News Bites for March 12, 2014

Sunshine Cathedral Hosting Lorna Luft

Fresh off hosting an outstanding performance by the Yale Whiffenpoofs, Sunshine Cathedral welcomes actress/singer Lorna Luft to Fort Lauderdale. Luft, daughter of the late Hollywood icon Judy Garland, joins actor Scott Nevins for the April 26 engagement.

Sunshine Cathedral was full of glee last Saturday night with the Whiffenpoofs in town. An undergraduate a cappella group at Yale University, the Whiffenpoofs delighted audience members with inspiring renditions of “Operator,” “Landslide,” and “Skinny Love” among other peppy numbers interspersed with cleverly delivered comedic bits.

Tickets are now on sale for Luft and Nevins with prices ranging $30-$50. For more information, visit

FAMU adds LGBT protections

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University has added sexual orientation and gender identity to the university’s non-discrimination policy. The Tallahassee school, one of the largest of the country’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, passed the measure at its board of trustees meeting last week. It is now in a 30-day review period before adoption.

Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith hailed the news as a breakthrough.

“These protections send a clear message that the university is a place where all are welcome to learn and excel in a safe environment, without fear of discrimination,” Smith said.

Curtis Producing Film About First Gay Baseball Player

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is working on a film featuring the story of the first gay Major League Baseball player.

Titled “Out At Home: The Glenn Burke Story,” Curtis’ biopic is based on the memoir of the same name written by Burke and Erik Sherman. Burke played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics during the late 1970s. He revealed his sexuality during an interview with Bryant Gumbel on NBC’s Today Show in 1982. The memoir was published in 1995, the same year Burke died of AIDS complications.

Currently there is no known openly gay Major League Baseball player.

Arizona Lawmaker Comes Out

A veteran Arizona lawmaker who was a vocal critic of a bill that touched off a national debate over discrimination came out as gay, saying "I wanted to let everyone know I am gay, I'm a Latino and I'm a state senator and it's OK."

State Sen. Steve Gallardo (D-Phoenix), 45, said he felt the need to come out publicly partly because of the recent battle against a bill approved by the Arizona Legislature that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gays based on religious beliefs. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer ultimately vetoed the bill.

Leto’s Character Draws Backlash

Not everyone was enamored with actor Jared Leto’s character, Raydon, a transgender woman, in the film “Dallas Buyers Club.” Leto, 42, won an Academy Award for his performance, but Cristan Williams, editor of, said his superb acting abilities are not the issue.

“Leto's character is yet another sensationalistic composite of the trans experience,” Williams said. “Trans people are almost never allowed to portray trans characters even though it's been shown through the work of Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and Harmony Santana (Gun Hill Road) that we are more than capable.”

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