Unafraid to shine under pressure, the subjects of artist Jeff Sheng's "Fearless" project represent the true grit, and unflinching grace, embodied by "out" lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes competing as individuals against the undercurrent of homophobia attributed to team sports. Since 2006, Sheng has exhibited the more than 130 high school and collegiate athletes he's chronicled for the"Fearless Campus Tour" at nearly 60 different sites; taking place at student centers, gyms and other highly-trafficked, non-traditional art venues on college campuses nationwide. Here are several other contenders you need to know:
- Caught amid the crossfire of a Twitter feud questioning Target's gay tolerance, R&B singer Frank Ocean recently received an online assist from Beyonce. In a blog post dedicated to the embattled artist, the international superstar cheered Ocean's willingness to be "brave," "honest," and an "inspiration" for speaking candidly of his "first love" with another man. Ocean's manager, Christian Clancy, ignited criticism after he deemed Target's choice to drop sales of "Channel Orange," his client's album, "Interesting since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations." Clancy later apologized for that tweet, and its insinuation that homophobia - not Def Jam's decision to debut "Channel Orange" a week ahead of its scheduled release date - played a role.
- Three Atlanta residents each received five years behind bars after Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford rejected a defense attorney's claim that Brandon White's "tight jeans" triggered the anti-gay assault against him. Defendants Christopher Cain, Dorian Moragne and Dareal Demare Williams avoided the maximum penalty of 75 years after videotaping their involvement in the Feb. 4 incident. Posted onto WorldStarHipHop.com, the footage shows the three men mercilessly pummeling the 20-year-old "faggot" outside of a grocery store. Even though the judge decried White's assailants as the "ultimate bullies," he hesitated to refer to the attack as a hate crime, and labeled it a crime of opportunity instead.
- Officials from the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) of Great Britain's Foreign & Commonwealth Office are engaging young Britons, especially LGBT Brits, in an ongoing conversation about the warning signs of forced marriage through their Right to Choose campaign. Whereas 'arranged marriages' traditionally involve consent, Right to Choose focuses upon a percentage of the nearly 1500 forced marriages the FMU forbade last year; highlighting the cases of false imprisonment, beatings and sexual assault victims suffered at the hands of their own family members. If recent trends hold, the forces behind Right to Choose are fearful that gay and bisexual British men are at an increased risk, as immigrant families believe these forced marriages are essential if their loved ones are to ever be straight.
- Cotton. It's more than the fabric of our lives. In fact, it's the recommended second anniversary gift for your favorite gay or lesbian Patagonian couple. Two years ago today, Argentina became the first Latin American country - and tenth internationally - to legalize same-sex marriage. More than 6,000 couples have already tied the knot to date.