Month: October 2021

Ed Sheeran Says He Thought He Was Gay “For A Bit” When He Was A Kid

“I definitely have a big feminine side.”

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Here’s some of the best costumes from celebrities & politicians over Halloweekend 2021Here’s some of the best costumes from celebrities & politicians over Halloweekend 2021

Screenshot/TwitterPersonalities and stars like Niecy Nash and Lil Nas X have shown out so far, while political figures and famous families from AOC to the Buttigiegs joined in on the festivities, too. Read More LGBTQ Nation

COP26: World will try again to avert climate disaster

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By Ilze Filks

GLASGOW (Reuters) -The United Nations COP26 summit that starts in Glasgow this week has been billed as a make-or-break chance to save the planet from the most calamitous effects of climate change.

Delayed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, COP26 aims to keep alive a target of capping global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the limit scientists say would avoid its most destructive consequences.

“We need to come out of Glasgow saying with credibility that we have kept 1.5 alive,” Alok Sharma, COP26’s president, said on Sunday as delegates began arriving in the Scottish city.

“We’re already at global warming at 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels,” he told Sky News television. “At 1.5 there are countries in the world that will be underwater, and that’s why we need to get an agreement here on how we tackle climate change over the next decade.”

Meeting the 1.5 C goal, agreed in Paris to much fanfare in 2015, will require a surge in political momentum and diplomatic heavy-lifting to make up for the insufficient action and empty pledges that have characterised much of global climate politics.

The conference needs to secure more ambitious pledges to further cut emissions, lock in billions in climate finance, and finish the rules to implement the Paris Agreement with the unanimous consent of the nearly 200 countries that signed it.

But there is huge work to be done.

At a summit in Rome, leaders of the Group of 20 major economies agreed on a final statement on Sunday that urges “meaningful and effective” action to limit global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius but offers few concrete commitments.

The G20 bloc, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, accounts for an estimated 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

A new pledge last week from China, the world’s biggest polluter, was labelled a missed opportunity that will cast a shadow over the two-week summit. Announcements from Russia and Saudi Arabia were also lacklustre.

The return of the United States, the world’s biggest economy, to U.N. climate talks will be a boon to the conference, after a four-year absence under President Donald Trump.

But like many world leaders, President Joe Biden will arrive at COP26 without firm legislation in place to deliver his own climate pledge as Congress wrangles over how to finance it and new uncertainty about whether U.S. agencies can even regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Existing pledges to cut emissions would see the planet’s average temperature rise 2.7C this century, which the United Nations says would supercharge the destruction that climate change is already causing by intensifying storms, exposing more people to deadly heat and floods, killing coral reefs and destroying natural habitats.


Adding to the challenging geopolitical backdrop, a global energy crunch has prompted China to turn to highly polluting coal to avert power shortages, and left Europe seeking more gas, another fossil fuel.

Ultimately, negotiations will boil down to questions of fairness and trust between rich countries whose greenhouse gas emissions caused climate change, and poor countries being asked to de-carbonise their economies with insufficient financial support.

COVID-19 has exacerbated the divide between rich and poor. A lack of vaccines and travel curbs mean some representatives from the poorest countries cannot attend the meeting.

Other obstacles – not least, sky-high hotel rates in Glasgow – have stoked concerns that civil society groups from the poorest nations which are also most at risk from global warming will be under-represented.

COVID-19 will make this U.N. climate conference different from any other, as 25,000 delegates from governments, companies, civil society, indigenous peoples, and the media will fill Glasgow’s cavernous Scottish Event Campus.

All must wear masks, socially distance and produce a negative COVID-19 test to enter each day – meaning the final-hour “huddles” of negotiatiors that clinched deals at past climate talks are off the table.

World leaders will kick start COP26 on Monday with two days of speeches that could include some new emissions-cutting pledges, before technical negotiators lock horns over the Paris accord rules. Any deal is likely to be struck hours or even days after the event’s Nov. 12 finish date.

Outside, tens of thousands of protesters are expected to take to the streets to demand urgent climate action.

Assessing progress will be complex. Unlike past climate summits, the event won’t deliver a new treaty or a big “win” but seeks to secure smaller but vital victories on emission-cutting pledges, climate finance and investment.

Ultimately success will be judged on whether those deals add up to enough progress to keep the 1.5C goal alive.

Since the Paris accord, scientists have issued increasingly urgent warnings that the 1.5C goal is slipping out of reach. To meet it, global emissions must plummet 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels, and reach net zero by 2050 – requiring huge changes to countries’ systems of transport, energy production, manufacturing and farming. Countries’ current pledges would see global emissions soar by 16% by 2030.

