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Local organization reaches out to LGBT prisoners nationwide through books

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

LGBTQ inmates imprisoned in both mind and body across the country have the opportunity to find solace through free books provided by a local Madison organization, LGBT Book to Prisoners.

LGBT Book to Prisoners seeks to work against oppressive functions of the prison system and give some control back into prisoners’ hands. The project aims to provide access to knowledge because incarcerated persons have little access to reading material, particularly LGBTQ-identified prisoners.

The project wants LGBTQ prisoners to know they have a supportive community that cares about their well-being as they face the hardships of prison, such as isolation and physical violence, according to Irene Toro Martinez, an LGBT Books to Prisoners organizer.

The project began as a branch of the Wisconsin Books to Prisoners organization, Toro Martinez said.

LGBT Books to Prisoners receives letters from LGBT-identified prisoners who have seen their brochures in prisons across country, Toro Martinez said. Volunteers then spend time entering information from prisoner’s request letters into databases, wrapping packages and matching books with letters.

Toro Martinez said matching books to request letters is more complicated than it seems. Prisons often have restrictions on the number of books able to be sent in or require only new, softcover books.

This poses a challenge for an organization run mostly on donations and the work of volunteers, Toro Martinez said. However, the number of volunteers has been growing, so much they added a second weekly volunteer session, she said.

Some of the most popular requests volunteers fill are for dictionaries, Melissa Charenko, another LGBT Books to Prisoners’ organizer said. Because inmates lack access to Wikipedia and Google, many use dictionaries to learn and understand their own court cases, she said.

Other popular requests include thesauri, almanacs, art, “airport books” such as Stephen King novels and LGBT topics, Toro Martinez said.  She added that there has been an increasing amount of requests for books with “trans themes.”

The organization is one of few that reaches out specifically to LGBTQ inmates. Charenko said prisoners often write to the organization thanking them and explaining what they have learned from the books and how they found support in the books that they otherwise would never have received.

Since its conception, the organization has extended its reach to more than 3,800 LBGTQ prisoners in 45 states and has sent out around 7,000 to 8,000 books in just the past year, Toro Martinez said.

LGBT Books to Prisoners sends books to almost any prison from which they get requests, with the exception of Texas. Toro Martinez said Texas had to be cut from the program because the organization could not sustain the amount of requests from its prisons.

The organization gets help from many community partners, including the local Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, which provides a free space for them in its basement, Toro Martinez said. Most prisons require books to be sent from an official bookstore, which is where the bookstore comes in, she said.

The organization has also paired with Outreach LGBT Community Center, Against Equality, University of Wisconsin LGBT Campus Center and other organizations, Toro Martinez said.

Charenko said she hopes LGBT Books to Prisoners will become sustainable in the future so all inmates can receive their requests.

“We all have dreams for what this project could turn into later,” Toro Martinez said.  “But for now it’s doing what we’re doing already – better.”

Article source: http://badgerherald.com/news/2015/01/27/local-organization-reaches-out-to-lgbt-prisoners-nationwide-through-books/

Meet the LGBT Americans who oppose gay marriage

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

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This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.

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The Fix: Meet the LGBT Americans who oppose gay marriage

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

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This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.

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Oklahoma LGBT community lashes out over proposed bills

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The Oklahoma LGBT community said Monday that it is under attack and fighting back in Oklahoma.

Video: LGBT community fighting back after proposed bills

Leaders and supporters told a packed room at the Capitol that 10 “unprecedented, hate-filled” bills have been introduced that discriminate against the LGBT community and take away their rights. The Cimarron Alliance Foundation and Equality Network have combined to form Freedom Oklahoma. Officials said their goal is to make sure the bills don’t see the light of day.

“I promise you, together we are bigger, together we are stronger, and together we will win,” said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma.

Officials said they’ve already met with lawmakers, plan to launch an aggressive lobbying campaign, and also plan to have town halls in the future.

Freedom Oklahoma outlines its arguments on its website: https://equalityfederation.salsalabs.com/o/35027/content_item/launchpress

The lawmakers mentioned in the link above weren’t available to speak with KOCO on Monday. We’ve scheduled interviews for Tuesday morning to get a response.

Article source: http://www.koco.com/news/Oklahoma-LGBT-community-lashes-out-over-proposed-bills/30929176

Court: Russian LGBT Teen Page's Administrator Violated 'Propaganda' Ban

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/russia/2015/01/26/court-russian-lgbt-teen-pages-administrator-violated-propaganda-ban

Op-ed: LGBT Visibility at Davos Must Grow in 2016

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Several programs on the agenda at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, promised to focus on issues important to gender and sexual minorities. But as a review at the event reveals — and as Andrew Ross Sorkin rightly noted in The New York Times, topics of import to LGBT people at Davos this year were largely buried in broader topics of human rights and general diversity.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been plenty of discourse about LGBT inclusion and equality surrounding this year’s World Economic Forum. In fact, direct mention of lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender people and our struggles for economic and social equality made it into the opening remarks of this year’s forum. There were also a series of articles published at the World Economic Forum’s site whose authors read like a roll call of some of the world’s most influential economists and financial gurus.

Just take Ernst Young global vice president of public policy Beth Brooke-Marciniak’s concise article, “LGBT at Work: Time to Smash the Lavender Ceiling.” As have so many others have rightly done, Brooke-Marciniak begins her convincing piece by citing Apple CEO Tim Cook’s words in coming out last year.

“So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Cook wrote in Bloomberg BusinessWeek back in October. “Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day.”

Brooke-Marciniak’s words echo in Davos, not only because of the timing of her article’s appearance on the World Economic Forum’s home page at the very moment this year’s gathering of world’s most influential “haves” got under way, but also because of who she is professionally and the voice of authority her work has earned.

“My own experience of being ‘different’ is multifaceted,” Brooke-Marciniak wrote. “I was a woman, an introvert and closeted, with politics that tended to differ from peers in my heavily male, extroverted profession. Like Tim, these differences contributed to my natural propensity to be an inclusive leader, since I had experienced the minority position in many dimensions.”

True to her company’s storied place in the universe of accounting and numbers, moreover, Brooke-Marciniak’s message to her colleagues at Davos is at once inspirational and factual. Just a look at this highest-echelon, out lesbian Ernst Young executive commands her fellow Davos-goers’ attention with her personal story and the numbers.

“Sixty-two percent of Fortune 500 companies now offer domestic partner health insurance benefits,” she notes in her article penned for the eyes, hearts, and minds of her fellow corporate and public policy shapers at Davos this year. “Eighty-seven percent of Fortune 500 companies now have non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation; and 94 percent of Fortune 100 companies have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation.”

That’s the good news. But as Brooke-Marciniak notes, most progress on LGBT human and labor rights has been won in Europe and the United States. She and a handful of others lobbying for more attention among the world’s leading economic influencers, i.e., Davos attendees, to the needs of LGBT people around the globe hope 2015 will be a tipping point after which positive change will begin spreading to the developing world. The bad news, of course, is that although a handful of seminars, workshops and press conference mention LGBT issues, a review of all of the program titles revealed not a single mention of the terms “LGBT,” “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual,” “transgender,” “queer,” or other nomenclature associated with our community.

