Michael Sam Wins Arthur Ashe Award And Acceptance Speech ESPY 2014

News Break: 'Arrest us all': the 200 women who killed a rapist

When hundreds of women descended on Nagpur district court armed with knives, stones and chilli powder, within minutes the man who raped them lay dead. Raekha Prasad reports
A year ago Usha Narayane was about to embark on a new life. A call-centre worker with a diploma in hotel management, she was 25 and about to travel north from her home in the centre of India to begin a managerial job in a hotel in Punjab. The job would transport her not only geographically but also socially.
Like her neighbours, Narayane is a dalit, an "untouchable", at the bottom of the caste ladder. Schooling and literacy are rare among the women of Kasturba Nagar, the slum neighbourhood in the city of Nagpur where she grew up. She was unmarried, preferring to work and study. Yet nobody resented her success. Instead, they had high hopes for the girl. But Narayane went nowhere. Today, she is in her family's one-room, windowless home, awaiting trial for murder.
At 3pm on August 13 2004, Akku Yadav was lynched by a mob of around 200 women from Kasturba Nagar. It took them 15 minutes to hack to death the man they say raped them with impunity for more than a decade. Chilli powder was thrown in his face and stones hurled. As he flailed and fought, one of his alleged victims hacked off his penis with a vegetable knife. A further 70 stab wounds were left on his body. The incident was made all the more extraordinary by its setting. Yadav was murdered not in the dark alleys of the slum, but on the shiny white marble floor of Nagpur district court.
Laughed at and abused by the police when they reported being raped by Yadav, the women took the law into their own hands. A local thug, Yadav and his gang had terrorised the 300 families of Kasturba Nagar for more than a decade, barging into homes demanding money, shouting threats and abuse.
Residents say he murdered at least three neighbours and dumped their bodies on railway tracks. They had reported his crimes to the police dozens of times. Each time he was arrested, he was granted bail.
But it was rape that Yadav used to break and humiliate the community. A rape victim lives in every other house in the slum, say the residents of Kasturba Nagar. He violated women to control men, ordering his henchmen to drag even girls as young as 12 to a nearby derelict building to be gang-raped.
In India, even to admit to being raped is taboo, yet dozens of Yadav's victims reported the crime. But the 32-year-old was never charged with rape. Instead, the women say, the police would tell him who had made the reports and he would come after them. According to residents, the police were hand-in-glove with Yadav: he fed the local officers bribes and drink, and they protected him.
When one 22-year-old reported being raped by Yadav, the police accused her of having an affair with him and sent her away. Several others were sent away after being told: "You're a loose woman. That's why he raped you."
Nagpur is counted among India's fastest-growing cities. Yet the experience of the women of Kasturba Nagar is a parallel tale of how everyday life in India's back streets is stuck in the past. Splashed across the country's news- papers, the gory image of Yadav's blood on the courtroom floor was a lesson in the consequences of a state unable to protect the weak and the vulnerable.
After Yadav's murder, powerful voices were raised supporting the lynch mob. Prominent lawyers issued a statement saying the women should not be treated as the accused, but as the victims. One retired high court judge even congratulated the women. "In the circumstances they underwent, they were left with no alternative but to finish Akku. The women repeatedly pleaded with the police for their security. But the police failed to protect them," said Justice Bhau Vahane.
Two weeks before the lynching, Yadav came to Narayane's house on several successive days, threatening to throw acid on her and rape her. He targeted her, she says, because she was outspoken and her brother-in-law, a lawyer, had verbally stood up to Yadav. "He raped only poor people whom he thought wouldn't go and tell, or if they did, wouldn't be listened to. But he made a big mistake in threatening me. People felt that if I were attacked, no woman would ever be safe."
Although Narayane has been charged with Yadav's murder, she claims she was not at the court when it took place but in the slum collecting signatures for a mass complaint against him. Among the charges levelled against her are some of India's most serious offences, including "anti- nationalist" crimes amounting to treason. "The cops say I planned the murder; that I started it. They have to make someone a scapegoat," she says. She believes she has been singled out because she has been the police's most vociferous critic. Her education gave her the confidence that inspired the community to act, she says.
In the week before the lynching, people started to talk about taking action against Yadav. He disappeared, sensing boiling anger. Narayane and her brother-in-law bypassed the local officers and went straight to the deputy commissioner. He gave the family a safe house for a night and promised to search for him.
On August 6, hundreds of residents smashed his empty house to rubble. By evening they heard Yadav had "surrendered" and was in custody. "The police had said he would be in danger if he came back. They suggested he surrender into their care for his own safety."
The next day he was due to appear at the city's district court and 500 slum residents gathered. As Yadav arrived, one of his henchmen tried to pass him knives wrapped in a blanket under the noses of the police. After the women protested, the accomplice was arrested and Yadav taken back into custody, but not before he threatened to return and teach every woman in the slum a lesson.
Hearing that Yadav was likely to get bail yet again, when he returned to court, the women decided to act. "It was not calculated," Narayane says. "It was not a case that we all sat down and calmly planned what would happen. It was an emotional outburst. The women decided that, if necessary, they'd go to prison, but that this man would never come back and terrorise them."
On the day of Yadav's hearing, 200 women came to the court armed with vegetable knives and chilli powder. As he walked in, Yadav spotted one of the women he had raped. He called her a prostitute and threatened to repeat the crime against her. The police laughed. She took off her sandal and began to hit him, shouting, "We can't both live on this Earth together. It's you or me."
It was a rallying cry to an incensed mob. Soon, he was being attacked on all sides. Knives were drawn and the two terrified officers guarding him ran away. Within 15 minutes, Yadav was dead on the courthouse floor. But his death has not brought the women peace. Five were immediately arrested, then released following a demonstration across the city. Now every woman living in the slum has claimed responsibility for the murder. They say no one person can take the blame: they have told the police to arrest them all.
But it is Narayane who is in limbo as she waits for her case to be heard. "After the murder, society's eyes opened: the police's failings came to light. That has irritated them. The police see me as a catalyst for the exposure and want to nip it in the bud."
They face a fight. Narayane is loudly unrepentant. "I'm not scared. I'm not ashamed," she says. "We've done a good thing for society. We will see whether society repays us".