(Reporting by Kate Abnett in Brussels, Valerie Volcovici in Washington and Mark John in LondonAdditional reporting by Nina Chestney and William Schomberg in LondonEditing by Giles Elgood and Frances Kerry)

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FBI, other agencies did not heed mounting warnings of Jan. 6 riot -Washington Post

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(Reuters) – The FBI and other key law enforcement agencies failed to act on a host of tips and other information ahead of Jan. 6 that signaled a potentially violent event might unfold that day at the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Among the information that came officials’ way in the weeks before what turned into a riot as lawmakers met to certify the results of November’s presidential election was a Dec. 20 tip to the FBI that supporters of then-President Donald Trump were discussing online how to sneak guns into Washington to “overrun” police and arrest members of Congress, according to internal bureau documents obtained by The Post.

The tip included details showing those planning violence believed they had orders from the president, used code words such as “pickaxe” to describe guns, and posted the times and locations of four spots around the country for caravans to meet the day before the joint session. On one site, a poster specifically mentioned Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, as a target, the Post said.

Romney was one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump last February on one charge of inciting an insurrection, which was leveled by the House of Representatives during a second impeachment of the former president.

An FBI official who assessed the tip noted that its criminal division had received a “significant number” of alerts about threats to Congress and other government officials. The FBI passed the information to law enforcement agencies in Washington but did not pursue the matter, the Post said.

“The individual or group identified during the Assessment does not warrant further FBI investigation at this time,” the internal report concluded, according to the Post.

That detail was among dozens included in the report, which the newspaper said was based on interviews with more than 230 people and thousands of pages of court documents and internal law enforcement reports, along with hundreds of videos, photographs and audio recordings.

A special congressional panel is now investigating the events that day, which exploded into violence after a rally Trump held near the White House to rail against the results of the election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

Four people died on Jan. 6, one shot to death by police and the others of natural causes. More than 100 police officers were injured, one dying the next day. Four officers have since taken their own lives.

More than 600 people have been charged with taking part in the violence.

(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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Kal Penn Reveals 11 Year Relationship With Fiancé Josh, Talks Discovering His Sexuality ‘Late In Life’ In Upcoming Book

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OK Magazine

Actor and former White House staff member Kal Penn — full name Kalpen Suresh Modi — is ready to tell the world his love story.

The House alum has been fairly private about his love life in the past, but in his new book You Can’t Be Serious the 44-year-old dishes the deets on his relationship with his fiancé, Josh, from their first date to plans for their upcoming wedding.


“I’ve always been very public with everybody I’ve personally interacted with. Whether it’s somebody that I meet at a bar, if Josh and I are out or we’re talking to friends,” Penn told PEOPLE, explaining his decision to write a book about his largely unknown relationship with his fiancé.


“But Josh, my partner, my parents, and my brother, four people who I’m closest to in the family, are fairly quiet,” the Harold and Kumar actor admitted. “They don’t love attention and shy away from the limelight.”


Penn explained the trickiest part of writing the book figuring out how tell his story which revolves around “my work life, both in Hollywood and DC, it includes my love life with Josh and how we met, it includes my parents” while still respecting privacy and maintaining authenticity of himself and everyone else mentioned in the book.


The Clarice star also opened up about his journey to discovering his sexuality, which he added happened “relatively late in life compared to many other people. There’s no timeline on this stuff,” he went on. “People figure their s— out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”


“I know this sounds jokey, but it’s true: When you’ve already told your Indian parents and the South Asian community that you intend to be an actor for a living, really any conversations that come after that are super easy,” he teased, referring to telling friends and family about his sexuality. “They’re just like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ I felt very supported by everyone.”

Whether he is talking about his unexpected love for NASCAR, his parents, or his relationship with his fiancé, most of all, Penn wanted the book to feel like he’s “having a beer” with the reader as he tells a story that is deeply special to him.

“I want to take you into my stories and I want you to experience them with the same joy that I’ve experienced them,” he told the outlet. “That was the way that my friends have met my parents and Josh.”

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G20 disappoints on key climate target as eyes turn to Glasgow

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G20 nations emit nearly 80 percent of carbon emissions

Rome (AFP) – The G20 major economies committed on Sunday to the key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but disappointed leaders warned more was needed to make a success of UN climate talks beginning in Glasgow.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the host of the COP26 summit that opened on Sunday, said the pledge from world leaders after two days of talks in Rome was “not enough”, and warned of the dire consequences for the planet.