There has been some suggestion that the World Economic Forum at Davos has been dragged somewhat unwillingly to the table of LGBT rights. In fact, NYT’s Ross Sorkin noted a now-legendary breakfast that was moderated off-site from last year’s Davos confab run by writer and television news host Fareed Zakaria. During this event, a human rights lawyer from Cameroon, which is famous for deplorable conditions for LGBT people, spoke compellingly about the need for an LGBT program at Davos in 2015, which was likely the catalyst for this year’s modest inclusion of LGBT issues. To be sure, external pressures from activists and organizations like the Human Rights Campaign are cited as getting the ball rolling.

Davos organizers have cried foul regarding any suggestion that they have been less than eager to inlcue LGBT issues. Regardless, now the ball is in the hands of World Economic Forum itself. Let’s hope we see an expressly named LGBT program or two on next year’s agenda in Davos.

THOM SENZEE is an Advocate contributor and freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter at @Tsenzee

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/01/26/op-ed-lgbt-visibility-davos-must-grow-2016

Photos: Books to Prisoners

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

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Article source: http://chippewa.com/news/local/photos-books-to-prisoners/collection_58c1a8bf-5e45-5922-a5d9-66f834f2bda4.html

Pa.'s new physician general brings an LGBT point of view

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Rachel Levine stood tall in the doorway, offered a polite handshake, and took a seat at the L-shaped desk in her drab, blank slate of an office.

The room, with its empty bookshelves, dual computer screens, and not much else, seemed appropriately open to possibility as the headquarters for a woman about to chart new territory.

Levine, who has just been named Pennsylvania’s physician general, spent most of her 57 years – at least outwardly – as a man. If the state Senate confirms her appointment, the doctor, who until a few years ago was known as Richard Levine, will become one of the nation’s very few, openly transgender people in public office.

When Gov. Wolf announced her on Jan. 17 as his choice for the cabinet post, he cited her expertise in pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health.

“She has been a leading voice in efforts to treat teens with medical and psychological problems, as well as adults and children with eating disorders,” his statement read.

Frankly, Levine said, she would like to be discussing her experience in those fields and her vision for how to improve the health of Pennsylvanians. But she is realistic about why a parade of reporters has come knocking.

“I was not appointed because I was a transgender woman, I was appointed because of my expertise,” she said. “But Gov. Wolf didn’t shy away from me because I was in the LGBT community, and I think that’s amazing.”

The governor’s decision to appoint her was particularly bold given that in Pennsylvania it is still legal to fire employees for their sexual orientation or gender identity, she said, adding that she is heartened by Wolf’s support for House Bill 300 that will protect the LBGT community from this kind of discrimination.

She was dressed conservatively in a tailored gray jacket and matching skirt, accented by rings, bracelets, and an amber necklace.

Before accepting the job, she said, she had to carefully consider how she would balance her public exposure with her wish for privacy. She is willing to discuss her transsexuality in the interest of shedding light on a much-misunderstood community. But she is fiercely protective of her family and friends and puts strict limits on the questions she is willing to answer.

Like most people who struggle with gender identity, she said her awareness that something was different began in childhood and became more intense as she went through adolescence.

She grew up in Wakefield, Mass., a suburb north of Boston, in a family of lawyers. “My mother, father, uncle, sister, cousin, and niece are all lawyers,” she said.

She attended the all-boys college-prep Belmont Hill School.

“So that was interesting,” she said with a hint of the dry humor she is known for among colleagues.

Among the 63 boys in the class of 1975, many of whom went on to influential careers, Levine stood out as intellectually gifted, graduating magna cum laude, said Joe Henley, a fellow classmate.

“Rich was incredibly bright and hardworking,” Henley recalled. “He was a great guy, funny and motivated.”

They both played football for the school, he said. As a lineman, Levine was not exactly a star. “But it was not a distinguished team,” Henley said. “We lost six and won one.”

Looking back over their high school yearbook, Henley was reminded that Levine distinguished himself as president of the drama club and goalie on the junior varsity hockey team. He also sang for the glee club and was a fan of Star Trek and the Moody Blues.

No one was surprised when Levine got into Harvard, Henley said, or went on to become a doctor.

Prefacing her comments about medical school, Levine, half-joking, noted that proper pronunciation is required. “It’s TOO-lane, you know. Not Too-LANE. And the city is Nawlins, not New OrLEANS.”

Always interested in biology, Levine had worked in laboratories throughout high school and college, but when she discovered the relatively new field of adolescent medicine, Levine said, she knew she had found her passion.

It was a field representative of her own life, dealing with the intersection of mind and body, the complex, fluid, questioning period of development when people struggle to define themselves.

She hopscotches across the rest of her resumé: internship and residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, a stint as chief resident and on the faculty of the medical school, then two decades at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System.

There, she started a multidisciplinary program to treat eating disorders, and, in her most recent role, served as vice chair of clinical affairs in the Department of Pediatrics.

Along the way, she was married and fathered two children. Her son is now in college and her daughter in high school, she said, asking that they not be named for this article.

Now divorced, Levine said she began the transition to becoming a woman about 10 years ago.

“At some point, I crossed the line,” she said, explaining that the shift was triggered by personal changes as well as societal.

“When I was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, there was no context,” she said. “Things have changed dramatically. There is much better knowledge, especially over the last three to four years. Over the Internet, there are so many more opportunities for the transgendered to find other people who relate the way they do.”

As she transitioned, a few of her patients were upset by the change. Most, however, were supportive and understanding, she said, offering an example.

The father of a patient Levine was treating for anorexia nervosa came to see her. She mentioned that she was becoming a woman. His response, Levine said, was typical.

“What has this got to do with my daughter’s care?” the father asked.

“Nothing,” Levine replied.

“Ok,” the father said, and without skipping a beat began discussing his daughter’s issues. “So, this week, she has not been eating well.”

With that, she put an end to the discussion of her sexuality, reached for a legal pad, and tapped her freshly polished fingernails on the list of substantive points she wanted to cover.

Her top priorities, she said, will be to help Wolf expand insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, improve health screenings for the public, address threats such as Ebola and measles, and encourage agencies to cooperate.

“We need to work together to help individuals with their myriad, complex, medical, and psychological problems,” she said. “The mind and the body are connected.”

Levine has been active in the LGBT community for years, said Ted S. Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania. Four years ago, she joined the organization’s board, Martin said.

“When meetings get heated, she has the ability to lower the temperature,” Martin said. “Her style is velvet-glovish.”

An estimated 700,000 people in America identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

“It’s not a huge community, but they have been vastly underrepresented in government, just as the entire LGBT community has,” said Denis Dison, senior vice president of the Gay Lesbian Victory Fund, which supports LGBT leaders interested in public service.

The key to achieving equality, he said, is “greater visibility and acceptance.”

“An appointment of this kind raises the visibility of the community and helps people understand where folks are coming from.”


mdribben@phillynews.com

215-854-2590 @dribbenonphilly


Article source: http://www.philly.com/philly/health/20150125_Pa__s_new_physician_general_brings_an_LGBT_point_of_view.html

For gay prisoners nationwide, Madison effort provides a literary lifeline with free books

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

In the dingy, cramped basement of a Madison bookstore, Irene Toro Martinez, a UW-Madison graduate student, pulled a letter from a large stack and plunged into the life of a California prisoner.

