LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES
Most Popular LGBTQ News Stories of 2021
Story Corps: LGBTQ
Coming Out Is a Journey: LGBTQ People
Share Their Stories
Info: Unsung Heroes
and Quiet Champions
Reedsy: LGBTQ Short Stories to Read
Pride 2020: Out on the Frontline
LGBTQ Nation: Good News
Info: LGBTQ Historical Perspectives
LGBTQ News, Culture, Entertainment,
Politico: LGBTQ Community Stories
BuzzFeed: LGBTQ Stories
Story Telling for Social Change
Grandpa and Grandma Walton Were Gay
The actors who played Grandma and
Grandpa on The Waltons TV series
(1972-1981) were both actually gay in
Ellen Corby and Will Geer brought
veteran acting skills as Grandma and
Grandpa Walton. Indeed, The Waltons
never even considered recasting the
elderly couple when each fell on hard
times with their health. They became an
inseparable unit on screen. However, in
their private lives, each was actually
gay and in same-sex relationships.
As a married couple on TV, Grandma and
Grandpa Walton represented the base of
the Walton family tree, armed with
wisdom and traditions. Ellen Corby as
herself, however, swore like a sailor.
Additionally, the actress behind
god-fearing Esther Walton smoked like a
chimney, even after Grandma insisted,
“If the good Lord had intended us to
smoke He would have put a chimney in our
heads.” And fell in love with women.
Specifically, she became close to Stella
While Grandma Walton’s extramarital
relationships slid under the radar as a
quiet, well-known secret, Grandpa Walton
was keeping no secrets. Geer’s path to
notoriety began around 1934 when he met
Harry Hay. As lovers, the two inspired
and influenced one another into gay
rights activism. His fate, to end up on
the blacklist, was practically sealed by
his additional involvement in union
strikes, including the San Francisco
General Strike. Today, Harry Hay is
celebrated as a sort of founding father
in gay rights activism. But Hay himself
credits Will Geer for getting him
Grandpa and Grandma Walton Actually Gay
Secret Lives of Grandpa and Grandma
The Waltons: Tribute to
Ellen Corby and Will Geer
Jennifer Lopez and Emme
Jennifer Lopez and her child Emme
Maribel Muñiz, 14, are being praised for
a recent duet, but not because of the
The pair - who last made headlines for
performing together when Lopez
co-headlined the Super Bowl LIV Pepsi
halftime show in 2020 - took to the
stage recently at the LA Dodgers Blue
Diamond Gala. Lopez introduced Emme
using the gender neutral pronouns
they and them.
"The last time we performed together was
in a big stadium like this," Lopez said.
"And I ask them to sing with me all the
time and they won't."
"So this is a very special occasion.
They are very, very busy. Booked. And
pricey," Lopez went on to say. "They
cost me when they come out. But they're
worth every single penny because they're
my favorite duet partner of all time."
Emme then appeared on stage, carrying a
rainbow microphone to sing Christina
Perri's hit, "A Thousand Years."
Lopez shares Emme and twin brother Max
with her ex husband, singer and actor
Jennifer Lopez Introduces Her Child
Onstage Using They/Them Pronouns
Jennifer Lopez Introduces One of Her
Twins with Gender Neutral Pronouns
Jennifer Lopez Introduces Her Child
Using Gender-Neutral Pronouns
Jennifer Lopez Introduces Her Child with
Neutral Pronouns on Stage For Duet
Camp British Comedian: Larry
In Britain "Shut That Door" was the catchphrase of the
great camp gay comedian Larry Grayson. One of the top
line up of stars on the BBC through the 1970s and 1980s.
Another of his catchphrases was "What a gay day".
It seems strange that at a time when the country was
still very homophobic flamboyant gay entertainers were
the top most loved TV and stage stars in Britain. Larry
Grayson was one at the very top. His shows on TV drew a
regular audience of a massive 18 million viewers.
His early stage acts he did in drag as female character
in the first half and in a suit and tie as a male
character in the second half both parts were said to be
hilarious and drew in massive crowds.
Today we hear about people wanting more gay
representation on TV and in film especially in the US.
In Britain they never had oppressive homophobic rules
like the US Hays Code so they had representation with
openly and obvious gay characters and men in drag all
the way through from the start of TV and radio and most
of them were the most loved British entertainers.
Larry Grayson (1923-1995): Comedian and Entertainer
Larry Grayson Tribute
Biographical Notes: Larry Grayson
Life of Larry Grayson
Larry Grayson: This Is Your Life (1972)
Trans Handy Ma'am
Meet the Trans Handy Ma'am who has
amazing videos on social media that show
you how to handle handy tasks on your
own, with sparkle! Now she's partnering
with Lowe's Home Improvement.
