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LISTEN: Santorum Frothing Mad That LGBT Activists Have 'Silenced the Church'


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LISTEN: Santorum Frothing Mad That LGBT Activists Have 'Silenced the Church'

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Famously antigay politician Rick Santorum says LGBT people have “silenced” churches — and that’s why young people are so supportive of LGBT equality.

A former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and a prospective Republican presidential candidate, Santorum was interviewed Wednesday on the radio program Washington Watch With Tony Perkins. Perkins, who is president of the well-known anti-LGBT organization Family Research Council, asked him about a lawsuit in Houston, where some ministers are involved in efforts to repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance.

Here’s a snippet of what Santorum said: 

“I really believe in this subject matter at hand with the gay community that a Judeo-Christian worldview cannot survive with a worldview that is as rabidly secular as this movement is. One is going to battle the other and I can tell you that the statists, these secular statists, do not want the competition that comes from the church and so they are going to do everything they can to marginalize them, to force them out of the public square to be quiet. …

“We’re losing in this particular area among young people. … it’s because they have effectively silenced the church on a lot of these issues and young people don’t even know what the opposing view is on these issues.”

Santorum, whose name gained a double meaning thanks to sex columnist Dan Savage, has been an anti-LGBT force in U.S. politics for years. He opposed the repeal of antisodomy laws with the “slippery slope” argument that doing so would lead the way to legalizing polygamy and incest. More recently, he accused colleges of indoctrinating students in the “gay agenda.” And this year, he took part in a the National Organization for Marriage’s March for Marriage — heterosexual marriage only, of course.

Listen to a clip of his appearance with Perkins below, courtesy of Right Wing Watch.

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2014/10/23/listen-santorum-frothing-mad-lgbt-activists-have-silenced-church

How a Fake Job Application May be the Downfall of Anti-LGBT Policies

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Exxon Mobil is one of America’s largest corporations, worth an estimated $422 billion,  and they pledge they won’t discriminate against anyone based on “race, color, sex, religion, national origin, citizenship status, age, genetic information, physical or mental disability, veteran or other legally protected status.” Yet, like many Fortune 500 companies, the crude oil giant doesn’t explicitly protect LGBT workers in their formal employment policy.

That may all change after activists targeted the industry leader with an experiment to see if their hiring was fair, and later brought discrimination allegations that Exxon violated the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Freedom to Work’s complaint is based on findings from a year-long study  in which they submitted a pair of nearly identical fake resumes to 100 different jobs with eight different federal contractors. The only difference between fictional applicants “Jennifer” and “Michelle,” who were vying for an administrative assistant position at Exxon Mobil, was that Jennifer’s resume indicated she was more qualified and involved with LGBT groups. Michelle got a callback for an interview with Exxon instead of Jennifer.

At a fact-finding hearing on Tuesday in front of the Illinois Department of Human Rights, Exxon defended their hiring practices—and activists say they were just happy to see the company respond.

“It’s great to finally force Exxon to answer questions that they clearly do not want to answer,” said Tico Almeida, founder and president of LGBT rights group Freedom to Work.

Exxon insists that the claims made in the discrimination complaint are “baseless and without merit,” and sexual orientation played no role in the hiring decision, company spokesman Scott Silvestri wrote in an email. He added that the company’s publicly posted guidelines back up that stance.

“ExxonMobil’s global zero-tolerance policy prohibits all forms of discrimination in any company workplace, anywhere in the world,” Silvestri wrote. “This includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Discrimination charges are typically filed on behalf of an actual individual, but the type of testing conducted by Freedom to Work has been used successfully by the civil rights movement before, he said.

“The test can reveal bias and overt discrimination that may not otherwise be identified when people apply for jobs or housing,” said Romer-Friedman.

Freedom to Work’s study found that overall, LGBT applicants were 23 percent less likely to get an interview with federal contractors when compared to their straight counterparts. Although Exxon is not the only company to exhibit discriminatory practices, said Almeida, their size and status puts them squarely in the crosshairs of LGBT advocacy groups.

Exxon may also be the only company to go “backwards on civil rights,” said Almeida. When Exxon merged with Mobil in 1999, the new company took away the domestic partner benefits that had been previously offered to Mobil’s gay and lesbian employees. In May of this year, Exxon shareholders voted for the 17th time to tank a resolution that would have added sexual orientation and identity to the list of protected classes in Exxon’s equal employment opportunity policy, Almeida said.

At this week’s Illinois hearing, Almeida, lawyers from both sides of the table, and a representative from Exxon’s human resources department were called to answer questions and provide perspective in the case. This kicked off a 90-day period in which the investigator reviews the case and decides whether there’s enough evidence to support the discrimination claim.    

Depending on their decision, there could be a long road of appeals culminating in a formal hearing before the state’s Human Rights Commission, or a mini-trial.

At the broader scale, there is no national law that gives sexual orientation and identity any legally protected status.

All of this he-said she-said debate may soon be put to bed regardless of the outcome of the discrimination case. Over the coming months President Obama’s executive order to ban workplace discrimination against LGBT workers is expected to take effect. 

Related stories on TakePart:

Obama Sidesteps Do-Nothing Congress to Protect LGBT Employees

Obama Sidesteps Do-Nothing Congress to Protect LGBT Employees

Fake Job Applications Prove There’s Real LGBT Discrimination in Hiring

ACLU Just Came Out Against Antidiscrimination Law Designed to Protect LGBT

Original article from TakePart

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/fake-job-application-may-downfall-anti-lgbt-policies-230006409.html

LGBT Asylum Seekers Are Still Being Asked Graphic Questions By The Home Office

Friday, October 24th, 2014

LGBT asylum seekers trying to find sanctuary in Britain to avoid persecution – for their sexuality are still being subjected to questions that “query the validity of same-sex relationships,” a new report has claimed.

The Home Office was condemned earlier this year when The Observer reported that LGBT people applying for asylum in Britain were being asked “shockingly degrading” questions about their sexual behaviour, including “Did you put your penis into x’s backside?” and “When x was penetrating you, did you have an erection?”

But a new report has revealed that LGBT asylum seekers still face “unsatisfactory” questions from Home Office officials, including ones that were “likely to elicit sexually explicit responses or querying the validity of same-sex relationships”.

home office general

Home Office staff have been asking LGBT asylum seekers that “query the validity” of their sexuality, the report said

In one case, an asylum seeker was asked: “What do you believe a relationship with a man may provide that is absent from a heterosexual partner?”

In another, someone was asked why they “felt the need to have sex every day” with their lover while holidaying in a country where homosexuality was taboo.

One Ghanaian Lesbian, who had been raped by male guards while in prison in the African country, was bluntly asked why she once had sex with a man.

The interviewer said: “You decide to go against everything you believe in and have sex with a man, surely you could not have been that drunk that you did not realise what you were doing?”

The chief inspector of immigration and borders John Vine, who authored the report, said such questions were asked in more than 10% of the interviews he sampled and had to be “eradicated”.

He wrote that “unsatisfactory” questions like these were twice as common in Detained Fast Track (DFT) cases, where the asylum seeker is held in custody while their application is fast tracked.

These claims are handled by separate staff who, until recently, only underwent abridged training on sensitively interviewing applicants, the report said.

Paul Dillane, the executive director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, said the report raised issues that needed “urgent consideration” and said the inappropriate questions had to stop.

He said: “In our experience, the majority of gay, lesbian and bisexual people are detained upon claiming asylum – frequently for weeks or months – yet seeking asylum is not a crime.

“Sexual identity claims are inherently complex and should have no place in this detained process.

“We have serious concerns about conditions in immigration detention centres where people regularly recount instances of homophobic bullying, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence and even sexual harassment from other detainees.

“The Home Office must ensure applicants are treated with dignity and respect, these issues urgent consideration.”

He added: “The Home Office must take further action to improve asylum decision-making and ensure people whose lives are at risk because of their sexual identity are granted refugee protection in the UK.”

Mr Vine’s report also said he found it “worrying” that applicants in a fifth of the interviews he sampled were asked questions that “stereotyped” LGBT people.

SEE ALSO:

In one case, the interviewer “stereotyped gay male promiscuity” by repeatedly asking how many sexual partners the applicant had.

When the asylum seeker repeatedly said he could not remember, the interviewer asked: “Less than 100?”

One Lesbian asylum seeker said the femininity of her appearance was questioned, suggesting the interviewers had a stereotype that Lesbian asylum seekers have a masculine appearance.

One was asked: “Which annual gay events have you taken part in?”

The report said questions based on stereotypes could damage asylum seekers’ chances of being allowed in if they have had kept their sexuality a secret, by forcing them to embellish evidence.

“An applicant faced with the question quoted above might feel pressured to embellish evidence on the understanding that a grant of asylum would be dependent on having attended such events,” it said.

“We are concerned that stereotyped expectations might impact on genuine applicants still coming to terms with their sexuality, those who have decided not to express it openly in the UK , perhaps for religious reasons.”

Despite the findings, Mr Vine said there was no correlation between being asked invasive, disbelieving questions and whether their asylum claim was rejected.

He said he did not find any questions as graphic as those described in The Observer article, which triggered his review.

A Home Office spokeswoman told HuffPost UK: “The chief inspector praised our guidance and training on handling sexual orientation claims, stating that it was clear and concise.

“We worked closely with organisations such as Stonewall, the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to develop this training, which is now mandatory for all our caseworkers.

“We have accepted all of the recommendations in this report and are putting in place measures to implement them.”

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/10/23/lgbt-asylum-seekers-britain_n_6033496.html?utm_hp_ref=uk&ir=UK

Will ExxonMobil Finally Protect LGBT Employees?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

ExxonMobil shareholders have voted 15 consecutive times to deny employment protections to LGBT workers at the gas and oil company. 

And after a preliminary fact-finding hearing Tuesday for an Illinois employment discrimination investigation launched by LGBT group Freedom to Work, it looks like the company isn’t planning to amend its policies anytime soon. Despite ExxonMobil’s claims that it does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a study earlier this year conducted by the Equal Rights Center and Freedom to Work found that résumés listing LGBT affiliations were 23 percent less likely to get a call-back from the oil company than an identical résumé that did not out the candidate as LGBT. 

While the precise details of Tuesday’s hearing at the Illinois Department of Human Rights office are confidential, Freedom to Work provided The Advocate with a notice outlining the proceedings, which asked both parties to present complete evidence prior to the hearing. Since the case was not dismissed or settled at the hearing, the department now has 90 days to issue its ruling on whether ExxonMobil violated state and federal law by failing to protect LGBT employees.

“[Tuesday's] fact-finding hearing by the Illinois Department of Human Rights was probably the first time since Exxon deleted LGBT protections when it acquired Mobil in the 199′s that Exxon has had to answer for itself in a legal proceeding related to their anti-LGBT policies and practices,” said Freedom to Work’s Tico Almeida. “We hope Illinois will make a finding that Exxon broke the law.” 

After President Barack Obama signed a pair of executive orders making it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees in July, ExxonMobil claimed that its policies already included protections against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Representatives for the company pointed to a section on ExxonMobil’s website that mentioned sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics but have yet to provide copies of the company’s Equal Employment and Opportunity Policy to confirm that it includes such protections. The company, one of the largest recipients of federal contracts, has consistently repeated this claim. 

Noting that ExxonMobil is the only company to ever receive a negative score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (an annual rating of how LGBT-inclusive companies are), LGBT activists have remained skeptical about the company’s claims that its top-level policies include LGBT protections. 

In March, HRC’s vice president of communications, Fred Sainz, bluntly addressed Exxon’s claims that its policies include protections for LGBT employees. 

“Put bluntly, this statement is a lie,” Sainz said in a statement. “ExxonMobil’s Equal Employment and Opportunity Policy has clearly and consistently omitted enumerated LGBT nondiscrimination protections for its personnel. Though their statement sounds like it’s taking a very progressive stand, it is in fact a master class in doublespeak — crafted, no doubt, by a team of well-paid lawyers.” 

Long the subject of derision in the LGBT community, Exxon actually stripped away existing protections for LGBT employees when it acquired Mobil in 1999. A gay former Mobil employee told The Advocate last year that the decision was “a slap in the face” that “took us back 30 years.” Since that time, ExxonMobil shareholders have repeatedly voted down efforts to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the company’s top-level employment policy, which currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, or nationality, but does not mention sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Learn more about “Exxon’s Gay Shame” in this comprehensive 2013 feature from The Advocate documenting Exxon’s long history of mistreating LGBT workers, and see why some activists are calling on the government to cancel the oil company’s estimated $6.6 billion in federal contracts here

A conclusion from the Illinois Department of Human Rights is due in the Exxon investigation by January 20. 

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/business/2014/10/22/will-exxonmobil-finally-protect-lgbt-employees

Sings of change on LGBT issues in the Catholic Church

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

To the editor: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics are deeply disappointed that the final summary of the synod on the family at the Vatican omitted the welcoming and respectful language that received such widespread media attention when the interim report was issued last week. (“Catholic leaders at synod backtrack on welcoming gays to the church,” Oct. 18)

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Clearly there are deep divisions among the cardinals and bishops on how to realistically address the presence of same-sex couples in the pews, especially as increasing numbers of them are able to legally formalize their relationships. For now, it appears the damaging old doctrines have won the day.

However, the very fact that there was welcoming language to purge from the final synod document is a sign that there is a growing portion of the church hierarchy that is in line with the majority of Catholics who support justice and equality for LGBT people. We take this as a sign of hope for the future of our church.

lRelated Catholic leaders at synod backtrack on welcoming gays to the church
EuropeCatholic leaders at synod backtrack on welcoming gays to the churchSee all related

Christopher Cappiello, West Hollywood

The writer is president of the San Fernando Valley chapter of DignityUSA, an organization that focuses on LGBT rights in the Catholic Church.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Article source: http://latimes.com.feedsportal.com/c/34336/f/625246/s/3fbb25cf/sc/7/l/0L0Slatimes0N0Cla0Ele0E10A230Ethursday0Ecatholic0Esynod0E20A1410A230Estory0Bhtml0Dtrack0Frss/story01.htm

Joe Keenan Joins MWW's Industry-Leading LGBT Practice As Vice President

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – MWW (www.mww.com), one of the top-five global independent public relations firms, today announced that Joe Keenan has joined MWW’s industry-leading LGBT practice as vice president, based in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Keenan brings more than 20 years of industry leadership experience, specializing in marketing strategy for both LGBT and mainstream markets. In his role, Keenan will implement strategic marketing campaigns and oversee new business development across MWW’s offices and practice groups around the globe. 

“Joe’s addition to the team marks another milestone in the growth of MWW’s industry-leading and award-winning LGBT practice,” said JP Schuerman, MWW’s executive vice president and general manager, western region. “I have had the pleasure of working with Joe on a number of projects over the years and have witnessed his talent firsthand. Joe’s addition represents both the rapid growth of this practice and the burgeoning demand (from corporations and brands) for communications strategy that thoughtfully and authentically engages the LGBT community.”

Previously, Keenan held senior business development positions with Momentum Worldwide, Gigunda Group and GMR Marketing, building and executing successful campaigns for a number of leading Fortune 500 companies. Keenan also founded his own marketing consulting firm, which specializes in connecting brands to the LGBT market. The agency’s clients include Netflix, Nike, Time Warner Cable and several notable non-profits.

Keenan is active in several community organizations including the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the LA Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Keenan serves as co-president on the Outfest Board of Directors; the only national LGBT arts organization and home of the Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival.

Keenan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre management from the University of Minnesota.

About MWW
MWW is one of the nation’s top mid-sized public relations firms and one of the five largest independent agencies. The firm is industry-recognized for its work in consumer lifestyle marketing, digital marketing and social media, corporate communications, public affairs and government relations, consumer technology, healthcare, LGBT marketing, research and insights, travel and visual branding.

MWW’s approach to building and accelerating relevance for clients has been recognized over the years with top industry awards. Honors in 2014 include, the Global SABRE Award and SABRE Award for “North American Campaign of the Year”, “PR Agency of the Year” by the PR News Platinum PR Awards, “PR Agency of the Year,” by the International Business Awards as well as “Best Places to Work in New Jersey” by NJBiz and “Top Places to Work in PR” by PR News. For more information on the firm’s capabilities and “Matter More” commitment, visit www.mww.com. Connect with MWW on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus and Instagram.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/joe-keenan-joins-mwws-industry-leading-lgbt-practice-as-vice-president-606949549.html

Article source: http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/joe-keenan-joins-mwws-industry-140000805.html

The Retirement Crisis Facing Gays And Lesbians

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The phrase “retirement crisis” gets thrown around a lot these days. But after reading the recent report, Out and Visible: The Experiences and Attitudes of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults, I’m persuaded that many older LGBT Americans truly face a retirement crisis — for reasons their straight brethren don’t.

The report is from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), the nation’s largest group dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults. SAGE and Harris Poll surveyed 1,857 LGBT and 519 non-LGBT people ages 45 to 75.

Retirement Concerns That Are Severe

“Our survey found a heavy level of worries by older LGBT people that they won’t be able to survive in retirement that were significantly higher than older Americans in general,” said Michael Adams, SAGE’s executive director. “And there were high levels of concern about growing old alone and being a burden on others. I was struck by the severity of these concerns.”

(MORE: The U.S. Must Do More for Its Diverse Elders)

He adds: “Yes, there is a retirement crisis for older LGBT people. They face some of the same things other older Americans face, but they’re exacerbated by their particular circumstances.”

A few specifics from the survey:

  • 51% of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned about having enough money to live on in retirement; 36% of non-LGBT people felt that way (57% of LGBT older women had this concern vs. 49% of non-LGBT older women)
  • 43% of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned they won’t be able to deal with unexpected, major emergencies in retirement vs. 30% of non-LGBT older people
  • 40% of LGBT older people say their support networks have become smaller over time, compared to 27% of non-LGBT people
  • 36% of older LGBT people — and 43% of single LGBT older people — say their health care providers don’t know their sexual orientations (which could lead to their not receiving proper care and incurring higher health costs as a result)
  • 32% of LGBT older people are very or extremely concerned about being lonely and growing old alone compared to 19% of non-LGBT people
  • 27% of LGBT older adults feel that work or volunteer activities during retirement won’t be open to them if others know about their sexual orientation

“LGBT people have needs and aspirations that are, in many ways, different than those of the heterosexual population as we age. We saw this in every area we studied,” said Robert Espinoza, senior director of Policy and Communications at SAGE.