The inmate wrote that her days are hard and lonely and made more so by personal struggle. She is transitioning from male to female and has few resources available to her. She is desperate to read something, anything.

“I’ve started taking hormone shots and would love any information about the transgender life or stories about transgender characters,” wrote the inmate.

This is where Martinez comes in. She’s part of LGBT Books to Prisoners, a Madison-based, all-volunteer effort that last year mailed more than 7,000 free books to hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inmates in 45 states.

It is the largest and most active of the very few groups of its kind that cater expressly to LGBT prisoners.

Searching the shelves, Martinez chose “Redefining Realness,” a memoir by transgender author Janet Mock. She then added three more books to the stack — another memoir by a transgender author and two works of gay fiction.

“Here are some books that I think you’ll enjoy,” Martinez wrote in a note to the inmate. “I hope you’re doing well.”

With that, a prisoner hundreds of miles away received a literary boost.

Empathetic founder

Convicts rarely elicit sympathy, but Dennis Bergren said he identified with their isolation.

A retired Madison school teacher, he came out as gay late in life after years of feeling alone and imprisoned in his body. As a retiree, he began volunteering in the library at OutReach, an LGBT community center in Madison.

Through that work, he connected with Wisconsin Books to Prisoners, a project founded in 2006 at Madison’s Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative. It serves the general prison population, but only in Wisconsin.

Bergren asked if they’d be interested in distributing surplus books from OutReach’s library. They said sure and began adding gay and lesbian literature as an option in their prison brochures. By 2008, with demand growing, LGBT Books to Prisoners spun off as an independent entity.

“Once I got started in this, I just saw that nothing was being done for gay prisoners,” said Bergren, 74. “They were at the bottom of the pecking order.”

Prison libraries often are antiquated and poorly stocked, and access to them is limited for many inmates, Bergren said. This is especially true for gay prisoners, who can end up in solitary confinement and without library privileges solely because prison officials believe they can’t be kept safe among the general prison population, he said.

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections declined to make anyone available to discuss the quality of libraries in state prisons and access to them.

Word of Bergren’s effort spread nationally through newsletters and resource guides published for inmates by humanitarian and prison-reform groups. At the time, Bergren said he was the only one he knew of doing such work.

For several years, the project operated out of Bergren’s Madison house. He solicited books from friends, businesses and nonprofits. He spent as much as $8,000 a year of his own money on postage.

“I don’t want to say I was doing it alone, but I was in charge of everything,” Bergren said. “It was all day, every day, practically. It got to be too much.”

With his health ailing, Bergren stepped down in 2013 and moved to North Carolina to live with a son. Martinez and Melissa Charenko, another UW-Madison graduate student, took over the project.

Rules vary

No one, not even family members, can simply mail a book to an inmate. Prison rules require that books come from approved vendors, such as bookstores and publishers.

That’s why Rainbow Bookstore has always been the project’s sponsor. The relationship deepened in 2013 when the operation moved from Bergren’s house to the bookstore’s basement at 426 W. Gilman St. The store provides the space free.

Charenko and Martinez oversee the effort with three others who make decisions as a five-member collective. The project is funded primarily through donations. In 2014, 91 people gave money, 36 of them through a monthly pledge.

The group will spend almost its entire $8,000 budget this year on postage. Additionally, it has been awarded a $3,000 grant through the Madison-based New Harvest Foundation to start a national reading group for prisoners who are transgender.

About 40 letters arrive each week. A core group of 15 to 20 volunteers fill the requests.

On a recent night, volunteer Brian Hamilton opened a letter from a bisexual prison inmate in Florida who said he was “looking for some books to read to let my mind escape to something better.” Hamilton first consulted a 20-page document that lists every prison in the country and the rules for sending books.

Restrictions vary considerably and can change at the whim of a warden, said Karma Chavez, an associate professor of communication arts at UW-Madison and another of the five who lead the effort.

“It’s completely arbitrary,” she said. “We’ll get packages returned to us that say we violated a rule, yet the rule isn’t listed anywhere.”

Wisconsin prisons generally allow only new, soft-cover books, Chavez said. Although some prisons are fine with any and all “queer” content, objections to it have been on the rise, Martinez said.

All genres

While the Madison effort exists expressly to help LGBT prisoners, it provides books of all kinds. The inmate whose request Hamilton filled, for example, asked for a dictionary, a manual on learning Spanish, and a romance novel.

“We don’t want to pigeonhole people,” Martinez said. “Just because someone is gay doesn’t mean they read only gay fiction.”

Dictionaries and almanacs are among the most popular requests, possibly because the inmates are doing legal research or just want to increase their basic knowledge and don’t have access to the Internet, said Katherine Charek Briggs, a collective member.

Even when an inmate doesn’t ask for anything LGBT-related, the project often is filling a void by providing a sympathetic ear or a safe sounding bound, Martinez said.

“Queer people end up in prison at disproportionate rates, and once there, often face discrimination and abuse,” she said. “We’re a place for them to tell their stories or to connect with other queer people or people who care about them.”

A gay inmate from Texas wrote to thank the volunteers for remembering “the outcasts and the forgotten” in society. “Not only do we receive your special materials, but along with that comes love and care,” he wrote.

Like many of the group’s volunteers, Chavez said she is motivated by a belief that the country’s prison system is broken. In reading inmate letters, she’s learned there are just a lot of normal people in prison, she said.

“Maybe they made a bad decision or have a mental illness or found themselves in poverty or drug addiction, but they’re just humans with feelings,” Chavez said.

Prisoners often thank the volunteers profusely, decorating their correspondence with artwork or sending along a piece of jewelry they’ve made or a poem they’ve written.

“Sometimes I feel defeated, but your books give me hope and something to look forward to,” wrote an inmate from Kansas. “I don’t understand this passion to learn, but thankfully it is stronger than the feeling to give up.”

Article source: http://host.madison.com/news/local/for-gay-prisoners-nationwide-madison-effort-provides-a-literary-lifeline/article_c779f6ae-f1f3-51d9-9e48-d6c79ceea867.html

David Stacy: Federal LGBT nondiscrimination bill sorely needed

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

In 2014, Wisconsin took a giant step towards fairness when it joined dozens of other states and finally permitted same-sex couples the right to legally marry. While supporters of legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans welcome this significant progress, there is still a long way to go to ensure LGBT Americans have the same legal protections other citizens enjoy.

While gay and lesbian couples may now have the right to marry in Wisconsin and 36 other states, those same-sex couples risk being fired, evicted or denied service in a restaurant simply because of who they are or who they love. There are no consistent, explicit federal laws to protect LGBT Americans at work or in school, in their homes or in public places like movie theaters or restaurants. LGBT people and their families are still deeply unequal under the federal law.