Debi Jackson, Mother Of Transgender Child, Gives Moving Speech

Art: Nina Arsenault - Whore of Babalon Calendar 2013

Gag: John Legend - You & I (Nobody In The World) featuring Laverne Cox and many other amazing women

The More You Know (About Black People) | Episodes

I'LL BE PERFORMING NEXT MONTH IN AN AMAZING LINE UP OF FELLOW SISTERS AND ARTISTS FOR THE "UR HEAD IS MINE" PERFORMANCE SERIES IN NYC - #FINNAGOOFF


UR HEAD IS MINE, is a meeting of bodies for nights of revenge.
An intimate summer performance series that brings together [ gay and_or brown and_or fluid ] artists for nights of actions fueled by frustration. This is a takeover of spaces that we have historically been excluded from. We want to create an environment that facilitates the gathering of our communities, and a platform to voice our collective disillusionment with the systems we operate within. This is four (4) intensive weeks with no theoretical parameters, just our bodies at play.
///SUMMER NIGHTS WILL INCLUDE\\\
aggression

intellectualism

agency

screaming matches

ASS

planetary retrogrades

readings
carrying

LOOKS

- Gathering in the places that don't want us
                                            can't stand us
                                                   can't take y'all nowhere.

Gag: Vogue Italia January 2012 The Collections on IVC



The Collections on IVC' by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia January 2012.

















