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Michelangelo Signorile
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Michelangelo Signorile is Editor-at-large of Huffington Post Gay Voices. He is an author, journalist and commentator, and the host of "The Michelangelo Signorile Show," which airs each weekday on SiriusXM Progress, channel 127 (3-6 p.m. ET.)

Signorile has served as editor-at-large and columnist for The Advocate, and editor-at-large and columnist for Out Magazine. He has also been a columnist and editor-at-large for Planet Out/, and was a columnist for New York Press. Signorile has written for many publications, including New York Magazine, USA Today, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, and The New York Observer.

The author of several bestselling books, including Queer in America, a seminal book on the gay closet, and Life Outside, a finalist for The New York Public Library Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, Signorile has covered LGBT politics and culture for over 20 years. He is a regular guest on television news programs.

Signorile has been profiled by CBS' "60 Minutes," and has appeared on "Today," "Good Morning America" and other shows. He appears regularly on TV news programs discussing political and cultural issues affecting the gay community. He has also appeared in many film and television documentaries, including Academy Award-nominated director Kirby Dick's 2009 documentary, "Outrage" which profiled his work.

Entries by Michelangelo Signorile

Meet Jim Gray, The Gay Man Who Hopes to Beat Senator Rand Paul In November

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2016 | 11:53 PM

Jim Gray, the openly gay mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, wants you to know that, despite Kim Davis' crusade, you shouldn’t stereotype everyone in the Bluegrass State as bigoted and antigay. Last week he became the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky,...

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Meet The Drag Queen Who Helped Take Down Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

(0) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 10:08 AM

"I'm just a good old-fashioned drag queen," Ambrosia Starling said in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress. "Do the show. Make somebody smile when they're not feeling good. Keep on rocking. Get ready for this fall's local charity event."

The event to which Starling...

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Why Did Bernie Sanders Cancel a High-Profile Meeting With AIDS Activists?

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 11:19 AM

The math may be nearly impossible in the pledged delegate count, but Bernie Sanders has said he is staying in the Democratic race to win the nomination for the presidency. He repeated it again after pulling out a big win in West Virginia's primary yesterday. He's even discussed...

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Kristin Chenoweth Will Perform In North Carolina, Donate All Proceeds To Charity

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2016 | 11:19 AM

In a week in which fans saw Kristin Chenoweth reuniting after 12 years with Idina Menzel for a "Wicked" performance, the actress and singer also weighed in on North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, HB2, which has drawn a firestorm of criticism across the country, including condemnation...

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How Donald Trump Is Already Surrounding Himself With Fervent Homophobes

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2016 | 11:38 AM

Ben Carson should have been sidelined from GOP politics forever after his presidential campaign tanked. In addition to his major foreign policy gaffes and his bizzaro tax plan, he'd defined himself as a complete troglodyte on social issues, particularly his horrific comments about homosexuality. He'd compared homosexuality to...

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The New York Times' Bizarre Attempt to Portray Donald Trump as 'More Accepting on Gay Issues'

(0) Comments | Posted May 3, 2016 | 10:51 AM

Donald Trump is opposed to marriage equality. That is true, stated over and over again, almost a year after the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case, allowing gay and lesbian citizens across the nation to legally marry.

Trump said on Fox News he would "strongly consider"...

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Will North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Bathroom Law Be The Downfall of Governor Pat McCrory?

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2016 | 3:14 PM

It may too soon to tell, but so far North Carolina GOP governor Pat McCrory's signing of a sweeping anti-LGBT law hasn't been a great help to his re-election campaign. It would be ironic -- and just desserts -- if a cynical political move to save his campaign actually doomed...

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Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer: Bathroom Talk 'Kind Of Bizarre'

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2016 | 10:54 AM

Former Arizona GOP governor Jan Brewer has now weighed in on North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, which bans transgender people from using public rest rooms that correspond with their gender identity. She agrees with Donald Trump’s comments earlier this week opposing the law — comments that...

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Everything You Need To Know About The Wave Of 100+ Anti-LGBT Bills Pending In States

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2016 | 3:52 PM

WASHINGTON -- It's been almost a year since the Supreme Court's historic ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. And in that time, there's been an ugly backlash.

A new law in Mississippi lets any person or business deny services to same-sex couples because of...