Wisconsin resident Mercury Stardust
began posting videos on TikTok to
promote her weekly burlesque show, but
it wasn’t until she began sharing home
improvement and maintenance tips that
her account really took off. “That took
me from like 100 followers to 25,000
followers in less than 24 hours," she
Stardust, a transgender woman, has since
been dubbed the “Trans Handy Ma’am” and
has seen her TikTok account skyrocket to
1.5 million followers.
While Stardust, 34, has more than a
decade of experience as a maintenance
technician, she never thought those
skills would have been what shot her to
TikTok stardom. “I’ve performed all
around the country. I’ve been to 126
different cities. I’ve performed in 22
different states — and what I’m known
for is telling people the difference
between what a cup plunger is and what a
regular beehive plunger is,” she said.
Stardust’s TikTok account includes
hundreds of maintenance and home
improvement videos, from how to unclog a
drain to how to patch a hole in the wall
and how to install a new shower head.
The Ambassador of Cheese and Tease,
Mercury is a burlesque performer, emcee,
instructor, producer, property manager,
and now famous home improvement advisor.
"I am thrilled and so overwhelmed that I
have now entered a long term contract
and partnership with Lowe's Home
Improvement. Its been a very long
road to get to where I am today but I am
finally ready to take my content and
career to the next level," she said.
Mercury Stardust Website
Mercury Stardust on Facebook
Mercury Stardust on TikTok
Mercury Stardust on NBC News
Mercury Stardust: How to Check Tire
Lesbian Farmer Taylor Blake and Emmanuel
out and proud lesbian farmer in South
Florida started creating content for
Knuckle Bump in January 2022, but it
wasn’t until Emmanuel took the screen
that the TikTok page blew up. Now,
Knuckle Bump Farms is seemingly an
Emmanuel fan page.
The dynamic duo stars in a variety of
videos that show off their best-friend
bond. They hold hands, tell each other
jokes, and even cuddle in the afternoon
sun, making one thing clear: An emu
really is a gal’s best friend.
Blake shared her love for the nearly
six-foot-tall bird in an Emmanuel
appreciation post on Instagram. She
wrote: "All I’ve ever wanted was to
spread joy like wildfire, I feel like
all my dreams are coming true. I can’t
wait to tell my future children all
about how an emu changed my life.”
Knuckle Bump Farms primarily focuses on
miniature cattle. But it also features
two obnoxious emus: Emmanuel and Ellen.
Don’t get any wild ideas, folks. Blake
says that the two are not an item.
“Ellen and Emmanuel hate each other,”
Blake shared in a TikTok comment
section. She also shared the Emmanuel
"hasn’t fully come out yet" but she's
“pretty sure he’s gay.”
in Texas, Blake is 29 years old. She
currently lives in South Florida with
her girlfriend Kristian Haggerty.
Taylor Blake and Emmanuel the Emu
Internet Fans Have Fallen in Love with
Emmanuel the Emu
Taylor and Her Emu Find Fame
Don't Do It Emmanuel
Emmanuel the Emu and Lesbian Farmer
Taylor Blake Drop by The Tonight Show
Cari & Kim Plus Khaya
Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand legally
married in 2008. Cari Searcy's partner, Kim McKeand, had
given birth to a baby boy, Khaya Searcy, in December
2005, with the aid of a donor. Searcy then sought to
become the adoptive parent of the child, who bears her
last name. Adoption would give Searcy rights to make
medical decisions for the child as well as securing the
sense of family in their home.
In July 2015, Baldwin County (Alabama)
Circuit Court Judge James Reid granted the adoption for
Cari Searcy in Mobile County Probate Court. His approval
of the measure ended a winding and politically fraught
legal battle for Searcy and her wife Kim McKeand,
Khaya's biological mother.
Their four-year-long quest to adopt the
child led to a federal judge overturning the state's
constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
"It was such a surreal feeling to hear
the judge say that it is in the best interest of this
boy to have two legal parents," Searcy said. "For me,
that's when I broke down. It's very emotional and a day
we've been waiting for a long, long time."
Searcy first filed paperwork in Mobile
County Probate Court in 2011 to legally adopt the boy,
whom she has raised since birth. After a brief hearing,
Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis rejected the
petition in April 2012, citing the state's ban on
same-sex marriage. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
later upheld that decision.
In February 2015, a federal judge ruled
that Searcy could not be denied her desire to adopt
Khaya, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in
But hours before the law legalizing
same-sex marriage was to begin, Supreme Court Chief
Justice Roy Moore ordered the state's probate judges to
withhold same-sex marriage licenses pending the US
Supreme Court decision on the matter.