I confess that until reading the SAGE report, I hadn’t realized that the 3 million LGBT people 55 and older (a number expected to double in the next two decades) had fears about aging and retirement that differed greatly from those who are straight. And I should’ve known better, especially since my sister, Robin, just married her partner of 22 years last week.

(MORE: LGBT Senior Programs)

Why Older LGBT People Have Greater Money Concerns

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/10/22/the-retirement-crisis-facing-gays-and-lesbians/

Op-ed: 22 Reasons Queer History Is Important

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

There’s a myth about LGBTQ youth: They don’t care about the sacrifices their LGBTQ forebears made for them. The truth is, any young person can only care if they are given the opportunity to be taught our history.

Passing on our history is not enough of a priority in our community right now. We’ve taken the care to preserve so many of our stories, but we’re lacking enough accessible routes of dissemination. There are several excellent organizations working on this, with projects ranging from museums to blogs to films to walking tours to wikis. This is exactly what we need — a diversity of media online and offline to accommodate the spectrum of learning styles and preferences.

In 2012, I saw a gap in LGBTQ history teaching vehicles that spoke to young people online, and that’s why I created the free mobile app Quist. Like many, I like to get my news in short, digestible headlines in the palm of my hand. Quist is about translating LGBTQ history to that style. We’re on track to reach 20,000 downloads worldwide this month.

October is LGBT History Month in the U.S., and Quist is celebrating with a campaign called #QuistoryMatters. We published 11 reasons why we believe it’s important to preserve, teach, and learn LGBTQ history (or as we call it, “quistory,” short for queer history).

The response has been inspiring. We’ve had almost over 12,000 interactions with the campaign on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook in less than two weeks. Most commenters agree that “quistory” is important and they wish they had it in their schools (where is this 17 percent and how did they get so lucky,” said andthenigaveyouclothes on Tumblr).

Here are some of the reasons individuals have added throughout the campaign:

• Because queer POC [people of color] kids should be taught that queer excellence has never and will never be limited to white people. (antigerone)

• Because it really helps to know that behind me is an incredibly strong and proud history of trans people, and if they can do it, so can I. (potato-chips-in-the-bath)

• Because I had a (Cambridge student) friend who was convinced that Lesbians didn’t exist until the 60s. (arightpigsear)

• Because it’s alienating, when an individual understands themselves but the society in which they live does not understand them. (shipthenerd)

• Because it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed about. (nekotonyanchan)

• Because we learn about several religions and cultures in school, so why not quistory? (cloakofinsanity)

• Because love is love and knowledge is power. (matinababie0x)

• Because history must include the whole story. (ineverthoughtaboutitlikethat)

• Because I was the first Queer woman I knew had no context for my feelings. (arightpigsear)

• Because the leading UK LGB charity is called Stonewall is only just now thinking about Trans people. (arightpigsear)

• Because it’ll bring humanity one step closer to total equality. (fezzesareqool)

• Because it illuminates the full range of human experience.(unspeakablevice)

• Because knowing that ideas about sexuality have changed over time opens up a world of possibilities for queer people today. (queerpublichistory)

• Because a gay man created the logic machines… that are in your computer. (welcome-to-the–tardis)

• Because I had never heard of the Stonewall Riots before I got to college. (ablativeofyourmotherssorrow)

• Because my history teacher had never heard of Alan Turing. (@plantfuneral)

• Because no one should be told that they don’t have a history. (@aud_gabriel)

• Because we should celebrate our heroes. To encourage others to become them. (@TheBiCast)

• Because LGBT history shows us the distances we have traveled and how far we have left to go. (@kellynicola)

• Because there is no family bond to tie LGBT history together. LGBT people come from all races, creeds, and backgrounds. We don’t reproduce naturally and, when we have kin by other means, it’s very likely that they’re not gay. If those of us that are around don’t know and preserve our history, the straight world will have no reason to. (isometriclove)

• Because I for one know (that at least for me personally) it would be inspiring to learn that past LGBT people have been successful and smart and just plain AWESOME. (roxierules214)

• Porque all our stories matter. (pezowl)

I envision a world where queer youth learn about Christina of Sweden, Albert Cashier, Ma Rainey, Willem Arondeus, We’wha, and Alberto Santos-Dumont. No matter your age, search for these folks and learn more about your pioneers.

Will you help spread the word that LGBTQ history matters by sharing these images?

SARAH PRAGER is the creator of the app Quist, which displays day-by-day events from LGBT history.

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/10/22/op-ed-22-reasons-queer-history-important

School districts celebrate LGBT History Month

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

South Florida school districts voiced their support this month for the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

On Tuesday, the Broward School Board approved a resolution celebrating October as LGBT History Month. Palm Beach County passed the resolution last week and Miami Dade County has supported it in recent years as well.

Broward is believed to be the first school district in the United States to pass an LGBT History month, when it approved it in October 2012. Palm Beach and Miami Dade followed suit. All three districts have numerous schools with gay-straight alliances and include LGBT students in its anti-bullying efforts. They also have anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Some Broward school employees formed a gay and lesbian employee group last year.

lRelated LGBT history month
OpinionLGBT history monthSee all related

“Our district proudly stands out as one of the most engaged districts when it comes to ensuring the health and well being of our LGBT students and families,” Board member Laurie Rich Levinson said. “We want all our students protected, valued, respected and bias free.”

Broward school research shows that 11 percent of sexually active students have had a sexual experience with someone of the same gender.

Copyright © 2014, Sun Sentinel

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-gay-history-school-20141021-story.html?track=rss

LGBT researcher speaks at Cymplify Central Pride event

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

LGBT

LGBT

Leading LGBT researcher Elizabethe Payne speaks to a room of UF students and educators at a lecture held at Cymplify Central at 5402 NW Eighth Ave. for Gainesville Pride Days.



Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 2:00 am

LGBT researcher speaks at Cymplify Central Pride event

Sarah Hernandez, Alligator Contributing Writer

The Independent Florida Alligator

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In anticipation for Saturday’s Pride Parade, a group of about 20 people gathered at Cymplify Central’s small coffee shop and listened to leading LGBT researcher Elizabethe Payne speak.

Payne traveled from her post as founder and director of the Queering Education Research Institute at New York City’s Hunter College on Tuesday night to discuss the importance of restructuring school culture to better address LGBT bullying.

Local LGBT activist groups chipped in to pay Payne about $800 for her discussion, which took place at 5402 NW Eighth Ave. Six organizations were involved in co-sponsoring the event, including UF LGBT Affairs and the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida.

According to Payne’s studies, the No. 1 cause for bullying is appearance, followed by an individual’s perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Tessa Arthur, a marketing sophomore, is an LGBT Affairs ambassador and marketing director within the external cabinet for UF’s Pride Student Union.

“In my high school, one lesbian in my grade had to drop out for mental health issues,” Arthur, 20,  said. “LGBT students are more susceptible to emotional toll from harsh words because usually, there’s internalized shame about being LGBT.”

LB Hannahs, director of LGBT Affairs, had Payne as a professor while attending Syracuse University and is involved with Payne’s institute. 

“When we talk about LGBT bullying, we tend to think of it in the context of K-12, (and) we tend to stop talking about bullying on college campuses, but it still happens, and we don’t think about it in the same way,” Hannahs said.

Forming Gay-Straight Alliance groups and creating safe spaces and character education are some forms of fostering cultural changes in school environments, but Payne said she worries school curriculums rely too heavily on students to create change.

“Days chosen to celebrate LGBT people are often associated with days marking victimizations, disease and murder,” Payne said. “We need to give LGBT youth the idea that they have the ability to grow up with happy, healthy and whole lives.”

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 10/22/2014]

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    Wednesday, October 22, 2014 2:00 am.


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    Article source: http://www.alligator.org/news/local/article_6dc5e696-59a6-11e4-a32c-2b66a2fe2c4e.html

    W Hotels Worldwide Joins Forces with Jennifer Hudson and the Human Rights Campaign to Fight for Full LGBT Equality …

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

    NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

    W Hotels Worldwide today announced it has joined forces with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, in the fight for nationwide LGBT equality by launching a fundraising and awareness initiative, “TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE”. Grammy® and Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson will lend her support and voice to the campaign, which combines the W brand’s longstanding support of the LGBT community with its ongoing passion for music. As part of the program, W Hotels around the country will host monthly TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE music events, in which a portion of proceeds will benefit HRC. Some events may also include surprise performances by Hudson, and coupled with a special room package and robust social media campaign (#whrc and #lovehasnolimit) led by W Hotels, HRC and Hudson, W hopes to bring real and lasting change for LGBT Americans in all 50 states.

    “W Hotels has always been ‘out’ about our support of the LGBT community, and we believe that equality, love and marriage are crucially important issues to many Americans, including our W Talent, our guests and our local communities,” said Anthony Ingham, Vice President, North America Brand Management, W Hotels Worldwide. “As someone who benefited from New York’s Marriage Equality Act, I personally believe that everyone in this country should be able to marry whomever he or she loves. We’ve recently seen incredible momentum around this issue, and we at W are proud to stand up alongside all of our guests in the fight for equality across the nation.”

    To kick off the partnership, Jennifer Hudson will perform at a TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE launch event tonight at W New York – Union Square, and over the course of the next year, she may make surprise performances at select TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE events around the country. In addition, Hudson has committed a portion of the proceeds from downloads of her forthcoming “I Still Love You” remix single to the HRC on behalf of TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE.

    “I owe a large part of my success to the LGBT community, who has embraced and supported me from early on in my career,” said Hudson. “That is why I am thrilled to join forces with W Hotels and HRC to use the power of music to promote LGBT equality. We have come a long way in such a short time, but now it’s time for the final push, perhaps the hardest one of all, to legalize same sex marriage and broader equality across the entire country. It’s time to ‘turn up’ the volume on this crucial human rights issue.”

    Following the launch, TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE events will be held regularly at all W destinations in the US during the first week of every month. Open to both guests and locals, these events will also serve as fundraisers with a portion of proceeds from each event being donated to HRC. Through 2014, the percentage of funds will be determined by the number of states that allow same-sex marriage, and the percentage will increase each time marriage equality comes to a new state. (For example, currently 31 states have legalized same-sex marriage, so 31% of all bar revenue from TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE events will be donated to HRC in 2014.)

    “Jennifer Hudson’s extraordinary talents on and off the stage inspire us in our work for full LGBT equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We’re incredibly grateful to have her support moving forward as we work together to fight discrimination and engage all Americans in the conversation about the need for nationwide equality.”

    In addition to fundraising, TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE events will also feature representatives from HRC who will help attendees understand ways to get more involved in the battle for full LGBT equality. And for travelers who want to show their support, W Hotels will launch a TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE room package at W Hotels and Retreats across the United States, from which W Hotels will donate $10 to HRC for every package booked and include a One-Year Membership to HRC. Lastly, based on overwhelming internal passion for the cause, W Hotels will launch a campaign for its Talent so that those who are part of the LGBT community or who simply wish to further rally behind the cause can become involved on a grassroots level.

    Inclusiveness is in the W DNA, and this dynamic call to action is just the latest example of W Hotels’ award-winning commitment to the LGBT community. The W brand is synonymous with cutting-edge forward thinking, particularly when it comes to fashion, design and music. As a longtime supporter of HRC as well as many other LGBT advocacy groups, W Hotels have unrivaled recognition as an innovative LGBT friendly lifestyle brand, a sentiment widely celebrated by both W Talent and guests and is a top destination for same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies around the country and the world. In fact, in 2011, the W Hotels in New York City were the first to offer same-sex wedding packages when New York State passed marriage equality. W Hotels was the first hotel brand to have a presence in New York’s famed Gay Pride Parade and has continuously offered unique LGBT package experiences since its debut in 1998. Now W Hotels is taking its support further than ever before, launching “TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE” to help make nationwide LGBT equality a reality.

    For more information on TURN IT UP FOR CHANGE, please visit www.whotels.com/lovehasnolimit. Follow @WHotels on Twitter and Instagram, and follow the movement at #whrc and #lovehasnolimit.

    # # #

    About W Hotels Worldwide

    W Hotels is a contemporary, design-led luxury lifestyle brand and the industry innovator with 44 hotels and retreats, including 16 W-branded residences, in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access, offering a unique mix of cutting-edge design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment. W Hotels offers a holistic lifestyle experience that is integrated into the brand’s sensibility through contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous entertainment experiences, stylish retail concepts, signature spas and inspiring residences. With 15 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to reach more than 60 hotels by 2018. W Hotels have been announced for Amsterdam, Shanghai, Beijing, Bogota, Tel Aviv, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Amman, Jakarta, Panama, Muscat, Suzhou, Changsha, Chengdu, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Shenyang, Marrakech and Brisbane, while upcoming W Retreats include Goa, Phuket, and Hainan Island. For more information, visit www.whotels.com, www.whotels.tumblr.com or www.facebook.com/whotels. To live the W Hotels lifestyle 24/7/365, visit www.wresidences.com. Follow @WHotels on Twitter and Instagram.

    About Jennifer Hudson

    Grammy and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson is an extraordinary talent. Hudson’s highly anticipated new album, “JHUD,” dropped September 23rd to rave reviews. Prior to release, she dropped singles, “He Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” featuring Iggy Azaelea; “I Can’t Describe,” produced by Pharrell and featuring TI; “Walk It Out,” featuring Timbaland; and “It’s Your World,” featuring R. Kelly. Hudson’s 2008 debut album went Platinum and entered Billboard’s Top 200 at No. 2 thus marking the biggest first week sales for an RB female entry since 2004. The album was nominated for four Grammys and won for “Best RB Album.” In 2009, Hudson released her sophomore album, “I Remember Me” which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 and RB Albums charts and has since been certified Gold in the U.S. Hudson won an Academy Award for her role in “Dreamgirls,” an adaptation of the Broadway musical. Her breakout film performance also garnered a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA and an NAACP Image Award. Additional film credits include “Sex and the City,” “Secret Life of Bees,” “Winnie Mandela,” “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” and “Black Nativity.”

    About Human Rights Campaign

    The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

    Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20141021006113/en/

    MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50966381lang=en

    Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/w-hotels-worldwide-joins-forces-142300196.html

    LGBT Jamaicans 'targets of violence'

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

    A member of Jamaica's gay community takes part in a march against stigma, discrimination and homophobia, in Mexico City, on August 2, 2008Human Rights Watch said LGBT Jamaicans were victims of violence because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or identity

    Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Jamaica face “intolerable levels of violence and cannot rely on the police” for protection, Human Rights Watch said.

    In a report, the rights group also documented cases of LGBT Jamaicans being refused housing or employment.

    The New York-based organisation said police investigations were “often inadequate or lacking altogether”.

    The Caribbean island has a reputation of intolerance towards LGBT people.

    Correspondents say many residents in the largely Christian country consider homosexuality to be sinful.

    Continue reading the main story

    Start Quote

    The authorities from the prime minister on down need to call a halt to the violence and discrimination, prosecute anyone responsible, and get homophobic laws off the books.”

    End Quote
    Graeme Reid
    LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch

    ‘Beaten or killed’

    Human Rights Watch said: “LGBT Jamaicans are vulnerable to both physical and sexual violence and many live in constant fear.

    “They are taunted, threatened, fired from their jobs, thrown out of their homes, or worse: beaten, stoned, raped, or killed.”

    Last year, a transgender teenager, Dwayne Jones, was killed by a crowd outside the Jamaican city of Montego Bay, but the murder remains unsolved.

    In its report titled “Not Safe at Home”, the rights group documented 56 cases of violence in which victims reported they were targeted because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or identity.

    It called on the Jamaican government to strike down anti-sodomy laws and take measures to protect LGBT Jamaicans from discrimination and violence.

    “In the past decade the Jamaican police have taken some steps to address the scourge of homophobic violence, but clearly these steps are not enough,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch.

    “So long as discriminatory laws remain in place, piecemeal measures will never be adequate.

    “The authorities from the prime minister on down need to call a halt to the violence and discrimination, prosecute anyone responsible, and get homophobic laws off the books,” Mr Reid added.

    Jamaica is among many English-speaking Caribbean nations with anti-sodomy laws.

    The report also documented cases of discrimination by government institutions, including health care facilities and in the private sector.

    “Families and neighbours often drive LGBT people from their homes and communities.

    “Landlords refuse to rent to LGBT people; health providers stigmatise them when they seek services; and employers arbitrarily fire them,” the rights group said in a press release.

    The Human Rights Watch report was the result of five weeks of field research in Jamaica in April and June 2013.

    Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-29714586

    Rights group: LGBT Jamaicans targets of violence

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

    KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are the targets of unchecked violence and discrimination in Jamaica, frequently refused housing or employment in the Caribbean country typically described as the region’s most hostile to LGBT citizens, a leading human rights group says in a report released Tuesday.

    In its 86-page report titled “Not Safe at Home,” Human Rights Watch noted that LGBT citizens in Jamaica are often driven from their communities by neighbors and sometimes even family. Some health professionals stigmatize them by casting judgment on their sexuality when they seek care. Police protection against bias and physical attacks is generally poor.

    LGBT people in Jamaica “face intolerable levels of violence and cannot rely on the police,” Graeme Reid, the organization’s LGBT rights director, said in a release. “The authorities from the prime minister on down need to call a halt to the violence and discrimination, prosecute anyone responsible, and get homophobic laws off the books.”

    The New York-based rights group called on the Jamaican government to strike down the anti-sodomy law that criminalizes anal sex and another that prohibits “acts of gross indecency” between men. While prosecution is rare under Jamaica’s 1864 law making sexual intimacy between men a crime, the advocacy organization says it gives “social sanction to prejudice and helps to create a context in which hostility and violence is directed against LGBT people.”