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How Dennis Hastert Demonized Gays as Predators While He Was the True 'Super-Predator'

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 2:09 PM

No, it wasn't African-American young men of the '90s -- supposedly feral, "fatherless" and "godless" urban youth hell-bent on murder and mayhem -- who were "super-predators," a myth since exposed and which was created by the Princeton political science professor John DiIulio (who later became George...

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T.R. Knight Sounds Off On Backlash To Equality, New Projects

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2016 | 8:56 AM

T.R. Knight winces just a little bit when he hears himself described as “brave” for having come out as gay back in 2006 while he was co-starring in "Grey’s Anatomy"— a time when there were far fewer television actors who were out.

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How Our Complacency Led Mississippi to Pass An Anti-LGBT Hate Law on Steroids

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2016 | 11:40 AM

Mississippi didn't need its new "religious freedom" law "protecting" those in the state with a "sincerely held religious belief or moral convictions" in continuing its ongoing discrimination against LGBT people. The new law states specifically that those who believe that marriage "should be recognized as the union of...

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DeRay Mckesson, Baltimore Mayoral Candidate, On His Sexuality And Black Lives Matter

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2016 | 10:35 AM

DeRay Mckesson is among the most high-profile of Black Lives Matter activists, known for his bold and uncompromising comments and calls to action. With more Twitter followers than many in the movement, he inspires and organizes thousands of people across the country. Easily...

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How The Human Rights Campaign Is Helping the GOP to Retain the Senate

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2016 | 9:46 AM

In the past 24 hours, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT group, has come under intense fire on social media, including from many transgender people, for its lack of a strategy in combating the rapid passage of a heinous anti-LGBT law in North...

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How North Carolina Just Passed a Blood-Curdling Anti-LGBT Law Right Before Our Eyes

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2016 | 8:48 AM

For over a year, long before the Obergefell marriage equality ruling, many warned that the backlash to LGBT equality would be ugly and intense, and that too many LGBT leaders and much of the media weren't paying attention, caught up in the wins -- what I've dubbed victory...

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Donald Trump's Free Speech Is Not Threatened, So Please Just Shut Up

(0) Comments | Posted March 22, 2016 | 10:45 AM

Every few years, in reaction to powerful protest among progressives, some well-meaning but queasy liberal columnists and commentators get all bent out of shape about such protests. They fret that the protest is "illiberal" -- a favored buzz word of both center-left and center-right pundits -- and they...

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Here's How 'How To Get Away With Murder' Became The Queerest Show On Network TV

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2016 | 10:48 AM

In season one, ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” refreshingly jolted America with steamy sex scenes between men -- the kind that had not been seen before on network television -- and established itself as another groundbreaking Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal”) production.

Season two took things even further regarding queer representation, featuring a great transgender storyline which highlighted injustice in the criminal justice system, in which a trans actress, Alexandra Billings, portrays the trans woman at the center of the plot line; a character who learns he’s HIV-positive and faces the challenges that accompanied that revelation; gay men navigating the use of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent HIV infection; and a stunning sexual relationship from the past between the show’s lead character, law professor Annalise Keating, portrayed by Emmy Award-winning Viola Davis, and another woman — though Keating had been married to a man from the beginning of the series and continues to have a torrid affair with a local musclebound male cop.

With the season two finale upon us tonight, the show’s creator and executive producer, Peter Nowalk, who’s worked on both “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” spoke with me on SiriusXM Progress about how, as a gay man, he’s had a keen awareness about the importance of visibility. Yet at the same time, at least regarding the gay sex scenes, he really didn’t have a clue that he was doing anything so pathbreaking.

“I think that seeing yourself, and especially if you're a young person, seeing what can be possible for life, is really validating and very reassuring, and can take away some of the loneliness you feel, as a kid especially,” he said. “So, for me, I've written on many TV shows where we'd write tons of characters having sex in many different ways. And that includes gay characters. So I was surprised by how much attention it did get.”

“I saw ‘Queer as Folk,’ the British version,” he continued. “That was made in the year 2000, and those sex scenes were incredibly graphic and hot. So this is, like, nearly 15 years later… And I guess that's how much it shows I live in a bubble: 'What do you mean it's a big deal? There's a lot of gay characters on TV now.' But I guess not on network TV, shown the way it was shown [in ‘How to Get Away with Murder’]. I was naive. I did not realize how that impacts people that much. I thought it was a little bit of the turn of the dial. It was a little bit more graphic than maybe people had seen. But again, to me it was just like, this is normal. And that's my goal: To write TV that shows lots of different people doing lots of different things.”