Searcy filed a second lawsuit after Davis
indicated he would not give final approval of the
adoption until after US Supreme Court case resolved the
same-sex marriage issue. The US Supreme Court legalized
same-sex marriage nationwide in June 2015, striking down
any remaining barriers to Searcy's adoption.
At the courthouse, Khaya, 9, was dressed
for the occasion, wearing a gray suitcoat, a blue button
up shirt, dress pants, and a plaid clip-on tie.
Clutching a brown teddy bear, he said, "It's good that I
finally have two legal parents."
Lesbian Couple That Brought Down Alabama’s Gay Marriage
Ban Sues State Over Second-Parent Adoption
Here's How Two Women Changed The Lives Of
LGBTQ Families In Alabama Forever
Edwardian Lesbian Couple
In 1907 Edwardian Britain, lesbian
couple, Lily Elsie and Adrienne Augarde
were very famous acting and singing
stars of the period.
Lily Elsie was an English actress and
singer best known for her starring role
in the London premiere of Franz Lehár's
operetta The Merry Widow. She became one
the most photographed woman of Edwardian
Adrienne Augarde was English actress and
singer popular for her roles in
Edwardian musical comedy. Her career
included performances in pantomime,
drama, vaudeville, and opera. She gained
wide popularity playing leading roles in
the popular musicals produced by George
Edwardes. She also starred in a number
of long-running productions in London
and New York from 1903 to 1912.
The two actress appeared together in the
play production The New Aladdin.
Notable was the fact that Lily dressed
in manly attire.
Biographical Notes on Lily Elsie
Biographical Notes on Adrienne Augarde
League of Her Own
Baseball icon and A League of Their Own
inspiration Maybelle Blair comes out as
gay at the age of 95.
Between 1943 and 1954, baseball fans
immersed themselves in the All-American
Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGBL).
Maybelle Blair and other women baseball
players in the late 1940s were the model
for the central characters in Penny
Marshall’s 1992 comedy A League of Their
95-year-old announced she was gay at the Tribeca Festival premiere of Amazon’s
new series based on the film.
Speaking about the new, more inclusive
version of the story of the All-American
Girls Professional Baseball League,
Blair said, “I think it’s a great
opportunity for these young girl ball
players to come realize that they’re not
alone, and you don’t have to hide.”
Blair, who earned the nickname “All the
Way Mae” during her time with the Peoria
Redwings in the late 1940s, recalled
realizing she was attracted to women as
Maybelle Blair, Who Helped Inspire 'A
League Of Their Own,' Comes Out At 95
Player Who Helped Inspire 'A League of
Their Own' Comes Out at Age 95
Biographical Notes on Maybelle Blair
Baseball Player Who Inspired A League of
Their Own Comes Out at 95
In 1984, when Ruth Coker Burks was 25
and a young mother living in Arkansas,
she would often visit a hospital to care
for a friend who had cancer. During one
visit, she noticed the nurses would draw
straws, afraid to go into one room, its
door sealed by a big red bag. She asked
why and the nurses told her the patient
had Gay-Related Immune Deficiency
(GRID), later known as AIDS.
On a repeat visit, and seeing the big
red bag on the door, Burks decided to
disregard the warnings and sneaked into
the room. In the bed was a skeletal
young man, who told her he wanted to see
his mother before he died. She left the
room and told the nurses, who said,
"Honey, his mother’s not coming. He’s
been here six weeks. Nobody’s coming”.
Burks called his mother anyway, who
refused to come visit her son, who she
described as a "sinner" and already dead
to her, and that she wouldn't even claim
his body when he died.
“I went back in his room," she recalled,
"and when I walked in, he said, Oh,
momma. I knew you’d come, and then
he lifted his hand. And what was I going
to do? So I took his hand. I said,
I’m here, honey, I’m here. She
pulled a chair to his bedside, talked to
him, and held his hand until he died 13
hours later. After finally finding a
funeral home that would his body, and
paying for the cremation out of her own
savings, Burks buried his ashes on her
family's large plot in Files Cemetery.
After this first encounter, Burks cared
for other patients who needed her help.
She would take them to appointments,
obtain medications, apply for
assistance, and even kept supplies of
AIDS medications on hand, as some
pharmacies would not carry them. Burks
work soon became well known in the city
and she received financial assistance
from gay bars. "They would twirl up a
drag show on Saturday night", she
explained. "And the drag shows were how
we raised money, that's how we'd buy
medicine, that's how we'd pay rent. If
it hadn't been for the drag queens, I
don't know what we would have done."