    The Human Rights Watch report was the result of five weeks of research conducted last year in Jamaica. It said it interviewed various people, including 71 LGBT citizens — 44 of whom reported being victims of “some form of violence based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Many LGBT people on the island “live in constant fear,” the rights group said.

    Gay activists on the island have long called for the anti-sodomy law to be repealed and said they are still discussing the rights group’s assertions and recommendations. Jamaica’s information minister did not respond to an email seeking comment.

    Dane Lewis, executive director of the advocacy group Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals Gays, has said the Caribbean island of 2.7 million people is seeing an increase in “pockets of tolerance,” but homophobia remains culturally ingrained.

    Human Rights Watch did note that there has been a “groundswell of change in Jamaica in the way it is responding to human rights abuses against LGBT people.” It praised Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other government leaders for constructive statements about LGBT rights.

    But many people in the largely Christian country consider homosexuality to be sinful, and believe the gay rights lobby is a perversion from abroad. Even among those who tolerate homosexuality, some people think it should not be advertised and believe activists have exaggerated reports of violence.

    A recent poll commissioned by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper suggested that 91 percent of Jamaicans are opposed to repealing the anti-sodomy law. The survey of 1,208 Jamaicans had a margin of error of 3 percent.

    Last year, a transgender teen named Dwayne Jones was killed by a mob at a crowded street dance outside Montego Bay and the slaying remains unsolved.

    In late August, a young Jamaican gay rights activist who brought an unprecedented legal challenge to the Caribbean island’s anti-sodomy law withdrew his claim after growing fearful about possible violent reprisals. When the legal challenge was initiated last year, several pastors led crowded revival meetings in Jamaica’s two biggest cities to counter what they called a growing mainstream acceptance of homosexuality.

    Jamaica is among numerous English-speaking Caribbean nations with anti-sodomy laws. Public health officials say the laws criminalizing gay sex have fueled the region’s HIV epidemic by making it hard to effectively reach men who have sex with men, a population that generally faces elevated levels of HIV infection.

    ____

    David McFadden on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmcfadd

    Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/rights-group-lgbt-jamaicans-targets-violence-151929790.html

    LGBT: The 'T' Is for Tyranny

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
    • Matt Barber

    Tranny tyranny. Strike that. “LGBT” tyranny. Lesbian, gay, bisexual tyranny. That, generally speaking, is what’s on display in Houston right now. But trust me: Unlike Vegas, what happens in Houston will, most definitely, not stay in Houston – not if Democrats continue to have their way.

    Houstonians elected themselves, as mayor, an extremist lesbian Democrat (but I repeat myself). She quickly, and quite naturally, took to doing what extremist lesbian Democrats do. Annise Parker is her name, and spreading political Ebola is her game. That and trampling the U.S. Constitution. As you’ve likely heard, Parker’s office has illegally subpoenaed the sermons and privileged communications of a number of Christian pastors who vocally opposed the city’s ironically branded “Equal Rights Ordinance” (aka, the Houston Bathroom Bill).

    More on that later. First, let’s scoot north-leftward for context.

    Washington state, dateline 2012: Colleen is just like the girl next door. Well, sort of. Colleen has a penis. So, I guess, unless the girl next door has a penis, Coleen really isn’t much like her at all.

    But that’s beside the point. In Washington you must, under penalty of law, pretend, along with Colleen and Democrats that, in the face of both reality and sanity, Colleen really is like the girl next door. This includes letting Colleen, who is actually a 47-year-old dude named Clay Scott Francis, lay naked and “sprawled out in a sauna exposing himself” to girls as young as 6 years old. This really happened in the ladies locker room at Evergreen State College.

    It’s only fair, you see, because, as Clay, er, “Colleen,” complained, and as police agreed, this sick bastard was “discriminated against” when he was asked to leave on behalf of a terrorized 17-year-old girl. “This is not 1959 Alabama,” cried Francis. “We don’t call police for drinking from the wrong water fountain.”

    Get that, my African-American friends? According to this beneficiary of “white privilege,” a man who, incidentally, identifies as a “transgender lesbian” (meaning he’s sexually attracted to females), to be told that you cannot sprawl naked and intentionally expose your manly bits to 6-year-old girls is no different from being relegated to a “colored only” water fountain.

    Mayor Annise Parker and the larger Democratic Party agree. Ian Tuttle reports for National Review:

    “Earlier this year Parker, a Democrat, spearheaded the passage of an ‘Equal Rights Ordinance’ (ERO) that added ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ to the city’s non-discrimination provision, which includes, among other things, ‘public accommodations’ – for example, restrooms. Citizens, among them church leaders, balked. They launched a referendum petition that, with the requisite 17,269 signatures, would require the city council to repeal the ERO, or to put the measure up for a vote. They obtained 55,000 signatures.

    “The city secretary, who has sole responsibility for certifying such petitions, signed off.

    “Enter Houston city attorney David Feldman, who, with no legal authority, disqualified 38,000 signatures. Names that were printed, rather than written in cursive, were discarded; names that were written in cursive were considered illegible – just enough names to get the petition below the 17,000-signature requirement, at which point the city council and Mayor Parker rejected it. And several citizens sued.

    “But the city’s shenanigans had only just begun. Unsatisfied with violating the rights of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the City of Houston has subpoenaed privileged communications of five pastors (none of them party to the lawsuit) who helped to organize the petition drive. Among other information, the city is requesting communications between the pastors and their attorneys pertaining to the ERO lawsuit, communications between the pastors and their congregants, and even the pastors’ sermons. …”

    This, of course, is typical Democrat corruption, as well as a gross violation of the First Amendment’s free exercise clause – one of the worst we’ve seen to date. It is, unequivocally, “LGBT” tyranny.

    And it’s rooted in madness.

    Through the secular-”progressive” looking-glass, the term “sexual orientation” has, in a few short years, evolved to accommodate an ever-expanding fruit basket of carnal appetites. First it was “LGB” – liberal shorthand for “lesbian, gay and bisexual.” Then was added a “T” for “transgender.” That’s gender identity disorder – cross-dressing. You know, perverts like Clay Francis. (Today it’s “LGBTOMGWTFBBQ” or some such.)

    Anyway, because it’s now illegal to “discriminate based on the basis of gender identity” in Houston, and since it’s the only “tolerant” thing to do, men who sign up for the ever-persecuted “LGBT” class have secured the hard-fought “civil right” to fully expose themselves to, and otherwise ogle, your daughters in the ladies’ room.
    Yay “gay rights”!

    But slow down there, Dad. According to the law, if you have a problem with Mr. Francis baring all to your baby girl, then you’re the problem. You’re a “transphobe” (“homophobia’s” evil twin sister, er, brother … whatever). Deck this sicko for terrifying your first-grader and you’re off to jail while “Colleen” is off to the “Human Rights Campaign” for a commendation as the latest victim of an “anti-LGBT hate crime.”
    Rosa Parks in drag, I guess.

    Writing of this and other similarly innovative “rights,” such as “gay marriage,” veteran journalist Robert Stacy McCain notes, “This has legal ramifications far beyond Houston, and is by no means limited to the issue of same-sex marriage. What you see, if you look at this in a larger legal and cultural context, is that liberals have decided the ‘equal protection’ clause of the Fourteenth Amendment trumps everything else in the Constitution or in Anglo-American common-law tradition, and that there is no protection whatsoever to those who oppose the ‘emerging awareness’ doctrine proclaimed by the Supreme Court in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case.”

    “Christians in Texas are not going to surrender without a fight,” continued McCain, “and every Democrat in Texas ought to be held accountable for what radical Democrats led by Annise Parker are doing in Houston. Every Democrat in the state should be publicly challenged by Republicans either to endorse Mayor Parker’s extremist agenda, or else to denounce it. And every Texas Democrat who claims to oppose Mayor Parker’s agenda should then be called upon to condemn any Texas Democrat who supports Mayor Parker’s agenda. It is high time, you see, that ‘moderate Democrats’ stop pretending to be moderates, because the Democrat Party is not a moderate party.

    “Mayor Parker’s radical agenda is the agenda of the Democrat Party, not only in Houston, not only in Texas, but everywhere. The sooner Democrats are forced to admit this, the sooner the American people can decide whether they want to follow the Democrat Party down this highway to hell that Democrats are paving at taxpayer expense.”

    The Alamo has returned to Texas. But this time, the bad guys are hoisting a rainbow flag.

    Article source: http://www.christianpost.com/news/lgbt-the-t-is-for-tyranny-128344/

    BARBER: LGBT, The 'T' is for Tyranny

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

    Tranny tyranny. Strike that. “LGBT” tyranny. Lesbian, gay, bisexual tyranny. That, generally speaking, is what’s on display in Houston right now. But trust me: Unlike Vegas, what happens in Houston will, most definitely, not stay in Houston – not if Democrats continue to have their way.

    Houstonians elected themselves, as mayor, an extremist lesbian Democrat (but I repeat myself). She quickly, and quite naturally, took to doing what extremist lesbian Democrats do. Annise Parker is her name, and spreading political Ebola is her game. That and trampling the U.S. Constitution. As you’ve likely heard, Parker’s office has illegally subpoenaed the sermons and privileged communications of a number of Christian pastors who vocally opposed the city’s ironically branded “Equal Rights Ordinance” (aka, the Houston Bathroom Bill).

    More on that later. First, let’s scoot north-leftward for context.

    Washington state, dateline 2012: Colleen is just like the girl next door. Well, sort of. Colleen has a penis. So, I guess, unless the girl next door has a penis, Coleen really isn’t much like her at all.

    But that’s beside the point. In Washington you must, under penalty of law, pretend, along with Colleen and Democrats that, in the face of both reality and sanity, Colleen really is like the girl next door. This includes letting Colleen, who is actually a 47-year-old dude named Clay Scott Francis, lay naked and “sprawled out in a sauna exposing himself” to girls as young as 6 years old. This really happened in the ladies locker room at Evergreen State College.

    It’s only fair, you see, because, as Clay, er, “Colleen,” complained, and as police agreed, this sick bastard was “discriminated against” when he was asked to leave on behalf of a terrorized 17-year-old girl. “This is not 1959 Alabama,” cried Francis. “We don’t call police for drinking from the wrong water fountain.”

    Get that, my African-American friends? According to this beneficiary of “white privilege,” a man who, incidentally, identifies as a “transgender lesbian” (meaning he’s sexually attracted to females), to be told that you cannot sprawl naked and intentionally expose your manly bits to 6-year-old girls is no different from being relegated to a “colored only” water fountain.

    Mayor Annise Parker and the larger Democratic Party agree. Ian Tuttle reports for National Review:

    “Earlier this year Parker, a Democrat, spearheaded the passage of an ‘Equal Rights Ordinance’ (ERO) that added ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ to the city’s non-discrimination provision, which includes, among other things, ‘public accommodations’ – for example, restrooms. Citizens, among them church leaders, balked. They launched a referendum petition that, with the requisite 17,269 signatures, would require the city council to repeal the ERO, or to put the measure up for a vote. They obtained 55,000 signatures.

    “The city secretary, who has sole responsibility for certifying such petitions, signed off.

    “Enter Houston city attorney David Feldman, who, with no legal authority, disqualified 38,000 signatures. Names that were printed, rather than written in cursive, were discarded; names that were written in cursive were considered illegible – just enough names to get the petition below the 17,000-signature requirement, at which point the city council and Mayor Parker rejected it. And several citizens sued.

    “But the city’s shenanigans had only just begun. Unsatisfied with violating the rights of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the City of Houston has subpoenaed privileged communications of five pastors (none of them party to the lawsuit) who helped to organize the petition drive. Among other information, the city is requesting communications between the pastors and their attorneys pertaining to the ERO lawsuit, communications between the pastors and their congregants, and even the pastors’ sermons. …”

    This, of course, is typical Democrat corruption, as well as a gross violation of the First Amendment’s free exercise clause – one of the worst we’ve seen to date. It is, unequivocally, “LGBT” tyranny.

    And it’s rooted in madness.

    Through the secular-”progressive” looking-glass, the term “sexual orientation” has, in a few short years, evolved to accommodate an ever-expanding fruit basket of carnal appetites. First it was “LGB” – liberal shorthand for “lesbian, gay and bisexual.” Then was added a “T” for “transgender.” That’s gender identity disorder – cross-dressing. You know, perverts like Clay Francis. (Today it’s “LGBTOMGWTFBBQ” or some such.)

    Anyway, because it’s now illegal to “discriminate based on the basis of gender identity” in Houston, and since it’s the only “tolerant” thing to do, men who sign up for the ever-persecuted “LGBT” class have secured the hard-fought “civil right” to fully expose themselves to, and otherwise ogle, your daughters in the ladies’ room.

    Yay “gay rights”!

    But slow down there, Dad. According to the law, if you have a problem with Mr. Francis baring all to your baby girl, then you’re the problem. You’re a “transphobe” (“homophobia’s” evil twin sister, er, brother … whatever). Deck this sicko for terrifying your first-grader and you’re off to jail while “Colleen” is off to the “Human Rights Campaign” for a commendation as the latest victim of an “anti-LGBT hate crime.”

    Rosa Parks in drag, I guess.

    Writing of this and other similarly innovative “rights,” such as “gay marriage,” veteran journalist Robert Stacy McCain notes, “This has legal ramifications far beyond Houston, and is by no means limited to the issue of same-sex marriage. What you see, if you look at this in a larger legal and cultural context, is that liberals have decided the ‘equal protection’ clause of the Fourteenth Amendment trumps everything else in the Constitution or in Anglo-American common-law tradition, and that there is no protection whatsoever to those who oppose the ‘emerging awareness’ doctrine proclaimed by the Supreme Court in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case.”

    “Christians in Texas are not going to surrender without a fight,” continued McCain, “and every Democrat in Texas ought to be held accountable for what radical Democrats led by Annise Parker are doing in Houston. Every Democrat in the state should be publicly challenged by Republicans either to endorse Mayor Parker’s extremist agenda, or else to denounce it. And every Texas Democrat who claims to oppose Mayor Parker’s agenda should then be called upon to condemn any Texas Democrat who supports Mayor Parker’s agenda. It is high time, you see, that ‘moderate Democrats’ stop pretending to be moderates, because the Democrat Party is not a moderate party.

    “Mayor Parker’s radical agenda is the agenda of the Democrat Party, not only in Houston, not only in Texas, but everywhere. The sooner Democrats are forced to admit this, the sooner the American people can decide whether they want to follow the Democrat Party down this highway to hell that Democrats are paving at taxpayer expense.”

    The Alamo has returned to Texas. But this time, the bad guys are hoisting a rainbow flag.

    Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).

    Article source: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/deer_park/opinion/barber-lgbt-the-t-is-for-tyranny/article_ae3a7f06-bb48-5f53-a8f9-936f65210e10.html

    Philadelphia's First LGBT Liaison, Gloria Casarez, Dead at 42

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

    The director of Philadelphia’s first Office of LGBT Affairs died this weekend at 42 from breast cancer.

    Gloria Casarez was appointed as the city’s first LGBT liaison by Mayor Michael Nutter in 2008 after being the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI) from 1999 to 2008, according to WCAU.

    “Gloria was fun, serious, strong and kind person who always wanted to do more for others and who fought for equality of rights for all people,” Nutter said in a statement. “She was a clear, strong voice for the LGBTQ community in Philadelphia and across America.”

    Casarez’s work for LGBT equality and justice in Philadelphia earned multiple awards from both local and national organizations. Casarez was the recipient of the Community Service Award from the NAACP, the Cherly Ingram Advocate for Justive Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Kiyoshi Kuromiya Award for Justice from Philadelphia FIGHT, according to WACU.

    “We loved her so much,” Franny Price, executive director of Philly Pride Presents, told Philadelphia Magazine. “We came together to talk about Gloria, to try to cheer each other up, to look at some old pictures of her. She was a leader of our community for a long time.”

    Casarez was diagnosed with breast cancer at 37 but continued to fight for LGBT, homeless and AIDS rights. She was a founding member for Empty the Shelters, which works nationally to combat housing-rights and economic-justice issues, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

    “She was an awesome woman,” Casarez’s wife, Tricia Dressel, told Philadelphia Magazine. “She was incredibly passionate and full of life. She was a warm, fierce leader who knew how to bring people together to work for a cause.”

    Casarez is survived by her wife and mother.

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/philadelphia/2014/10/20/philadelphias-first-lgbt-liaison-gloria-casarez-dead-42

    Kaiser Permanente Recognized as a Leader in LGBT Health Care Equality

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

    OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –Kaiser Permanente has been recognized as a leader in LGBT health care equality in the Healthcare Equality Index 2014 report, an annual survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization. All 38 of Kaiser Permanente’s hospitals across the country submitted the Health Equity Index survey, and each achieved leadership status for its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families.

    Kaiser Permanente Logo

    In 2010, Kaiser Permanente was the first health care provider and hospital system that the Human Rights Campaign designated as a leader in LGBT health care equality. For the past five years, Kaiser Permanente has consistently achieved leader status for all of its hospitals.

    “Kaiser Permanente’s participation and leadership status in the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index is one way we demonstrate our commitment to diversity, inclusion and our vision of improving the health of our members and the diverse communities we serve,” said Ronald L. Copeland, MD, FACS, senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Kaiser Permanente. “We are committed to our continuous journey of learning how to best deliver culturally responsive and respectful care and promote LGBT health equity.”

    The Human Rights Campaign Foundation developed the Healthcare Equality Index to meet an urgent need on the part of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans for equitable, knowledgeable, sensitive and welcoming health care, free of discrimination based on LGBT status.

    “It is a great honor for Kaiser Permanente to achieve leadership status in health care equality for the fifth year in a row,” said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. “This status is a testament to our commitment to providing exemplary and personalized care for all of our members.”

