Games Anyone?

This game features gay sex, trans people, BDSM and is already a bestseller

Dragon Age Inquisition could be the most inclusive role-playing game ever

In Dragon Age: Inquisition, you can have gay sex, meet trans characters and indulge in a little kink.

Bioware’s Dragon Age: Inquisition includes gay sex, trans characters and a realistic BDSM relationship and is already a bestseller.

This role-playing game has been flying off the shelves since it was released on 18 November, with players delving into the dark, fantasy world where they can choose their own path.

During gameplay, your Inquisitor can meet Iron Bull, a pansexual horned mercenary.

As a male or female character, you can have sex with him. If you choose to be a male, you get to see one of the sweetest depictions of gay love in gaming ever made.

If you choose to carry on the relationship, you can agree to add a little more kink if you wish. For those uninitiated into the world of BDSM, Iron Bull explains concepts such as a safe word and sub space to the main character.

If horns aren’t your thing, you can also meet Dorian, a gay renegade mage that only romances male characters.

And if guys aren’t you thing at all, meet up with Sera, an impulsive fighter, that is only interested in women.

And then if it wasn’t inclusive enough, legendary cisgender actress Jennifer Hale stars as Klem. Klem is transgender, one of the best soldiers in the game. If players need an explanation in how you should treat trans people, they’ve got one.

Gaming is often seen as reluctant to inclusivity, but Bioware may have just moved the industry forward – finally – into 2014.

Watch four videos, which are pretty NSFW-ish, below:

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/game-features-gay-sex-trans-people-bdsm-and-already-bestseller261114#sthash.mlthIi5Z.dpuf

Correction: Christian Parents-Gays story

In a story Nov. 26 about evangelicals with gay children, The Associated Press erroneously reported a statement by the Rev. Al Mohler about same-sex attraction. Mohler said same-sex attraction can’t change through secular therapy but can change through the Gospel, not that same-sex attraction can never change.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Evangelicals with gay children challenging church

Evangelicals with gay children speaking out against how churches treat their sons & daughters

By RACHEL ZOLL

AP Religion Writer

Rob and Linda Robertson did what they believed was expected of them as good Christians.

When their 12-year-old son Ryan said he was gay, they told him they loved him, but he had to change. He entered “reparative therapy,” met regularly with his pastor and immersed himself in Bible study and his church youth group. After six years, nothing changed. A despondent Ryan cut off from his parents and his faith, started taking drugs and in 2009, died of an overdose.

“Now we realize we were so wrongly taught,” said Rob Robertson, a firefighter for more than 30 years who lives in Redmond, Washington. “It’s a horrible, horrible mistake the church has made.”

The tragedy could have easily driven the Robertsons from the church. But instead of breaking with evangelicalism — as many parents in similar circumstances have done — the couple is taking a different approach, and they’re inspiring other Christians with gay children to do the same. They are staying in the church and, in protesting what they see as the demonization of their sons and daughters, presenting a new challenge to Christian leaders trying to hold off growing acceptance of same-sex relationships.

“Parents don’t have anyone on their journey to reconcile their faith and their love for their child,” said Linda Robertson, who with Rob attends a nondenominational evangelical church. “They either reject their child and hold onto their faith, or they reject their faith and hold onto their child. Rob and I think you can do both: be fully affirming of your faith and fully hold onto your child.”

It’s not clear how much of an impact these parents can have. Evangelicals tend to dismiss fellow believers who accept same-sex relationships as no longer Christian. The parents have only recently started finding each other online and through faith-oriented organizations for gays and lesbians such as the Gay Christian Network, The Reformation Project and The Marin Foundation.

But Linda Robertson, who blogs about her son at justbecausehebreathes.com, said a private Facebook page she started last year for evangelical mothers of gays has more than 300 members. And in the last few years, high-profile cases of prominent Christian parents embracing their gay children indicate a change is occurring beyond a few isolated families.

