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Allstate Insurance is showing their support for LGBT Pride Month with an emotional 90-second ad campaign titled “Safe In My Hands.” The animated ad features a gay love story to celebrate pride and to send a message of acceptance and love. According to Pink News on June 14, the ad also features a song by openly gay singer-songwriter Eli Lieb.

To coincide with the ad, the insurance company also launched the #OutHOldingHands campaign, promoting equality by visiting Pride events across the United States to collect photos, video and other images of people holding hands as the campaign websites states, “We believe everyone should be treated with respect and without judgment no matter who they love. We believe everyone deserves to feel comfortable showing affection out in public.”

This is Alan Turing.

This is Alan Turing.

GAMING IN COLOR exists for anyone who believes that the pixelated world can be a better place for everyone, no matter who they are. It is not too uncommon a tale where a bullied, abused youth seeks solace in a video game, only to find that their one hope of sanctuary, their escape into a virtual universe, is plagued with floods of more vitriol and hatred. This exists doubly so for anyone who is a minority, including people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ community.

A lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise queer gamer has a higher chance of being mistreated in a social game. The power dynamic of a geek society tips against them. Diversive queer themes in storylines and characters are still mostly an anomaly in the mainstream video game industry. However, the gaming community is far more colorful than one may expect. Gaming In Color shows that there is a full spectrum of gamers picking up their controller to play.

This feature length documentary explores the queer side of gaming culture and the game industry’s LGBTQ presence. The GaymerX convention that took place in 2013 was a huge step forward for the queer geek community being recognized on a worldwide industry scale. In the same year, more popular mainstream and indie games featured a greater amount of gay and lesbian characters than ever before, helping with visibility and acceptance. The video games universe will only continue to improve and diversify both in its community and industry if we elevate the conversation about inclusion and respecting one another - not in spite of our gay geekiness, but because of it!

Source / Read more: gamingincolor.vhx.tv

"Have you ever dropped the soap? I did once…it was great!"

"Have you ever dropped the soap? I did once…it was great!"

Final Fantasy 14 Introduces Same-Sex Marriage into Gameplay

Final Fantasy 14

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is adding a controversial feature to its massive multiplayer online game, the option to have a same-sex marriage.

According to Polygon, producer and director of the game, Naoki Yoshida made the announcement during the E3 developer talk. He said this option will become available with the game’s next patch.

"People within Eorzea will be able to pledge their eternal love and or friendship in a ceremony of eternal bonding. And this will be open to people regardless of race, creed, and gender. Two players…if they want to be together, in Eorzea, they can-through this eternal bonding ceremony," he said through a translator.

He continued, “We discussed it and we realized: within Eorzea, why should there be restrictions on who pledges their love or friendship to each other? And so we decided to go this way.”

Polygon reported that the game considered doing this back in 2012, but never moved past a discussion.

Source / Read more: breathecast.com

Johnny Scruff On Sex, Style, and Technology

image001 277x300 Peak Beard: Johnny Scruff On Sex, Style, and Technology

If you’re a gay man with a smart phone in the Portland area, it’s more than likely that you’ve given SCRUFF a try. The GPS-based gay men’s social app has accrued over five million users in five years, dramatically shifting the ways that gay men worldwide meet and date. PQ’s Nick Mattos chatted with 33-year-old SCRUFF co-founder Johnny Skandros — better known as Johnny Scruff — to find out how he sees his app changing the landscape of gay life and aesthetics; along the way, we also discovered that he definitely does not want to talk about the technological singularity.

Source / Read more: pqmonthly.com

CloudFlare launches Project Galileo to protect civil society websites from attack

Online security company CloudFlare announced the launch of Project Galileo, an intitiative which aims to protect civil society organizations and other public interest groups from distributed denial of services (DDoS) attacks. Access, along with 13 other human rights organizations, helped advise CloudFlare on the creation of the project, and will continue to work with the compnay to protect websites at risk. 

"Project Galileo shows how Silicon Valley tech companies can actively create a more secure and safe internet for the world’s most vulnerable internet users. Civil society actors around the world are under attack and this service helps create a level of protection we would otherwise not be able to access. The right to freedom of expression now has a new ally online,” said Access Executive Director Brett Solomon.

On Access’ 24/7 Digital Security Helpline, around the world we’re increasingly seeing civil society websites come under attack. Whether an independent news site reporting on election irregularities or a LGBT organization fighting for their very right to live, activists and NGOs are under threat globally, often from the most well-funded adversaries around the world. With Project Galileo, CloudFlare will extend its full, enterprise-class DDoS attack protection to the websites of high-risk civil society groups at no cost.