“If Glasgow fails, the whole thing fails,” he told reporters, saying the  G20 commitments were “drops in a rapidly warming ocean”.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also expressed disappointment at the outcome of the G20 summit, saying he left Rome “with my hopes unfulfilled — but at least they are not buried”.

The G20 nations between them emit nearly 80 percent of carbon emissions, and a firm commitment on action was viewed as vital for the success of the UN’s COP26.

In a final communique, the G20 reaffirmed its support for the goals in the landmark 2015 Paris climate accords, to keep “the global average temperature increase well below 2 degrees and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”.

They said this would require “meaningful and effective actions and commitment by all countries, taking into account different approaches”, while they also promised action on coal.

But experts say meeting the 1.5 degree target means slashing global emissions nearly in half by 2030 and to “net-zero” by 2050 — and the G20 set no firm date, speaking only of reaching the goal of net zero “by or around mid century”.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who hosted the G20 talks, said he was “proud of these results, but we must remember that it’s only the start”.

Eyes now turn to Glasgow, where more than 120 heads of state and government, including US President Joe Biden, India’s Narendra Modi and Australia’s Scott Morrison, were heading from Rome. 

Lacking ambition

The G20 leaders did agree to end funding for new unabated coal plants abroad — those whose emissions have not gone through any filtering process — by the end of 2021.

But environmental campaign group Greenpeace slammed the final statement as “weak, lacking both ambition and vision”, saying G20 leaders “failed to meet the moment”.

“If the G20 was a dress rehearsal for COP26, then world leaders fluffed their lines,” said Executive Director Jennifer Morgan.

Friederike Roder, senior director at anti-poverty group Global Citizen, told AFP the summit had produced “half-measures rather than concrete actions”.

European leaders pointed out that given the fundamental divisions among the world’s most advanced nations, a joint commitment to what was the most ambitious Paris goal was a step forward.

“I hear all the very alarmed talk on these subjects. I’m myself worried and we are fully mobilised,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

“But I would like us to take a step back and look at the situation where we were four years ago”, when former US President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of the treaty.

Draghi said that the needle had moved markedly even in the past few days, including by China — by far the world’s biggest carbon polluter.

Beijing plans to make its economy carbon neutral before 2060, but has resisted pressure to offer nearer-term goals. 

India, meanwhile, argues that if net-zero by 2050 is the global goal, then rich countries should be carbon neutral 10 years earlier to allow poorer, emerging nations a larger carbon allowance and more time to develop.    

‘Dream big’

Earlier on Sunday, Draghi, Britain’s Prince Charles and Pope Francis had all called on G20 leaders — and by extension, the wider group of world leaders meeting in Glasgow — to think big.

Calling climate change “the defining challenge of our times”, Draghi warned: “Either we act now… or we delay acting, pay a much higher price later, and risk failing.”

Pope Francis, who is outspoken on the issue and received several G20 leaders at the Vatican this weekend, said: “This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities… The time to act, and to act together, is now!”

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Minneapolis voters to decide on scrapping police department, 18 months after George Floyd murder

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By Brad Brooks

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Angela Harrelson points toward a blue angel painted on the pavement, marking the spot where a Minneapolis police officer murdered her nephew George Floyd and ignited a national police reform movement.

“If a mental health worker or a social worker had been with the police the day my nephew died right here, he might very well still be alive today,” Harrelson said. “I don’t want to abolish the police, but we need to do something different.”

On Tuesday, Minneapolis voters get to decide just how different their city’s approach to policing should be. A ballot question asks residents whether they want to replace the police department with a new department of public safety, in the first big electoral test of reform efforts sparked by Floyd’s May 2020 killing.

But even after the outrage over his death and the tense protests that followed, the progressive city is deeply divided over the future of its law enforcement. The split illustrates the tricky calculus around overhauling policing in major U.S. cities, as residents fear for their safety amid crime spikes and Democratic politicians worry about Republicans weaponizing the issue in next year’s congressional elections.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo opposes the measure. Mayor Jacob Frey, who is seeking reelection on Tuesday, is also against it. Neither responded to requests for comment from Reuters.

Conversations with dozens of voters cutting across racial and socio-economic lines in Minneapolis in recent days revealed a range of views. Nearly all expressed confusion over what exactly would happen if the proposal is approved.

That is in large part because the particulars of the new public safety department would only be hashed out by the mayor and city council in the months after the vote.

Opponents say the measure would make good on the city council’s threat in the days after Floyd’s death to “defund the police.” They say Minneapolis, with a population of about 430,000 people, needs more officers, not fewer, as it grapples with a crime wave.

Supporters insist police would remain on their jobs, though perhaps in smaller numbers. They say the change would mean approaching safety in a holistic manner, including addressing the root causes of crime before it takes place.