James Brownson, a New Testament scholar at Western Theological Seminary, a Holland, Michigan, school affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, last year published the book “Bible, Gender, Sexuality,” advocating a re-examination of what Scripture says about same-sex relationships. His son came out at age 18.

Chester Wenger, a retired missionary and pastor with the Mennonite Church USA, lost his clergy credentials this fall after officiating at his son’s marriage to another man. In a statement urging the church to accept gays and lesbians, Wenger noted the pain his family experienced when a church leader excommunicated his son three decades ago without any discussion with Wenger and his wife.

The Rev. Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in California, was already moving toward recognizing same-sex relationships when his teenage son came out. When Cortez announced his changed outlook to his congregation this year, they voted to keep him. The national denomination this fall cut ties with the church.

In the United Methodist Church, two ministers with gay sons drew national attention for separately presiding at their children’s same-sex weddings despite a church prohibition against doing so: The Rev. Thomas Ogletree, a former dean of the Yale Divinity School, ultimately was not disciplined by the church, while the Rev. Frank Schaefer went through several church court hearings. He won the case and kept his clergy credentials, becoming a hero for gay marriage supporters within and outside the church.

“I think at some point moms and dads are going to say to their pastors and church leadership that you can’t tell me that my child is not loved unconditionally by God,” said Susan Shopland, the daughter of a Presbyterian missionary who, along with her gay son, is active with the Gay Christian Network.

Kathy Baldock, a Christian who advocates for gay acceptance through her website CanyonwalkerConnections.com, said evangelical parents are speaking out more because of the example set by their children. Gay and lesbian Christians have increasingly been making the argument they can be attracted to people of the same gender and remain faithful to God, whether that means staying celibate or having a committed same-sex relationship. The annual conference of the Gay Christian Network has grown from 40 people a decade ago to an expected 1,400 for the next event in January.

Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian,” has attracted more than 810,000 views on YouTube for a 2012 lecture he gave challenging the argument that Scripture bars same-sex relationships.

“These kids are now staying in the churches. They’re not walking away like they used to,” Baldock said.

The collapse of support for “reparative therapy” is also a factor, Shopland said. In June of last year, Alan Chambers, the leader of Exodus International, a ministry that tried to help conflicted Christians repress same-sex attraction, apologized for the suffering the ministry caused and said the group would close down. At a conference on marriage and sexuality last month, a prominent Southern Baptist leader, the Rev. Al Mohler, said he was wrong to believe that same-sex attraction didn’t exist, but he continues to believe sexual orientation can change through the Gospel. Baldock, The Marin Foundation and the Gay Christian Network all say Christian parents have been reaching out to them for help in notably higher numbers in the last couple of years.

“If it doesn’t work, then parents are left with the question of what is the answer?” Shopland said. “If I can’t change my kid into being a straight Christian, then what?'”

Bill Leonard, a specialist in American religious history at Wake Forest Divinity School, said church leaders should be especially concerned about parents. He noted that many evangelicals began to shift on divorce when the marriages of the sons and daughters of pastors and “rock-ribbed” local church members such as deacons started crumbling. While conservative Christians generally reject comparisons between the church’s response to divorce and to sexual orientation, Leonard argues the comparison is apt.

“The churches love those individuals and because they know them, those churches may look for another way,” Leonard said.

Some evangelical leaders seem to recognize the need for a new approach. The head of the Southern Baptist public policy arm, the Rev. Russell Moore, addressed the issue on his blog and at the marriage conference last month, telling Christian parents they shouldn’t shun their gay children. Mohler has said he expects some evangelical churches to eventually recognize same-sex relationships, but not in significant numbers.

Linda Robertson said the mothers who contact her through her Facebook page usually aren’t ready to fully accept their gay sons or daughters. Some parents she meets still believe their children can change their sexual orientation. But she said most who reach out to her are moving away from the traditional evangelical view of how parents should respond when their children come out.