    About The Human Rights Campaign
    The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. For more information please visit www.hrc.org

    About Kaiser Permanente
    Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

    Logo - http://http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130718/SF49717LOGO

    For More Information
    Caitlin Cobb, (510) 271-5955, caitlin.cobb@kp.org

    Article source: http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/kaiser-permanente-recognized-leader-lgbt-160000817.html

    Westminster: LGBT community responds to Synod final document

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

     Westminster: LGBT community responds to Synod final document | LGBT Catholics, Diocese of Westminster, The 14th Extraordinary Synod of Bishops Final Report,

    LGBT Catholics in the Diocese of Westminster have issued the following statement in response to the Family Synod’s Final report. they write: 

    The 14th Extraordinary Synod of Bishops Final Report, released on 18 October 2014, fails significantly to reflect the welcoming and pastorally sensitive discussions which took place during the first week of the Synod. These were summarised in the Relatio, published on 13 October, and although not having official status as a formal working document, this interim document signposted ways in which Synod participants, bishops, priests, and laity were approaching a range of sensitive issues, not least the concerns of lesbian and gay people, their parents and families. Nevertheless, the Synod’s process and openness to discussion provides hope for further development down the road, particularly at the October 2015 Ordinary Synod, where the make-up of the participants will be larger and more diverse, including many more pastorally-oriented bishops.

    As LGBT Catholics in the Diocese of Westminster we regret that the Synod’s final report did not retain the firm welcome to LGBT people expressed in the summary of the Synod’s first-week’s discussions, and something we have experienced in our local Church in recent years. So much of the earlier reflections echoed the tone of the late Cardinal Basil Hume’s pastoral approach to our communities. Instead, the bishops have taken a narrow view of pastoral care by defining it simply as opposition to marriage for same-gender couples. Pastoral care should focus with compassion on LGBT people as total human beings. Many of them have suffered significant alienation and personal harm, and not just as sexual beings. Pastoral care should also affirm the gifts that LGBT people bring to the Church.

    Additionally, their further comment about supposed “international pressure” to accept same-gender marriage selfishly views the hierarchy as the victims, not LGBT people. The Synod has missed the prophetic opportunity to be a voice for those voiceless LGBT people worldwide, who experience gross criminalisation to the point of torture and death, and for whom the attainment of their human rights seems to be an impossible dream. Given the Synod’s original Working Document’s reference to the pastoral needs of same-sex couples, and children in same-sex families, the Bishops have also failed to
    address these concerns.

    We note that the paragraphs on homosexuality which did not receive the required 2/3rd‘s vote, failed by only two votes, notwithstanding significant support from a majority of bishops. Second, this report is not the final word, but as a Vatican spokesperson explained, it is still a working document which will be discussed in the coming year. We now call upon the Vatican and local Bishops’ Conferences to institute Listening Processes over the coming year, to include LGBT people, parents, and other family members, alongside theologians and experienced pastoral ministers.

    For more information see: http://rcdow.org.uk/diocese/lgbt-chaplaincy/

    Article source: http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=25797

    Catholic LGBT activists urge inclusiveness as Vatican meetings end

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

    About 30 Catholics shivered in the chilly Sunday afternoon air as they prayed the rosary on the sidewalk in front of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    The group — a collection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters organized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Call to Action — urged their church to become more inclusive to homosexuals the same day bishops and cardinals concluded two weeks of meetings at the Vatican to discuss family issues.

    Related story: Looking Out: Pope Francis says church must explore civil unions

    The assembly in Rome revealed deep divisions among church leaders on how to respond to homosexuality and divorce, and it ended with the pope chastizing the bishops on a reversal of what would have been a groundbreaking acceptance of gays. “God is not afraid of new things,” he said in his Sunday sermon. “That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.”

    lRelated Section: Gay in Maryland
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    “Let us build a house where love is found,” the Baltimore group sang, an a cappella rendition of Marty Haugen’s Gospel hymn, “All Are Welcome.” After reciting the rosary in English and Spanish, the group took turns naming people who inspired their faith journeys and LGBT people in their prayers.

    Verlina Knight, of Owings Mills, said she joined the prayer vigil “supporting our brothers and sisters who are not being recognized,” on behalf of her stepdaughter, who is gay.

    “We want to let our priests and archbishop know we are all God’s children,” said Knight, who attends the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Towson. “We all have the same rights, and we should be treated equally.”

    “Until then,” she said, “we’ll continue to fight the fight.”

    Sheroon Roles, who attends St. Matthews in Loch Raven, said she prays especially for homosexuals whose families and church reject them.

    “I believe we’re called to love all God’s children,” Roles said. “I am a Catholic, and I don’t think God will exclude anyone from his church.” Pointing at the Basilica, she added, “I believe this temple is for all.”

    Shortly after the prayer service outside ended, Archbishop William Lori presided over a Holy Confirmation Mass, welcoming 26 candidates as adults into the Catholic faith. The Baltimore archbishop has drawn criticism from LGBT groups including the HRC, which named him among the “Best of the Worst: Catholic Bishops Across the Country” for his opposition to gay marriage.

    Baltimore Archdiocese spokesman Sean Caine said in an email that Lori and Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden have met with same-sex marriage proponents and will continue to do so.

    “The Church must strive to always be a welcoming home and a source of comfort to all God’s people, especially those who have been away from the Church or who have not always found it to be welcoming,” Caine said.

    Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Latino and Catholic Initiatives, led the quiet, respectful vigil in “the traditional Catholic way,” for two reasons.

    “First, it’s the language we know,” she said. “We’re no strangers to faith; we’re no strangers to the church.”

    Indeed, more than one in the group didn’t need lyric sheets to sing the hymn, and the group murmered along to every “Hail Mary,” their rosaries in hand.

    Second, she said, “if you don’t speak Catholic, they don’t listen to you.”

    Rivera and the Human Rights Campaign organized similar events in seven U.S. cities, including San Francisco and Philadelphia, over the last two weeks to call attention to the policy meetings going on in Rome.

    With the synod coming to a close, Sunday afternoon’s vigil on Cathedral Street was the last of the tour, she told the crowd. “But it’s the beginning of a much larger movement,” she added.

    Reuters contributed to this article.

    cmcampbell@baltsun.com

    twitter.com/cmcampbell6

    Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun

    Article source: http://baltimore.feedsportal.com/c/34255/f/623016/s/3f9defa3/sc/8/l/0L0Sbaltimoresun0N0Cnews0Cmaryland0Cbs0Emd0Elgbt0Evigil0E20A1410A190Estory0Bhtml0Dtrack0Frss/story01.htm

    LGBT community hits Trillanes’ bill

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

    The silence of President Aquino on the murder of a Filipino transgender by a member of the United States Marine Corps more than a week ago in Olongapo City is deafening. Jennifer Laude, 26, a citizen of this country was killed brutally (severely beaten, strangled, drowned , her head shoved in the toilet bowl) almost midnight of Oct. 11 by  Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is here as part of the PH-US military exercises. No representative from Malacañang nor from the Department …

    Article source: http://ph.news.yahoo.com/lgbt-community-hits-trillanes-bill-194007896.html

    How the gay community shamefully lets Clintons off the hook

    Sunday, October 19th, 2014

    Few political allegiances are more inexplicable than the love affair between Bill Clinton and America’s LGBT community.

    During his eight years in office, our 42nd president not only introduced the military’s disastrous Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy in 1993, he also furthered the ban prohibiting HIV-positive travelers from entering the US, failed to pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act and showed questionable leadership in easing approval for crucial HIV medications.

    If that weren’t enough, Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented same-sex married couples from federal benefits and recognition.

    As author and academic Nathaniel Frank explains, “Clinton will go down in history as the only president who signed…federal laws mandating discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.”

    Yet this Saturday in Washington, DC, the same Bill Clinton will be welcomed as keynote speaker at the 18th annual national dinner of the Human Rights Campaign — America’s largest LGBT rights group.

    Calling him a “transformational leader for our nation and the world,” HRC President Chad Griffin has said that he’s “thrilled” Clinton will once again appear at the sold-out black-tie event.

    The choice of Clinton to address American LGBT leaders is a farce of Faustian proportions — as if the NAACP had invited George Wallace as headliner.

    HRC says Clinton’s Washington-era transgressions are now history — rendered moot by his myriad mea culpas and the numerous LGBT-rights achievements of the Obama administration.

    Sure, DOMA might have been state-sanctioned discrimination not seen since the time of Jim Crow, but Clinton’s past sins are now “old news,” said HRC VP for communications and marketing Fred Sainz, who in an act of revisionism bordering on the sycophantic, added, “President Clinton has consistently been a supporter of LGBT people and issues important to us.”

    Chad GriffinPhoto: Getty Images

    Of course, it would have taken courage to stand up for gay rights when it was the unpopular thing to do. Now it’s just pandering.

    Phrases like “old news” reveal just how out of touch “mainstream” progressive groups like HRC have become with actual progressives.

    Cosseted by big egos and even bigger salaries — in Griffin’s case, over $360,000 annually — folks like Griffin and Sainz may indeed view Clinton’s past as irrelevant.

    But for many of the thousands of lives it destroyed, the consequences of Clinton’s presidency still reverberate as strongly as ever.

    More than 25,000 bi-national LGBT couples, for example, lived with the cost and terror of potential deportation prior to the Supreme Court’s overturning of DOMA last year.

    And as a result of DADT, some 14,000-plus soldiers were booted from the military between 1994 to 2011 — including hundreds of highly specialized linguistic and security experts who could have come in handy after 9/11.

    “Clinton may have expended real political capital to end the ban on gays in the military, but he botched the effort and ultimately failed,” says Frank, whose 2009 book “Unfriendly Fire” is considering the definitive analysis of DADT.

    That failure — along with DOMA’s onerous effects — will forever remain “an indelible part of the Clinton legacy.”

    With Hillary Clinton likely running for the White House, it’s easy to understand Clinton’s attraction to HRC. An HRC stamp-of-approval helps rehabilitate Bill’s dubious LGBT record while appealing to a key constituency Hillary needs to secure the presidency.

    But like her husband, Hillary has also flip-flopped on LGBT rights — so much so that the Economist described her “belated conversion” to supporting marriage equality as “cautious to the point of cowardice” back in March 2013.

    In embracing Bill and Hillary, no minority group has so thoroughly sold out its base like HRC and its ilk as they scrounge for status in Washington.

    The Clintons, meanwhile, relearn the lesson that no matter how poorly they treat their constituents, they’ll come back.

    I tried to ask Griffin about HRC’s invitation to Clinton, but he refused to comment.

    Instead, an HRC flak cited Clinton’s regret over DADT and DOMA along with a list of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s pro-LGBT achievements.

    Arrogant and incredulous, HRC’s response betrayed a strain of left-wing impunity which masquerades as progressivism but is actually steeped in elitism.

    Others, however, are far less forgiving — neither of Clinton’s misdeeds or HRC for absolving them.

    “Clinton has sort of washed his slate clean, and now everybody seems to love him, but both he or the HRC provide little of permanent value to us,” says long-time author and activist Larry Kramer, whose semi-autobiographical play “The Normal Heart” was recently adapted for television by HBO. “To be frank, Clinton isn’t entitled to support from gay people. So HRC is welcome to Clinton, because neither has delivered as far as I’m concerned.”

    David Kaufman is the real-estate and travel editor of The Post.

    Article source: http://nypost.com/2014/10/18/how-the-gay-community-shamefully-lets-clintons-off-the-hook/

    Julia Roberts, Bob Greenblatt Support LGBT Community at GLSEN Respect Awards

    Sunday, October 19th, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Hollywood luminaries and the LGBT community frequently went off script at the GLSEN Respect Awards to bring home the message that all students should have access to a safe and supportive school environment, regardless of sexuality. The organization’s 10th annual event, which honored Julia Roberts and Danny Moder, was held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire on Friday night.

    GLSEN, an organization building a network of students, parents and educators to prevent bullying against members of the LGBT community in schools, highlighted industry’s stars and execs that have made representation of minority groups a priority in the past year. Roberts and Moder, who worked on HBO’s Emmy-winning “The Normal Heart,” took home the Humanitarian Award, the night’s top honor.

    Roberts, who accepted the award alone explaining that her husband was in Texas, said many people in the room deserved recognition for their efforts in heightening inclusion for LGBT students. She said, “A humanitarian is a person who brings attention to the welfare and good works of others, so in that regard we are all that.”

    NBC’s Bob Greenblatt, who is also the only openly gay broadcast television chairman, earned the Chairman’s Award for his long trek record of bringing diverse characters to network television. Throughout his career, he has worked on shows ranging from “Melrose Place,” “Weeds,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Chicago Fire,” which have all had an LGBT character represented.

    Star of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” Amy Poehler introduced Greenblatt. “For more than two decades Bob has brought us critical and much acclaimed programming with characters that have been groundbreaking for the LGBT community,” the comedian said, “and we have been working even before the Q was added.”

    “I feel privileged to work in the entertainment business, which is also making real progress over the years,” Greenblatt noted. “I’ve had a hand in bringing many LGBT folks to television. I did it to show America how normal and universal our stories are.”

    “Dancing With the Stars” Derek Hough earned the Inspiration Award and recounted his experiences of being bullied — sometimes physically — while he was growing up. “Dancing was my GLSEN,” he said.

    GLSEN student ambassadors were also given a spotlight, alongside their humorous presenters, which included Poehler and Kirsten Vangsness from “Criminal Minds.” Cliff Tang, a high school student from New York, received the Student Advocate of the Year Award. Greenblatt lauded the students for their bravery and being proactive in their communities. “The real heroes are the kids in this room and all over the country that are fighting the good fight.” Many of the GLSEN student ambassadors took to the stage throughout the night to share their experiences of being bullied because of their sexual orientation and expressed feeling isolated before joining the organization.

    https://twitter.com/JordynJournals/status/523492759593054208

    GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard re-emphasized the purpose and continued importance of the organization. After recounting an experience of traveling to South Africa and talking to a student who identified as a lesbian and was wondering where she could receive support, Byard said, “GLSEN’s job is to make sure that whenever a young person has that fear in their heart, whenever they ask that question, they get an answer.”

    Roberts closed the night’s speeches on a warm note, posing a question to the audience as they moved forward in the fight against bullying within schools. “What is the point if not to be kind and unconditional in our love and generosity toward one another? What is the point of a day that doesn’t have some kind of positive feeling?”

    (Pictured: Julia Roberts accepts the GLSEN Respect Humanitarian Award from student ambassador of GLSEN Mark Pino and Ryan Murphy.)

    Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel

    Article source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/news/sns-rt-variety-entertainmemt1vrt1201333140-20141018-story.html?track=rss

    Op-ed: LGBT Americans Celebrate, But Atrocities Abroad Escalate

    Friday, October 17th, 2014

    Although LGBT Americans are celebrating tremendous marriage victories throughout the U.S., we are also faced with the troubling picture of a strong and growing international anti-LGBT movement, threatening the equality and freedom of our global community. LGBT Americans and our allies have fought hard to reach this moment in America. It’s a moment where there is tremendous momentum in favor of equality. But looking beyond our borders shows that this momentum is moving in the opposite direction for people in many parts of the world.                            

    One needn’t look far to find countless examples of oppression and discrimination. While the last few weeks have been filled with images of smiling couples lining up across America to finally get married, eight Egyptian men are awaiting trial for being part of a video depicting a same-sex wedding that went viral online. These men could face up to three years in prison.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg in Egypt, as local advocates have recently accused Egyptian authorities of using social networking applications to track down gay men for imprisonment under laws that have been used to criminalize the activity of gay men as “debauchery” or “insulting public morals.” This year alone, dozens have been arrested.

    South of Egypt, the picture is grim. The National Assembly of Chad recently approved a bill that would punish an LGBT individual with up to 20 years in prison. If signed, Chad will become the 78th country to criminalize same-sex relationships. To the west of Chad, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who notoriously referred to LGBT people as “vermin” who should be killed, has a piece of legislation sitting on his desk that could punish those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” with a life sentence. If the term “aggravated homosexuality” sounds familiar, it’s because the Gambian legislation looks like a photocopy of the Anti-Homosexuality Act enacted (then overturned on a technicality) in Uganda earlier this year.

    This momentum backwards is in no way isolated to nations in Africa. Following the example of Russia’s abhorrent anti-propaganda law, Kyrgyzstan is positioned to pass similar legislation that restricts LGBT advocacy. The legislation in Kyrgyzstan takes things one step further by making LGBT advocacy punishable with imprisonment. The Russian law, which continues to face international condemnation, has created havoc for LGBT Russians despite only relying on fines as punishment.

    Russia is not the only troubling trend-setter. The people of Croatia approved a constitutional amendment excluding same-sex couples from marriage in 2013. At this moment, Macedonian elected officials are considering enacting a same-sex marriage ban, while Slovakia passed a similar constitutional amendment this summer. Disturbingly, Macedonian elected officials and anti-LGBT advocates in Slovakia are pushing to go even further by proposing to ban not only same-sex marriage but any sort of same-sex union. Not to mention, a little to the North, Latvian advocates are currently battling legislation that would prevent LGBT youth from receiving accurate health information, in addition to the possibility of a referendum to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Latvia.

    This backsliding is enhanced by a network of Americans who travel the world to promote damaging policies and hateful rhetoric against LGBT people. HRC’s report, “Exposed: The Export of Hate,” details how American anti-LGBT advocates, like Scott Lively, Brian Brown, Robert Oscar Lopez, and Sharon Slater, spread their venomous hatred throughout the world. 

    Take Slater, for example, the founder and president of Family Watch International, who advocates for policies that respond to her claim that LGBT people are “more likely to engage in pedophilia.” Disturbingly, Slater and Family Watch International have consultative status at the United Nations. American exporters of hate like her must be exposed for their lies and hateful work.

    As we celebrate the victories of the last two weeks, and look towards a brighter future in the U.S., we must also strengthen our domestic commitment to global equality, and use every tool at our disposal to achieve that goal.

    TY COBB is the director of HRC Global. Join HRC and other global human rights organizations on October 18 to #StandWithEgyptLGBT.

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/10/17/op-ed-lgbt-americans-celebrate-atrocities-abroad-escalate

    25 Senators Urge Obama to Stand Up for LGBT Rights Worldwide

    Friday, October 17th, 2014

    President Obama got a letter Friday from 25 Democratic senators urging him to make a change on his global LGBT policy before the end of the year.