If approved, the department of public safety would create a larger agency that would include police officers as well as mental health professionals, housing and addiction experts, and people trained in de-escalating conflict to respond to 911 calls where an armed officer may not always be needed.

The new department would answer not just to the mayor but also the city’s 13 council members, which supporters say would give residents more influence in how policing is carried out.

“What police have been doing for decades does not work,” said the Reverend JaNaé Bates, with the Yes4Minneapolis campaign that supports creating the new safety department. “We want the city to have the nimbleness to match its safety needs with the resources available.”


Homicides in Minneapolis were up more than 17% through the end of September, compared to the same period in 2020. Robberies and aggravated assaults also have increased.

More than 200 police officers have left the force since Floyd’s murder. Police who remain have in many ways stopped engaging with the community, for fear of being involved in another flashpoint case, a recent Reuters investigation found

North Minneapolis, a poorer area where more Black residents live, has seen the brunt of the violence. Nearly half of all murders in the city have taken place in Precinct 4, where residents complain of nights filled with shootings, carjackings and out-of-control petty crime.

“This entire thing is a white, progressive movement, man,” said Teto Wilson, a Black barber shop owner in north Minneapolis, referring to efforts to replace the police department. “They’re trying to turn us into some damn big experiment.”

Like other residents on the north side who spoke with Reuters, Wilson said police reform is needed desperately – but within the current structure. He said those living with daily violence don’t have the luxury to try drastic new approaches.

In the Folwell neighborhood north of Wilson’s barber shop, Anna Gerdeen, who is white and described herself as a progressive director of a community not-for-profit, said she might normally support more radical policing reforms. But not now, while she and her 11-year-old son feel under siege inside their own home. She will vote against the creation of a new department.

“My neighbor’s house got hit with bullets a couple months ago. I can’t let my son play outside in the yard anymore,” Gerdeen said. “As a mother, I just can’t risk any more chaos.”


Supporters of creating a new public safety department say such violence makes clear the need for a new strategy. They say advocates have tried for decades to get reforms passed to make policing more equitable and to bring more safety to poorer neighborhoods but have repeatedly failed.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a progressive Democrat, oversaw the prosecution of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who pinned Floyd’s neck to the ground for more than nine minutes with his knee. Ellison said now is the time for true change.

“If we’re saying that George Floyd could be murdered on the streets of this town … and we’re not willing to take any institutional change to address that, to me that’s sad, and it’s a little scary,” said Ellison, who lives in Minneapolis. “My hope is that we actually respond to what’s happening here, in a way designed to prevent it from happening again.”

Back on the street where Floyd was killed in south Minneapolis, Bridgette Stewart and other members of a community watch group had just returned from the scene of a drive-by shooting where three people were injured last Tuesday. The group, Agape Movement, was there to act as a bridge between family of the victims, community members and law enforcement, to ensure nothing escalated into more violence.

That is the type of work Stewart said needs to happen on a citywide scale, and that she said could only happen if the new public safety department is approved.

“This is our vision, that we can all work together for public safety,” she said. “Because if we all can’t get along and get this work done, we’re going to be stuck right where we’re at – in a living hell.”

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Minneapolis; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Daniel Wallis)

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Analysis-Texas abortion law critics warn conservatives of unintended consequences

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By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As abortion providers backed by President Joe Biden’s administration prepare for Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court arguments in their challenge to a near-total ban on the procedure in Texas, they have found an unlikely ally: a right-leaning gun rights group.

A “friend of the court” brief filed in the case by the Firearms Policy Coalition against Republican-governed Texas illustrates how the law’s unique structure – enforcement by private individuals, not the state – has alarmed advocates for all kinds of constitutionally protected rights.

Some conservatives are warning that similar laws could be crafted by liberals targeting issues important to the right.

A law written like the one in Texas to impede courts from ruling on constitutionality before it takes effect could be used, for example, to take aim at constitutionally protected activities including gun rights, religious practice or free speech. Abortion is protected under the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which recognized a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, and subsequent decisions.

“You can’t short-circuit the ordinary steps of judicial review for serious constitutional questions,” said Erik Jaffe, the attorney who filed the Firearms Policy Coalition’s brief.

When laws are enacted that restrict constitutional rights, courts have a vital role to play before they take effect, Jaffe added.

“This circumvents that debate. This says, ‘Too bad you don’t get to have that debate except … with my foot on your neck,’” Jaffe said.

The Supreme Court will consider whether the Texas law’s structure prevents federal courts from intervening to block it and whether the U.S. government is even allowed to sue the state to try to block it.