State-based nondiscrimination laws — where they do exist — are inconsistent at best. Wisconsin was a trailblazer as the first state to pass a state nondiscrimination law to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in 1982. Since then, some states have followed Wisconsin’s lead, and most of them have also included protections for transgender citizens. But for every state like Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, there are more states that have no law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Progress is not measured by marriage equality alone, and fairness in the workplace or in school shouldn’t depend on where you live. And that’s why, with a new Congress, it is critical for our nation’s leaders — Democrats and Republicans alike — make a federal LGBT nondiscrimination protections bill a top priority. And, as a new report by the Human Rights Campaign details, such legislation is sorely needed.

Sexual orientation and gender identity should enjoy similar treatment to race, national origin and disability in federal law — with guaranteed nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, public places, education, federal funding, credit and other categories. There’s nothing unusual about guaranteeing these sorts of protections. At the federal level, Congress has passed piecemeal legislation protecting LGBT people in some areas, with Republicans and Democrats standing together to do the right thing.

The American people support legal protections for LGBT Americans. A September 2013 poll by Republican pollster Alex Lundry found supermajorities of Republicans and Democrats back a federal employment nondiscrimination bill. More than two-thirds of voters — including a strong majority of Republicans — supported a federal law protecting LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.

This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Republican Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus supported and signed Wisconsin’s 1982 law. And conservative Republican senators like Orrin Hatch, U-Utah, Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and John McCain, R-Ariz., joined progressives like our own Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Al Franken, D-Minn., in voting for the federal workplace nondiscrimination measure in 2013.

Marriage equality has been years in the making, and likewise, the road toward a federal nondiscrimination bill will be long. But that’s all the more reason why with a new year, and as a new session of Congress begins, fair-minded people on both sides of the aisle should start now.

David Stacy currently serves as government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization. He is also a founder of Fair Wisconsin.

Article source: http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/david-stacy-federal-lgbt-nondiscrimination-bill-sorely-needed/article_bcca6a21-93f3-5181-bf3e-d65f5c5cca7e.html

Nevada fares well in LGBT study

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Nevada is one of 18 states in the country that has explicit state-level workplace protections for all LGBT employees. It is also one of 36 states with marriage equality.

This data was released this week by Human Rights Campaign in partnership with the Equality Federation in its first national report assessing the status of state legislation affecting LGBT equality across the United States. HRC is the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

“Despite historic progress on issues like marriage equality, a majority of states still struggle to reach even a basic level of equality for LGBT people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “Most states lack statewide non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT people – putting countless individuals and families at risk, and creating inequalities in adoption and surrogacy, employments benefits, and youth safety and well-being.”

“Even worse,” Griffin said, “equality opponents continue to push deeply harmful laws forward, including those seeking to undermine critical protections in the guise of “religious liberty.”

Though same-sex marriage is legal in 36 states and Washington, D.C., more than 111 million people, or 35 percent of Americans, live in states that have marriage but where LGBT people are not fully protected from discrimination in the workplace. And more than 206 million people nationwide live in states where every LGBT person lacks fully-inclusive statewide workplace sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

Advocates in Nevada are expected to focus this year on passing comprehensive anti-bullying protections for young people.

The SEI assesses states on their LGBT-related legislation and policies, good and bad, in six areas: relationship recognition, parenting laws and policies, non-discrimination laws, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying laws, and health and safety laws and policies. Based on that review, the SEI assigns states to one of four distinct categories.

Nevada and six other states falls into the category Building Equality. These have marriage equality and have taken steps toward more robust LGBT equality, including passing basic non-discrimination and hate crimes laws. Some lack explicit gender identity protections, and several lack comprehensive anti-bullying laws. Bad laws are more common, so advocates work to stop bills that undermine LGBT equality, and pass more comprehensive non-discrimination laws.

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every state, is available online.

– Lake Tahoe News staff report

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Article source: http://www.laketahoenews.net/2015/01/nevada-fares-well-in-lgbt-study/

Four Anti-LGBT Bills Aim to Roll Back Progress in Oklahoma

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Oklahoma state legislators are introducing several bills in an effort to reverse the progress LGBT people have made by blocking marriage equality, ensuring “freedom” to discriminate, and protecting the use of conversion therapy.

Known anti-LGBT state representative Sally Kern has filed three bills, the Tulsa World reports, and another bill introduced by Rep. Todd Russ would remove government officials from the process of issuing marriage licenses.

Kern’s HB1597 is similar to bills being considered in other states that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers without any civil or criminal consequence. While other states have attempted to justify such discrimination in the name of religious freedom (as in Mississippi, the only state to enact such a law to date), Kern’s version does not specify that the “business entity” must have religious grounds for discrimination.

HB1598, the Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act, ensures that any parent who wants their children to undergo therapy to change their sexual orientation or gender identity will have the right to do so. Kern’s bill defies efforts to ban the use conversion therapy on minors, as every major psychological and medical organization in the United States has said such therapy is ineffective or harmful.

With same-sex marriage being legal in the state since October, Kern and Russ have both introduced bills to roll back or eliminate those rights for same-sex couples. Kern’s third bill, HB1599, known as the Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act, would prohibit public funds going to state agencies that recognize same-sex marriages.

“No employee of this state and no employee of any local governmental entity shall officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license and continue to receive a salary, pension or other employee benefit at the expense of taxpayers of this state,” the bill reads.

The legislation also stipulates that courts must dismiss any legal challenges to the policy, if enacted, and that any judge who challenges the law would be removed from the bench.  

Russ’s bill would add a religious component to the issuance of marriage licenses for in Oklahoma. His proposed policy would require a clergy member to sign a couple’s marriage certificate, which would then be filed with the county clerk, according to The Oklahoman. If no clergy member is willing to do so, the couple’s union would be listed as a common-law marriage.

The purpose of Russ’s bill is to protect public employees from having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the paper reports. “Marriages are not supposed to be a government thing anyway,” Russ, an Assemblies of God minister, told The Oklahoman.

Toby Jenkins of Oklahomans for Equality said at least 3,165 same-sex marriages have been documented in 23 Oklahoma counties from October to December.

“For 23 years, at least one antigay bill has been introduced every session,” he told The Oklahoman. “I was so hoping 2015 would be different.”

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/oklahoma/2015/01/23/four-anti-lgbt-bills-aim-roll-back-progress-oklahoma

What LGBT Policy Challenges Are on Deck for 2015?

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Coming Out at Work Is Still Risky for Some
One of the big questions this year is whether a Republican-led Congress will even approach a bill to protect LGBT people against workplace discrimination. For the last four decades, nearly every Congress has introduced legislation to provide protection against discrimination or bias on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, to no avail. LGBT workers face discrimination that makes it harder to find and keep good jobs, according to a 2014 Movement Advancement Project report. In fact, LGBT workers report a wage gap as high as $24,000 versus their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts, according to the report. For queer people of color, the gap is particularly problematic. According to the Center for American Progress, 32 percent of black male same-sex couples and 28 percent of female same-sex couples live in poverty, compared to just 13 percent of black different-sex married couples.

Despite a Republican-controlled Congress where House Speaker John Boehner has already made it clear that he sees no need to debate a bill that would protect LGBT workers, members of the House and Senate are already working on introducing one again. Out Colorado representative Jared Polis has been an early proponent of a wider-reaching bill that would ensure all LGBT Americans are protected against discrimination. Meanwhile, fewer than half of the states in the U.S. have such protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers, and even fewer extend workplace protections for transgender workers.

