October 24, 2014

Gays And Lesbians Face Retirement Crisis

A new report from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) finds that LGBT Americans experience more problems approaching retirement in comparison to their heterosexual elders.

SAGE, the largest group in the nation that advocates for LGBT elders, and Harris Poll surveyed 1,857 LGBT and 519 non-LGBT people between the ages of 45 t0 75.

"There is a retirement crisis for older LGBT people. They face some of the same things other older Americans face, but they're exacerbated by their particular circumstances," said Michael Adams, SAGE's executive director.

Some insight from the survey:

27% believe that volunteer or work opportunities will no longer be open to them if others know their sexual orientation or gender identity.

36% of older LGBT people (and 43% of single LGBT people) say their health care providers don't know their sexual orientation, which may lead to discrimination, if revealed.

43% of older LGBT people are very or extremely concerned they won't be able to deal with unexpected, major emergencies in retirement, compared to 30% on non-LGBT older people.

One highlight found that 14% of LGBT elders are likely to mentor others, compared to 7% of non-LGBT older people.

Please click here to read the comprehensive report.

September 3, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Allows Gay Group to March in New York City

On Wednesday, the organziers of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade said they will be lifting the ban on gay groups participating in the march.

Gays were allowed to march in the past, but were unable to carry anything identifying them as a group. What?

This year, Mayor Bill de Blasio had once again threatened to boycott the parade if the ban wasn't lifted. The organizers were also facing pressure from NBC Universal, which broadcasts the parade.

“Organizers have diligently worked to keep politics—of any kind—out of the Parade in order to preserve it as a single and unified cultural event,” the Parade Committee said in a statement. “Paradoxically, that ended up politicizing the Parade. This grand cultural gem has become a target for politicization that it neither seeks nor wants because some groups could join the march but not march with their own banner.

“This change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics as it moves into its 253rd year, all the while remaining loyal to church teachings and the principles that have guided the parade committee for so many decades.”

Fun fact: The acceptance rate of gay marriage in Ireland (76%) is higher than America (55%)! Well, I suppose this isn't necessarily a "fun" fact. Let me try this again.

Fun fact: The image above was taken when I visited Dublin last year!

The parade committee also announced that OUT@NBCUniversal, an LGBT support group, will be the first gay group to march in the parade on March 17, 2015.

It will be the first time a gay group will be allowed to march under its own banner in the parade's 252-year history.

Bill O'Reilly, a spokesperson for the organizers, said that other groups will be free to apply in the future.

August 14, 2014

De Blasio Advises New Yorkers: Submit to Arrest

Mayor de Blasio shared some important insight: If you're arrested, don't resist.

"When a police officer comes to that decision that it's time to arrest someone, that individual is obligated to submit to arrest," he said during a press conference in Harlem on Wednesday

"They will then have every opportunity for due process in our court system.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton agrees. He recently told WNYC's Brian Lehrer that "the place to argue your case is in court, not in the middle of the street."

Police officers in Times Square were too busy checking their cell phones and posing for photos with tourists to be reached for comment.

August 11, 2014

America's Most & Least Religious Colleges

The Princeton Review recently released it's annual college ranking list for the 2014-2015 school year. 

The most and least religious students were ranked, but unfortunately, there are no stats on those who believe in Santa Claus.

Most Religious

1. Brigham Young University
2. Thomas Aquinas College
3. Wheaton College
4. Hillsdale College
5. Gordon College

Least Religious

1. Vassar College
2. Lewis & Clark College
3. Pomona College
4. Reed College
5. Bard College

While very few Americans identify as atheists or agnostics, a 2013 study found that 32% of college students were spiritual but not religious and 28% considered themselves secular. Of the secular students, most of them identified as "none" -- meaning they have no religious identity.

After much speculation, there is still no word on if student loan debt will follow graduates to Heaven or Hell.

July 30, 2014

Hi, I'm Calling On Behalf of Mother Jones

Earlier today, I realized that my first paid job after college graduation was working in a call center in Los Angeles. What a joke.

I don't believe in Hell, but if I did, it would most likely be that dingy, piece of shit office that was nestled in the heart of Koreatown.

It was the summer of 2011 and I had just relocated from Buffalo, New York. I was interning for free at The Advocate and needed to, um, actually pay my bills.

Note: I had made a pact with my great grandmother on her death bed years before; I promised that I would never resort to prostitution, so that was obviously out of the question. Just kidding.

"Uh, where were you?" My supervisor asked one day, looking at the glass of water in my hand, as he stopped me in the hallway.

"The kitchen."

"Did you log out of the system?"

Employees had been instructed to "log out" when we went to the bathroom, or even left our desks. We were only paid for time spent on the phone, requesting donations for campaigns and organizations such as: Human Rights Campaign, Mother Jones, and the reelection campaign of Barack Obama

"Oh. So you want me to dock my own pay to get something to drink?"

Needless to say, I only lasted two weeks or so. Maybe I was in a naive cloud after moving to Los Angeles, but looking back, it's shocking that liberal organizations had contracts with this shady company -- especially Mother Jones, who never SHUTS THE FUCK UP about minimum wage, workers rights, etc.

Also, spoiler alert: the reelection campaign of Barack Obama was successful. He won!

July 28, 2014

Study: Same-Sex Couples Are Leaving Gay Neighborhoods

New research finds that historic gay neighborhoods, such as New York's Chelsea and San Francisco's Castro, are changing as a growing number of heterosexuals move into the area.

The study, led by University of British Columbia sociologist Amin Chaziani, is considered one of the largest studies on sexuality in the United States.