“I got a lot of emails from parents who said, ‘I don’t know one other parent of a gay child. I feel like in my community, I don’t have permission to love my child,'” she said. “They have a lot of questions. But then they’re going back to their churches and speaking to their pastors, speaking to their elders and speaking to their friends, saying, ‘We have a gay child. We love them and we don’t want to kick them out. How do we go forward?'”

School apologises over Bible and homosexuality worksheet

BibleGay rights groups have criticised Hunterhouse College in Belfast over the phrasing of questions about homosexuality in a GCSE practice paper.

A Belfast school has apologised after complaints were made about a worksheet on religious views on homosexuality.

Hunterhouse College in Belfast has withdrawn the worksheet after the father of one student complained.

The three questions appeared in a Religious Studies worksheet.

The school said they have an ethos of inclusivity and the worksheet was part of a wider discussion on sexuality on both sides of the debate including extreme opinions.

The questions were in relation to 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and were set by teaching staff.

They included:

  • What do these verses tell us about homosexuals?
  • Who else is included with homosexuals?
  • What hope is there for all these people?
Bible questionThe BBC has seen a copy of the test which includes the bible passage and questions about homosexuality.

Andrew Gibson, the headmaster of Hunterhouse College, said that the worksheet had been withdrawn and that the school has approached the gay rights charity Rainbow Project NI for advice.

“This is in the introduction to Christian ethics centred around personal and family issues. As part of this, pupils are encouraged to consider a variety of attitudes to homosexuality,” he said.

“The questions were set in house but they were in the context of the CCEA specifications. We have a very strong pastoral care system at the school and deal with issues around sexuality with great sensitivity.”

Mr Gibson added that the school “got it wrong” by allowing the worksheet to be sent home individually and out of context from the rest of the class.

Gavin Boyd of the Rainbow Project said that the school was not to blame as this happens in most schools and comes from a lack of clarity in the syllabus.

“If any LGB child was sitting in that class and asked to list a bunch of people to associate with themselves including drunks and all these licentious people, it’s horrible,” he said.

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1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 (as taken from the worksheet)

Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God’s Kingdom.

Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves – none of these will possess God’s Kingdom.

Some of you were like that. But you have been purified from sin; you have been dedicated to God; you have been put right with God by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

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“It was ill prepared and ill thought out as it actually could have amounted to an actionable claim of discrimination against the pupil,

“However, I’m confident no malice was intended and I’m impressed that the school have taken steps to quickly rectify the situation.”

The parent who made the complaint has also praised the school’s response to the issue and the steps it has taken since the incident.

Peter Lynas from the Evangelical Alliance said that while the “wording of the question could have been better” it is important to remember that most of the world’s main religions are against homosexuality.

“It is important Christian values are taught in school and schools can sometimes feel pushed into a corner over these issues,” he said.

In a statement, the exam board CCEA said: “We do not produce guidelines for schools on question setting.”

Related Stories

Just in time for Thanksgiving, here’s the new short film Black Friday: A Gay Love Story

Dennis Hensley and Tom Goss experience consumerism, long lines and most especially, gay drama

Photo courtesy of Tom Goss

Black Friday, the big post-Thanksgiving shopping day in US, is the setting for high gay drama in a fun new short film by Tom Goss and Dennis Hensley.

Goss tells Gay Star News that he and Hensley came up with the idea while chatting over coffee and pie about the ridiculousness of relationships and Black Friday consumerism.

The short tells the story of Chad (Hensley) and Claudio (Goss) who meet while waiting in line for Black Friday doorbuster deals.

Lust, love and heartbreak quickly – very quickly – ensue.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/just-time-thanksgiving-heres-new-short-film-black-friday-gay-love-story261114#sthash.9HgGVqI1.dpuf

YouTube sensation Eli Lieb's music videos don't lie

Singer tells GSN: ‘I’ve been openly gay my whole career and I don’t think there’s any other way to be’
Eli_Lieb

Photo: Eli Lieb via Twitter

Eli Lieb, whose cover of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball went viral last year on YouTube, likes to sing about love.