The measure, one of numerous restrictive Republican-backed state abortion laws passed in recent years, bans the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy, a point when many women do not yet realize they are pregnant. There is an exception for a documented medical emergency but not for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.


The case reaches the nine justices as the future of abortion rights hangs in the balance. On Dec. 1, the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, is due to hear another major abortion case in which Mississippi is seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade The Texas attorney general has signaled he also wants Roe v. Wade overturned.

What is unique about the Texas law is that the state plays no enforcement role. Instead, anyone can sue abortion providers – regardless of whether that person has a personal stake – and potentially win at least $10,000 in damages, a process critics have compared to placing a bounty on abortion providers.

At least three states already are considering legislation mirroring the Texas law’s language including one in Illinois targeting gun dealers, said David Noll, a professor at Rutgers Law School in New Jersey who filed a brief opposing Texas.

The Texas citizen-enforcement provision does not mean such laws can always evade judicial review. But to challenge them someone would have to be sued under the law first and then take aim at the enforcement mechanism in the defense. In the meantime, the fact that the law is on the books may chill the conduct at issue. That is the case in Texas, with abortion clinics complying with the ban since the Supreme Court let it go into effect on Sept. 1.

Lawyers opposing the law have found potential analogies on other issues involving Supreme Court precedents. Laws that would enable people to sue gun owners and seek to prohibit unlimited independent spending in political campaigns are examples cited by Biden’s administration in its challenge to the abortion law.

In both instances, “those statutes, too, would violate the Constitution as interpreted by this court. But under Texas’s theory, they could be enforced without prior judicial review, chilling the protected activity – and the effect of any successful constitutional defense in an enforcement proceeding could be limited to that proceeding alone,” the administration wrote in court papers.

Legislators have enacted other laws that let people bring individual claims on contentious issues including transgender rights. But those are more like earlier statutes that empowered people to sue over matters such as environmental or civil rights violations.

In Tennessee, a law barring transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity includes a provision that lets individuals sue local school districts if they “encounter a member of the opposite sex” in a bathroom.

Some conservative and religious groups that oppose abortion have signaled little concern about the Texas law’s structure, feeling that critics have exaggerated potential consequences.

Walter Weber, a lawyer with the American Center for Law and Justice religious rights legal group that filed a brief backing Texas, said there is nothing to stop abortion providers from challenging the law after they are sued.

“Abortion advocates crying wolf can raise a lot of money and give cover to legislative and executive measures to push further support for abortion,” Weber said.

If the Texas law is so clearly unconstitutional, Weber asked, “Why are abortionists so terrified?”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Will Dunham)

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Ed Sheeran Says He ‘Thought He was a Bit Gay’; Loves Musical Theater, Pop Music, Britney

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BANG Showbiz English

Ed Sheeran “thought [he] was gay for a bit” during his childhood.

The 30-year-old pop star has revealed he used to question his sexuality because he loved musicals and songs by Britney Spears as a child.

He shared: “I have a definite feminine side, to the point that when I was a kid I thought I was gay for a bit.

“I definitely have a big feminine side. I love musical theatre, I love pop music, I love Britney Spears.

“My masculine side probably stops at drinking beer and watching football.”

The ‘Perfect’ hitmaker – who is an Ipswich Town fan – actually prefers women’s soccer to the men’s game.

And Ed revealed that he converted to the women’s game after his daughter, Lyra, was born in August last year.

He told the ‘Man Man Man’ podcast: “I watched it and I was like, ‘I don’t know why I watch male football, this is much better’.

“I am not a hugely masculine person anyway. I am not a car guy. I like a nice car, but I’m not a car guy.”

Ed admits that his wife, Cherry Seaborn, has had a huge impact on how he looks at life.

He explained: “My wife is super pro-women and femininity.

“As soon as we started dating, my life shifted to that.”

Meanwhile, Ed recently revealed that he’s “cool with everyone” in the music industry.

The singer is often praised for being one of the most likeable people in the industry, but Ed insists the most of his closest pals are actually from his childhood days.

Ed – who lives in Suffolk in England – shared: “I get on with pretty much everyone but in terms of very close personal connections, like people I’d invite to my house for dinner or to hang out with my daughter, I can count them on my fingers.

“I’m cool with everyone. I’ll have nights out with loads of people, but many of the other people in the industry I meet are the same – their closest friends are the people they’ve known for years, people they grew up with.”

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Kal Penn Comes Out as Gay, Posts Massive Dildo to Instagram

Kal Penn

The actor has been in a relationship for 11 years and recently got engaged.

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