    “In nearly eighty nations around the world there exist laws that criminalize homosexuality, prohibit public support for the LGBT community, or promote homophobia,” wrote the senators, asking the president to appoint a special envoy for LGBT human rights in the U.S. Department of State. “In seven countries, homosexuality is punishable by death. Even more troubling, though, is the recent trend of countries passing barbaric laws that deliberately try to persecute the LGBT community.”

    The letter, authored by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, echoes legislation the senator proposed in June to enact the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2014. If passed, the legislation would create a special diplomatic envoy whose job it would be to promote, protect, and defend the rights of LGBT people throughout the world.

    “The White House appreciates the letter and the Obama Administration remains committed to protecting the right of LGBT people both here and abroad,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told Metro Weekly. “We have no specific announcements to make, but look forward to working with Congress as we promote the human rights of all people.”

    The International Human Rights Defense Act would make responding to discrimination and violence to LGBT people a priority for the U.S. State Department, according to the Washington Blade.

    “Time is of the essence,” the senators wrote in closing. ”It is crucial that this position be established as soon as possible to ensure that it is carried over into the next administration. By appointing this senior official before the end of this calendar year, your administration can ensure that the position is embedded into the culture of the State Department before the end of your term in office.”

    Read the letter below.

    Senate Letter on LGBT Special Envoy

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/2014/10/16/25-senators-urge-obama-stand-lgbt-rights-worldwide

    Madison VA Hospital recognized as national LGBT leader

    Friday, October 17th, 2014


    MADISON, Wis. –

    The Veterans Hospital in Madison has been recognized as a national leader in LGBT health care equality, according to a release.

    The Human Rights Campaign Foundation recognized the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital as part of its Healthcare Equality Index 2014, officials said. The annual index survey encourages equal care for LGBT Americans and recognizes health care institutions doing the best work.

    The Madison VA Hospital earned top recognition in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care of LGBT patients and their families, according to the release.

    “We are proud of the quality care we provide to all veterans, and we’re especially pleased to be recognized for the equality of top-notch care we provide to LGBT patients who are among our nation’s treasured veterans,” Judy McKee, director of the Madison VA Hospital, said in the release.

    The Madison VA Hospital was one of a group of 426 health care facilities nationwide to be named leaders in LGBT health care equality, officials said. Other criteria the facilities were evaluated on include a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education for staff members.

    “Leaders in LGBT health care equality change the lives of lGBT patients and their families for the better each and every day,” HRC President Chad Griffin said. “LGBT people should be treated equally in all aspects of our lives, and HRC celebrates William S. Middleton Memorial Hospital for their tireless work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all patients.”

    Article source: http://www.channel3000.com/news/Madison-VA-Hospital-recognized-as-national-LGBT-leader/29169772

    Hook-up Apps Are Destroying Gay Youth Culture

    Friday, October 17th, 2014
    texting
    Getty Images

    Many dating apps help perpetuate what people scorn about LGBT: promiscuity, impersonal behavior, and compromised interpersonal connection

    Article source: http://time.com/3510261/hook-up-apps-destroying-gay-relationships/

    Johns Hopkins Hospital recognized as Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality

    Thursday, October 16th, 2014

    http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/

    Article source: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20141016/Johns-Hopkins-Hospital-recognized-as-Leader-in-LGBT-Healthcare-Equality.aspx

    LGBT community to hold prayer vigil at Cincinnati cathedral

    Thursday, October 16th, 2014

    The issue of how the Catholic Church relates to the gay community was front and center outside St. Peter in Chains during a prayer vigil Wednesday.

    The Human Rights Campaign and the Cincinnati LGBT community gathered outside the church to talk about the issue of having gay parishioners involved in the church.

    Watch this story

    A provisional document produced at the halfway point of a two-week meeting on family life in Vatican City this week said gays had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, while morally problematic, provided gay couples with “precious” support.

    It said the church must welcome divorced people and recognize the “positive” aspects of civil marriages and even Catholics who cohabit.

    Amid an outcry from conservatives, organizers of the synod insisted that the document was merely a working paper that would be amended.

    Participants said the rally was a step in the right decision. They prayed for acceptance.

    “The biggest example of the church not being receptive to LBGT issues is related to their current contracts with teachers. Firing teachers that stand up for LGBT rights a good friend of mine was actually a casualty of those contracts and not only are they losing good teachers it’s discrimination,” organizer Steve Newsome said.

    Cincinnati was one of seven stops for the Human Rights Campaign. Organizers will hold rallies in Baltimore and Philadelphia later in the week.

    Article source: http://www.wlwt.com/news/lgbt-community-to-hold-prayer-vigil-at-cincinnati-cathedral/29141696?absolute=true

    Op-ed: Hospitals Are Failing LGBTs

    Thursday, October 16th, 2014

    You’ve broken out in a cold sweat. You’re short of breath. And you feel pressure in your chest. You’ve got health insurance and know you should be going to the emergency room — yet you don’t.

    The situation seems to defy logic, but now imagine that you’re living in a small, conservative community. You’re a transgender man. And your primary care doctor is more than 100 miles away because you were humiliated by the staff during your visit to the local doctor’s office. You’ve heard horror stories about the local hospital.

    This isn’t hypothetical. It’s a situation that plays out in small towns and large cities across the nation. According to a landmark survey by Lambda Legal, 70 percent of transgender people and 56 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have reported discrimination in health care services. And large numbers reported being refused care outright — with transgender people, people of color, and people living with HIV being disproportionately denied treatment.

    More and more hospitals are recognizing this as a serious health threat — and they’re doing something about it. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation just released our 2014 Healthcare Equality Index, surveying major health care facilities in every state in the nation on their commitment to LGBT patients and employees.

    A record-breaking 426 received the highest designation as “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” — a jump of 100 percent from 2013. To earn such a distinction, Equality Leaders must document that they have adopted and publicized foundational policies for LGBT equity and inclusion — including nondiscrimination policies for patients and staff, equal visitation policies, and training in LGBT patient-centered care.

    And while more hospital administrations than ever are changing policies and implementing practices to ensure everybody gets equitable care, too many aren’t. And too many patients are suffering.

    Just the other day, a staff member told me that her partner was delaying critical care because of worry about how they’d be treated at the hospital. Fortunately, the staff member knew our HEI could help — and they went together to the nearest Leader on the list. But it’s a stark reality if you don’t have a Leader nearby.

    Beyond our HEI, there are ways to move hospital policy forward. Prompted in part by President Obama’s 2010 call to ensure equal visitation to same-sex couples hospitals are now required to have equal visitation policies for same-sex couples and their families — or risk losing their Medicaid and Medicare funding. In fact, many hospitals cite this requirement when coming to us for help putting policies into practice.

    But no similar requirement is in place for written nondiscrimination policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s the peace of mind that LGBT people really need.

    So we live in this limbo where even the most unfriendly hospital must honor a partner’s wishes to have their partner by their bedside — or, with advanced directives in hand, make medical decisions on their behalf. But they can still face discrimination by that same hospital simply for being LGBT.

    The Department of Health and Human Services has it in its authority today the ability to start drafting regulations requiring that hospitals implement LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies — or risk losing their taxpayer funding.

    This mandate wouldn’t make hospitals suddenly welcome LGBT people with open arms, but it would give recourse to those who are harassed or humiliated when they seek care. Most important, such a mandate would help ensure that LGBT people don’t delay seeking care when it can literally be a matter of life or death.

    JEFF KREHELY is the vice president and chief foundation officer for the Human Rights Campaign.

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/10/15/op-ed-hospitals-are-failing-lgbts

    Penn Medicine Hospitals Named "Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality" by Human Rights Campaign

    Thursday, October 16th, 2014

    Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health Highlighted in Healthcare Equality Index

    Contact Information

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    Newswise — (PHILADELPHIA) – All four hospitals in the University of Pennsylvania Health System, including the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, and Chester County Hospital were listed today as a 2014 LGBT Healthcare Equality Leader from Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

    The Healthcare Equality Leaders were selected based on an annual survey identifying healthcare institutions that lead in efforts to offer equal care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients.

    Penn Medicine hospitals earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families. The four hospitals standardized their patient and employee non-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and provided LGBT patient care training for over 60 senior managers in organization leadership, nursing management, patient relations, admitting, and human resources management.

    “This is a major honor for our health system and reflects our commitment to advancing LGBT patient care, research, and education,” says Baligh Yehia, MD, MPP, MSHP, assistant professor of Medicine and director of the Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health.

    The Penn Medicine hospitals were among a select group of 426 healthcare facilities nationwide with this distinction. These facilities meet key criteria, including patient and employee non-discrimination policies that specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education for key staff members.

    “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality change the lives of LGBT patients and their families for the better each and every day,” said Chad Griffin, HRC president. “LGBT people should be treated equally in all aspects of our lives, and HRC celebrates Penn Medicine for its tireless work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all patients.”

    The Penn Medicine effort was spearheaded by the newly established Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health. Penn Medicine is the first academic medical center in the Northeast — one among just a handful of academic medical centers in the U.S. — to launch a program across multiple professional schools and affiliated hospitals to improve the health of LGBT individuals. Health disparities and inequalities within this community have become increasingly recognized, but are rarely addressed in today’s health care settings.

    With more than 1.5 million members and supporters, the HRC is the largest civil rights organization seeking equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
    The Healthcare Equality Index offers healthcare facilities resources to help provide equal care to LGBT patients, as well as assistance in complying with new regulatory requirements and access to high-quality staff training.

    For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2014, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/hei.

    ###
    Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

    The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

    The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania — recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital — the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

    Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.

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    Article source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/624728/?sc=rsmn

    LOOK: Map shows multiple LGBT slays in PH

    Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

    MANILA – A map created by a group promoting awareness about discrimination against members of the LGBT community showed that at least 20 trans and gender variant people have been killed in the Philippines since 2008.

    The Google interactive map, prepared by The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project, shows that there have been 1,509 reported murders of trans and gender variant people the group has documented since January 2008.

    Of the 1,509 deaths, 20 were from the Philippines, the map showed.

    One of the deaths listed in the map is that of dermatologist Russell Fritz Saliganan alias Nathalia Ann Gonzales who was stabbed 51 times by a jilted lover last January 2013.

    Naomi Fontanos, executive director of Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas, believes the figures reported in the website are way lower than the actual count of transgender and people of other orientation who were killed in the Philippines.

    For example, a study funded by the UN Development Program and the US Agency for International Development showed that 28 killings involving the LGBT community were tallied in the first half of 2011 alone.

    GANDA Filipinas is calling for intensified efforts to achieve gender equality following the killing of a transgender woman in Olongapo City where a US Marine was tagged as the suspect.

    Fontanos said the killing of Jeffrey Laude aka Jennifer can be described as a ”classic case” of violence against a transgender, noting that what happened to the victim is something that is not new anymore.

    ”We have found that all the cases documented share one thing in common: transgender victims of violence die very brutal deaths,” Fontanos said in an e-mail interview with ABS-CBNnews.com

    Fontanos said the Philippines still has no national law protecting members of the Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community from violence and discrimination.

    ”LGBT people are not treated equally in the Philippines. This is a social justice issue that the Philippine government must urgently address,” Fontanos said.

    ”It shows how LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Filipinos are usually helpless when they are victims of crime in the Philippines. This shows that LGBT Filipinos, in spite of the Constitutional provision on equality under the law, are really unequal in the eyes of the law when it comes to seeking redress or justice.”

    Laude was last seen alive checking in at a hotel in Olongapo City last Saturday. The hotel staff said her companion, described as a foreigner, already left the hotel when Laude’s lifeless body was found.

    Authorities later said the foreigner was a US Marine, identified as Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton.

    Pemberton is currently under US custody even as various groups urge the Philippine government to secure his custody.

    ‘TREATED AS HUMANS’

    Fontanos said the Laude slay case has shown how some people, including authorities, regard members of the LGBT community.

    ”The police and members of the general public are quick to judge the victim because of her transgender status. People also automatically place blame on the victim. This is the usual mentality when the victim of violence is a woman,” she said.

    She added that it is about time people learn how to respect a transgender person’s orientation.

    ”I hope that women’s rights advocates and feminists see that in Jennifer Laude’s case, violence against a transgender woman is violence against women.”

    ”In spite of the fact that people widely use the term ‘LGBT’, many still do not understand what the rights of transgender people are. Jennifer Laude is not a gay man. She is a transgender woman. Possibly, she was not killed because of her sexual orientation but because of her gender identity.”

    Fontanos said equal treatment towards members of the LGBT community in the country still has a long way to go. She said while many have exhibited acceptance of LGBT people, this is not what they need.

    ”Acceptance for me is problematic because it accords privilege those accepting LGBT people. That is stil an unequal relationship. We don’t want to be accepted. Instead, we want to be treated as human beings with equal rights as anyone.

    ”Not all LGBT Filipinos have a good family life, education, job, etc. Till now, we experience abuse and discrimination in our public and private lives.”

    Article source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/10/14/14/look-map-shows-multiple-lgbt-slays-ph

    Op-ed: LGBT Families Will Make the World a Better Place

    Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

    I never wanted to get married. Even as a child, I visualized my adult self as having children, but not being married. Approaching my mid-20s during the early 1990s and coming out as a lesbian, I realized why I didn’t want to marry: I just couldn’t see myself living my life with a husband. As a burgeoning feminist sociologist in a doctoral program, I studied the long and oppressive history of marriage, a conservative institution founded on the premise that women were men’s property. That sealed the deal for me: I saw no reason to get married. 

    I did, however, fall in love, commit myself to my life partner, purchase a home with her, and most significantly we’re raising two children together. All the things that marriage signifies — love, commitment, children, family — I could achieve without any government-issued license. 

    Over the years, however, I found that the lure of marriage is strong, particularly as it affords 1,138 federal economic and legal benefits that no other single institution provides. With two children who we adopted together through a legal loophole 15 years earlier, and with a trail of documents that loosely bound us legally together, marriage was by far the simplest, cleanest, and most guaranteed way of securing our family status. And so when the U.S. Supreme Court freed the federal government of the Defense of Marriage Act, and our home state of New Jersey legalized marriage between same-sex people, we decided to wed. We entered into marriage on a cold and snowy January day with our families bearing witness. Six months later, we combined our honeymoon and 20th anniversary celebration with a trip to Europe. 

    Having the support and protection of our government was a powerful statement. “Let others tell me that my relationship is immoral or unworthy,” I thought on my wedding day, “but let them now take it up with my government.”

    The contradiction of marriage — being both an oppressive and liberating social institution— symbolizes in many ways the rocky social terrain on which LGBT families are forming today. LGBT people are creating families in a society that simultaneously demonizes and embraces them. With a desire to understand and perhaps deconstruct this rocky terrain, I decided to write LGBT Families, a comprehensive overview based on solid research so that readers can form their own opinions. But as I write in the introduction, my analysis takes a certain perspective:

    “Studying and writing about LGBT families is certainly not a neutral endeavor. And while I try to be as objective as possible in my presentation of the research, the main purpose of this book is to highlight four main points:

    1.     LGBT families, like all families, are socially constructed. This means that how we define family, the experiences that people have within families, and the privileges bestowed upon or denied to certain fami­lies are based on historical, economic, social, cultural, and political factors, not on biological mandates.

    2.     Nearly every problem that LGBT people around the world face as LGBT people — including those in the United States — are due to het­erosexism, homophobia, and dominant gender norms that define masculinity and femininity in ways that leave little if any room for variation. In other words, the problems LGBT families and people face are caused by factors external to themselves. However, people around the world are quick to blame LGBT people for problems that are caused by other factors.

    3.     People’s fears of LGBT people, as strong as those fears may be, are unfounded. Such fears are based on beliefs, not on facts. The facts show that LGBT families do not harm society; indeed LGBT families benefit society in a variety of ways.

    4.     A change in policies, coupled with the continuing change of hearts and minds, will lead to equality for LGBT people and eliminate many of the problems facing LGBT people and their families today.”

    Despite my own personal and intellectual journey with marriage, the chapters that I find even more compelling—and heartbreaking—than the marriage chapter are those on LGBT youth (Chapter 4) and intimate partner violence (Chapter 5) as evidenced in the recap of Chapter 4:

    The research presents “a picture of what happens to LGBT youth when they lack social, psychological, and physical support from their families, peers, teachers, physicians, mental health professionals, and social workers. LGBT youth face not only increased incidences of verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, but also they are more likely to become depressed, drop out of school, lose academic ambition, run away, abuse drugs and alcohol, and engage in risky sexual behavior. Furthermore, studies show that conversion therapy often causes more damage than good, and generally does not work (Skougard, 2011). In other words, all evidence points to the fact that external factors, not the youth themselves, cause the increased problems LGBT youth experience.” 

    And just as marriage equality legitimizes my own personal relationship and the relationships of thousands of other LGBT people, I hope that the evidence I provide in my book helps to legitimize and support LGBT families in general — the book’s closing paragraph follows:

    “By understanding the research and data, and simply by interacting with a variety of LGBT people and seeing how they organize and run their families, people can begin to think critically about issues and base their opinions on real evidence and knowledge. I hope this book provides such evidence and knowledge, so people can begin to understand the lives and experiences of LGBT people, the value of LGBT families, and the laws, policies, and prac­tices that often make the lives of LGBT families so very difficult. By changing laws, policies, and practices, we have the power to help LGBT people and their families live with the dignity, respect, and rights they deserve. Once we truly support LGBT families, we create a better quality of relationships within families. Rather than focusing on the structure of families, we should focus on the quality of relationships within those families. By doing so, we will find that families with quality relationships contribute to society in ways that help reduce social problems and strengthen the larger family landscape.”

    I truly hope that LGBT people and their heterosexual allies gain some strength from this book. I also hope that this book will help eradicate any fears heterosexual people may have about LGBT families. This book stands in solidarity with all diverse family forms – families that developed out of particular social and economic contexts, and that contribute to the society around them, despite the hardships that some in society may level at them.