Source / Read more: accessnow.org

America’s Most LGBT-Friendly Cities Ranked By Vocativ’s ‘Queer Index’

What is life like for the queer community in the United States?

That’s the question Vocativ, the global media organization for the Digital Generation, set out to answer with their new Queer Index, “a thorough examination of dozens of quality-of-life factors for America’s LGBT communities, based on Vocativ’s proprietary technology that mines the ‘Deep Web’ –- the 80% of the Internet outside the scope of search engines,” according to a statement from the company.

The Queer Index incorporates data from open databases, public sites and social networks, including Craigslist, Facebook, Yelp, Rentboy, the US census and the FBI crimes database. Vocativ used this information to determine its definitive listing of the top 35 most LGBT-friendly cities spanning the United States. 16 “key lifestyle metrics” were measured, Vocativ notes, and “specific factors explored include the size of cities’ LGBT communities, number of ‘out’ singles, openly gay and lesbian politicians, queer-friendly businesses, hate-crime rates, and even the ease of casual hook-ups.”

Source / Read more: The Huffington Post

Zynga affirms its support of LGBT people & their rights after launching Duck Dynasty slots game

Exclusive: Zynga affirms its support of LGBT people & their rights after launching Duck Dynasty slots game

Zynga launched a new game, Duck Dynasty Slots. The publisher has moved aggressively into the booming social-casino game segment, a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry and one in which mobile is becoming a bigger share of the revenue. But it’s now also promoting a game that includes a homophobe: Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch whom A&E suspended from the show — the network later backpedaled and relented – for his anti-gay comments.

GamesBeat contacted Zynga about Robertson’s inclusion. It confirmed that Robertson is in the game. This virtual slot machine focuses on things that happened in the series. None of his controversial comments appears in it.

It also affirmed its support of LGBT people and universal equality.

Zynga is committed to supporting diversity and the rights of our players and employees, including the LGBT community. As a company, we recently took a stance on gay rights by taking part in filing amicus briefings before the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the discriminatory actions of DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act] and Proposition 8 [California’s ballot measure banning gay marriage]. Zynga’s Duck Dynasty Slots is based on the television show and does not reflect the personal beliefs of one individual. We are deeply committed to fostering a community built on respect and equality and we will be listening to our players to incorporate their feedback into our games in order to create the best possible experience.

Zynga joined a number of companies in amicus briefs filed with the Supreme Court in cases against the DOMA and Prop. 8.

This isn’t Duck Dynasty‘s first appearance in a Zynga game. The show is also in Zynga’s Hit It Rich slots offering.

Source / Read more: venturebeat.com

Apps for gay, bisexual men tied to STI risk

Gay and bisexual men who use smartphone apps to meet other men for sex are at an increased risk of some sexually transmitted infections, suggests a new study.

Men who used the apps were more likely to be diagnosed with gonorrhea and Chlamydia than men who met potential partners in other ways, researchers report in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

"We want to make people aware of the risks and benefits with any new technology," Matthew Beymer said. “We just want gay and bisexual men to love safely and love carefully.”

Beymer is the study’s lead author and an epidemiologist at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

He and his colleagues write that apps such as Grindr and SCRUFF have become increasingly popular among members of the gay and bisexual community since their introduction in 2009. 

The apps, which are marketed toward men who have sex with men, use the GPS capabilities of smartphones to find other people nearby using the same apps. Similar products exist for people seeking opposite-sex partners, and for women looking for other women.

Source / Read more: reuters.com

Transgender business leader, inventor, and Sirius Satellite Radio founder Martine Rothblatt on The Colbert Report talking about her latest invention - a black lesbian robot with a radical agenda.

Source / Read more: thecolbertreport.cc.com

Nerds Under the Rainbow Tonight in Detroit

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This month, Nerd Nite Detroit will be contributing to metro Detroit’s LGBTQ* celebrations with a night filled with science and discussion.

They invite you to come out and hear some great speakers as they help us understand some of the issues, history, and biology of gender, sexual orientation, and LGBTQ* communities.

Leading the scientific discussion will be Dr. Marc Breedlove from Michigan State University. His project “Whom Do You Love: The Biology of Sexual Orientation” completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary to “explore the evidence that non-social factors, like the prenatal environment and hereditary factors, affect the likelihood that a person will grow up to be gay.”

Our second speaker is Shea Howell who will be presenting “Women’s Music and the Detroit Connection. Challenging oppression and creating new visions.” Shea is a community-based activist in Detroit for the last 4 decades and the co-founder Detroit Summer, Boggs Center. Shea also writes a weekly column for the Michigan Citizen, currently challenging the destruction of democracy and take over of Detroit.