But the openly gay artist wants his songs to be relateable to both straight and gay audiences.

‘When you listen, it’s equal,’ he tells Gay Star News. ‘When you see my videos, it’s still equal and I try to make that the point – it’s just love as opposed to a gay relationship.’

While the songs can apply to straight or same-sex love, the videos leave no doubt that Lieb is into men.

‘I just write songs, I write pop songs. But when I make a video, you know (I’m gay) because if I’m writing a love song, I need to have another guy in the video – I’m not going to have a girl.’

Lieb, 35, has been performing for years and in 2009 he began recording covers of popular songs and posting them on YouTube.

He was still living in Fairfield, Iowa, and began to attract a following.

Lieb moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2013 and has since collaborated with such out artists as Adam Lambert, Cheyenne Jackson and Crystal Bowersox.

A year ago, his Wrecking Ball cover put him on the map and it has since had more than 3.5 million views. His single Young Love is not far behind with 2.7 million views and last week he released the video for his latest single Lightning In A Bottle.

He’s happy to be making a name for himself as his authentic self.

‘I’ve been openly gay my whole career,’ he says, ‘and I don’t think there’s any other way to be.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/youtube-sensation-eli-liebs-music-videos-dont-lie241114#sthash.8Bxp0cSF.dpuf

Lego Equaility

You have to read how Lego defended boys who play with dolls in 1974

‘A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses’

The letter was included in a 1974 Lego set.

Photo via fryd_/Imgur

A viral letter Lego wrote to parents in 1974 shows the toy company was promoting gender equality 40 years ago.

The Danish company urged parents to in the letter not to limit their children to gendered toys.

‘The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls’ it read.

‘A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.’

The letter has been shared thousands of times on social media after Reddit user fryd_ posted a photo of the letter on Saturday (22 November) with the caption, ’70s Lego had the right idea.’

He said he found the letter while at his partner’s grandmother’s house in a set ‘with a blonde girl on the front with a white Lego house.’

‘I had no idea this would blow up so much’ he said, adding that, ‘It seems like we’ve taken a step backwards.’

Lego has confirmed the authenticity of the letter and said it ‘remains relevant to this day.’

Read the letter in full:

‘To Parents

‘The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls.

‘It’s the imagination that counts. Not skill. You build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship.

‘A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.

‘The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/lego-had-right-idea-gender-equality-40-years-ago251114#sthash.D8wh5giA.dpuf

Gay orchestra stage family concert for Christmas

EastEnders actor Nina Wadia will introduce the London Gay Symphony Orchestra’s first Family Concert this December

Peter and the Wolf

Photo: www.justindavid.co.uk

 

The London Gay Symphony Orchestra (LGSO) always throws an annual Christmas concert, but this year’s event will be a little different as it will be the company’s first ever Family Concert.

The concert will take place on Sunday 14 December at 5pm at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate on Holborn Viaduct in central London.

The event will be introduced by actor Nina Wadia (EastEnders and Goodness Gracious Me), who will also take on the role of the narrator in Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. This tales tells the tale of a brave little boy outwitting a big bad wolf with the help of a supporting cast of birds, ducks and cats – who will all be played by orchestra members.

Other works that will receive an airing will include Ravel’s Mother Goose, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, and Suppe’s Light Cavalry.

The company promise mince pies, milled wine, some seasonal surprises and instrument demos during the interval, with the opportunity to younger members of the audience to have a go with some instruments themselves.

‘The orchestra always do a Christmas concert: this year we fancied trying something different and a family concert is an idea we’ve had simmering away on a back burner,’ said the orchestra’s Nathan Evans to GSN.

‘There are a couple of reasons why we’re doing it. One is selfish, in that it gives us opportunity to play some great repertoire we’ve never played before – and to work with Nina Wadia [pictured right]. The other reason is musical, in that it gives us chance to do our bit and introduce a younger audience to classical music.’

