Russian Teen Found Guilty Of "Gay Propaganda" After Posting Pictures On Social Media

A Russian teen has been charged a 50,000 rubles ($762.50) fine for posting gay propaganda online.

16-year-old Maxim Neverov has been charged with “propaganda of homosexuality among minors,” according to LGBTQ advocacy group the Russian LGBT Network.

What caused this “offense” was the uploading of images onto the social media site “VKontakte.” An office report on the case overseen by the Commission on Minors and the Protection of Minors’ Rights says that Neverov shared “some pictures (photos) of young men whose appearance (partly nude body parts) had the characteristics of propaganda of homosexual relations according to the expert opinion.”

The Russian LGBT Network provided a lawyer, named Artem Lapov, for Neverov, but they unfortunately lost the case. Lapov is now trying to appeal the decision and says it violates Neverov’s freedom of expression.

To add to that point, Lapov shares that the commission never proved that Neverov posted the pictures himself. Plus, they wanted Neverov to give his testimony to the police officer filing the report without the consult of his lawyer. Neverov refused and thus never got his testimony on the record.

The Russian LGBT Network also pointed out the convenience of Neverov, a minor, being the target of this charge made to protect minors.

Earlier this year, Maxim Neverov was one of the organizers for a performance titled “Gay or Putin.” The performance was so infamously shared by new sources that even the federal legislative assembly, called the Duma, allegedly discussed it. In addition, Neverov’s case materials mention a pride parade that he tried to organize.

Again, Maxim Neverov’s lawyer, Artem Lapov, is trying appeal the court case, but the Commission will provide the reasoning for its judgment before that happens.

h/t: The Russian LGBT Network

Hate Crime Charges Added To Murder Of California Teen Blaze Bernstein

California Police say that the murder of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein is now a confirmed hate crime.

21-year-old Samuel Woodward is currently under investigation after being tied to the disappearance and death of former classmate Bernstein.

Bernstein was home in California while on Winter break from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The two allegedly arranged to meet on the night of Bernstein’s disappearance. His body was then later found in a park and police tied Woodword to the incident.

Now, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas says that homophobia and hate led to the murder, according to WSB-TV2.

A hate crime sentencing enhancement has been added to Woodward’s charge, but Rackauckas and Orange County police refuse to share the details of the evidence that led to this change.

According to ABC News, all Rackauckas was willing to share was that they looked through his cell phone, laptop, and social media. What they discovered was racist, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, and homophobic.

"We have no room for this kind of hate in our society," Rackauckas told reporters in a statement.

"There's a lot there that just spews hatred towards a lot of different groups of people, basically every protected group," he added. "So it's hatred of many different groups of people. But the evidence of the motivation for this particular killing is we can show evidence that he killed him at least substantially because he was gay."

Rackauckas also would not address the earlier reported allegations that Woodword was connected to a neo-Nazi group. He instead asked anyone with any information showing such a link to report it to the authorities.

"There could be other charges filed as evidence develops," he said.

Samuel Woodward has pleaded not guilty to the murder and is currently being held on $5 million bail.

With these added hate crime charges, Woodward could be facing up to life in prison. His preliminary hearing is on August 22.

h/t: WSB-TV2, ABC News

Netflix's Emo The Musical Has A Charming Love Story About Overcoming Conversion Therapy

Warning: This post will have slight spoilers for Emo the Musical.

Emo the Musical has a charming gay subplot and a beautiful song about overcoming gay cure therapy.

The Australian black comedy-musical titled Emo the Musical is currently playing worldwide on Netflix. The film follows the tension between a high school emo rock band called Worst Day Ever and a Christian band called Hope Group.

In the middle of all that conflict is a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance between Hope Group member Peter (played by Craig Hyde-Smith) and classmate Josh (played by Kevin Clayette),

In the film, we see Peter not only denying his sexuality, but also going through electroshock therapy to cure his homosexuality. Josh then tries to get Peter to accept himself and his sexuality. This all culminates into a love song titled “Electrified.”

While the moment comes off as loving and sweet, the lyrics give off a sad and alarming message.

Josh sings:

“If my love for you should somehow bring about
Global warming
I promise I will take the heat
If my love for you is responsible wars in the Middle East
I’ll go over there and I’ll make peace

‘Cause I’d be drowned in Sodom
I’d be burnt in Gamorrah
I’d happily go to prison
Like Ugandans think we oughtta

I’d go through years and years of conversion therapy
I would fill my body with volts of electricity.”

