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Homophobia, Transphobia, and Down Low Exposés

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Homophobia and transphobia always rear their ugly heads amid celeb scandals. The personal investment of Americans in the romantic lives of celebs continues to show us how far we still must go for equality.

Every time someone with celebrity status is caught in a sex scandal it makes waves. However, none shake the table like a man questioning his sexuality. In this country, we are so heavily invested in policing who sleeps with whom to save an outdated hypermasculine standard. Stories like Dwight Howard’s make front page news with such unnecessary shock and awe. The thought of a man preferring another man or a trans woman should make no difference to any of us, yet it does.

The social cost of being a black gay male in America is high. Much is wagered in the game of living as a closeted gay male at any status level, but celebrity stacks the deck against you. Families could be broken, divorces bargained, and employment could become scarce. For those in the public eye, they face the ridicule of an entire nation where even those in the queer community delight in their exposure. The act of finding pleasure in someone’s unwarranted outing is homophobic point-blank period.

Selfish

Time has shown repeatedly that in the face of exposure, a closeted man will sacrifice your gay ass before he’ll live in his truth. Stop protecting trade! We’ve seen this with Tyga, Bobby Valentino, Young Buck, and countless others. These exposés always come with rhetoric like “This is why no one takes the trans community seriously. The gays and the girls come up missing over this. No one wants to claim y’all.” We find ourselves vowing to stop interacting with people who won’t live out loud. When the dust settles, we’re back in the mess, sacrificing our dignity for some subpar dick or a couple coins.

Through all of this, the queer community becomes the butt of every joke. People reignite the stigma surrounding AIDS and gay men, they trivialize the trans experience, all because someone got burned.

What is the benefit? Why should any queer person make the decision to put themselves second because someone is too weak to come forward?

Weak

Dwight Howard, and any number of your faves, had the opportunity to stand proudly on their accomplishments and chisel away at the stigma surrounding unconventional love. They film these inspiring commercials for athletic companies with language that encourages digging deep and pushing through resistance but can’t even do that for the people they love. They openly chide an entire community that they are secretly a part of and people give them all the benefits of living in the open while their closet is built like a panic room.

Milan Christopher Transphobia

Milan Christopher, what are you doing?!

Stop it!

Down low men profit from homophobic and transphobic environments. We cannot continue to excuse the behavior of men who exploit a community that is divided. Remarks that capitalize on transphobia, like Milan Christopher’s, are the type that enable men like Dwight Howard to exploit feminine gay men or trans women. Stop protecting these men who sit guarded while queer people are killed with no justice, denied access to healthcare, marriage, and housing.

Until they want to be a part of our community, they should have no part of you.

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Offset: “Take Me Back” is Not an Apology

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Cardi B Offset Rolling Loud

Just as Cardi B was beginning her headlining act at the Rolling Loud festival, Offset interrupted her. Wheeling out $15,000 worth of Venus Et Fleur roses stating “Take Me Back Cardi”, Offset told her to forgive him.

Unfortunately, “Take Me Back Cardi” is not an apology. It’s a command.

Stolen Shine

Facilitated by Cardi’s publicist, Patience, the roses were delivered same day after 8 people assembled it in time for the show. While no one is sure if Offset or Cardi’s publicist made the call, one thing is certain. Patience knew about the plan and allowed it to happen. Performing at Rolling Loud as the first woman to headline the event, Cardi’s moment in the sun is forever tarnished with the appearance of her lecherous husband.

Concertgoers watched the nearly two-minute long interruption as Cardi stood awkwardly, disappointed that her husband had disrupted her show. Saying, “I’m sorry, bruh” and attempting to apologize, Offset reached in for a kiss only to be rebuffed. And rightfully so. Imagine blocking someone, getting a new phone and number, only to be confronted by your abuser on a world stage. The audacity!

Offset deliberately chose a career-defining moment to usurp. Using textbook examples of emotional manipulation, Offset selfishly made his demands. His gesture ignores clear boundaries, giving Cardi no space or time to process her decision to step away from their marriage. Just one day ahead of her performance, Offset made a plea centered on his birthday, asking for his wife back. Everything about it stunk of egocentricity.