In light of Sierra Mannie


In light of Sierra Mannie’s op-ed that has some white gay men feeling some type of way: detail of Glenn Ligon’s, Notes on the Margin of the Black Book, 1991-1993 #GlennLigon #JamesBaldwin #clapback (at Hammer Museum)

Michael Sam and the Draw That Changed American Sports Forever

BY CHRISTOPHER GLAZEK

He was the 249th NFL draft pick — that changed everything.
Photography by Richard Phibbs |Styling by Grant Woolhead
Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the National Football League, is a big fucking deal. This fact alarms many people — not least Sam himself, who mistrusts the media and who expressed skepticism, the day I met him in New York, that his coming out was really an act of courage, as nearly everyone has proclaimed.
Other facts about Sam have also caused alarm: that he stands at only 6-feet-1-and-a-half-inches, more than two inches shorter than the average NFL defensive end; and that, despite having been voted the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Sam was drafted 249th out of 256, the lowest pick — by 100 spots — in the history of the award. Some are bothered by the fact that just seconds after his draft, Sam gave his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, the most famous gay kiss of all time; others find it troubling that Sam is already enjoying the perks of professional stardom, including an award from ESPN and a lucrative deal with Visa, despite never having played a minute of professional football. And still others are angered by the fact that Sam has been the victim of an apparent double standard, wherein high-profile draftees like Johnny Manziel — white, rich, and straight — are celebrated for racking up endorsements and Instagramming themselves holding fistfuls of cash while Sam, who grew up in extreme poverty and has turned down countless sponsorship deals, is being savaged for the small steps he’s taken to capitalize on something that, despite his protestations, really is a huge deal: that the NFL, the richest sports league in history and the most macho show on earth, has drafted someone who is gay.
The extent of Sam’s courage was revealed by the events that followed his coming out. After declaring his orientation in an interview with ESPN, Sam immediately fell 70 spots on the CBS draft board, withstood online abuse from NFL players and team managers, attracted protests from the Westboro Baptist Church, and inspired a Republican lobbyist to pursue legislation banning gay athletes from professional football. Worst of all, he had to read disapproving comments from his own father, who told The New York Times that Deacon Jones, the legendary defensive lineman, would be “turning over in his grave” at the thought of a gay player in the NFL. Somewhat counteracting the negativity were the notes of encouragement Sam received from the likes of President Barack Obama, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and football hall of famers such as Deion Sanders. None of them were draft scouts, though.
An integrated NFL isn’t the only “big deal” LGBT Americans have had the good fortune to celebrate in recent years, but for a community suffering from milestone fatigue, Sam’s announcement was significant — more significant, perhaps, than corresponding announcements from Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers because of football’s special relationship with American masculinity. Of all the major sports, football has the highest level of body contact and the highest risk of injury. Perhaps because of the inherent closeness of the game — and the intensity of the homosocial bonds required to build a successful team — it has also been the sport where sexuality has been the most ferociously policed. Before Sam’s announcement, many gays took it for granted that the NFL, whose brand is powered by manliness and violence, was the most hostile terrain of all. In January, Chris Kluwe, a former kicker for the Minnesota Vikings who believes he was fired for speaking publicly in favor of marriage equality, published a piece on Deadspin in which he quoted a Vikings special teams coach as having said, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and nuke it until it glows.” (The coach has disputed this account.) In February, just days after Sam came out, the NFL released a report about bullying in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room that detailed a widespread culture of antigay humiliation. For its potential to frustrate homophobic expectations and extend the boundaries of American masculinity, ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the NFL could be an event nearly as significant as integrating the military.
While making history in the NFL, Sam has concurrently joined an elite club: the miniscule number of people whose reputations have been damaged, not enhanced, by an association with Oprah Winfrey. For Sam’s critics, his decision to participate in a documentary series for the Oprah Winfrey Network, a channel with a primarily female viewership, seemed like proof that drafting Sam would bring shame upon the NFL — if not by transforming teammates into “lustful cockmonsters,” to use Kluwe’s phrase, then by polluting the league’s heroic aura by mixing it with reality TV. Attention from Winfrey provided the alchemy through which Sam’s “big deal” became a “big distraction,” a term with no fixed meaning that has nonetheless played a decisive role in Sam’s tumultuous year (one of Sam’s agents told me he wants the word “distraction” banned and removed from the dictionary).