Over the next 30 years (with assistance
from her daughter) Burks cared for over
1,000 people and buried more than 40 on
her family's plot (most of whom were gay
men whose families would not claim their
ashes). For this, she has been nicknamed
the "Cemetery Angel."
“Someday, I’d love to get a monument
that says: This is what happened. In
1984, it started. They just kept coming
and coming. And they knew they would be
remembered, loved, and taken care of,
and that someone would say a kind word
over them when they died."
Ruth Coker Burks: Biographical Notes
AIDS Angel: Ruth Coker Burks
Ruth Coker Burks: Home Page
Natl AID Memorial: Ruth Coker Burks
Courageous Trans Kid Testifies
old Kai Shappley didn’t feel scared when she sat before
the Texas Senate committee in April 2021. Wearing a
flowing yellow blouse, floral skirt and cowboy boots,
the then-4th grader calmly introduced herself. “I love
ballet, math, science and geology. I spend my free time
with my cats, chickens, FaceTiming my friends and
dreaming of when I finally get to meet Dolly Parton,”
she testified. “I do not like spending my free time
asking adults to make good choices.”
Shappley urged lawmakers to vote against Senate bills
1311 and 1646, which banned doctors from providing
gender-affirming treatment to transgender kids like
herself. One of the bills even went as far as to define
the treatment as “child abuse.” (Both bills ultimately
“It makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids
like me to get votes from people who hate me just
because I exist,” she continued. “God made me. God loves
me for who I am. And God does not make mistakes.”
Video of Shappley’s testimony quickly went viral. It
wasn’t the first time she’s garnered attention. The
now-5th grader has been publicly telling her story and
calling for trans equality for years. She’s traveled the
country with her mother, speaking at rallies for LGBTQ
rights. She’s worked with the ACLU on pro-trans
projects. She’s met with national lawmakers to urge them
to pass the Equality Act, which would outlaw
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and
gender identity. But April was the first time she’d ever
testified on her own. Her reasoning was simple. “I
wanted to show them that all these lies people have been
spreading about trans kids are not true,” she says.
Shappley is a force of nature. At only 11 years old, the
trans rights activist has built a following online;
children and adults have written to her saying she’s
inspired them to come out. “It makes me want to keep on
going, knowing that there are so many people who rely on
me,” Shappley says. And amid an unprecedented rise of
bills in US state legislatures targeting trans
kids—including over 130 anti-trans bills in 2021 alone,
per the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign—she has no
plans on stopping. “Activism matters to me because it is
a way to show that we belong,” Shappley says. “It’s a
way to show that we will fight for what is right. We
won’t sit silent."
Kai Shappley Takes on Lawmakers in Her Fight for Trans
Trans Kid Kai Shappley Testifies
10-Year-Old Activist Kai Shappley on Fighting for Trans
Kids in the Texas
Trans Hairdresser in Birmingham
Meet Jody Suzanne Ford, an out
transgender woman and business owner in
Alabama. She owned Ms. Sid's Coiffures
in Birmingham's Five Points South
Neighborhood in 1975.
Born Sidney Ford III, she was a college
basketball star (6'4") at David Lipscomb
College and a semi-professional football
player in Miami before she moved to
Birmingham, transitioned, and opened her
beauty shop. She earned a good
reputation and became very well-known for her skill as a
In 1977, when she was 41, she was killed
by a short-range shotgun blast to the
chest by the 26-year old owner of a
Travelodge Motel. He argued he was
acting in self-defense and was
Jody Suzanne Ford: Trans Birmingham
Hairdresser Shot to Death in 1977
Trans Lives Matter: Jody Suzanne Ford
Flight Attendant Loves His Job
was being served by an obviously gay flight attendant,
who seemed to put everyone in a good mood as he served
us food and drinks.
plane prepared to descend, he came swishing down the
aisle and told us that "Captain Marvey has asked me to
announce that he'll be landing the big scary plane
shortly, so lovely people, if you could just put your
trays up, that would be super."
On his trip back up the aisle, he noticed this
well-dressed Arabic-looking woman hadn't moved a muscle.
"Perhaps you didn't hear me over those big brute engines
but I asked you to raise your trazy-poo so the main man
can pitty-pat us on the ground."
She calmly turned her head and said, "In my country, I
am called a Princess and I take orders from no one."
To which (I swear) the flight attendant replied, without
missing a beat, "Well, sweet-cheeks, in my country I'm
called a Queen, so I outrank you. Tray-up, Bitch."
Flight Attendant Comedy
Flight Attendant Performs Funniest
Funny Flight Attendant
│ LGBTQ Information Network │ Established 2017