Stephen Peters, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, told The Advocate last week that the organization will lobby for a federal LGBT nondiscrimination bill that addresses “discrimination in credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service, and public accommodations.” 

While corporate America has become increasingly welcoming of LGBT employees and leaders, Apple’s Tim Cook is still the only openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company (Martine Rothblatt, who is transgender, is the CEO of United Therapeutics Corp., which is on Forbes‘ Best Small Companies list). It should also be noted that there are 24 female CEOs in the Fortune 500 (so less than 5 percent of the list). Nonetheless, Cook’s coming-out was a significant step, as Apple is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. The increasing LGBT-friendliness of the nation’s biggest companies is evident as more businesses earn perfect scores on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/2015/01/21/what-lgbt-policy-challenges-are-deck-2015

Bakeries are at the center of the fight for LGBT rights. Why?

Saturday, January 24th, 2015








© Provided by Vox.com
A wedding cake for a gay couple. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images News)

A new controversy at a Colorado bakery has once again brought bakers into the center of the debate over LGBT rights and religious freedom.

In 2012, the owner of Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception — prompting a round of legal challenges that have so far ended in the couple’s favor.

Now, a new case is putting a twist in the debate. Another baker in Colorado faces a complaint from a customer alleging religious discrimination — for refusing to write anti-gay messages on a cake.

Here’s what you need to know about the cases and why these bakeries are part of a much broader battle for LGBT rights.

What’s going on in the latest cake case?

Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver’s Azucar Bakery, recently received a notice of a complaint alleging discrimination. She told the Associated Press and KUSA-TV that the complaint stemmed from a customer’s visit on March 2014 in which he asked for Bible-shaped cakes. But the customer also asked that Silva inscribe anti-gay messages, such as “God hates gays,” onto the cakes and include an image of two men holding hands crossed out by a large X.

Silva reportedly refused to write the messages, although she said she would finish the cakes and provide the customer with icing and a pastry bag so he could write the messages himself.

The customer, who KUSA-TV identified as Bill Jack, filed a complaint to the civil rights division of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Jack told KUSA-TV, “I believe I was discriminated against by the bakery based on my creed. As a result, I filed a complaint with the Colorado civil rights division. Out of respect for the process, I will wait for the director to release his findings before making further comments.”

DORA is currently reviewing the case, but a decision isn’t expected for at least a couple months, according to KUSA-TV.

What happened in the gay wedding cake case?

In 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig went to Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver to order a cake for an upcoming wedding reception. Same-sex marriages weren’t allowed in Colorado at the time, so the couple planned to get married in Massachusetts and then celebrate in Colorado.

The Christian owner of the bakery, Jack Phillips, refused to make a wedding cake for the couple, based on his religious opposition to same-sex marriages. In court, Phillips’ attorneys argued that making him bake a wedding cake for the same-sex couple would be like forcing a black baker to make a cake with a white supremacist message.

Administrative law judge Robert Spencer disagreed, ruling in favor of the same-sex couple. Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission echoed the judge’s decision, also ruling that Phillips’ religious objections didn’t trump the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Phillips appealed the rulings to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

What’s the difference between the two cases?

“There’s a big difference between refusing service altogether and agreeing to serve someone while refusing to engage in speech that you oppose,” Nancy Leong, a law professor at the University of Denver, wrote in an email.

In the most recent case, Silva didn’t refuse to serve a customer because the customer was Christian. She actually agreed to serve him — but refused to write a message she disagrees with, which is protected by her free speech rights, according to Leong.

But Phillips allegedly denied service to a gay couple just because of their sexual orientation. The baker prepared wedding cakes for opposite-sex but not same-sex couples, making sexual orientation the distinction between who he does and doesn’t serve. That kind of discrimination is prohibited under Colorado law, according to rulings in the case so far.

Critics of the rulings worry that these kinds of arguments and distinctions are blurring the line that defines free speech protections. Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar who’s appeared before the US House and Senate to discuss constitutional issues, wrote on his blog, “The question raised by these cases is whether anti-discrimination laws are driving too deeply into free speech rights. Bakers and photographers view themselves as engaged in a form of speech generally. The loss of a bright-line defining free speech has meant that we are finding ourselves increasingly on a slippery slope of speech regulation.”

Why are these cake battles in Colorado?

To some degree, it’s a coincidence that cases in Colorado are getting so much attention. The state has a non-discrimination law that protects gay and lesbian people from discrimination in public and private places that are open to the general public, such as restaurants and bakeries. But so do more than a dozen other states, from California to Maine.

Leong, who’s watched the bakery cases closely, suggested Colorado may be politically predisposed to these types of conflicts: “It’s because Denver and Boulder are progressive, and the rest of the state is somewhat-to-very conservative. In particular Colorado Springs is very conservative and religious. We look like a purple state, but it’s actually a mosaic of very red and very blue. So there is ample opportunity for this kind of clash of viewpoints.”

These types of cases have also popped up in other parts of the country. The New Mexico Supreme Court in 2013 ruled that wedding photographer Elaine Huguenin violated the state’s non-discrimination law when she refused to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. And in Washington state, a gay couple is suing flower shop Arlene’s Flowers for refusing to sell floral arrangements to the couple for their wedding.

Why are bakeries involved in battles for LGBT rights?

Bakeries have become a flashpoint in the battle for LGBT rights — and legal protections for married or engaged same-sex couples in particular — due to the obvious connection between cakes and weddings. Cakes have been part of weddings since antiquity, going back to the Roman tradition of breaking a cake of wheat or barley over a bride’s head for good luck. But traditional wedding cakes require a specific set of skills and tools to make, leaving some couples to the whims of bakers who may oppose gay or lesbian couples’ right to marry. When couples finally encountered that opposition within a society more accepting to LGBT rights, the conflict drew national attention.

But these cases aren’t just about individual bakeries; they’re part of a much broader debate about how LGBT people should be protected in places that are open to and serve the general public. LGBT advocates want legal protections against discrimination in all parts of society — from the restaurant down the street to the county clerk issuing marriage licenses. But opponents believe constitutional protections for religious expression should extend even to forms of expression that discriminate against LGBT people.

Federal and state laws prohibit public accommodations — restaurants, hotels, and most other businesses or buildings open to the general public — from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. But federal law and most states exclude sexual orientation and gender identity in their protections.

The bakery cases show the possible fallout of how society — and particularly private businesses — will deal with same-sex marriages as they’re allowed in more states. Some LGBT advocates expect these types of issues, from discrimination in the workplace to housing to public accommodations, to turn into the next major frontier for civil rights.

Article source: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/bakeries-are-at-the-center-of-the-fight-for-lgbt-rights-why/ar-AA8vnFY?srcref=rss

Dragon Age: Inquisition Honored by LGBT-Advocacy Group

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

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LGBT-advocacy group GLAAD has announced nominees for its latest Media Awards, and while video games aren’t included in the main categories, the group did give special praise to one game.

GLAAD gave BioWare’s role-playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition a “Special Recognition” award for its representation of LGBT characters.

Specifically, GLAAD said Inquisition earned the recognition for its “many complex and unique LGBT characters prominently integrated throughout the game.”