What was more “intentional,” and something which he knew would break stereotypes, Nowalk said, is the storyline in which a recurring character, Oliver Hampton (played by Conrad Ricamora), tests positive for HIV. Spurned by his troubled boyfriend, Oliver was ostensibly monogamous, while his partner, law student Connor Walsh, portrayed by Jack Falahee (who's talked all about his role as a "man whore"), was the one having all that hot sex with many men in season one.

Nowalk said he wanted to smash the notion “that someone who's HIV-positive is more sexually active than someone who's not.”

“I think it only takes one mistake to become positive,” he explained. “So that was something that felt real to me. And it also felt just like a good turn for the character. It shocked me that there were't more HIV-positive characters on TV, especially with how far we've come with treatment and medication. I will say, I felt like I got a lot of criticism for that storyline from certain members of the gay community. They felt like it felt cliche to have a gay character end up positive. But for me it also just felt real, and I felt like, 'If it's such a cliche, why isn't on TV more?' How could something be a cliche when there's literally no one on TV who's a gay man who's positive right now?”

After Oliver and Connor got back together, Nowalk said he wrote in a storyline showing Connor doing what Nowalk described as “the first thing you would do if you’re Connor”: He went on PrEP.

“There are many people using PrEP in the world,” he explained. “Certainly in my bubble, a gay man in Los Angeles. And [Oliver and Connor] did it very responsibly. They waited even longer than you're supposed to, to make the PrEP take effect, before they had sex for the first time. They made it sexy, waiting those days before they could have sex. Again, it just feels like a very normal part of my community, to be on PrEP, to be able to stay with your partner who’s positive. I mean that's such a gift that people have that reassurance now. I get that it's controversial and all. But it's not for these characters.”

Nowalk noted that he also got some pushback from bisexual fans of the show, after it was revealed that Davis’s character, Annalise, had a deep emotional and sexual relationship with a woman in the past— and with whom she rekindles the relationship briefly — though she’s been intimately involved with men throughout the series.

“I've been getting a lot of very thoughtful tweets about this, from the bisexual community, wondering if we're ever going to label Annalise as bisexual, or have her say it, or have someone else say it,“ he noted. “And I totally get why that's important to happen. But I'm just writing from that character's point of view. And if Annalise is going to describe herself as anything, it's sexual. I think she's about what's in front of her. And I definitely think she knows she's a very sexual person and that just depends on the moment. She's looking for connection. She's very lonely… I just want our fans to know, it’s not because I want to disavow the bisexual community or not give them visibility. I just think Annalise has a very specific way that she lives her life and I don’t think it’s through labels.”

The idea for that storyline actually came to Nowalk while he and Davis were at the annual GLAAD Awards in Los Angeles last year during the last hiatus of the show. His anecdote reveals how much the force that is Viola Davis drives the show.

“I was like, ‘I have this idea, that Annalise had this relationship, had fallen in love with a woman,’” he recalled. “And Viola's instant reaction was just to get a big smile on her face. She saw the potential in that and she believed it for the character. Viola's the first person I go to when I have an idea, to see if she believes it. If she doesn't believe it, then I know that something's wrong about it. It's just been so fun to have an actor who's willing to dive into the complicated nature of...

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'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett: Trump Is One Of 'Worst People To Ever Walk This Planet'

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2016 | 11:21 AM

Empire" star Jussie Smollett has been tweeting up a storm, supporting the protests at Donald Trump's rallies. And, in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress, he expounded on his admiration for the protestors, unleashed his anger on the GOP presidential...

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How Nancy Reagan Finally Started a Conversation About AIDS -- 35 Years Later

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 11:17 AM

Suddenly, Bernie Sanders has an AIDS/HIV policy paper.

It went up on his campaign website over the weekend, shortly after he attacked Hillary Clinton for her bewildering comments on Friday about Nancy Reagan in which Clinton claimed the now-deceased former first lady was...

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Martha Plimpton On Playing A Mom Struggling With Her Son's Sexuality

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2016 | 8:06 AM

Acclaimed actress Martha Plimpton said she didn't hesitate to say “Yes!’ when she was offered the role of Eileen O'Neal in the new ABC sitcom, "The Real O'Neals." 

On the show -- which debuted March 2 and is based on the...

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