Selfish Plea

Offset’s apology is rooted in guilt-bait tactics. By mentioning their daughter and manipulating facts of his infidelity, Offset attempted to tug at Cardi’s heartstrings. But the gesture was full of possessive language and contained no consideration for her wishes.

At this moment, Cardi is more than surely faced with unwarranted opinions on what she should do. But the reason so many people are invested in whether she takes this man back is that we have been there and seen the benefit of independence. After bungling her performance, it’s easy to see why so many people want her to sign those papers.

Do you think Offset has learned his lesson? Do you think this is all a publicity stunt on the heels of his album release?

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Johnson and Johnson Knew Baby Powder Problems All Along

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ohnson and Johnson Baby Powder

Johnson and Johnson were unmasked for deceiving millions of consumers for decades. After a $4.69 billion lawsuit, Reuters says the corporation knew its dangers all along.

Toxic Talc

An investigation by Reuters produced documents proving J&J knew their baby powder contained asbestos. Going as far back as 1957, documents show the Italian sourced talc was sent to an Ohio lab for study. Under the guise of improving the physical properties of the talc, a one-kilogram sample was submitted for testing. Comprised of weekly collections taken from the conveyor of a New Jersey processing plant, amphiboles, a type of asbestos, were found in its contents.

In its naturally occurring form, asbestos is described as fibrous and “acicular” or needle-like. With no mention of asbestos in the report, the study states J&J was only seeking to reduce the coarseness of their product. Still, testing of the company’s popular baby powder continued.

Results from 1972 to 1975 showed the company was aware of “rather high” levels of asbestos in the product. According to Reuters, J&J told an FDA regulator that no asbestos was “detected in any sample” produced between December 1972 to October 1973. Johnson and Johnson willingly omitted that at least three tests by three different labs reported asbestos was found.

Backlash

Amidst 11,700 plaintiffs now holding the corporation responsible for their misrepresentation of the safety of baby powder, J&J stock is tumbling. Hoping to please their stockholders, Johnson and Johnson released a lengthy statement in their defense. Calling the piece “one-sided, false and inflammatory,” they protest baby powder is safe and asbestos free. Still, they lost nearly $40 billion of their stock’s market value upon Friday’s close.

With diseases like ovarian cancer and mesothelioma among the personal injury lawsuits, J&J may never recover. Right now, the corporation is embroiled in the opioid epidemic and has been battling lawsuits over baby powder since 2015. While J&J are attempting to repair their image, many do not believe they can trust the parent company. Their products spanning from baby to adult, many are now skeptical of what hides in their other offerings.

Will you be ditching Johnson and Johnson?

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Seven Year Old Dies in Border Patrol Custody

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ICE detainees

In a devastating development, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl has died in the care of Border Patrol. Until autopsy results confirm her cause of death, Americans are left with more questions than answers.

Seizures

A group of 163 migrants attempted to cross the border illegally and were then apprehended in New Mexico. Among them were the victim and her father. Shortly after their detainment, the group was transported to a facility in El Paso, Texas. It was there that the 7-year-old began having seizures within hours of being in Border Patrol custody. Claiming “Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life”, the CBP is now under investigation.

Fever, Dehydration

Initially reported by The Washington Post, emergency responders measured her temperature at 105.7 Fahrenheit, just two degrees shy of incurring brain damage. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency statement indicated the child “had not eaten or consumer water for several days”. Needing further care, emergency responders called for a helicopter transport to Providence Children’s Hospital, where the child went into cardiac arrest. She was “revived” but ultimately could not recover, passing at the hospital less than 24 hours after arriving for treatment.

Facing blame from the ACLU, CBP has been called out for a “lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty.” Offering nothing but their “sincerest condolences”, CBP will continue to draw the scrutiny of the public as this is the second death of a child in their care. A toddler passed six weeks after being released from an ICE facility. Having contracted a respiratory infection from receiving poor medical care, the toddler’s mother is not suing for the loss of her child.

Political Outrage

Government officials have since spoken out about the tragedy. Beto O’Rourke has called for full transparency in the investigation of the child’s death. Congressman Joaquin Castro also asked for a full investigation by the Inspector General and Congress. Without autopsy results that could take weeks to receive, the country is talking about ways we can do better as a nation. As a country, we’re holding out hope we can rise from this humanitarian crisis.

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