Meanwhile, Peter sings:

“I want a world where Jesus loves me
Where the kids at school don’t laugh at me and scorn
I fear the devil’s got a hold of me
How will I ever be reborn?

But I’d be drowned in Sodom
I’d be burnt in Gamorrah
I’ll happily be castrated
Like Alan Turing thought he oughtta
I’ll take as many drugs as they wanna give me
I will tie myself up to a stake
And burn myself for witchery.”

Queer filmmaker Neil Triffett told Calgary International Film Festival that this movie was a passion project of his.

“I think the core is the same, being about a relationship between an Emo and Christian, but the story has grown bigger, with more characters and a bigger plot.

“The film is a ‘coming out’ tale and because we have eight characters we can do that in many sorts of ways now, from characters accepting they love a Christian, one accepting they’re gay, one simply owning up to liking basketball.

Hopefully, that makes it more universal. I think distance has allowed me to better understand why I wanted to tell this story – the further I got from high school (I’m still in my 20’s) the more I can see what a confusing time it was. Accepting others and accepting yourself isn’t as easy as it sounds.”

You can watch the scene for “Electrified” down below.

h/t: Pink News

Nick Offerman's Upcoming Film "Hearts Beat Loud" Is Musical Family Fun

We’re excited to check out Nick Offerman’s latest film.

Hearts Beat Loud follows Offerman as a widowed father who’s getting ready to see his daughter off to college. But then, he starts to consider another path for him and his lesbian daughter (played by out actress Kiersey Clemons). In order to keep their bond strong, Offerman’s character decides the two should form a band.

The film was celebrated at the Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals before finding its way in theaters later this month.

Many critiques applauded the film for spotlighting an interracial family with a lesbian romance (fellow out actress Sasha Lane plays Clemon’s romantic interest) while not making those the focus of the film. Instead, the film is about the relationship between this father and daughter while still incorporating those factors.

Nick Offerman spoke to NewNowNext on this topic and said:

“Yeah, one of the things I love most about this film is both that my daughter’s gay and there’s a gay teenage summer romance, and also that she’s biracial. That’s where smart writing is going these days. We’re all made up of all different colors of the rainbow, and let’s get on with the story of the movie, which is a dad and his daughter dealing with some life issues.”

Hearts Beat Loud comes to US theaters in a limited release starting on June 8. Then, it will expand nationwide on June 15.

You can check out the trailer down below.

A High School Banned Its Valedictorian From Speaking At Graduation (So He Got A Megaphone And Spoke Outside)

A high school graduate from Kentucky wasn’t allowed to give his graduation speech with the excuse that it was too political, but his mother thinks there’s more going on.

Christian Bales is a recent graduate from the Holy Cross High School in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. Not only that, he was also the valedictorian.

Before this past Friday, Bales was excited for graduation. As the valedictorian, Bales was set to give an impassioned speech to send off his classmates. Unfortunately, Bales later got word, on the day of the event, that he wouldn’t be allowed to give that speech (which you can read in full here).

After reading through Bales’ planned speech (and the speech of a friend who was also set to talk), the school informed him (and the friend) that the message was too “political and inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic church.”

"The diocese took ours and said they were too confrontational, too angry, too personal, and that they weren't appropriate for the setting," Bales told CBS News.

Part of the “too political” excuse is that Bales’ speech repeatedly uses the phrase “the young people will win,” which is a reference to the rhetoric of the Parkland, Florida students who continue to advocate for gun laws.

In a statement, a diocese spokesperson said:

"School officials and representatives of the Diocese of Covington reserve the right to review and approve all student speeches to be presented in public at high school graduations. The student speeches for the Holy Cross High School graduation were not submitted for review before the deadline. They were found to contain elements that were political and inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic church."

"I know they pointed out that the Parkland teens teach ideologies that apparently go against the Catholic faith, which I don't agree with in my experience," Bales said, according to WKRC.

In reaction to this, Bales decided to give his speech anyway. Due to the banning, he couldn’t give it at the ceremony, but he did give the speech afterwards and outside of the school on a megaphone.


But that’s not the end of the story, for Bales’ mother says there’s another piece to it. 

Gillian Marksberry is the mother of openly gay Bales (who also identifies as gender nonconforming). While Marksberry says that his sexuality and gender identity have never been an issue with the school before, she thinks they were a part of this speech fiasco.

Marksberry later came forward to say that the school’s principal called her a week before the graduation ceremony. The principal called to ask if Bales would wear men’s clothing to the ceremony and not makeup or bobby pins in his hair.