For more on BioWare’s approach to LGBT characters for Inquisition, check out these stories:

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Related Articles

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/dragon-age-inquisition-honored-lgbt-122700082.html

Allred, Jayne to Receive LGBT Ally Awards Thursday Night in L.A.

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Sponsored by SAG-AFTRA and now in its third year, LGBTs in ihe News comes back to the Los Angeles Press Club tonight at 7 for another of the series’ panel discussions — and to present its first-ever “Elgy” Award for Lifetime Achievement in Equality Advocacy to attorney Gloria Allred.

Never reluctant to represent victims of abuse and discrimination in high-profile cases, Allred has become legendary for her work as a civil rights attorney and advocate for equality. 

The Los Angeles-based attorney has handled discrimination cases for LGBT and HIV-positive clients since the 1980s. In 2008 she and other attorneys won the right for same-sex couples to legally marry for the first time ever in California. Members of her law firm gave the winning argument to the California Supreme Court that saved the marriages of the thousands of couples who were married before Proposition 8 temporarily banned marriage rights for same-sex couples across the state. 

Her firm, Allred, Maroko Goldberg LLP, handles more women’s rights cases than any other private firm in the nation and has won hundreds of millions of dollars for victims. Allred is also a three-time Emmy nominee for her commentaries on KABC television in Los Angeles. Her nationally syndicated television show, We the People, With Gloria Allred, was also nominated in 2012 for a Daytime Emmy Award.

Allred will headline the LGBTs in the News panel discussion about the importance of the role of allies in the fight for LGBT equality in the U.S. and abroad. She will be joined by top-selling dance-music star Erika Jayne in addition to several leading journalists and activists.

Jayne, the featured panelist, will also be named LGBTs in the News Ally Entertainer of 2015 in recognition of her ongoing support for the rights and equality of LGBT people around the world.

“I’m so honored to be named ally entertainer of 2015 at this year’s LGBTs in ihe News event in Hollywood,” said Jayne. “There are so many incredible people leading the fight for equality, and I’m just grateful to be able to contribute. After all, these aren’t just ‘gay issues,’ they’re humanity issues, and it’s important that we all step up however we can.”

The other panelists, all leaders in their respective fields, are SAG-AFTRA LGBT Actors Committee cochair Jason Stuart, Huffington Post editor Noah Michelson, Rage Monthly editor Joel Martens, GLAAD senior media strategist Tiq Milan, and transgender activist Blue Montana, who will star in an upcoming documentary film about transitioning.

Members of the media and the public are invited to attend this free event. For more information and to RSVP, visit LAPressClub.org.

Article source: http://editorial.advocate.com/politics/media/2015/01/22/allred-jayne-receive-lgbt-ally-awards-thursday-night-la

Looking Out: LGBT groups criticize Hogan for pulling back Medicaid regulation banning discrimination

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Gov. Larry Hogan may have sent a message of “tolerance and mutual respect” during his inauguration on Wednesday, but advocates for the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community say his early actions in office have signaled something different.

Larry Hogan inauguration coverage

In one of his first acts, Hogan held up a regulation that would have banned Medicaid providers in the state from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, according to state officials. The provision was proposed in recent months under the administration of Hogan’s predecessor, Martin O’Malley, at the urging of LGBT groups.

“To withdraw a regulation that prohibits discrimination in the provision of essential medical services, which also has no fiscal impact, seems contrary to the spirit of inclusiveness touted in his inauguration speech yesterday,” said Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, in a statement. “We know that trans people in Maryland face discrimination when accessing health care and we should be working to ensure this doesn’t happen instead of overtly condoning it.”

lRelated Maryland to expand Medicaid coverage for transgender patients
Gay MattersMaryland to expand Medicaid coverage for transgender patientsSee all related

The regulation also would have explicitly prevented discrimination based on religious affiliation and made the current Medicaid regulatory language consistent with the state’s other non-discrimination laws.

The rule-making is separate from a state effort to end exclusions for transgender patients’ transition care under Medicaid, about which advocates also are concerned. The state took the step of providing similar coverage to state employees last summer.

The regulation was one of five that Hogan pulled back prior to their appearing in the Maryland Register on Friday, preventing them from taking effect as his office reviews them further.

“We just basically pulled all the regulations that were supposed to be published on Friday,” Hogan said Thursday. “We didn’t like the fact that [O’Malley] was trying to push these things through at the last minute. We’re going to make sure our new … team throughout government reviews every one of these regulations to make sure which direction we should head.”

Two other regulations he held back also relate to health care. One would have implemented mid-year adjustments to HealthChoice, the state’s mandatory managed care program, and added supplemental medical payments for Hepatitis C therapy services. The other would have changed eligibility periods and premium adjustment requirements under the Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program, managed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The last two regulations Hogan withheld were environmental regulations. One would have curbed Eastern Shore farmers’ use of poultry manure on their fields. The second would have clamped down on air pollution from coal-burning power plants.

Hogan’s office has said he wants to review the provisions to be sure they are warranted.

State analysts previously determined the Medicaid discrimination change would have no fiscal impact on the state budget, making Hogan’s hesitation even more troubling, advocates said.

Hogan also drew criticism from the LGBT community for issuing an executive order Wednesday warning executive branch employees they must adhere to “laws and regulations that provide equal opportunity for all Marylanders,” but left gender identity out of a list of protected categories even though the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 established specific protections for transgender residents in Maryland.

On Thursday, Equality Maryland and Free State Legal Project, a prominent LGBT legal advocacy group, issued a joint statement about Hogan’s actions, saying the first 24 hours of his tenure were “not a good sign” for the LGBT community.

Jer Welter, Free State Legal’s deputy director and managing attorney, commended the governor for issuing an executive order directing executive branch employees to adhere to equal opportunity laws in Maryland.

“However,” he wrote, “those laws now include gender identity and we urge him to re-issue this Order with all of the current prohibited grounds included in state law.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Timothy B. Wheeler contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

Article source: http://baltimore.feedsportal.com/c/34255/f/623016/s/429a06e3/sc/1/l/0L0Sbaltimoresun0N0Cnews0Cmaryland0Cbs0Egm0Elooking0Eout0Elgbt0Egroups0Ecry0Efoul0Eas0Ehogan0Epulls0Emedicaid0Eprovision0Ebanning0Ediscrimination0E20A150A1220Estory0Bhtml0Dtrack0Frss/story01.htm

Op-ed: Straightwashing 'Pride' Is a Crime Against History

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

“This is a gay and lesbian group, and we are unapologetic about that.”

So says Mark Ashton, the leader of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, when someone suggests the group remains anonymous, in the Golden Globe–nominated film Pride. It seems Sony and CBS Films, the film’s distributors, see it differently, though. In a still unexplained move, the American cover of the DVD — released last month — omits any reference to LGBT people, despite the fact the film is about how a group of lesbian and gay activists in London came to the aid of Welsh miners during a year-long strike in the mid-1980s.

The new cover of the DVD is cleansed of a prominent reference to “gay and lesbian activists” and a banner has gone missing from a photo on the back that had declared “Lesbians Gays Support The Miners.” A line that had once read “a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists” is now edited to merely “a group of London-based activists.”

