proxy, her newly (barely) accepted sexuality. I promise her that I will be more silent more often, that I will quell my swells of political anger. I soften my edges. I learn to please. I am well versed in living lies. I know that I’m hurting myself by continuing to be around her, but I am lost and made weak with want.

Eventually she tells me she can’t continue things with me, that her friends don’t appreciate her being around “someone like you”. When I leave and don’t look back, I’m infuriated that it took me so long. I’m sick of pushing against my Blackness and my principles in order to glean small ribbons of white affection that end up knotted around my neck.

I try to tell myself I will throw off the shackles of pathetic concession. I want to be like Kevin G from Mean Girls - “Look, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I only date women of colour”. I want to ignore every hot, awful white girl forever. But I can’t. They are all I have. They are all there is. They are all I can hope for. I am surrounded, bound and blinded by whiteness.

My best friends are appalled. They tell me more times than I can count that I have got to stop doing this to myself. Every time I vow that I’m over it. And every time I’m not. I keep getting these ridiculous crushes on ridiculous women and I let them make a mockery of me. I am barred from accessing the truest, most central parts of me when I let these women take up room in my mind, fuck (with) me, own me, silence me. But my loneliness, need for sexual validation and acceptance, keeps me coming back.

I am well aware that there is nothing for me in these women with their meekness and mildness. They flinch from the truth of my words. I cannot tell them about the microaggressions and the real aggressions. They are afforded the luxury of apathy.

In the end, I cannot separate my existence from any woman. I understand myself through them. I see myself in them. Their pains are my pains. But I know that not every woman sees mine. Each white woman who lies under me willfully averts her eyes. She will not recognize herself in me.

Buzzfeed

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BRAZIL'S GENDER-BENDING ICON

This weekend, millions of people will descend on São Paulo for one of the biggest gay pride parades in the world. Paulista and Consolaçao avenues will burst with brilliant colors and outrageous costumes, meant to both shock and celebrate the act of being out in the open exactly as you are. And were he alive today, João Francisco dos Santos might be up on top of the parade trucks, covered in red glitter, basking in the sun and adoration — liberated, at last. Today, Santos has come to define the celebration of deviance and revolt in Brazil. Born into a family of former slaves in the poorest region of the country at the turn of the 20th century, Santos spent his young adulthood locked up, serving a 10-year prison sentence for conspiracy of murder. Once released, he ran for Rio, and it’s there that his legend started to percolate. At a time when social barriers were iron-clad, Santos was a poor, black, Northeastern, queer capoeirista. And he wasn’t ashamed to own it. He began to call himself Madame Satã — Madame Satan, the goddess of everything “wrong,” named after a 1930 Cecil B. DeMille film. This blend of spotlight and outcast, right and wrong, elevated Madame Satã into bohemian mythology. On the one hand, he was a cross-dressing cabaret performer, his microphone clutched between painted nails, sparkling beneath plumes of red glitter, a star of the Rio nightlife. But on the other hand, he was a street-smart malandro, a slick-talking, tough-guy hustler who knew how to wield a knife and kick a wooden baton out of a policeman’s hands. His particular fighting technique was capoeira, the dance-fight developed by slaves in Brazil generations before him, the power tool of outcasts and the disempowered. No surprise, he often landed in prison. Madame Sata frequently wore a cowboy hat. João Francisco dos Santos, aka “Madame Satã,” frequently wore a cowboy hat. Source: CC This blend of spotlight and outcast, right and wrong, elevated Madame Satã into bohemian mythology, and still today, performance artists in Rio cite him as a major influence on the city’s counterculture. “Today we would call him queer, but that is ahistorical,” says James Green, professor of history and director of the Brown-Brazil Initiative at Brown University. “Most homosexuals at that time would have been discreet, so he really stood out.” He also happened to be married to a woman. But for Santos, regardless of social strictures, every day was a new Carnaval. For years, his legend was kept tucked into the narrative history of Rio’s bohemia, a cult figure few knew about. He was a criminal, after all. He’d spend nearly 30 years of his life incarcerated on charges that included a sprinkling of homicides. And yet, thanks to the 2002 release of the film Madame Satã, by Karim Aïnouz, a new generation of Brazilians and foreigners learned about his story. Seen as an iconic piece in the body of queer film studies in Brazil, the film sympathetically portrays Santos’ confrontation of all forms of limits, from city laws to social prejudice. The film would launch both the career of its star, Lazaro Ramos, now a top-tier Brazilian film actor, and also the name of Madame Satã into mainstream culture. While the gay movement has built up in Brazil since his death, Madame Satã “represented something outside of the middle-class lesbian couple at the pride parade,” notes Green. “Madame Satã represents the true Brazilian counterculture,” wrote Brazilian journalist Paulo Francis. As the São Paulo pride parade swells each year, with 5 million participants and counting, it’s hard not to also consider that while Santos may have loved to have seen it, between waves to the crowd he’d be plotting an outrageous way to disrupt it all.

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