‘Most importantly, culturally, members of the orchestra, and of our audience, have been starting their own families for some time and we wanted to create an event that they could share with them.

‘Eighteen years ago, on our foundation, such an event may have generated negative press but it’s a refreshing indication of the changes in social attitudes, and family units, that no-one has batted an eyelid.’

 

If you are in London, then Gay orchestra  family concert for Christmas is the place to be.

For more information, check LGSO’s official website.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-orchestra-stage-family-concert-christmas251114#sthash.nIVJZszq.dpuf

The Beautiful Game – Gay rugby world cup to be held in Tennessee

The Beautiful Game –

Gay rugby world cup to be held in Tennessee

The next Bingham Cup – known as the gay rugby world cup – will be held in Tennessee.

The cup – named after rugby star Mark Bingham, who died onboard a plane during the 9/11 attacks – is an inclusive gay rugby tournament, often known as the gay rugby world cup, held every two years.

This year’s event was held in Sydney, Australia – and won by home team the Sydney Convicts.

However, the event is heading somewhere not many people would have expected in 2016 – Nashville, Tennessee.

The Bingham Cup will be held in Tennessee

The Bingham Cup in Tenessee

The International Gay Rugby association announced last week that the Cup would be hosted in the southern state, which is not known for its progressive attitude to gay rights.

Tennessee does not currently recognise same-sex relationships in any way, bans gender recognition for transgender people, has no state-wide discrimination protection, and only limited hate crime laws.

The Nashville Grizzlies beat out the Chicago Dragons for the right to host the competition.

IGR chairman Jeff Wilson said: “On behalf of the IGR board and trustees, I would like to thank both clubs for their dedication and level of professionalism demonstrated in the bids and during the bidding process.

“Following in the footsteps of Bingham Cup 2014 in Sydney, both bidding organizations realized that the bar had been set even higher for the next tournament.

“Both Chicago and Nashville responded with comprehensive plans that not only provided for excellent rugby, but an opportunity to raise the visibility of our sport and our mission to another level.

“We look forward to joining with all of our rugby brethren in a city synonymous with hospitality in May 2016.”

24 teams from 15 countries around the world competed in this year’s tournament, with thousands of spectators, including US Ambassador John Berry.

Unionist bigotry is on full display over Irish language and gay equality

I am reprinting this to highlight a possible problem, and to provide evidence that all of the LGBT community needs to be vigilant when it comes to which MP/MLA it will vote for in the forthcoming elections.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t vote for whoever you wish to, but I am advising you to ask questions of your MP/MLA – or even your local councillors as to what stand they are making over equality.

 

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Republished from IrishCentral website

"DUP

DUP member Paul Givan pledged to introduce a new private member’s bill to allow the public to legally discriminate against gay people in Northern Ireland based on their “conscience.”

The world had a sobering look at the unvarnished bigotry of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland this week, after one prominent member expressed his contempt for the Irish language whilst another sought to exempt party supporters from following from Northern Ireland’s equality laws.

In language calculated to offend, DUP member Gregory Campbell told a party conference that he would treat a proposed Irish Language Act “as no more than toilet paper,” garnering hearty applause from the attendees.

Meanwhile fellow DUP member Paul Givan pledged to introduce a new private member’s bill to allow the public to legally discriminate against gay people in Northern Ireland based on their “conscience.”

It remains to be seen why people of good conscience would want to discriminate against the Irish language or gays, of course.

But in explaining their positions Campbell and Givan made free with the kind of hostile rhetoric that would result in their immediate firing in other states, but in Northern Ireland has actually elevated the DUP to its current status as the voice of unionism.

Because of the DUP’s intransigence, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that has failed to enact full equality measures – rather than enacting same sex marriage they have effectively banned it.

Givan’s anti-equality pledge was made in the light of Ashers Baking Company’s controversial refusal to bake a Sesame Street themed cake that endorsed same sex marriage.

