Al Jazeera reporter Ayse Toprak was covering Syrian refugees in Turkey when she met Mahmoud Hassino, a gay man. Hassino's struggle to heal and express himself in a new home would inspire him and other gay men to get involved in the Mr Gay World contest. Toprak made a film of their amazing journey -- Mr Gay Syria -- and is seeking crowd-sourced funds to finish the film. Click here to help out.
Personal Shopper Sometimes an act of resistance is to merely support those whose visibility makes a difference, and that is absolutely the case with Kristen Stewart, who blew her closet door off of its hinges during her opening Saturday Night Live monologue in early February. In her second collaboration with French auteur Olivier Assayas, Stewart plays Maureen, a personal shopper for a spoiled celebrity in Paris who spends her days in high-end boutiques but who's ultimately haunted by the loss of her brother, who promised to send a sign from the great beyond should he die before her. Stewart employs her signature smoldering ennui laced with vulnerability for the character in a movie that is a melange of styles from Hitchcockian suspense to full-on horror. Winner of the Cesar (the French equivalent of the Oscar) for her first time out with Assayas in Clouds of Sils Maria, Stewart proves once again that she's got the chops to hold her own in everything from blockbuster flicks to serious character meditations. She's out there representing as a queer movie star. Audiences can help keep her in the limelight with their box-office dollars.
Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Dinner Gala One great and very festive way to resist this weekend it to support an organization that's fighting for our rights. The Human Rights Campaign is having its annual Los Angeles dinner Saturday, and it promises to be star-studded as always. Katy Perry will receive the HRC National Equality Award, American Ferrera will receive the HRC Ally for Equality Award, Lena Dunham will be a presenter, Dana Goldberg will host the live auction, and Troye Sivan will perform, with additional music by DJ Young 1. Stars of a political stripe will be present too: Tim Kaine, U.S. senator and last year's Democratic vice-presidential candidate, will be the keynote speaker; also speaking will be current and former mayors of L.A., Eric Garcetti and Antonio Villaraigosa respectively, and HRC president Chad Griffin. Put on your dressiest attire and enjoy cocktails, dinner, and the program at the J.W. Marriott Ritz-Carlton in downtown Los Angeles, where festivities get under way at 5 p.m. (VIP reception; general admission starts at 5:30). Find tickets and more info here.
Beauty and the Beast
Maybe it took an openly gay director -- Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters) -- to insert a gay couple into a remake of a Disney classic. Maybe it was just time. Either way, the world continues to freak out over the tiny step in representation, while critics are generally finding lots to like about the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. How can you not support a film with an out director, a feminist star, and a history-making same-sex couple? Be their guest, and get thee to the multiplex.
St. Patrick's Day The Resistance scored a major victory last week. OutVets, a group of LGBT veterans, was allowed to march in Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade, after protests broke out due to its initial rejection. In recent years, Irish celebrations have become more inclusive of LGBT folks -- New York's parade also opened its doors to queer diversity for the first time last year. So raise a pint to progress and march alongside another historically marginalized communities at your local events.
The Handmaid's Tale In the 1980s, as the Christian right became politically powerful and got cozy with the Reagan administration, a lot of us feared for our nation. The great author Margaret Atwood expressed those fears perfectly but also gave us some hope in The Handmaid's Tale, a riveting novel about life under a theocracy in a near-future U.S. and the resistance that arises. The book is still in print and sadly, more relevant than ever. Read it before watching the upcoming Netflix miniseries (the 1990 film adaptation was rather disappointing) or just because it's an excellent story. Available at Amazon and better bookstores -- and check out Atwood's website for information on her many other terrific writings, some dystopian, all with a feminist bent, and all entertaining as well as thought-provoking. The site lists her personal appearances too.
L.A. Marathon This week, the Los Angeles Marathon and the L.A. Big 5K take place in the City of Angels. And participating isn't just good for your health. A host of charities will benefit from this year's runners, who are fundraising for groups like the Team to End AIDS, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and other worthwhile causes. If you can't run, support those who can!