"That was disturbing because in four years, I had never received a phone call from the principal," Marksberry said. "No one ever reached out to me to help learn about my child."

Because of this, Marksberry is reconsidering sending Bales’ 9-year-old sister to Holy Cross when she’s of age. When the time comes, they may look at other options.

In addition, Christian Bales will be attending the University of Louisville in the fall with on a full-ride scholarship. He plans to major in biology and become a conservationist.

Get Ready For Netflix's Gay Rom-Com Called "Alex Strangelove"

Ladies, gents, and those in flux, it seems that Netflix is trying to catch the wave that Love, Simon started.

The video streaming platform is increasingly becoming more aggressive by the day when it comes to buying the distribution rights for indie films. Now, after Love, Simon became the financial and cultural success that it is, it looks like Netflix wants in on that action.

Back in March, Netflix announced that the gay teen film Alex Strangelove would premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival, before then making its way to the streaming site.

Alex Strangelove tells the story of Alex Truelove, a well-rounded high school senior with a wonderful girlfriend Claire and a bright future ahead of him - and with plans to achieve his last teenage milestone by losing his virginity. But things get complicated when he meets Elliot, a handsome and charming gay kid from the other side of town, who unwittingly sends Alex on a rollercoaster journey of sexual identity, kicking off a hilarious and moving exploration of love, sex and friendship in our liberated and confusing modern times.

Written and Directed by Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins, Wilson), Alex Strangelove stars Daniel Doheny, Madeline Weinstein (Beach Rats), and Antonio Marziale (Altered Carbon). The film was produced by Ben Stiller, Nicky Weinstock, and Jared Ian Goldman.

After being produced by Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films and now getting distributed by Netflix, we’re pretty excited to see what the finished project looks like. Luckily, we won’t have to wait long.

Last month, the announcement for the film came with the initial release date of July 20. That said, NewNowNext reports that the film will release on Netflix on June 8. If this date change is real, it could make sense due to June being Pride month, and the recent success of Love, Simon.

That said, until an official release date is announced (and an official trailer comes out), we’ll assume that the release date is still July 20.

No matter what, the movie will be coming to us all through the streaming platform soon.

Let's Talk About "Love, Simon's " Cultural Influence

We are entering the fourth weekend since the release of Love, Simon, and it’s a good time to look at how the film has performed both financially and socially.

First, we have to look at the film’s Box Office records. As stated in an earlier article, the film opened with a so-so box office of about $11.5 million. This is neither a major success nor a major failure. In fact, its just as middling as the angle in which the film was promoted.

What I mean by that, is that director Greg Berlanti hoped that the film would subtlety open the door for more gay representation and inclusion in Hollywood films. As he told IndieWire, he once had to fight for a gay kiss on popular teen drama Dawson’s Creek, which then helped open the door for gay characters and stories in American television.

“I went from executives telling me, ‘You’re not allowed to have a gay kiss. If you’re gonna have a gay kiss, you have to shoot it from across the street.’ To within five years—’Wait a minute, why would you cut away here? Wouldn’t the characters kiss?’ And I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, sure. I’ll go back and put a gay kiss in the scene.'”

 “In TV, when we were trying to do certain kinds of LGBT representation over the last 15 years, walls started to fall, then they fell really fast. And we were able to get more and more specific with the storytelling. Cinema has always been at the forefront of that stuff. But I don’t think that mainstream studios have been.”

His hope was that by presenting Love, Simon as a typical teen rom-com, it could discreetly present a precedent for future films with gay characters to come.

Though, perhaps Love, Simon failed Greg Berlanti’s plan in the most pleasant way. You see, the film has been holding incredibly strong in the following two weeks after its initial release. The film held an impressive 34% hold in its second week and a respectable 37% hold in its third week of release.

In addition, the film has already made a profit. With a production budget of $17 million, the film had a relatively low number to overturn. Then, with a $33 million domestic box office record and a $1.6 million international box office, the film has made about $35 million worldwide.

On top of keeping a steady hold while in movie theaters, Love, Simon still has the potential to do well in the ancillary market.

Once the film leaves movie theaters, it’ll go over to Video-On-Demand and streaming platforms, DVD racks, airline galleries, and more.

\Let’s be honest, can you imagine yourself picking Love, Simon over another film while flying across the skies? I can, and hopefully many others will. This only means more money is on the horizon for the film.

But now, lets shift gears and look at Love, Simon’s cultural and social impact. As stated earlier, Greg Berlanti hoped for an eventual effect where future films will look at Love, Simon as an example. While that could still hold true, the film has also had some instant influence.