After the news broke, director Matthew Warchus told BBC Radio 5 Live that the change was “valid” as a way to “find a mainstream audience and broaden people’s minds.” He said, according to the Independent‘s report on the interview, that “I think someone in the marketing department in the U.S. used their marketing judgement to try to remove any barrier to the widest possible audience. It’s clumsily done but I understand it, and it’s a valid instinct.”

That a DVD cover for a movie about queer people in 1980s Britain would fail to mention the fact that they are queer is insulting enough, but given the historic context and lived realities of the people depicted, it is abhorrent.

Fueled by Margaret Thatcher’s neo-Victorian morality and disgust that people felt they had an “inalienable right to be gay,” the 1980s was a time of increased homophobia throughout the United Kingdom. The late 1980s also saw a rise in gay hate crimes, at least according to anecdotal evidence, with several brutal murders seemingly driven by antigay animus. (It is impossible to know for sure whether there was an increase, as official records of antigay hate crimes weren’t kept in Britain until the 2000s.) Given the public mood, this isn’t surprising. According to Alkarim Jivani’s It’s Not Unusual: A History of Lesbian and Gay Britain in the 20th Century, in 1983, 62 percent of those polled did not approve of homosexuality. That number jumped to 74 percent by 1987. This, coupled with the hysteria over the AIDS epidemic, which was blamed largely on gay people, led to a series of what esteemed LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell once called “queer bashing political assaults.”

The most infamous of these was Clause 28, a pernicious piece of legislation that proposed to ban the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities, including schools. It was met with fierce opposition from lesbian and gay rights activists and from Labour MPs, whose party had adopted a platform of gay equality in 1985. This was achieved largely thanks to the National Union of Mineworkers, answering the support the gay community had shown them during the strike.

The Labour Party had, in fact, been supporting gay equality at a grassroots level for some time. A grant from the London Borough of Islington helped found the London Lesbian and Gay Centre, and a teachers’ resource center in Haringey had available a copy of a children’s book, Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin, about a young girl with two gay dads. This raised the ire of the conservative and tabloid press, which dubbed these local councils the “loony left” and caught the attention of Tory MPs David Wilshire and Jill Knight, who championed the clause. Wilshire defended it as “not a criticism of homosexuals,” but rather, as Knight put it, “the need to protect children.”

Gay and lesbian activists saw this for the ruse it was. Despite the odd group like Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, lesbian and gay male activists had largely steered clear of one another up until this point. Unlike male homosexuality, which was only legalized in 1967, female homosexuality was never criminalized in the U.K., and many lesbians felt more at home in radical feminism and lesbian separatism than with what they perceived as the misogyny of gay male activism.

However, the clause bred common cause, and activists joined forces for what at the time were the largest gay rights protests Britain had seen. A group of lesbian activists abseiled onto the floor of the House of Lords screaming “lesbians are angry!” while Sir Ian McKellen inadvertently outed himself in a debate with the right-wing editor of the Telegraph. Both OutRage! and Stonewall, today the preeminent LGB* rights organization in the U.K., were founded out of the activism around the clause.

Yet the clause passed, becoming Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, taking effect three days after Margaret Thatcher gave her famous “Sermon on the Mound,” in which she affirmed Britain as a Christian nation. The law prohibited the discussion or promotion of homosexuality in British state schools (the equivalent of American public schools). And while no one was ever prosecuted under the law, it directly and indirectly censored artistic works such as Nicholas Lowe’s (Safe) Sex Explained, which was set to be part of an installation on HIV/AIDS.

And it meant a generation of British children grew up without adequate support within their schools. In 2013 — the 10th anniversary of a Labour government repealing Section 28 — The Guardian reported that 55 percent of LGB youth had experienced bullying, and that three out of five of them said teachers never intervened. This is hardly surprising, considering a startling 94 percent of British teachers had no training on how to address homophobic bullying. And some schools are still, a decade on, adopting language reminiscent of Section 28, stifling any talk of homosexuality.

Which makes the decision not to mention gay people in the synopses of a gay film set in a time when gay people were stripped of their narratives even more appalling. The gay women and men featured in Pride had so few opportunities to tell their story in 1984-1985, and by 1988, they had even fewer. This was a time when LGBT people were silenced by law, and despite all the progress we’ve made, they are still silenced.

 

SKYLAR BAKER-JORDAN is a freelance writer based in Chicago. He writes about LGBT rights, masculinity, and Britain. Follow him on Twitter @skylarjordan. 

*As of publication, Stonewall’s mandate does not include transgender people; it is in consultation with representatives of the trans community and this month is expected to release a report on the future of trans inclusion within the organization.

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/01/22/op-ed-straightwashing-pride-crime-against-history

LGBT community responds to upcoming Supreme Court case

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

What once seemed like a settled dispute in North Carolina has resurfaced in the form of an appeal to the Supreme Court. 

In October, the proposed amendment to the state constitution which included the state’s right to not recognize or perform same-sex marriages known as Amendment One was declared unconstitutional in federal court, thus legalizing same-sex marriage in North Carolina. Now legislative leaders in the state are trying to undo this decision.

Since the proposed amendment was found unconstitutional, many same-sex couples in North Carolina have been married and could potentially be facing a difficult situation depending on what the Supreme Court decides.

“There is the possibility of moving very far backwards depending on how the Supreme Court rules,” said Darren Lipman, a senior studying mathematics and political science, as well as the president of the GLBT center at NC State.

Some proponents of the appeal, such as Republican Tim Moore, who was nominated as Speaker of the House in North Carolina, have argued that those who voted for Amendment One represent the will of the state, according to The News Observer.

Lipman said he doesn’t think this claim holds up to scrutiny given that the voter turnout for the primary was 35 percent.

“They keep saying that the will of North Carolina was Amendment One, but if you really look at the numbers that’s not the case,” Lipman said. “Public opinion polls show that same-sex marriage is favored by upwards of 60 and 70 percent. That is significantly greater than the 20 percent [of the population in North Carolina] who voted for Amendment One in 2012.”

Renee Wells, the director of the GLBT Center, similarly said the data seem to suggest that opinions about the topic are largely in favor of supporting same-sex marriage.

“When you look at the map and you look at the cultural shift that’s happened in the last year in terms of states that have now gone forward with legalization, it seems very clear that this is something that’s already been decided,” Wells said.

In light of the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage both state and nationwide, Wells said she doesn’t get the impression that students in the GLBT community at NC State are particularly worried about a reversal.

“I think people’s perception right now is that this is all really just talk and it’s not really going to go anywhere,” Wells said. “We’ve already moved forward as a state and people are getting married. My sense from students is that they’re not afraid that it’s going to be reversed.”

According to Lipman, however, there is room for legitimate concern.

Lipman said he gets the sense that the current discussion is not necessarily over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, but whether or not a state has the right to define what marriage is.

“It comes down to what the Supreme Court decides,” Lipman said. “It’s now a more state’s rights issue rather than a strictly marriage issue, so it gets into these strange intersections of different parts of the law.”

As a member of LGBT community, Lipman said even if the legalization of same-sex marriage ends up getting repealed in North Carolina, he would still feel comfortable as a resident of North Carolina.

