Trump Is About To Get Thousands Of Ruthless, Hilarious Postcards

The Ides of Trump campaign aims to poke a little fun at the notoriously thin-skinned president.

President Donald Trump probably won’t be too pleased with a lot of the mail that shows up at the White House this week.

As part of the Ides of Trump campaign, thousands of people plan to send postcards to the president on Wednesday, March 15, to share messages of concern, frustration and a little bit of mockery.

Read complete article by by Kate Abbey-Lambert

 

 

The President 
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Federal Bust of Long-running Escort Site Rentboy.com Leads to Protests

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People gathered across from the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Thursday to protest the raid on Rentboy.com last week. Image courtesy of Keith Gemerek

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Protesters Say Raid On Rentboy Escort Site Puts People At Risk
But then, sex workers are “terrorized every day” by law enforcement.

NEW YORK — A crowd gathered outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Thursday to protest last week’s government raid on a gay escort website, a crackdown that sex workers and LGBT activists have likened to the police raids on gay bars and bathhouses of the 1970s.

Protesters demanded that prosecutors drop the charges against Jeffrey Hurant, chief executive of Rentboy.com, and six other current or former employees of the site who were arrested on Aug. 25 for allegedly promoting prostitution. Federal authorities burst into the Rentboy offices near Union Square that day, made several arrests, seized assets and took down the website.

Rentboy has racked up $10 million in revenue since 2010, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

The arrests sent waves of outrage and anxiety through a community of sex workers who meet clients both on the streets and online. Those gathered outside the courthouse said that a site like Rentboy can provide a sliver of security and safety in a world that offers little of either.

“Rentboy is widely known, they had a lot of resources regarding safety tips, and it’s a community,” explained Michael, a 22-year-old in white overall shorts and a red hat. “That’s safety.”

Michael, who declined to give his last name, said he panicked after learning about the raid last week. “The first thing that came into my head is, ‘How am I going to pay for rent?’” he said.

For the past year, advertising on Rentboy had helped him pay the bills, and the day before the raid, he’d spent $60 on a new ad. His rent was due the day of the protest, and he still hadn’t come up with it.

“Now, I don’t get to choose what kind of work I do,” Michael said, “and that’s really risky.”

As some of the other protesters were quick to point out, their objections to the crackdown on Rentboy aren’t just about making a living, but about a larger movement that seeks the legalization of sex work for broader political reasons.

“We’re here to say that the [charges] need to be dropped but also to broaden the conversation to the way that people in the sex trades are terrorized every day by law enforcement agencies,” said Andy Medina, a 24-year-old activist with The #HookUp Collaborative, an advocacy group of people who advertise on Rentboy and their allies.

Medina, who was wearing a striped shirt and a nose ring, first got involved with the sex worker advocacy movement a few years ago when a friend went missing.

“I was just surviving as a young person, and then it began to click — how this was all structural,” he recalled. “I can’t call anybody, and actually, maybe I’m putting my friend more at risk if I call the police. It was a really scary moment.”

When Medina heard about the Rentboy raid, he was surprised to learn that it had been carried out by a division of the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The arrestees are accused of promoting prostitution across state lines. But nothing else about the event surprised him, he said.

“This is just another example of law enforcement putting people in the sex trades at more harm,” he said.

Beyond the use of Rentboy, other safety measures that he and his colleagues take can also put them at risk of arrest, Medina pointed out. Carrying a condom, for example, can be used as evidence of intending to trade sex for money.

“These agencies don’t work to make sex workers safe or have lives free of violence or anything like that. They just criminalize us and put us in harm’s way,” he said.

Medina peered over at the crowd of dozens of advocates, some of them wearing T-shirts from groups like the LGBTQ Task Force. The protesters walked in a slow circle across the street from the courthouse, chanting, “Homeland Security, get out of my bedroom.”

“Unless you’re paying!” a woman shouted out to peals of laughter.

Last week’s raid was no isolated incident, Medina said, in law enforcement’s ongoing war on sex workers. Now “if the charges were dropped as a symbol of some type of change towards recognizing the human rights of sex workers, that would be amazing,” he said.

Similar protests are expected in the coming days in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Bizzy Barefoot, a 41-year old artist who has been involved in sex worker advocacy for years, said the reaction to the Rentboy raid may be a sign that the fight for decriminalization is gaining ground. Last month, Amnesty International announced that it would be pushing for the decriminalization of consensual sex work worldwide.

“I haven’t seen this happen around this subject before,” Barefoot said. “I do think we’re hitting a tipping point.”

Penelope Saunders, a coordinator with the Best Practices Policy Project who has been advocating for sex workers since the 1980s, disagreed only with Barefoot’s phrasing.

“I see it more as one part of the beautiful mosaic of changes that we’ve seen over the last few years,” she said. “This action comes out of more than a decade of the resurgence of the sex worker movement in the United States. Rallies like this don’t drop down from out of the sky.

By Lila Shapiro

HuffPostGay

How Gay Porn Helped Build the Gay Rights Movement

In 2002, pornographer Chuck Holmes’ name was installed over the San Francisco LGBT Center, and public outrage was swift. Detractors called the move — in recognition of the late gay mogul’s $1 million bequest to the beleaguered center — “insane,” fearing it would only fuel right-wing allegations about the gay community’s obsession with sex. What those critics missed, and what continues to missed over a decade later, is the role pornographers like Holmes played in building the gay rights movement we know today.

Several years ago, I set out to make a documentary about Holmes, Seed Money, which premieres this spring. During the process, I discovered how much we, as a community, owe to intrepid smut-peddlers like Chuck who risked their lives to help us live out ours.

You see, when the early homophile movement began in the early 1950s, the U.S. government didn’t differentiate between homosexual rights manifestos, gay erotica or dirty pictures. All were considered illegal, and using the postal service to distribute any of them could and did result in long prison sentences.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that pornographers, who had years of experience fighting those battles, were often prominent figures in the emerging homophile movement’s leadership. Jim Kepner, founder of the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, was a noted author of gay erotica. Hal Call, one of the first presidents of the Mattachine Society, the pioneering gay rights organization in San Francisco, was an adult film director and owner of the Adonis Bookstore.

Rather than be a liability, pornographers could provide a strategic advantage to the movement. They not only knew the legal restrictions (and how to get around them), they had the money to fight the obscenity battles that cleared the way for greater discussions of sexuality. Pornographers were the advance troops of our sexual revolution.

Homophile organizations like Mattachine and Daughters of Bilitis had publications, of course, but their reach — often just a few thousand circulation — was miniscule compared to that of “posing strap” magazines like Physique Pictorial and Tomorrow’s Man. It wasn’t political tracts, but pornography that provided most gay men with their first connection to — and awareness of — a larger gay culture.

READ THE COMPLETE STORY BY MIKE STABILEHuffPostGay

 

BOB MIZER, Physique Pictorial Artwork: TOM OF FINLAND

BOB MIZER, Physique Pictorial
Artwork: TOM OF FINLAND