“Nobody should be compelled or coerced into supporting, sanctioning or promoting views or opinions which conflict with their strongly held religious convictions,” said Given, who apparently felt that simply decorating a cake was tantamount to the complete surrender of his so-called Christian values.

And in an unprecedented move, the DUP party leader Peter Robinson has called for party members to contribute to the bakery’s legal costs, abandoning all attempts at impartiality.

Apparently no one has explained to Campbell or Givan or the DUP that no one is denying them their right to be British or Christian or heterosexual or unionists. But for them “freedom of conscience” apparently means they wish to retain the right to legally discriminate against others.

Party leader Peter Robinson’s wife Irish made international headlines for her sanctimonious attacks on Northern Ireland’s gays, whom she said were more vile than child abusers. Later it emerged she had been conducting an affair with a teenage boy she had known since his childhood.

 

 

This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question-and-Answer Guide to Everyday Life

Life for gay teens has changed, but advice books for parents have lagged behind – until now. Zoe Schlanger meets the authors of a manual that even ‘cool’ parents should read

When Kristin Russo came out at the age of 17, her Catholic mother withdrew – for a short spell, anyway. This was in 1998. Like many parents of gay kids, Rose Russo was struggling to reconcile her daughter’s sexuality with her own religious life. Extended family referred Rose to Bible passages. She spoke with her priest, who advised her that “under no circumstances should she close her door to her daughter or anyone else important in her life”, Russo remembers her mother recounting. It helped, but Rose was still grasping for perspective. After a while, she sought advice from a few gay people she found through family and friends.

“My mum would just corner lesbians and just be like: ‘I don’t understand, how did you do this, are you having kids?’ She would ask them a hundred questions, and that was her only information about how my life might turn out,” Russo says. For nearly a decade, any trip Russo took home from college and later New York City ended with her mother bursting into tears. “I think she was just wanting it to go away,” Russo says.

As far as Russo, who is now 33, knows, in those pre-Google days Rose never went to the library to find books on parenting gay teens. Even if she had, the few books available may have made her mother feel worse, not better. Their approach was largely clinical and gloomy, and they escorted parents through a grieving process and toward acceptance, as if their child had been diagnosed with a disease.

Now, in 2014, the internet is awash in parenting blogs. Dozens of books are published each year on raising children and teens, but the literature landscape for parents of gay kids is virtually unchanged. A handful of books, mostly updates of editions written in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, relate stories of parents struggling to come to terms with their children’s sexuality.

Popular culture has undergone a revolution in attitudes toward LGBT people in the past five or so years. A generation is coming out younger, and parents are more willing to embrace them. But resources for those parents have lagged behind. That is, until September, when Russo and her co-author Dannielle Owens-Reid, 28, released a remarkably simple book.

Kristin Russo, left, and Dannielle Owens-Reid

 

 

Kristin Russo, left, and Dannielle Owens-Reid

This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids is for parents who want to be accepting, but “maybe they aren’t right now and maybe they’re really uncomfortable, and maybe they think their kid is going to hell”, Owens-Reid says. But it is also for a “new breed of parent”, as Russo puts it: those who are so eager to be accepting that they fail to recognise the difference of their child’s experience. “I see it so often,” Russo says. “These parents are so cool with their kid being gay that they don’t ask any questions, either because they think it would betray that they are indeed struggling, or because they think they don’t have any.Their kid is gay, they still love them, case closed.”

Of course, that support is a great start. But, Russo says: “It kind of forecloses the way that you can love your kid if you can’t let yourself ask any questions. It is different to walk down the street as a queer person than it is to walk down the street as a straight person. I think there is a real danger in saying no one is different.”

The book consists of a big, blunt Q&A: “How should I handle sleepovers?”; “How do I talk to my child about safe sex?”; “Who should I tell?”. A glossary in the back decodes the mystifying constellation of words – heterosexism, FTM, queer, genderqueer – that a straight parent is likely to hear for the first time. Personal stories are sprinkled throughout, from kids and parents everywhere on the experience spectrum – gay, bisexual, transgender, religious, bullied, the parent who always knew, the kid who threw everyone for a loop. It is such a necessary resource, it is hard to believe it didn’t already exist. Then again, Russo and Owens-Reid are the duo behind the websiteEveryoneIsGay.com and its corresponding YouTube channel, known to LGBT teens on the internet as the place to go for straightforward advice.