     

    NANCY MEZEY, Ph.D., is a sociology professor and associate dean at Monmouth University. Her new book, LGBT Families, was released by SAGE Publications in July.

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    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/10/15/op-ed-lgbt-families-will-make-world-better-place

    WATCH: Coming Out Day Arrests Are Proof Putin Wants to Turn Back Time

    Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

    Despite receiving municipal permission to rally, LGBT demonstrators at a National Coming Out Day protest in Moscow were dragged to police cars by plainclothes officers less than an hour after they gathered Sunday, reports the Washington Blade.  

    “They were criminal policemen, who watched the rally and waited for the moment to detain the participants,” Nikolai Baev, one of the protesters detained, told the Blade. “This is a common practice in Putin’s country; a lot of police agents watch all rallies in Moscow.”

    Organizers said they had all of the necessary permits to hold the demonstration. But the arresting agents told them the protest was still illegal.

    Russia’s nationwide ban on so-called gay propaganda, signed into law by President Vladimir Putin last year, criminalizes any positive discussion of LGBT people, identities, or issues in forums that might be accessible to minors. In practice, the law has given police broad license to interpret almost any mention of being LGBT — whether uttered, printed, or signified by waving a rainbow flag — as just cause to arrest LGBT people. It’s just one sign in an increasingly harsh crackdown on individual freedoms and basic rights for LGBT Russians. 

    When Baev and his follow protesters realized that they were about to be arrested, they tried to defuse the situation by taking down Pride flags and a banner. That didn’t work.

    “Police officers asked the organizer to get into the [police] car,” Dima Svetliy, another protester who was arrested, told the Blade. “We understood that we were now screwed.”

    It wasn’t long before officers stopped asking and started dragging protesters into their cars.

    “Policemen started to drag people on the ground to police cars,” Baev told the Blade. Those detained were charged with disobeying officers and released after three hours in jail, according to the paper.

    The scene this weekend was just the latest incident in what appears to be a trend leading the technically democratic society down a path that looks eerily reminiscent of the 1970s in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. 

    Last week Putin’s ombudsman for children’s rights terminated a long-running student exchange program after it was revealed that American officials are helping a 17-year-old gay Russian boy seek asylum in the U.S.

    Although initial reports only speculated about the cause behind the teenager’s request to stay in the U.S. and that petition’s impact on Russia’s participation in the Future Leaders Exchange program, The New York Times reports that multiple sources have now confirmed that Russia did indeed end its decades-long participation in FLEX as a result of the young man seeking asylum.

    Saying she was “shocked” that an anonymous U.S. official had told the Times that Russia’s pullout from the FLEX program centered on her client’s asylum application, the attorney representing the Russian teen nonetheless confirmed to Radio Free Europe that that was indeed the case.

    “I think it does at least allow me now to say that this is about our client and our client’s identity and our client’s fear of returning to Russia,” Susan Reed, a supervising attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “It’s not about anybody else.”

    Reed declined to give the boy’s name, information about with whom he is now living, or any further details about the case. However, she noted that Russian diplomats have already been providing misinformation to the media, including claims the Russian boy had been assigned two attorneys of “nontraditional sexual orientations,” which is the language used to describe LGBT people in the aforementioned law banning “gay propaganda.” For the record, Reed told the Times that she is married to a man, has two children, and is Roman Catholic.

    American officials say the boy, who had been living with a “traditional family” during his participation in the exchange program, is now with a foster family while his application for asylum is being considered. Multiple media reports claim the youth had befriended a gay couple he met at church in Michigan.

    Russian officials believe the boy is living with that couple, whose identity has not been made public. According to the Times, Russian news agency TASS quoted Russian officials falsely claiming that it is “not illegal” for adults to have sex with 16-year-olds in the U.S. 

    “A child with a mother in Russia was illegally put up for adoption and the boy was handed over to a homosexual American couple,” Pavel A. Astakhov, Russia’s presidential ombudsman for children’s rights, told TASS. “The boy is healthy and comes from a good family, so it’s not clear under what arguments the United States is operating.”

    In 2013, Russia banned adoptions of children by families in the United States, recently extending that ban to all countries that allow same-sex marriage.

    Neither U.S. officials nor the boy’s attorney would say whether the foster family currently housing the teen is headed by same-sex partners or a single person who may be LGBT.

    “The sexual orientation of that foster family is irrelevant,” Reed told The New York Times.

    Meanwhile, the case is being seen as one more way Russia is shuttering itself from the outside world.

    “They have taken this one case and have used it to shut down a program that has historically been very successful,” Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former ambassador to Ukraine, told the Times. “The big losers are going to be the Russian kids who can’t come and spend a year in an American high school. There seems to be a trend to try to separate Russia from the rest of the world.”

    Russia’s withdrawal from the FLEX program reportedly opened hundreds of new slots for Ukrainian students to study in the U.S.

    Watch as National Coming Out Day protesters get nabbed by plainclothes officers in Moscow:

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/world/2014/10/14/watch-coming-out-day-arrests-are-proof-putin-wants-turn-back-time

    Four Other Vatican Overtures to LGBT People

    Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

    Less than a year after Pope Francis was named The Advocate’s Person of the Year for 2013, the Vatican this week said that “homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community.”

    “Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities?” the document released Monday by the Vatican asks. “Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home.”

    The document is far from unequivocally supportive — it says the Roman Catholic Church can’t accept same-sex relationships as equivalent to opposite-sex marriages — but it has been hailed as “a breakthrough.” And even as some Vatican news remains problematic for LGBT people, such as the pope asserting that children have a right to a mother and a father, and there’s already some hedging going on regarding the document, several other developments seem to mark at the very least a change in the tone used by the Vatican in regard to LGBT people.

    Here are four steps that the Vatican has taken in the past year that reflect the shifting tone and seem to indicate the church making progress toward greater acceptance of LGBT people:

    1. The pope talked about ministering to children whose parents are in “nontraditional relationships” and said, “We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them.”

    2. The pope asked to hear from lay Catholics on issues regarding family, marriage and birth control. The Vatican specifically directed bishops to collect data from laity about how well they think the church cares for families headed by same-sex couples and the issue of divorce and remarriage.

    3. Pope Francis called on church leaders to explore civil unions. He didn’t actually offer an endorsement of the idea, but he did refer to ways they help same-sex couples — such as improving access to health care and offering other economic benefits. “We have to look at the different cases and evaluate them in their variety,” he said, according to a translation from Vatican Insider.

    4. A Vatican document released in June called on the Catholic Church to be less judgmental toward gay people and to welcome children of same-sex couples to participate in church activities.

    We will be eager to see what more happens in the wake of Monday’s news.

     

    STEVIE ST. JOHN is a freelance writer and editor in Los Angeles, where she is the vice president of communications for the local chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA-LA). She is a contributing editor for WEHOville.com, and her byline has appeared in Instinct Magazine, AU Magazine, and L.A. Weekly.

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2014/10/14/four-other-vatican-overtures-lgbt-people

    Op-ed: A Small Step for the Vatican, a Giant Leap for Gays

    Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

    The news from the Vatican that Catholic parishes should reach out more warmly to lesbian and gay people opens up a whole new era of discourse in the Church concerning sexuality. The statement from church officials calls on Catholic communities to be “accepting and valuing” lesbian and gay people’s sexual orientation, and to recognize that lesbian and gay people “have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” 

    These simple directions don’t change doctrine about same-sex marriages, and the church’s opposition to this social development still stands. But in fact, words like these are a total game-changer. While a change in language and tone, but not of substance, may seem insignificant, this perspective misses the point that a change in language and tone is the necessary first step toward more substantial change in the Catholic Church.

    This document and Pope Francis’s many gay-affirming statements represent that first step. The language shift emboldens church ministers to change pastoral practice. Catholic parishes and schools can now take greater steps to include lesbian and gay people in their faith communities. This might include establishing faith sharing groups for LGBT people, appointing lesbian and gay people to leadership roles and visible ministries, including sexual orientation in educational programs, and involving the parish with gay community organizations that help vulnerable populations such as youth.

    As pastoral practice develops, church leaders will become more familiar with lesbian and gay people and issues, ending the long unnatural silence in local church settings about LGBT topics. Fear of being reprimanded for being too gay-accepting kept pastoral ministers from even acknowledging that lesbian and gay people existed. The new language promises to change that fearful attitude, and it is very likely that we will see pastoral ministers begin much bolder initiatives.

    Change in pastoral practice will eventually lead to change in doctrine. As church leaders reflect on the activities of their faith communities, they will see that the Christian message of love has come alive in this new outreach. Eventually, the doctrine will change. It’s hard to put a timeline on such an enterprise. God moves in mysterious ways, and often on an even more mysterious schedule.

    But the Vatican’s new message holds the promise for even greater change than LGBT acceptance. Since Catholics are now being called to recognize the gifts that lesbian and gay people bring to the Church, the Church itself can be transformed. If the gifts of gay and lesbian people are truly accepted, Catholicism will be forever changed.

    Many Catholic parishes and colleges have already been welcoming LGBT people into their midst for many years now. In addition to helping LGBT people, these institutions have themselves been transformed into more loving and just places. Why? Because LGBT people bring their unique spiritual journeys to the community, and all benefit from their insights and perspectives. Because LGBT people have had to face up to difficult odds to come to self-awareness and self-acceptance, their spiritual journeys produce powerful traits from which the whole community can benefit. For example, because LGBT people have had to learn how to recognize the truth about their identities, usually in the face of great social pressure, they often have the gift of being courageous truth-tellers. The Catholic community badly needs the ability to tell the truth, as the clerical sexual abuse crisis has shown.

    Another spiritual gift that comes from this truth-telling is the gift of self-love. Because negative messages encourage LGBT people to hate themselves, they develop a strong sense of self-love to counter these earlier feelings. This self-love is not a selfish idea, but a healthy and holy assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Self-acceptance often helps to propagate the wonderful sense of humor which we see in the LGBT community: the ability to laugh at one’s foibles. A more humorous Church would be a blessing!

    Similarly, LGBT people often recognize the intimate connection between sexuality and spirituality. Because recognizing the goodness of human longings and desires to give and receive love has sometimes been a struggle, LGBT people often perceive that sexuality is a spiritual experience that not only strengthens relationships between persons, but also with God. This insight is a gift which other people in the church – heterosexuals, young people, older people, married, single, and celibate – need desperately.

    Though the new Vatican document is still a work in progress, which will be debated both this week and in the coming year, this version reveals that a strong current of gay-affirmative thinking exists among some very highly-placed Church officials—something which was not evident even just a week ago. These leaders will certainly be working to maintain this spirit of inclusion, and, perhaps even to strengthen it. Both the Catholic Church and the LGBT community will benefit from such a partnership.

     

    FRANCIS DEBERNARDO is executive director of New Ways Ministry, a national Catholic ministry of justice and reconciliation for LGBT people and the Church.  He blogs at Bondings 2.0.

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/10/14/op-ed-small-step-vatican-giant-leap-gays

    Op-ed: Why You Should Help Me Get LGBT People Out of Detention

    Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

    I am a queer man born in Jalisco, Mexico, and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. I have been working on getting detainees out of detention for the past four years. I first got involved when the detentions and deportations began impacting my family and community.

    Recently my friend Marichuy Leal Gamino let me know, for example, that she was raped while in detention at Eloy, Ariz., in a detention center run by the Corrections Corporation of America. Marichuy, a 23 year-old transgender woman originally from Mexico, has been in detention for a year with an all-male population. Although she complained to guards that she was sexually harassed, bullied, and threatened, the on-duty detention officer told her to “deal with it.”

    When her cellmate sexually assaulted her and she reported it, the staff pressured her to sign a statement saying that the rape was consensual sex. Now, as advocates call for her release, she has been placed in solitary confinement, a practice that instead of “protecting” her is shown to be psychologically harmful.

    Another friend, Jazmin, a transgender woman from Honduras, also wrote to me about her experiences in detention: “One time, I was ordered to strip off my clothes in front of all men. They [the guards] didn’t care that I had undergone hormone treatment and had breasts. They violated my body.”

    In another instance, Jazmin’s HIV-positive status was recklessly disclosed by guards in front of a large group of detainees. Jazmin told me she wanted to crawl under a rock and that she often contemplated suicide. This isn’t what she expected when she crossed the scorching Arizona desert, leaving behind family abuse, social discrimination, HIV stigma, and persecution based on gender identity and sexual orientation in Honduras for what she hoped would be a better life in the U.S.

    The letters and calls don’t stop. As a result, I cofounded Mariposas Sin Fronteras with my friend Rachel Winch to help people like Marichuy and Jazmin get out of detention. Our work is a constant battle of raising funds to pay bonds to get detainees released from detention, working with other groups, like the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Project to help support their asylum claims, and the Arcoiris Liberation Team in Phoenix to do public advocacy campaigns to apply pressure on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release our friends and change the abusive conditions. We also write letters of support, do visitation days, accompany detainees to court, and listen to gripping stories of fear, isolation, and resilience.

    Since 1996 when the federal government expanded its policies of mandatory detention, more and more LGBT people have been detained in a system that structurally fails to protect them. According to a November 2013 report from the Center for American Progress, LGBT detainees are 15 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than heterosexual and cisgender detainees. This system of detention and deportation is fed by our tax dollars and all of this is done in our name — and that’s why you should help me.

    There are things we can do to reverse this trend. I hope you will join me and visit our Mariposas Sin Fronteras blog, like our Facebook page, or donate toward the release of LGBT detainees through our Rainbow Defense Bond Fund. You can also support the Phoenix-based Arcoiris Liberation Team in their efforts to call for Marichuy’s release.

    The struggle for a world in which LGBT people can live without fear has to be a movement for all of us, including those of us who live the intersections of gender, class, immigrant status, and other realities. I fight for a world where no rainbows and butterflies are caged in detention.

     

    RAÚL ALCARAZ OCHOA is a queer man originally from Jalisco, Mexico who cofounded Mariposas Sin Fronterasworking for an end to detention and deportations. 

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/10/14/op-ed-why-you-should-help-me-get-lgbt-people-out-detention

    “Historic day” as LGBT teachers’ group meet President

    Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

    Teachers from the INTO union’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Teachers’ Group will meet with the President today as they celebrate a significant anniversary.

    They will meet President Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin in what they described as an “historic” occasion.

    The meeting comes as moves are being made to scrap a section of the Employment Act that has led some teachers to say they are afraid to tell their employers about their sexuality.

    The group campaigns for greater equality and visibility for LGBT teachers in Ireland’s primary schools. It was invited to meet President Higgins in recognition of its tenth anniversary.

    The group’s chairperson Anne Marie Lillis said:

    It will be an historic day for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered teachers of Ireland.We are truly honoured by the invitation to meet President Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin and it is particularly fitting that it occurs on the occasion of the group’s tenth anniversary

    Last month, Minister of State at the Department of Justice Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said he intends on beginning the process of scrapping Section 37 of the Employment Act.

    This section allows for discrimination against workers based on their family status and sexual orientation.

    “The consequence of this Act can have a chilling effect on concerned workers who are divorced or are single parents, as well as members of the LGBT Community, as it can mean that they cannot be open about their status in their workplace,” said Ó Riordáin.

    A number of teachers spoke to TheJournal.ie about their experiences of being part of the LGBT community in Ireland.

    Poll: Should we scrap ‘Budget day’?

    Well done you guys: Howlin says today about rewarding ‘incredible effort of the Irish people’

    Article source: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/historic-day-lgbt-teachers-group-meet-president-084229325.html

    LGBT Catholics hold vigil for church leaders

    Tuesday, October 14th, 2014


    By Tobias Wall
    Staff Writer


    Posted Oct. 13, 2014 @ 7:44 pm
    Updated at 9:10 PM


    Article source: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20141013/NEWS/141019787/1994/NEWS?rssfeed=true

    LGBT Group Blocked From Using '.gay' Domain Because It's Not Gay Enough

    Monday, October 13th, 2014


    View photo

    .Man waving rainbow flag

    Getty/Win Mcnamee Only 10 out a possible 16 points of gayness.

    A gay rights community group seeking permission to win the use of the “.gay” web domain has had its request refused by the organization in charge of internet domains because the group isn’t gay enough.

    Slate reports that the “dotgay Initiative” has been campaigning for years to be allowed to establish an online gay community using the .gay domain, which was recently created by ICANN, the group in charge of the world’s domain names. The group envisioned .gay for gay community use in the same way that .edu is used for schools and .org for charities. The policy would have meant that commercial use of .gay domains — most obviously by porn companies — would have to go elswehere on the web.

    Under ICANN rules, community groups are allowed to apply for ownership of new top-level domains. But to win exclusive rights to a domain, they have to pass a Community Priority Evaluation. The CPE is a test designed to examine whether a community is suitable enough to be granted ownership of a domain, and the dotgay group failed to pass the test.

    ICANN released the results of dotgay’s Community Priority Evaluation. In the document, it’s revealed that dotgay failed to win the .gay domain mainly because the group simply isn’t gay enough. Here are the reasons why ICANN turned them down:

    They’re Not The Official Gay Community

    In its evaluation report, ICANN sets out the official process that people go through to become gay:

    The membership criterion to join the Gay Community is the process of ‘coming out’. This process is unique for every individual, organization and ally involving a level of risk in simply becoming visible.

    Because every gay person in the world hasn’t officially joined the dotgay Initiative, ICANN decided that the community cannot call itself the global gay community.

    Transgender And Intersex People Aren’t Gay

    The dotgay Initiative included in its application for the .gay domain information on how sites would be used to support transgender, intersex and gay allies. ICANN ruled that these groups aren’t directly related to the .gay domain. Here’s how ICANN explained its decision:

    Included in the application’s community definition are transgender and intersex individuals as well as “allies” (understood as heterosexual individuals supportive of the missions of the organizations that comprise the defined community) . However, “gay” does not identify these individuals.

    The Global Gay Community Hasn’t Officially Endorsed The Group

    ICANN decided that the dotgay Initiative failed to demonstrate community endorsement because there is no official worldwide global community that can endorse the group.

    There is no single such organization recognized by the defined community as representative of the community

    ICANN did concede, however, that the dotgay Initiative has support from many gay rights groups around the world. But that wasn’t enough.