Even if the widespread anger over Winfrey's association is really a cover for anger about Sam’s ultra-famous kiss, it seems plausible to suggest that resentment of homosexuality and resentment of reality TV, in this instance, are mutually reinforcing. And to the extent that both resentements reflect a discomfort with exhibitionism, they might actually be different versions of the same thing.
The problem with the Winfrey backlash is that while every sports league has to negotiate the tension between players’ status as athletes and their status as celebrity entertainers, the NFL has already ruled decisively in favor of entertainment, allowing numerous reality shows to infiltrate its locker rooms and document players’ lives on and off the field. Between documentary series like A Football Life30 for 30, and Hard Knockson the one hand, and sex-and-dating-driven reality shows starring players such as Eric Decker, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, and Hank Baskett on the other, there is only one possible frontier that a Sam reality show could cross: the gay one.
Another difference with Sam, some have argued, is that, despite his accolades, he has not yet proven himself in the holy rituals of physical accomplishment required to earn him the right to parade himself on television. The rule seems to be “yes, you’re allowed to make millions off of your football celebrity, just not for the achievement of committing an astonishing act of trailblazing bravery.”
The reality is that in his 24 years on the planet, Sam has already overcome far more than virtually anyone in the NFL. Growing up as the seventh of eight children in Hitchcock, Texas, a small town outside Galveston, Sam drew a difficult hand. When he was 5 years old, his parents separated. Shortly thereafter, he witnessed his older brother Russell die of a gun-shot wound. At age 8, Sam and his younger sister were the last people to see their older brother Julian before he vanished in a suspected kidnapping. Two other brothers ended up in prison. For a time during elementary school, Sam was homeless and lived with his mother in a car. As Sam put it in his coming-out interview on ESPN, his life thus far has been filled with “some hardships, some tragedies, and some adversity. Telling the world I’m gay is nothing compared to that.”
On May 6, two days before the NFL draft, I flew to New York to meet Sam. I had never been as anxious for an interview. I was nervous for myself — would I get him to open up to me, a bookish ectomorph half his size? I was also nervous for him. As judgment day approached, the sports blogosphere had started to turn against Sam, and a new conventional wisdom was taking hold: Sam might not get drafted at all. Our interview would take place hours before one of the most consequential, nerve-wracking moments of his life. Would he trust me?
Our plan was to meet in Chelsea at the studio of photographer Richard Phibbs, who was shooting Sam forOut’s cover, then walk together to a nearby hotel. When I entered the studio, I saw a cluster of gay men huddled around Sam, who was naked from the waist up and holding a football as if he were a Greek god wielding a thunderbolt. The men were flirting. “Show me — is this the way you throw a ball?” one man asked, pantomiming a pass. “It’s more like this,” Sam responded, adhering to the script of the high school mating ritual. He then executed a mock throw whose subtleties impressed the gathered fans but transcended my understanding. Madonna’s “Candy Shop” then came over the speakers, and the group dispersed to take their positions while Sam suited up in shoulder pads and a jersey. Standing tall, broad, and somber in front of a black screen, Sam did not look happy, but he did look fabulous.
When I scanned the room, I was startled to recognize director Amy Rice, a Winfrey hand famous for sparring with Lindsay Lohan on the OWN docuseries Lindsay. An obsessive Lohan fan, I rushed to introduce myself. After I explained why I was there, Rice handed me a release. Hadn’t anyone told me? The network was planning on filming my interview with Sam. As soon as I signed the form, though, Sam’s publicist quashed the idea. Sam was not in a good mood — he could barely be persuaded to do the interview at all, let alone on camera.