We’ll also have Emell Derra Adolphus, associate editor of BLAC Detroit Magazine giving his talk “Mightier than the Sword”.

Surprise! They have four speakers! This is going to be such a great night! The fourth speaker is James Felton Keith, an engineer, ethnographer, and entrepreneur recently relocated home to Detroit and appointed by the Mayor Mike Duggan in 2014 as a business consultant. Keith is the author of Integrationalism, a board member of the newly established Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and the Keith Institute in Detroit. He’ll be presenting “#BeOut - The business value of identity”.

They also have Sidecar Detroit with food and Alibi Crew with tunes.

Source / Read more: facebook.com

It’s Hard Being Tomodachi With Corporations

TOMOD

Recently, an uproar tore out across the internets when Nintendo decided not to include same-sex relationships in their life-sim game Tomodachi Life; people were incensed, Nintendo issued a fairly standard apology, people were mildly more optimistic but also still kind of sore. In response, there have been questions, confusions and concerns from folk criticising the backlash against Nintendo, for various reasons.

Many have echoed Nintendo’s sentiment of “social commentary” by claiming that games are “just games”, they’re escapist fantasies, they’re entertainment, and as such, they shouldn’t serve any “political agenda”. But games are not just “escapism”, they’re not just frivolous forays into time-wasting in between reading “Ulysses” or “Animal Farm”, they’re not “just” anything – there’s an entire side to the games industry called serious games! Games, like any medium, like any artform, like any kind of entertainment – both reflect the culture that created it and influences that society’s perspective. As Anna at BorderHouseBlog notes, choosing to abstain from “social commentary” on an issue IS social commentary — any action in a politically-muddied situation is political action. Similarly, Nintendo’s initial decision not to include same-sex relationships – and their subsequent decision not to – did not happen in a vacuum. They happened in an industry already hesitant about, if not inimical to, LGBTQ representation, in a culture where LGBTQ people are already marginalised, poorly represented and discriminated against.

Source / Read more: gaygamer.net

Out-Fit Challenge Mud Run announces Jack’d Gay Social App as Official Event Sponsor

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Out-Fit Challenge, the first ever LGBT Mud Run, announced Jack’d gay social app, as an official event sponsor for 2014. Jack’d is the fastest growing gay app in the world with over five million users across the globe. Eighty percent of Jack’d users are 18-30 years old, making Jack’d a phenomenon among a diverse cross-section of young, active gay men. The app consistently ranks among the top four gay apps in both the iTunes and Google Play stores. It was recently acquired by Online Buddies, the largest company in the world connecting men seeking men. Out-Fit Challenge Mud Run will be kicking off its state-to-state run in New York this year, then hitting Boston, San Francisco and Reno.

Out-Fit Challenge will take place on June 21st, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with race waves leaving throughout the day beginning every 20 minutes. The sporting event features over 15 military-style obstacles that include various elements such as mud, water, and ice throughout the course including the “Cherry Picker,” “Is that Mud in Your Pants” and “Hello Sailor.” Finishing the course is a victory for every participant, celebrated with an after party hosted by local drag queens, DJs, muddy go-go boys, and lots of great food and drink. Out-Fit Challenge will run shuttle buses from New York City to Tuxedo Ridge throughout the day. Tickets to participate in the event are $55 per person with group discounts available. Spectator tickets are $10 per person. Registrants can sign up to participate at http://bit.ly/1iqlnkH .

Source / Read more: out-fitchallenge.com

Companies and Cities Embrace Pride Month

Companies such as HiltonKimpton and American Airlines have long marketed to the gay community. This month in a most public display of affection,

The campaign comes during what President Obama has recently declared as L.G.B.T. pride month, which is now observed not just with parades and parties, but also with travel promotions aimed at the growing gay travel market.

Philadelphia newly advertises to the community with the social media slogan, “Brotherly, or sisterly, love is love.”

With the recent passage of same-sex marriage laws in a number of states, destinations and hoteliers are increasingly welcoming gay and lesbian couples, honeymooners and celebrants.

In Chicago, the Hotel Allegro, across the street from City Hall, says it has seen an increase in post-ceremony restaurant business and plans to offer reception packages. Across town, the Hotel Lincoln offers marriage services by the assistant manager, also an ordained minister.

This month, Travel Portland in Oregon is updating its L.G.B.T. resources web page with information on wedding sites, photographers and florists.

Source / Read more: The New York Times

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