    Despite the wide array of organizational support, however, the applicant does not have the support from the recognized community institution, as noted above, and the Panel has not found evidence that such an organization exists.

    The dotgay Initiative scored 10 points out of a possible 16 on the Community Priority Evaluation. They needed 14 points to pass the test and win the .gay domain. 

    If there are no successful appeals to ICANN’s ruling then the .gay domain will soon be put up for sale at a domain auction. Domaincite reports that a collection of domain resellers have already expressed their interest in the domain, meaning that it could be sold to porn sites or other businesses. The dotgay Initiative will have a chance to buy the domain, but it will be costly. Auctions for top-level domains often see prices escalate into millions of dollars.

    More From Business Insider

    Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/lgbt-group-blocked-using-gay-114408109.html

    LGBT community comes out for love

    Sunday, October 12th, 2014


    By |






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    Char Roque. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Task Force Pride Philippines

    Cha Roque. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Task Force Pride Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines—Come out for happiness.

    These were the words Cha Roque, a lesbian mom and video production professor, chose to convey her enthusiasm in a photo she submitted in support of the “Come Out for Love: Kasi Pag-ibig Pa Rin” campaign of this year’s Metro Manila Pride 20th anniversary celebration.

    #ComeOutforLove is an interactive and person-centric campaign that aims to gather stories of support, acceptance and bravery both from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) sector as well as from members of the non-LGBT community.

    Through the online photo campaign, participants were encouraged to share a photo and personal story on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ComeOutForLove, showing their message of what or for whom they are coming out, written in a piece of paper or illustration board.

    Spearheaded by Task Force Pride (TFP) Philippines, the convenor of the annual community-driven Metro Manila Pride Season, the campaign was officially launched at Boho Sarapsody Bistro in Cubao, Quezon City, last Saturday night.

    Kelsey  Hadjirul

    Kelsey Hadjirul. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Task Force Pride Philippines

    In her story complementing the photo, which is also posted on the Metro Manila Pride Facebook page, Cha shared why she decided to take part in the campaign.

    “I joined the campaign because I want the world to respect and recognize the love I share with my partner. I want the world to understand that even as a lesbian, I have the capability to raise a normal kid and have a happy family. I want to have the freedom to tell the world that I am a woman loving woman without being judged for it. I am a lesbian mom and I have no excuses, no apologies, no regrets.”

    In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Cha said she’s always been active in advocacies and movements that are pro-LGBT. She’s been “out” to her family whose acceptance of her sexual orientation has been a big factor with her being comfortable in sharing her personal story.

    “I am overwhelmed because I have seen the entries of parents of LGBT’s, the letters showing their support…like how I was overwhelmed with my mom agreeing to be a part of the a documentary I made for stories of ‘being me’. She said in the docu, ‘Of course, she’s my daughter, I’ll accept whatever makes her happy.’”

    Kelsey, Cha’s 10 year-old daughter has always been accepting, for she has been exposed to the LGBT lifestyle. Cha shared how she was so touched when Kelsey expressed her desire to join the campaign.

    Cha is teaching a video production course. In one conversation, Cha recounted that she asked her daughter the question “What if the faculty finds out I’m a lesbian, would they discriminate me?” to which Kelsey responded, “If they discriminate you, would you turn ‘straight’”?

    “Sumali ako [sa Come Out for Love campaign] kasi gusto kong magkaroon ng equality ’saka gusto kong malaman ng ibang tao na ’pag nagdidiscriminate sila, wala namang nababago sa isang LGBT kasi yun na sila. Kasi wala namang masama dun saka love ko si Mommy,” Kelsey said in her photo story.

    When asked about her message to all the parents like her, she said: “My kid is very young. And if I get faced with the same situation that my kid comes out to me, I will accept her. I think it’s better if they’ll tell you that, rather than secretly live their lives and to pretend to be someone else when they’re with you. I want to support my kid if it is the lifestyle she wants. You love your kids unconditionally, that’s how it goes…it would be okay for me whoever they want to be with…but there should always be a guidance [from me] towards whatever path she will take.”

    Red Macalalad speaks during the Metro Manila Pride launch. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Loreen Ordo

    Red Macalalad speaks during the Metro Manila Pride launch. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Loreen Ordoño

    Why come out

    Speaking at the launch, TFP Partnerships Head Red Macalalad related that today, there are also pockets of other pride marches that are happening in the different parts of the country.

    “This is a testimony of what coming out does for the community. It increases [the number of] people to have the courage to come out and to be comfortable about themselves in public,” he said. “The Pride Marches have been a very good venue for LGBTs to speak up and come out. You can hear so many stories of people saying ‘Nag-come out ako when I attended the Pride March. It is my public statement of who I am.’”

    According to Macalalad, TFP has been aware of serious issues among LGBT community, which have lingered through the years. He noted there are still so many stories of violence and hate crimes, of people being discriminated at home, school or workplace.

    Congress has yet to pass the anti-discrimination bill.

    To date, there are already two out of 81 provinces and seven out of 1,637 cities and municipalities in the country that have anti-discrimination protection, according to the Philippine Statistical Agency.

    Recently, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has expressed his support for same-sex marriage in lieu of the proposed Gender-Fair City ordinance protecting LGBT rights.

    Two weeks ago, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) approved the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) resolution which seeks to uphold human rights issues, asses the current situation of SOGI around the world and identify good practices and initiatives to abate discrimination and violence against LGBTs worldwide.

    Macalalad said, “If you look at the issues, what does it come down to? When we are trying to think about it, we look at where our people are situated, what is the context they are in. We have seen and encountered stories of LGBT people who say, when they try to grasp what the real issue is, it is essentially about love and the lack of,” he said.

    “When you think of pride, you think of love because what you are proud of is something that you love. And if you are proud of yourself, if you are proud of somebody in your family or in the workplace, you are expressing love,” he added.

    “Come Out For Love” campaign, a reminder of the passion and love that started and sustained 20 years of taking to the streets, is given another face this year as it is set to ultimately engage the non-LGBT supporters or the “straight allies” to share their inspiring stories that has brought about significant impact on the lives of their loved ones.

    “We realize that maybe, there are voices that we have yet to hear. The message is that we need additional voices to this movement. We would like to also highlight the voices of our heterosexual friends, heterosexual family, that they too can help us by also coming out as people who love us, people who care about us, people who are proud of us,” Macalalad said.

    He said the issue of equality or the issue against discrimination has to be seen from different angles and points of view. This year what they would like to add and encourage are the perspectives of their heterosexual allies.

    CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Task Force Pride Philippines

    CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Task Force Pride Philippines

    “It all boils down to pride being about love, being proud of who you are, being proud of your ‘kuya’ who is bakla, being proud of your younger sister who is a lesbian….respecting a co-worker who is transgender and schoolmates who self-identify as bi-sexuals,” he said.

    “If you believe in the same things that we do, if you believe that you are part of creating safe spaces for LBGTs and for everyone in general, then you are a part of this movement,” he concluded.

    Series of activities

    The Metro Manila Pride Season, the first in Asia, is a series of community-led activities that culminates in the annual Metro Manila Pride March to be held on December 6, 2014 at Malate Manila. A Pride Fest Street Fair will take place on the morning, where LGBT-owned, -themed, and -friendly businesses will be selling various merchandise and post-parade festivities will happen during the night.

    Happening this November are: #ComeOutForLove Exhibit Launch where the selected stories and subjects from the online submissions will be featured alongside celebrity endorsers of the campaign in the photo exhibit shot and designed by noted photographer, Niccolo Cosme; the Metro Manila Pride All Families Day which is a fun and food day dedicated for all kinds of families; the Pride Speaks which is an afternoon of inspiring and powerful LGBT talks; and the Solidarity Soiree, a night that will recognize and celebrate some of the most hardworking LGBT activists.

    Interested participants can log on to www. metromanilapride.com for more information and can register for the March at bit.ly/MMPMarchRegistration.

    The celebration’s official online hashtags are #ComeOutForLove, #MetroManilaPride and #dec6.

    CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Task Force Pride Philippines

    CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Task Force Pride Philippines

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    Article source: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/174235/lgbt-community-comes-out-for-love

    Legacy Walk honors LGBT 'guardian angels'

    Sunday, October 12th, 2014

    Several dozen community members spent National Coming Out Day in Boystown honoring LGBT’s “guardian angels” during a public dedication Saturday afternoon.

    The Legacy Walk, a collection of bronze plaques affixed to rainbow pylons on a half-mile stretch of Halsted that opened in 2012, is meant to honor the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals who have made notable impacts.

    Idaho, N.C. become latest states to allow gay marriage

    Past honorees include Jane Addams, Chicago’s celebrated social crusader; Irish writer Oscar Wilde; and Christine Jorgensen, an American World War II veteran who became a renowned transgender activist in the 1950s after a New York tabloid published a story about her headlined “Ex-GI becomes blonde beauty.”

    Standing in front of a plaque covered with a pride flag before its formal unveiling, Legacy Project Executive Director Victor Salvo praised those memorialized on the walk.

    “These are our guardian angels for this community,” Salvo said.

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    Minutes after Salvo made his comments, two Lincoln Park High School students pulled the flag off the plaque to reveal a tribute to noted composer Cole Porter, who wrote “I Get a Kick Out of You,” among other tunes and musicals.

    The 2014 Legacy Walk induction ceremony unveiled seven plaques honoring individuals from all walks of life, including poets, athletes, scientists and religious leaders. There are now 30 plaques on the walk.

    Saturday’s inductees included Audre Lorde, the civil rights activist and poet; Ugandan activist David Kato, who was murdered in 2011 after protesting a proposed “Kill the Gays” law and suing a publication that included him on a list of gays who deserved to be hanged; Mychal Judge, a priest who served as the New York Fire Department’s chaplain on 9/11 and who died at the World Trade Center; “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, who won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Olympics and helped found the Ladies Professional Golf Association; and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

    Carrie Maxwell, a researcher with the Legacy Project who wrote Ride’s bio, said she has admired Ride for decades. When Ride died and it was revealed in her obituary that she was a lesbian, Maxwell said her first thought was that Ride should be included in the Legacy Project.

    Besides those individuals being memorialized this year, a plaque also commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations at a gay club in New York City that was raided by police.

    Organizers describe the walk, ranging from north of Belmont Avenue to south of Broadway, as “the world’s only outdoor museum walk and youth education program dedicated to combating anti-gay bullying by celebrating LGBT contributions to history.”

    Kevin Goldwater, a Lincoln Park High School senior and president of the school’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance, said he appreciates that the Legacy Walk helps raise historical awareness of LGBT contributions.

    “This exposes people to a lot of stories they otherwise wouldn’t know,” he said.

    Jayne Doyle attended with her partner of 32 years, Elizabeth Monk, and said it’s “further recognition of people in life who were gay and lesbian.”

    gpratt@tribune.com

    Twitter @royalpratt

    Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune

    Article source: http://chicagotribune.feedsportal.com/c/34253/f/622809/s/3f5d5d44/sc/8/l/0L0Schicagotribune0N0Cnews0Cct0Egay0Eplaque0Ewrigleyville0E20A1410A120Estory0Bhtml0Dtrack0Frss/story01.htm

    Meet the Real-Life Heroes Who Inspired the Movie Pride

    Saturday, October 11th, 2014

    In 1984, striking British miners found an unlikely ally: a London LGBT group. The new movie Pride – which has already sparked whispers of award-season buzz after its crowd-pleasing premieres in Cannes and Toronto – chronicles this bond.

    PEOPLE sat down at the Toronto International Film Festival with three of the protesters who inspired the film and learned that the partnership didn’t end when the strike did.

    Mike Jackson, 60, co-founded Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners after the miners put out a call for help. LGSM then decided to raise money and back the working-class community of Dulais Valley, in South Wales, where the miners were based – and a lifelong bond began.

    “It was very interesting sending that first letter,” Jackson remembers with a laugh. “‘We’re a bunch of queers in London, and we want to support you.’”

    Along with fellow protester Jonathan Blake, Jackson and the rest of the LGSM group began a powerful friendship with many residents of the Welsh town. On their nerve-wracking first visit to Dulais, “There was this trepidation and fear,” Blake says. “Yet, the warmth that we were greeted with was just astonishing. I have goosebumps just remembering.”

    With a lot of laughs and tears along the way, Pride recounts how and why the two groups built a lasting relationship. (See how the film was made in the video below!)

    “It’s a romance between two communities who got to know each other and realized there wasn’t a lot of difference between them,” says Siân James, 55, a modest miner’s-wife-turned-member-of-parliament, who was inspired to go into politics after the strike. “The common thread was it was a group of people telling us they had been oppressed for many years … We discovered quickly we had more similarities [than differences].

    When the strike did end, in 1985, with the miners ultimately losing, James says her community had no alternative but to back their LGBT advocates in return. “We couldn’t forget the patience and the generosity of the people who came and shared with us,” she says.

    The help they provided had more of an impact than they ever could have imagined.

    “It is amazing to think that the action we took to support the miners repaid a thousand-fold,” Blake says.

    “In the U.K., you can actually draw a line right back to October 1985 and the National Union of Mineworkers announcing it was going to support the lesbian and gay motion for equalities,” adds Jackson, noting the miners helped achieve the rights British LGBT citizens enjoy today. “We thought we were supporting the miners, but in retrospect, what we were supporting was something far more precious.”

    Today, James says LGSM members and the miners are still close. “People made particular friends with particular families,” she says. “We’ve been to funerals, we’ve been to weddings; we’ve been through sad and happy times together.”

    Real-Life Inspiration

    All three inspired characters in the film. And while they’re happy their story is finally being told 30 years later, seeing the movie for the first time was difficult.

    “From the moments the credits started rolling, we were there – we were back in 1984,” James says. “It was massive, like, ‘Wow.’ ”

    “One of the things that just welled up in me watching the film was all the people that aren’t here, that we’ve lost [to AIDS],” says Blake, who was diagnosed as HIV-positive early on in the crisis. “I had to get through that. It wasn’t until the second time I saw the film that I could watch and enjoy and savor it. It is astonishing.”

    Adds Jackson, the film was “emotionally exhausting. We cried and laughed and laughed and cried.”

    James says she was thrilled when she heard some huge British actors (see: Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton) were onboard: “It got exciting. Suddenly, you’re thinking, ‘Wow, if people of that caliber are seeing the value of worth in it …’ ”

    Another household name in the credits? Dominic West, who played Blake’s character. “I was completely sort of gobsmacked,” says Blake, who got to know The Wire star over homemade lemon-drizzle cake.

    Blake, Jackson and James are hoping the star-power shines a light on their story, which Jackson calls “a celebration of humanity.”

    “I still can’t believe that I had anything to do with [pioneering an equal rights movement],” says Blake, who thinks of the film as “a beacon of hope.” “We were there to support a community that needed support.”

    Adds Jackson: “Life’s a lot better now for the LGBT community. We fought for this so nobody else has to fight for it again … It’s important that our history is remembered. That’s what’s so great about this movie.”

    Pride is in wide release now.

    For more on the film and the heroes who inspired it, pick up PEOPLE‘s 40th Anniversary Issue, on newstands now.

    Article source: http://www.people.com/article/pride-movie-oscar-buzz-sian-james-jonathan-blake-mike-jackson-dominic-west-toronto-film-festival-favorite?xid=rss-topheadlines

    Meet the Real-Life Heroes Who Inspired the Movie Pride

    Saturday, October 11th, 2014

    In 1984, striking British miners found an unlikely ally: a London LGBT group. The new movie Pride – which has already sparked whispers of award-season buzz after its crowd-pleasing premieres in Cannes and Toronto – chronicles this bond.

    PEOPLE sat down at the Toronto International Film Festival with three of the protesters who inspired the film and learned that the partnership didn’t end when the strike did.

    Mike Jackson, 60, co-founded Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners after the miners put out a call for help. LGSM then decided to raise money and back the working-class community of Dulais Valley, in South Wales, where the miners were based – and a lifelong bond began.

    “It was very interesting sending that first letter,” Jackson remembers with a laugh. “‘We’re a bunch of queers in London, and we want to support you.’”

    Along with fellow protester Jonathan Blake, Jackson and the rest of the LGSM group began a powerful friendship with many residents of the Welsh town. On their nerve-wracking first visit to Dulais, “There was this trepidation and fear,” Blake says. “Yet, the warmth that we were greeted with was just astonishing. I have goosebumps just remembering.”

    With a lot of laughs and tears along the way, Pride recounts how and why the two groups built a lasting relationship. (See how the film was made in the video below!)

    “It’s a romance between two communities who got to know each other and realized there wasn’t a lot of difference between them,” says Siân James, 55, a modest miner’s-wife-turned-member-of-parliament, who was inspired to go into politics after the strike. “The common thread was it was a group of people telling us they had been oppressed for many years … We discovered quickly we had more similarities [than differences].

    When the strike did end, in 1985, with the miners ultimately losing, James says her community had no alternative but to back their LGBT advocates in return. “We couldn’t forget the patience and the generosity of the people who came and shared with us,” she says.

    The help they provided had more of an impact than they ever could have imagined.

    “It is amazing to think that the action we took to support the miners repaid a thousand-fold,” Blake says.

    “In the U.K., you can actually draw a line right back to October 1985 and the National Union of Mineworkers announcing it was going to support the lesbian and gay motion for equalities,” adds Jackson, noting the miners helped achieve the rights British LGBT citizens enjoy today. “We thought we were supporting the miners, but in retrospect, what we were supporting was something far more precious.”

    Today, James says LGSM members and the miners are still close. “People made particular friends with particular families,” she says. “We’ve been to funerals, we’ve been to weddings; we’ve been through sad and happy times together.”

    Real-Life Inspiration

    All three inspired characters in the film. And while they’re happy their story is finally being told 30 years later, seeing the movie for the first time was difficult.

    “From the moments the credits started rolling, we were there – we were back in 1984,” James says. “It was massive, like, ‘Wow.’ ”

    “One of the things that just welled up in me watching the film was all the people that aren’t here, that we’ve lost [to AIDS],” says Blake, who was diagnosed as HIV-positive early on in the crisis. “I had to get through that. It wasn’t until the second time I saw the film that I could watch and enjoy and savor it. It is astonishing.”