The first 15 minutes of the interview were excruciating. Sam refused to make eye contact with me. His answers were curt and nonrevealing. What was college like? “It’s a normal school.” How did you like living in Columbia, Mo.? “It’s a normal town.” He delivered his responses as rebuttals, swatting away my questions as if blocking kicks from a tedious adversaryHe seemed especially determined to keep a lid on any details regarding his relationship with Cammisano. Do you go on dates? “Yeah, we date.” What do you like to do together? “We do what people who date do.” I was starting to understand why he won Defensive Player of the Year. The only information he volunteered was that he felt annoyed that the photo shoot had run over and thrown off his schedule. “I don’t like when the plan changes,” he huffed.
Desperate to turn things around, I started talking about myself and mentioned visiting a boyfriend in upstate New York. Suddenly Sam’s head perked up; for the first time, he looked me in the eyes. “Wait—you’re gay?” I wasn’t sure how this could have been unclear. “Uh, yes,” I replied, wonder- ing how he was going to take the news. “Oh!” he blurted, his voice rising five octaves. “And Aaron [Hicklin, Out’s editor in chief ]? Is he gay, too?” I nodded. His face melted into a smile; he inched his chair closer to the table and loosened the furrow in his brow. “I thought you guys were straight! That’s why I was giving you a hard time.” His eyes, which had glared with impermeability all through the shoot, suddenly started to radiate warmth and comradeship. Sam’s metamorphosis was so sudden and cartoonish, it suggested how much energy he was having to expend to protect his sexual orientation from people he feared would use it against him.
Whereas before Sam had refused to discuss his relationship, now he was busting out his phone and showing me pictures of his treasured man. I had seen some images of Cammisano online, but these were better. “Very cute!” I exclaimed. He was clearly used to such compliments, and clearly gratified by them. He responded, “Thank you, thank you,” in a practiced tone that reminded me of a politician trying to quell applause before launching into a speech. “I’m sorry about before — I just thought you were some reporter after a story. Some of those guys are vultures.” Sam may not have an effective gaydar, but he had a keenly developed sense of kinship. His entire adult life had been dominated by teams and, evidently, a binary vision of friend or foe. All it took was the word “boyfriend” for him to switch from lion to lamb, and to become not only cooperative but downright solicitous. “Have you still not gotten your tea?” he fretted. I hadn’t. He hounded the waiter and obtained my tea, but he was still worried. “Are you sure you don’t want lemon and honey?” He was a strong advocate of lemon and honey.
He then launched into his life story, skipping over the bad parts. His journey to the NFL started in the seventh grade, when his father, a long-haul truck driver who had moved to Dallas, prevailed upon his mother, a Jehovah’s Witness, to let Sam participate in school sports (Jehovah’s Witnesses are forbidden from playing sports or doing anything that requires consorting with nonbelievers, such as sitting on juries and donating blood). In the beginning, he was just a water boy. By the time he entered high school, though, he was a starter on his school’s varsity squad. (“I kind of stood out from most of my teammates,” he later wrote in an email. “I started getting letters and visits from scouts and coaches from schools all over the place.”) At that point, he had no illusions about the NFL — he was just trying to get to college, something no one in his family had ever done.
After high school, Sam accepted a scholarship to play football at the University of Missouri. Though he was only a two-star recruit, his talent grew over his four years at Mizzou, as it’s affectionately known, and in his senior year he was unanimously voted a first-team All-American. “That was my goal all through college,” he said — it was the honor he was proudest of. All-Americans at Mizzou get their portraits painted, Sam explained, and he pulled out his phone again to show me his portrait. “When I first saw it I just stared at it for a while. That was my goal, and I achieved it.” Sam’s signature move as a Mizzou defensive end was executing an outside rush around an opposing offensive tackle. He was also known for his fondness for singing during practice. “I’d sing Madonna, Marvin Gaye — whatever came into my mind,” he said. “My coaches got used to it over time. They’d say, ‘That’s just Michael Sam.’ ”
Sam met Cammisano at one of the first big parties he attended in his freshman year. “We didn’t start off as huge fans of each other,” he says. It was a lingerie party, and Cammisano was dressed as a rabbit, his underwear amplified by a bushy white tail. Sam remembers the tail because when he first saw him, Cammisano was bent over the railing of a second-story garden deck, violently puking. “I went up to him to ask if he was OK, and he started cursing at me, screaming, ‘Fuck off — do you know who I am?’ ” A new kid at Mizzou, Sam wasn’t aware that Cammisano was a star swimmer. “I told him I didn’t care who he was. We didn’t speak again for two years.”