First, Love, Simon has inspired many celebrities to buy out theaters in order to help make the film accessible to others.

Not only did Greg Berlanti and his former soccer playing husband Robbie Rogers buy out theaters in Mississippi and Kentucky, but many other celebrities have done similar acts.

Kristen Bell, Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Matt Bomer, Jennifer Garner, Daniel Preda and more have all bought out theaters in their hometowns to help people see the film.

Part of the reason for this massive support by celebrities is the fact that the film stands for something bigger. Not only is the a film centering on a gay character, but it’s a solid film that isn’t being promoted as a movie just for gay people.

Love, Simon’s strength is in its relatability to all people who’ve had a crush or felt the pressure to present themselves differently in order to fit society’s standards. At the same time, the film’s message is that everyone ironically loves it went people are authentic and real.

In addition, the film’s focus on coming out is both familiar and refreshingly new. As many article writers have written before me, this a film that all youth should see (gay or otherwise).


This return to the classic “feel good movie” has also already helped others to come out and celebrate being LGBTQ. For instance, Love, Simon star Nick Robinson shared that a close family members of his came out thanks to the film.

In addition, the film has introduced us to gay actor Clark Moore who played openly gay character Ethan in the film. After the movie's release, Moore shared that he was honored to act as the type of gay teen he wishes he was back in High School.

Also, fellow star Keiynan Lonsdale came out as bisexual to the cast and crew Love, Simon during the final day of production and is now making music about LGBTQ love.

Ultimately, Love, Simon started out as a film hoping to open doors through being relatively average in both box office numbers and presentation. Despite that, what we really got was a fantastic film with an A+ cinema score and a successful hold in movie theaters. On top of that, celebrities and movie-goers are praising the film with their wallets and their computer keyboards.

Love, Simon has done some great things, and we’re all thankful for it.

Gay Irish Film "Handsome Devil" Stunned At The Garden State Film Festival

This past weekend, the state of New Jersey held its annual Garden State Film Festival. During this year’s event, the festival played Irish gay film Handsom Devil.

News source IrishCentral reached out to the festival’s founder, Diane Raver, who said she was honored to play the movie for her program.

“The Garden State Film Festival,” Raver told IrishCentral, “prides itself on presenting the best of Independent films from around the globe. Handsome Devil is an absolutely stunning film of Ireland, the rugby culture, and redemption. It is everything we founded this festival to present to our audience.”

“Of course, the Jersey Shore is affectionately known as the ‘Irish Riviera’ due to the large population of Irish inhabitants, but more importantly the Irish Film Board is one of the best film loads in the world. This ensures that filmmakers can produce wonderful films like Handsome Devil It is our greatest honor and privilege to do so.”

The film Handsome Devil was filmed in Dublin and released in 2016.

The story follows openly gay high school student Ned. Ned feels like an outcast at his boarding school which is filled with testosterone-fueled boys who are obsessed with the sport of rugby. But, when Ned gets a new roommate, named Conor, who’s the star player of the school’s rugby team, he soon gains a new friend and appreciation for the sport.



In addition, the film’s writer/director John Butler also talked to IrishCentral to share his thoughts on the film.

Handsome Devil,” John Butler told IrishCentral, “is basically my answer to the John Hughes films I grew up loving, ‘Dead Poets Society’ and ‘Election,’ all those coming-of-age high school films.

“The idea is that kids are emotionally more open and accepting when they are young, but then they have cynicism bred into them by their environments. This film, unlike ‘Dead Poets Society’ where the adults are these pillars of wisdom, I wanted there to be a weakness in the adults and strength among the young people.

Butler also shared his thoughts on why he created the film and why he wants it to connect to teenagers, LGBTQ or otherwise, in today’s modern world.

“I feel it was really important to tell this kind of story, to portray the experiences I was seeing growing up. I grew up in a rigidly binary world where masculine traits were those represented in sport. For me growing up, it seemed like it was impossible to be both,” he said.

“This film stems from that memory, and I think it has something to say in 2017, because obviously as we all know there are so few ‘out’ players in sport. Currently, there aren’t any ‘out’ players at the peak of their careers in premier soccer or rugby union. Male team sports particularly seem to suffer from this lack of representation

“If you buy into this idea of your orientation as an identity, then your identity is formed so early in your life. Having a role model of an openly gay sports player as a young person would have been huge for me. I’ve seen how useless these binary definitions are and I just felt like I needed to push that idea around and examine why it is we are still in that position in the sport.”