    Adds Jackson, the film was “emotionally exhausting. We cried and laughed and laughed and cried.”

    James says she was thrilled when she heard some huge British actors (see: Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton) were onboard: “It got exciting. Suddenly, you’re thinking, ‘Wow, if people of that caliber are seeing the value of worth in it …’ ”

    Another household name in the credits? Dominic West, who played Blake’s character. “I was completely sort of gobsmacked,” says Blake, who got to know The Wire star over homemade lemon-drizzle cake.

    Blake, Jackson and James are hoping the star-power shines a light on their story, which Jackson calls “a celebration of humanity.”

    “I still can’t believe that I had anything to do with [pioneering an equal rights movement],” says Blake, who thinks of the film as “a beacon of hope.” “We were there to support a community that needed support.”

    Adds Jackson: “Life’s a lot better now for the LGBT community. We fought for this so nobody else has to fight for it again … It’s important that our history is remembered. That’s what’s so great about this movie.”

    Pride is in wide release now.

    For more on the film and the heroes who inspired it, pick up PEOPLE‘s 40th Anniversary Issue, on newstands now.

    Article source: http://www.people.com/article/pride-movie-oscar-buzz-sian-james-jonathan-blake-mike-jackson-dominic-west-toronto-film-festival-favorite?xid=rss-topheadlines

    PHOTOS: 7 LGBT Heroes Honored With Plaques in Chicago's Legacy Walk

    Saturday, October 11th, 2014

    Today, National Coming Out Day, the Chicago Legacy Project will dedicate seven new bronze plaques recognizing LGBT heroes along its Legacy Walk, a series of biographical markers along North Halsted Street.

    The dedication ceremony, which will be held from 3 to 5 p.m., honors astronaut Sally Ride, Broadway legend Cole Porter, poet Audre Lorde, “The Saint of 9/11″ Father Mychal Judge, Olympic athlete Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, and David Kato, the murdered acivist from Uganda. An additional plaque honors the Stonewall Riots as the event that gave birth to the modern LGBT rights movement.

    These will join 23 other biographical markers on Halsted Street in the city’s Boystown neighborhood, making the Chicago Legacy Walk the world’s largest collection of such monuments.

    Below, read the biographies of these LGBT people who have changed the world. And see the entire collection of Chicago Legacy Project plaques, including markers for Walt Whitman, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, and the only such marker to mention Alan Turing’s sexual orientation, at LegacyProjectChicago.Org.

     

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/pride/2014/10/11/photos-7-lgbt-heroes-honored-plaques-chicagos-legacy-walk

    Maryland delegation's votes on LGBT-related bills fall exactly along party lines

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    Earlier this week, we mentioned here that U.S. Rep. Andy Harris was named by the Human Rights Campaign to be among the most “anti-equality” members of Congress.

    The nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group added the Baltimore County Republican to their “Hall of Shame” for his votes on recent legislation that impacts or could have impacted the LGBT community — a bit of information they released ahead of their full “Congressional Scorecard” for the 113th Congress.

    Well now that document is fully available, and Harris’ isolation when compared to the rest of the Maryland delegation, which is made up entirely of Democrats, is easy to see.

    The HRC based its assessment for Senate members on their votes on 9 bills and their stance on same-sex marriage. It based its assessment for House members on their votes on 6 bills and their stance on same-sex marriage.

    You can see what all the bills are by accessing the report here.

    Harris scored a 0 percent, meaning he took the opposite stance of the HRC on all of the assessed bills.

    Every other member of Maryland’s delegation scored a 100 percent on the scorecard, meaning they took the side of the HRC on all of the bills assessed.

    There it is folks: the partisan divide, as seen in Maryland through an HRC lens.

    Elsewhere in LGBT news:

    - If you didn’t catch our story on Baltimore’s ballroom scene, you can check it and the video out here.

    - Check out the Washington Blade’s photo essay on “five years in the LGBT movement.” A bunch of Maryland folks make appearances. Scrolling through it is pretty cool.

    - Speaking of marriage, here’s BuzzFeed’s “Everything You Need To Know About This Week’s Marriage Equality Wave,” albeit from yesterday. (Things move fast.)

    Gay in Maryland on Facebook

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    Article source: http://baltimore.feedsportal.com/c/34255/f/623016/s/3f5707d9/sc/7/l/0L0Sbaltimoresun0N0Cnews0Cmaryland0Cbs0Egm0Elooking0Eout0Eexcept0Efor0Eharris0Emaryland0Edelegation0Ereceives0Eperfect0Emarks0Ein0Ehrc0Escorecard0E20A1410A0A90H0A0H11629730Bstory0Dtrack0Frss/story01.htm

    New LGBT Center to hold grand opening

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    A new LGBT center is opening in Des Moines on National Coming Out Day — this Saturday.

    The Des Moines Pride Center will hold the grand opening from 1-4 p.m.  It’s located at 1620 Pleasant St., Suite 244.

    The center will share it’s coming out story, have a brief presentation and give tours of the center on Saturday.

    “In a post-marriage Iowa, the community needs a new kind of LGBT service organization and that’s the Des Moines Pride Center,” said President Marty Moore in a news release. “We’re here to serve central Iowans and provide a safe space for supportive and social activities.”

    The center is open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6-9 p.m.  It will provide support and social activities throughout the month.

    Volunteers are needed to plan events, facilitate support groups and help with many aspects of the organization.  Learn more at www.dsmpridecenter.com

    Article source: http://www.kcci.com/news/new-lgbt-center-to-hold-grand-opening/29050418

    HBO, MTV and ABC Family Earn Top Marks in LGBT TV Report

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    GLAAD has released its annual report on LGBT representation in scripted TV — and HBO, ABC Family and MTV have come out on top. 

    Each network has earned an “excellent” grade from the media advocacy group’s Network Responsibility Index, which rates “the quality, diversity and relative quantity of LGBT representations in each network’s original programming,” according to a statement. That is the most networks to have simultaneously earned such a distinction in the study’s eight-year history.

    At the other end of the bell curve lie AE, History and TNT, each of which was slapped with a failing grade. ABC, NBC, Fox, The CW, FX and Showtime scored “good” grades, while CBS, TLC and USA were deemed “adequate.”

    The accompanying Where We Are on TV report — a census that counts total LGBT characters on scripted TV — found that 32 out of 813 broadcast series regulars are LGBT. That’s 3.9 percent of the total, up from 3.3 percent last year. (The record high was during the 2012-13 season, when 4.4 percent of characters were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.) 

    Among them, Fox had the highest percentage of LGBT characters with 6.5 percent. (Add to that list Detective Renee Montoya, played by Victoria Cartagena, from the high-profile new series, Gotham.) ABC came in second with 4.5 percent, while NBC and CBS rounded out third and fourth place with 3.8 and 3.2 percent, respectively. The CW has no regular LGBT characters in its current season.

    Among other minority representation, 27 percent of 813 broadcast series regulars were found to be characters of color, while just 1.4 percent were living with physical disabilities. The percentage of female series regulars on broadcast TV has declined to 40 percent from 43 percent last year.

    Cable boasts 64 regular LGBT characters, up from 42 last season. HBO has the most — 15, many of which come from its series Looking — while Showtime and ABC Family feature 13 each.

    Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, both of which have drawn plaudits for LGBT programming — and in particular for transgender characters on Orange is the New Black and Transparent — were praised, but not factored into the total character counts.

    Explains GLAAD director of marketing Matt Kane, “It just came down to a matter of timing for this edition. We intend to either conduct more extensive research for a separate report or addendum in the next few months, or fully include them next year.”

    Promoting transgender visibility has become a key issue for GLAAD. If networks want to earn an excellent grade next year, they’ll have to to include at least one transgender character.

    The full report can be viewed here.

    Article source: http://rss.feedsportal.com/c/34793/f/641579/s/3f03b7ff/sc/8/l/0L0Shollywoodreporter0N0Cnews0Chbo0Emtv0Eabc0Efamily0Epraised0E7370A58/story01.htm

    Op-ed: Being Out — Really, Really Out — Is Still LGBT Theater's Most Powerful Tool

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    This week marks another year of National Coming Out Day. So what? Many people wonder if coming out even matters anymore, when it seems the LGBT population has become so mainstream in recent years.

    But an honest look into most Boston neighborhoods shows that many people, young and old, coming out is still a major undertaking with profound results. Especially in areas where racism and poverty have taken their toll, residents often feel forced to choose between their race and sexual identity. Standing up for all of yourself can put you at high risk of homelessness, violence, and problems with school and work.

    Twenty-five years after the queer theater company I founded, the Theater Offensive, began putting on shows, we have doubled down on the power of being out in our neighborhood. “OUTness,” as we call it, is a tool to break down personal isolation, shake up the status quo, and build a grassroots movement for a thriving, safe, and equitable city. To that end, LGBT theater is more necessary than ever.

    In 2009 the Theater Offensive brought together a group of community members, collaborators, audience members, artists, and youth from our Boston neighborhoods to grapple with the relevance of queer theater in a rapidly changing urban landscape. One evening, during the rehearsal of our youth theater troupe, an 18-year-old Haitian girl from Mattapan uttered words that became out call to action.

    “Why should I have to take two trains and a bus just to be who I really am?” she asked, referring to leaving her neighborhood in rider to interact with the LGBT arts community. “I want to be out in my own neighborhood!”

    We believe strongly that this is reflective of the real issues we are having in our community: Racism, poverty, violence based on bigotry and hate of our neighbors because of who they are. After that young woman’s declaration, we started focusing our work intensively on our local neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, South End, and Jamaica Plain. We started putting on shows in the places where folks were least often choosing to travel to the theater district.

    We worked directly with residents of those neighborhoods to create something together. The ideas was for all of us on each block to be out in all aspects of ourselves — our gender, our sexuality, our culture, and our race — all at the same time, without having to choose one identity at the expense of the others.

    Judging from the census data and our mailing lists, we’ve found it’s nearly impossible to find a single Boston block that doesn’t have someone LGBT living on it. And according to Richard Florida’s game-changing book The Rise of the Creative Class, when those neighbors are closeted, everyone in the area suffers. “Out” LGBT culture is one of the single most consistent indicators of a city’s or neighborhood’s ability to thrive.

    Yet many of Boston’s neighborhoods still remain scary places to come out as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person. Our approach aims to change all that — and it’s working. LGBT people from every neighborhood are coming to our shows.

    Now several years into our “OUT in Your Neighborhood” strategy, we have learned so much from folks in Boston’s neighborhoods. Many of the changes took some tough adjustments. We haven’t had a review in The Boston Globe in five years. Ticket income has all but evaporated because 95 percent of our shows are now free. Our actors have to ask whether the venue we’ll perform in at night has a roof or not. Or a bathroom.

    But what isn’t hard to adjust to is the connection we now feel with our neighbors. Our audiences have grown each year, packed into parking lots, backyards, schoolrooms, churches, or living rooms, until they’ve far outnumbered the audiences we used to put into conventional theater seats. The majority of the folks who come to our shows haven’t seen a single other play in the previous year.

    You could say that we’re creating new theatergoers. I’d argue that we’re changing the definition of what a theatergoer is.

    The biggest surprise result of our change in strategy is that abandoning the conventional theater business model has helped us find a new one that works much better for us. Our community doesn’t view us as a company that “has a show in a theater with an intermission.” Rather, our community says they view us as a collaborator in making sure our neighborhoods are more vibrant and thriving for everyone.

    Racism remains Boston’s number 1 hot-button issue, causing astounding disparities in everything from health care and education to theater attendance. Can queer theater make a difference? Yes. And 93 percent of people of color who saw our work said they’d recommend it to their friends.

    Did seeing a show on the street in Roxbury or in a Dorchester kitchen have a cultural impact? Yes. And 83 percent of those who saw the shows said they now better-understand the LGBT experience and would make more supportive choices in the future.

    So this Coming Out Day I’m thinking of the young man who stood up after one of our performances and said, “Every time I walk into a room I have to look around and decide which part of me to allow out. Will I turn on the gay or the black part of me? It’s so liberating to be in a place where I’m just being myself, my whole self.”

     

    ABE RYBECK is the founding executive artistic director of the Theater Offensive, which is celebrating its 25th year of LGBT theater by artists of color in Boston.

    Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/10/10/op-ed-being-out-%E2%80%94-really-really-out-%E2%80%94-still-lgbt-theaters-most-powerful-tool

    Dow Executives Recognized in OUTstanding Top LGBT Business Executives and Allies Lists

    Thursday, October 9th, 2014

    MIDLAND, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

    In recognition of their efforts to champion lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in the workplace, Dow executives Howard Ungerleider and Louis A. Vega, were named to the OUTstanding in Business list, which honors LGBT and straight ally business leaders who actively contribute to an environment where all employees feel safe and are able to bring their whole authentic selves to work.

    “These accolades proudly display Dow’s core values in action and demonstrate that we are leading by example in helping to eliminate stereotypes and stigmas, demonstrate zero tolerance for discriminatory behaviors and create an environment where discussion about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression is irrelevant,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s Chairman and CEO. “We applaud Howard and Louis as advocates of our commitment to drive a culture which fosters inclusion and celebrates the diversity of differing experiences, backgrounds and perspectives, not just for the LGBT community, but for all.”

    Howard Ungerleider, Dow’s chief financial officer and executive sponsor of the Company’s Gays, Lesbians and Allies at Dow (GLAD) employee network, was named to the Top 20 list of straight allies. As a member of Dow’s most senior executive committee, Ungerleider has long championed workplace diversity and has driven efforts to achieve unprecedented growth of the GLAD network. Inaugurated in 2000, and the chemical industry’s first LGBT employee resource group, GLAD now has participants at 97 Dow sites across 29 countries, and has grown more than fourfold during Ungerleider’s tenure – nearly doubling participation in one year alone.

    Named one of the Top 100 inspirational LGBT business executives, Louis A. Vega, Dow’s chief of staff and newly-appointed vice president of Dow Olympic operations, works with the most senior leaders not only within the Company, but with other businesses, government entities and non-government organizations around the world. He always brings his ‘whole’ and open self to work not only driving toward business goals, but passionately advocating for workforce equality and representing Dow’s GLAD employee network as management sponsor. Vega is also a member of the board of directors of the Gay Lesbian Victory Institute and partners with groups like GLAAD and Out Equal, in both a personal and a professional capacity.

    Dow is a long-time leader in championing a fully inclusive workplace. For more than a decade, Dow has offered best-in-class practices of LGBT inclusion including equal benefits to same-sex partners for everything from health, dental and life insurance to bereavement leave, relocation and dual career assistance. Dow also recognizes survivor benefits for its pension plan for LGBT, and began providing transgender benefits in 2010. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), only one in four FORTUNE 500 companies meet these collective criteria.

    In addition to providing equal benefits for Dow employees, the company also takes a leading public policy advocacy position whose leaders have spoken on Capitol Hill on a number of occasions in support of LGBT policies, sponsoring and leading lobbying activities to bring fairness and equal treatment to all LGBT citizens, and most recently participating at a White House roundtable ahead of the Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.

    In 2014, Dow was named the world’s second most gay-friendly company after IBM by Workplace Pride in their first Global Benchmark survey. Dow was also named one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT equality” for the ninth consecutive year, again earning 100 percent on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. Dow also continues to actively support numerous LGBT NGOs including HRC, PFLAG, Out Equal, NOGLSTP, Freedom to Work and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

    About Dow

    Dow (DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s integrated, market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2013, Dow had annual sales of more than $57 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 6,000 products are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.

    About OUTstanding

    OUTstanding is an executive level network for LGBT business people and straight allies, providing them with truly peer?to-peer professional and social connections. It was founded by Suki Sandhu in June 2013 and exists to drive change in the business world by broadening the boardroom diversity debate beyond gender or race to include LGBT issues. Corporate members include BP, Barclays, EY and Google, American Express and BAE Systems. http://www.out-standing.org/ The list was compiled in collaboration with the Financial Times.

    This Press Release contains information that may be or is privileged, confidential, proprietary or subject to copyright belonging to Dow or its affiliates. This information is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and any other use is unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient of this information, this is notice that any retention, disclosure, distribution, copying or other use of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. Thank you.

    Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20141009005684/en/

    MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50959078lang=en

    Contact:

    The Dow Chemical Company
    Louise Adhikari, +1 989 638 9889
    Integrated Corporate Affairs
    ladhikari@dow.com

    Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/dow-executives-recognized-outstanding-top-133000106.html

    Burberry's Christopher Bailey Heads Top 10 Inspiring LGBT Business Execs

    Thursday, October 9th, 2014

    Burberry chief executive Christopher Bailey has topped a list of Britain’s most inspiring LGBT business executives, as the first ever openly ‘out’ CEO of a FTSE 100 company.

    OUTstanding, a campaign to improve the diversity of UK boardrooms, has published a new list of 100 inspirational LGBT business leaders, along with championing 20 “straight allies” like Virgin boss Richard Branson and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

    OUTstanding founder Suki Sandhu said: “We need publically visible role models in business to show that the workplace welcomes all talented people, regardless of their backgrounds or identities. This is a human, rather than an LGBT issue which is why we’re also celebrating those trailblazers outside the LGBT community who promote the issue of diversity within their businesses.”

    See also – Suki Sandhu writes:

    Let’s Smash the Glass Closet Together – LGBT Execs Must Follow Browne and Bailey’s Lead

    LGBT Leaders Are Good for Business, But Do You Know Any?”

    Former BP chief Lord Browne said: “If closeted employees can identify with someone who has been through the closet door and succeeded, then they are more likely to let go of the fears that hold them back. OUTstanding and the Top 100 list provide the role models which demonstrate that coming out at work is both possible and worthwhile.”

    HuffPostUK presents the top 10 inspirational LGBT business executives from their list.

    Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/10/09/lgbt-business-burberry-christopher-bailey_n_5957024.html?utm_hp_ref=uk&ir=UK

       
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