On video, the pair lip-synch to pop songs and respond to questions from viewers, such as “How do I get the person I’m interested in to know I’m queer?” or “I want to talk to the other gay girl at my school without being awkward. Help?” Other questions illuminate darker worries: there’s the caller who is worried she might be going to hell for being gay, or the guy who isn’t sure how to come out, because his sister already came out as gay and their parents turned out not to be accepting.

Even when the advice gets serious – when addressing questions about homophobic parents, for example – there is still humour.

“We still keep things very light-hearted. Because I think before you talk about anything, it feels so heavy. But once you do it, you’re getting over that little hump,” Owens-Reid says.

Russo and Owens-Reid never really meant to start an LGBT advice empire. In fact, their site began as something of a joke. At the time, in 2010, Owens-Reid was stocking a Tumblr called “Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber” with, yes, photos of lesbians whose aesthetic and swoopiness of hair resembled those of the boyish pop star. The blog attracted attention from media outlets such as the New York Post, and from lesbians who were offended.

“There were people who were fans of the site who would be asking me questions about love and heartbreak, and then there were a huge chunk of people telling me I was stereotyping the community and making lesbians look bad,” Owens-Reid tell me. They began EveryoneIsGay.com in 2010 as a place to respond to the Bieber Tumblr criticism. “We didn’t really have any intention of doing anything past, like, sassily talking back to some people and answering some advice that was funny and very light-hearted,” Russo says. The first request was “How do I know if my dog is gay?” It was submitted by Russo’s sister.

Soon, the requests for advice came pouring in, and they weren’t all light-hearted. “It was like, ‘Oh, this person is afraid to come out to their family because they might get thrown out of their house’. That was a turning point for us. And so we sort of looked at each other and decided to try it,” Russo remembers.

In the autumn of 2010, within a matter of weeks, four American teens between the ages of 13 and 18 killed themselves after enduring harassment from peers for being gay. The news shed new light on the pressures faced by gay teens. By 2011, colleges and schools began asking Russo and Owens-Reid to speak in their classrooms and auditoriums. Bullying of gay students had gone unaddressed for so long. Now, schools knew they had to talk about it, but didn’t know how. The pair have been to more than 100 schools to date.

Meanwhile, Russo and her mother, Rose, have come a long way. Rose, 61, now accepts and embraces her daughter, and her daughter’s wife. “I don’t know exactly what happened. The only thing I can tell you is that in 2001, I was very sick,” says Rose. “A gall bladder operation went wrong. I could have died. You have these near-death experiences, and afterward you reflect. Kristin was my biggest reflection. I didn’t know if she would have known how much I loved her, if I passed away.”

Rose recalls feeling deep regret for the years of strife. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, how could I have done that to her?’ I’m almost ashamed of how I was. I thought, ‘This is my child; if I can’t accept her for who she is, I’m not such a good mum’. I just didn’t care any more what people thought. That totally changed things for me.”

It was a number of years before Russo felt that her mother had fully come around. Six years ago – 10 years after Russo came out – she says she could tell for the first time that Rose felt comfortable around Russo’s then-girlfriend. “I would say 27 was the age,” Russo says. “That was when I could go home without her sitting me down and bursting into tears.”

But now, Rose says she’s proud of Russo and Owens-Reid’s work with LGBT youth, and wishes something like This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids could have existed then.

“I was struggling so badly then with her being gay, and I didn’t know if I could ever overcome that. Now, I look back and can’t believe I went through all that turmoil,” Rose says. “She’s a wonderful girl. She really is. To me, the book is a wonderful thing. It’s all coming full circle.”

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