In the past ten years, there has been an eight percent drop of gay male couples residing in these gay enclaves, and a thirteen percent drop for their lesbian counterparts.

Chaziani gives serval reasons for this shift, such as the changing attitudes of the LGBT community and the growing acceptance of same-sex relationships.

“Gay neighbourhoods have been crucial to the struggle for freedom, and have produced globally important contributions, from politics to poetry to music and fashion,” says Ghaziani. “The growing acceptance of same-sex couples underlying these findings is extremely positive, but it is important that we continue to find meaningful ways to preserve these culturally important spaces."

Fun fact: I met my boyfriend in the "gay neighborhood" of Chelsea. We're, like, so cool.

July 22, 2014

Low Income Individuals Must Use Separate Apartment Entrance In Manhattan

In a shocking turn of events, low income individuals are being treated differently in New York City

I'm not positive, but this may be the first account of unequal treatment since the city was founded 1624.

The problem: Extell, which is building the 33-story luxury condo on the Upper West Side, will have a separate entrance for affordable-housing tenants.

In addition to an alternate entrance, the low-income tenants (whom make 60 percent of the medium income or less) will be barred from the amenities of the building. I don't really feel like explaining the logistics of how this is possible / legal, so you can read about it here.

This is not yet confirmed, but it appears that gay men in the building-- no matter their income level -- will only be allowed to use the back door.

Related reading: Employees In NYC Can Use Paid Sick Leave Starting July 30th

July 19, 2014

Employees In New York City Can Use Paid Sick Leave Starting July 30th

New York City's new Paid Sick Leave Law, which applies to most employees in NYC, is already in effect.

Starting on July 30, 2014, employees who have been accruing time may use their sick leave.

This law directly impacts any employee in New York City who works more than 80 hours a year. I send my condolences to anyone working 79:59:59 hours per year.

From the Department of Consumer Affairs website:

"If you are an employer, including a nonprofit or small business, you must provide:

   • Paid sick leave if you have 5 or more employees who work in NYC or unpaid sick
     leave if you have fewer than 5 employees.
   • 2 days of paid sick leave to domestic workers who have worked for you for more
     than 1 year. This leave is in addition to the 3 days of paid rest to which
     domestic workers are entitled under New York State Labor Law."

Earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio joined volunteers and government officials in Brooklyn to raise awareness for the new law.

"People have the ability when they are sick, when their child is sick, when their parent is sick, to spend a few days getting well, helping others get well -- not bring their sickness to work," said De Blasio.

Okay, okay. Who wants to get the flu and hang out in Prospect Park with me while businesses go under?

For further information, please click here.

July 17, 2014

Bee Newspapers Drop "Redskins" Name From Sports Stories

My alma mater, Lancaster Central High School in Lancaster, New York, has a controversy on its hands.

The Bee Group Newspapers, which has upwards of 50,000 paid subscribers in the Western New York area, is refusing to use the word "Redskins" to identify Lancaster sports teams at any level.

This decision comes at the same time that many are urging the Washington Redskins to change their name due to perceived racism.

Side note: Don't I look super cool as a high school student?

"We'll just refer to them as the Lancaster football team or the Lancaster field hockey team. I know that (nickname) is something that is very much a part of that community and I understand that, but things change...you're talking about someone's skin color as their ethnicity. That's their nickname," said the newspaper group's managing editor, David F. Sherman.

According to the last census, the racial makeup of the town was 97% Caucasian.

I played Lancaster sports for over a decade in my youth and didn't see an issue with the name. But then I left for college and met new people who actually had different skin colors and religions and sexualities.

In other news, pale Irish-Americans were also upset with the name "Redskins," but only during the summer months.

July 14, 2014

Lunch Isn't Cheap: Use Delivery.com To Save Money During The Week

As a busy New Yorker with a constant sushi craving, it's pretty easy to rack up an expensive lunch bill during the week.

My office is right in the heart of the Financial District and there's amazing food around every corner.

Since I work for a nonprofit organization and reside in New York City, I'm not necessarily rolling in the dough, so I've found a few ways to take advantage of discounts and promotions to save cash.

Delivery.com is very generous with their discounts, which typically works out to 40% -- as their most used promotion is eight bucks off a $20 minimum order. They usually give around four discounts each month.

Pro tip: While a lot of their discounts say they expire on Sunday, you can typically use them for most of the day on Monday.

If you have an office fridge, why not stock up on some snacks and breakfast for the week? It's tempting to order the $21 sashimi and sushi combo (or whatever you fancy to eat), and think, "Oh, it's only $12." But, if you end up taking advantage of typical lunch specials, you can pay around $4 per meal for the entire day.

Idiot tip: Don't leave raw fish in the fridge, like, ever.

For my most recent order, I paid under $14 for lunch (three sushi rolls), dinner (a large avocado salad), breakfast in the morning (a small mixed salad) and two cans of ginger ale (I easily get stomachaches, so they're nice to have at the office. Too much info?).

Save $3 for the tip and go pick up your food -- you shouldn't be sitting all day in your office anyways. Also, if you do deliver, make sure to tip appropriately. If you can afford to order lunch, you can afford to tip.

As tech savvy Millennials with student loans and a taste for convenience, we should be using our money in responsible ways. Getting on your feet in the work force doesn't have to coincide with packing PB&J sandwiches each day for lunch.

Further reading on managing your finances in the big city: Download Scoutmob. Now.

Also, if someone from Delivery.com reads this and is upset, I may consider taking the article down if you tweet the following from your official account:

". is so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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