If you want to read more of John Butler’s interview with IrishCentral, you can head over through this link.

If you want to see more of the film Handsome Devil, it is available on Netflix, Amazon and Youtube in some countries. Otherwise, you can read this Instinct writer’s review of the film here.

h/t: IrishCentral

Oklahoma Police Are Investigating An Assault On A Gay Middle Schooler

A seventh-grade student in Oklahoma says he was attacked because he’s gay.

A video was released of a boy by the name of Blake being assaulted in the hallways of Highland West middle school in Moore, Oklahoma.

Coming forward later to speak on it, Blake shares that the attack was sudden and random.

"All of a sudden, I felt something hit my face then hit my head against the locker," Blake shared.

But, of course, the mother of the alleged bully is ready to defend her child.

"This kid called (my son) a rapist, and basically my son just snapped," said Rachael Clymer, the alleged bully's mother. "It is not okay that he physically snapped, but he didn't just go the school, and walk up to the kid and hit this child for no reason. He had been verbally attacked for months."

She also added:

"I think that is absolutely ridiculous. [He] has grown up with three family members who are gay, and that's - no, absolutely not."

Oklahoma’s News 4 reached out to local police who said that Clymer’s son was officially cited for assault on March 8 and that they are continuing to investigate.

On top of that, Blake’s parents are persistent that their son’s attacker should receive punishment.

Blake’s father, Chad Presley, told News4, “Your heart sinks. You feel for him. It's one of the most painful things, as a parent, to go through."

But, it seems that the school is stalling on getting involved because the Clymer boy is autistic and in the individualized education program.

"It shouldn't matter what the child - whether you have IEP or anything, there should be zero tolerance for that," said Brandy Miner, Blake's mother.

h/t: Oklahoma’s News 4

"Love, Simon" Actor Clark Moore Talks Straight Leads And Diversity in Gay Films

While Love, Simon may not have performed wonderfully during its opening weekend, the film is still a great chapter in the saga of gay entertainment media. The reason being, it was backed and supported by a major film studio (20th Century Fox).

That said, some people consider the film to be a fantasy take on teen romance. That may be true, but it also takes on one fantastic portrayal of a gay teen, and we’re not talking about Nick Robinson as Simon.

The character we’re talking about is Ethan played by Clark Moore. While the movie follows Simon’s struggle towards self-acceptance due to everyone else’s expectations of him, Love, Simon also stars Ethan who’s openly gay and confident in himself.

Speaking to Teen Vogue, Ethan shared how excited and honored he was to play the part of Ethan.

“I love that I got to sort of act out my high school fantasy. Ethan is sort of who I wish I was in high school. He's way cooler than I ever was. He's also probably who I thought I was. He's what I was aiming for in high school, and now that I got to play him and I look back on my adolescent experience, I'm sort of like, ‘Wow, you are way off there, Clark.’”

Plus, Clark Moore also shared with Teen Vogue his thoughts on gay roles in Hollywood and the call for diversity in all forms.

“Historically, I think the reason why there haven't been more gay roles or more gay actors playing roles that have lots of layers to them and lots of depths to them is because for whatever reason, people think that the story is done. We've seen the gay character. We know what he says. We know what he thinks. We don't need to tell that story anymore.”

Moore goes on further to say that the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. After all, we’ve found ways to explore stories about straight white males for centuries now. That goes to show that there are many more ways we can explore stories involving and staring gay characters.

In addition, Clark Moore also took the time to share his thoughts on the whole straight actor for a gay role discussion.

TV: TV: In recent years, while there have been a handful of successful films in with a lead from the the LGBTQ community, most of those characters were played by straight men. As someone who openly gay who has played a gay teenager, does that bother you?

CM: For me, it's less about straight actors playing gay roles. My resentment towards it comes from the lack of diversity amongst gay roles. Like for instance Nick, our main actor who plays Simon is great and every time I've seen the movie, I just can't imagine anyone else doing it. He's just such a good and talented actor.

The thing that frustrates me is the way we view sexuality [and] masculinity within our culture. We're okay with straight guys playing gay, but it's very rare that you see gay men portraying straight roles. We, as a culture, don't forgive femininity in men. We can suspend our disbelief long enough to believe that this straight actor is gay for the hour and a half of this movie, but for whatever reason, we're still incapable of doing the reverse. I would like to see the reverse happening more. I just really want actors to be able to work in any roles — just give it to the best actor for the role.”

If you want to read more of Teen Vogue’s interview with Clark Moore, you can read it here.