By the time they were reintroduced by a mutual friend during Sam’s junior year, Cammisano had come out as gay. Sam, though, was still in the closet. One night, the trio went out together to a bar. “I could see he was interested,” Sam said. “I bought him a couple of drinks, got us tipsy. Toward the end of the night, I put my arm around him, and it was over.” The two started dating, but Sam was concerned about his teammates finding out. “Everyone knew Vito was gay, so we couldn’t even be seen together. There was a lot of climbing out of windows.” Eventually, the two split. As time went on, though, Sam grew more comfortable with being gay and the couple got back together before Sam’s senior year. This time they made no efforts to hide their relationship, and Sam decided it was time to formally come out to his team. “Vito was really the person who showed me I had to do it,” Sam said. “I wanted us to be comfortable.”
Sam came out to the Missouri Tigers during their minicamp in August 2013, kicking off a winning season in which the team finished 12 and 2 and Sam claimed 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles. “When I got up there in front of my team, it was actually the first time I said the words to anyone: ‘I am gay.’ ” Although he was nervous, his teammates were supportive. “Mizzou is a family,” Sam told me. “At another school, it might have been a different story.”
Just as we were getting to the good stuff, a pert, well-groomed woman came to our table. “I’m sorry to interrupt,” she said. “I’m from Visa. I need to take Michael now for the recording.” I didn’t realize it would be the last time Sam and I would speak.
Four days after what was supposed to be the first of several interviews with Out, Michael Sam was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams. Seconds after the announcement, ESPN filmed him celebrating the moment with a passionate kiss that has since been viewed millions of times around the world. Three days later, he gave a joint press conference with Rams coach Jeff Fisher stating that his focus moving forward would be exclusively on football. The next day, the Oprah Winfrey Network announced it was filming a series about Sam, directed by Amy Rice, which blindsided the Rams and caused the sports world to erupt with criticism. Two days after that, OWN announced the series was being put on hold, and Sam went into a media freeze in order to focus on making the Rams’ 53-man roster. On June 12, Sam made the team, signing a 4-year contract worth more than two and a half million dollars.
Over the past four months, as Sam’s fortunes have swung from the giddiest highs to the most deflating lows, he has been freighted with inordinate expectations from all quarters. To satisfy his skeptics, he has had to clear an ever-expanding set of personal and professional hurdles: In effect, he has had to walk prouder, play harder, earn less, and allow himself to be fumbled around as the media’s football in a way unknown to the vast majority of his comparatively anonymous peers.
Sam’s supporters have been nearly as unreasonable. Despite the achievements of figures like Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers, there is still a yearning among LGBT Americans for an elite gay athlete who will establish once and for all that gays can play the most masculine sports and win at the highest level. Making the Rams’ roster is only the first task for Sam, and many are sure to be disappointed if he ends up falling short on any number of subsequent tests. Assuming he makes the team, will Sam actually play? If he gets to play, will he be used only in special situations, as a third-down pass rusher? Will he ever become a starter? Does he have it in him to make the Football Hall of Fame? Many believe that Sam’s draft position was lower than it should have been, either because of hostility toward homosexuals or toward the “distractions” that inevitably result when the league’s coaches, who are notoriously risk-averse, sign celebrity players. With Sam, in particular, some teams may have feared that once he was drafted, he would be difficult to cut. Each side can marshal statistics and historical analogies showing that Sam’s draft was either artificially low or right on target. Sam’s side of the argument is compelling, though the conclusion that Sam deserved to be drafted in an earlier round probably imputes a higher degree of quantitative rigor to the draft than is actually justified.
The debate over whether Sam is actually a superior talent is somewhat absurd, but it merits our consideration if only to elicit sympathy for a young man whose journey is just beginning. And it may never really be over. Millions of people around the world have pinned their hopes on Sam because they want to believe he will prove that gays aren't sissies—that through his perseverance and talent, he will somehow extinguish homophobia. It's a foolhardy wish. For prejudicial temperaments impervious to fact, Sam's accomplishments may never be enough.
We should let him have his future, as storied or as obscure as it turns out to be, and instead celebrate him for the achievements he's already banked.