“If I’m comfortable living in North Carolina today and in 2012, I don’t think that would change,” he said. “I would certainly be more motivated to get out there and start lobbying with other people. The interesting thing about the LGBT rights movement is that a lot of it does happen at the policy level, but a lot of it is just mobilizing grassroots efforts and building bridges to those groups who are currently opposed to equal rights and helping them understand why they’re important.”

Wells said she thinks others in the LGBT community in North Carolina would take a similar approach should the Supreme Court decide to reverse the legalization.

“Certainly people are always going to be frustrated whenever they feel that they’re in a place that doesn’t value them, and there could potentially be people who wanted to leave,” Wells said. “But I do think that there’s a lot of energy and a lot of people who can and would stay here and make the argument and fight for their rights.”

As someone who has plans to get married in North Carolina, Lipman said the appeal is something he thinks about on a daily basis.

“It is especially in the forefront of what I think about daily because I would like to be able to get married where all of my friends and family could easily come and join us,” Lipman said. “I know college students maybe generally aren’t always thinking about marriage immediately, but for those who are it is a very important and very validating thing to know that you can go and legally get married, and have it recognized by the people where you live.”

Article source: http://www.technicianonline.com/news/article_5f2953dc-a1f6-11e4-8ce7-2f341d9d4ca4.html

LGBT health concerns need special attention, experts say

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities have their own specific needs when it comes to health and medicine, according to experts.

Yet LGBT people often avoid seeking medical care because they’re afraid they might face discrimination or that doctors might not understand their special health needs, said Barbara Warren, an expert on LGBT health and health policy, speaking at a discussion on LGBT health sponsored by the Thomson Reuters Pride At Work chapter in New York City on January 15.

Or they may seek medical care, but not “come out” to their healthcare providers.

Does it matter if healthcare providers know whether a patient is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender? Yes, said Warren, who is director of LGBT Programs and Policies in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

Warren said LGBT health concerns should be discussed for several reasons.

First, people will have better health outcomes if they feel comfortable with their providers. Additionally, the LGBT community suffers from the stress of being a minority, which can impact people’s health. And certain clinical issues are different in the LGBT community.

For example, she said, members of the LGBT communities – especially lesbian and bisexual women – may be at an increased risk for some cancers and conditions if they don’t get regular healthcare.

“We do know that a percentage of LGBT people avoid and delay screening and care because of fear about or experience of stigma, discrimination or simply lack of knowledge about LGBT people and their health amongst providers,” said Warren. “If you avoid or delay screening and care and you have an issue that may be precancerous, by the time you get into screening and care you’re there because it has become acute and you already have a progressed disease.”

“All of those are factors that go into why it’s important both for your providers to be trained and sensitive and to get it, and why it’s important for you to come out to your providers as who you are and be as open as you can be,” Warren said.

She said the National LGBT Cancer Network advocates training providers to be sensitive in helping a person come out and to do all the screenings that are necessary.

While estimates vary, a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 97 percent of U.S. adults identify as straight, about 2 percent as gay or lesbian and about 1 percent as bisexual.

The LGBT community also faces an increased burden of mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety and substance abuse – but this doesn’t mean LGBT people are inherently mentally ill, Warren said.

Instead, she said, LGBT mental health issues are largely related to the stresses of belonging to a minority group. “We can change that by changing the way the world perceives, treats and includes LGBT people.”

Kellan Baker, also speaking at the Thomson Reuters event, said there has been a lot of progress on U.S. policy issues regarding LGBT health.

“We have seen an incredible explosion of initiatives that are inclusive of or focusing on LGBT communities from the federal government over the last five years,” said Baker, a senior fellow with the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

He highlighted Healthy People 2020, which lists the nation’s objectives on health and includes a topic area specific to LGBT health.

Also, Baker said, the 2010 Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – “has a lot to offer LGBT community members. One of the biggest things is simply the expansion of health insurance coverage.”

Baker said access to coverage ties into many of the topics Warren mentioned, such as getting screened for certain conditions and seeing a healthcare provider on a regular basis.

However, more work is needed to connect LGBT people with the information they need to get health insurance and access to healthcare, he said.

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/01/22/lgbt-health-concerns-need-special-attention-experts-say/

Being a Gay Man in Egypt Is 'Terrifying and Thrilling'

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

“To be a gay man in Egypt is quite perplexing, tough, stressing, dangerous and thrilling at the same time,” Mo (not his real name), a 27-year-old gay man who works in media and communications in Cairo, told The Advocate in an interview conducted just before a recent late-night raid on a bathhouse in the capital city.

That raid has changed everything, Mo said in a follow-up interview. Though he did not frequent the bathhouse, an LGBT advocate whom we will call “Ahmed” did.

“I am terrified,” says Ahmed. “I could easily have been there.”

The besieged bathhouse was by no means a new development in Cairo’s community, all three sources interviewed for this piece tell The Advocate.

“The security forces have always known about the bathhouse,” Ahmed says. But, he adds, the police weren’t interested in raiding it until a reporter from a pro-government news channel “told them she would put [the raid] on TV.”

That reporter, Mona Iraqi, hosts El Mostakbai (The Hidden), which airs on the pro-government network Al-Qahira wal Nas (Cairo and the People). She has since faced growing international criticism for her alleged role in orchestrating the raid and recently saw her contract with a Swiss film festival canceled after organizers condemned her professional and ethical practices surrounding the December 7 raid. 

But Iraqi’s report, which she has defended as an attempt to expose sex trafficking and the spread of HIV in Cairo, is just the latest twist in the ever-tightening vise-grip of LGBT oppression being helmed by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s regime.

The current government crackdown on LGBT Egyptians has been amplified by hyperbolic media coverage, helping to foster an increase in antigay sentiments within society — which arguably serves el-Sisi’s need for a scapegoat community upon which to blame Egypt’s woes under his rule.

 

Victims of el-Sisi’s ‘More Muslim Than the Islamists’ PR Campaign

To be sure, there was never equality or real acceptance of LGBT people in Egypt, or any other staunchly Muslim country in the region, for that matter. But according to sources inside the country and expatriates interviewed for this article, there was a time not so long ago when to be gay or trans wasn’t as terrifying as it is today. That was before el-Sisi’s quest to appear “more Muslim than the Islamists.”

The first media report of a concerted public relations policy on the part of the el-Sisi government aimed at making it appear more Islamic than the the regime it overthrew may have been by The Daily Beast, quoting Dalia Abdel-Hamid of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

Activists like Abdel-Hamid believe el-Sisi is trying to create a sheen of legitimacy following his brutal coup against the equally (but less proactively) homophobic and transphobic Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2012 the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected to Egypt’s presidency. It was a historic election because never before in this long-established nation had a leader been elected by a majority of the populace.

Led by General el-Sisi, the military watched for a year as Morsi consolidated power. As the new president overreached and began making decrees that negated the very democratic ideals laid out in the country’s new constitution — the ideals the got him elected in the first place — the Egyptian military began warning the president to stay true to the revolution by acting democratically.

But even under the rule of Morsi and his fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood party, LGBT people could rely upon a modicum of predictability about how to get by being lesbian, gay, bi, or trans, according to numerous sources.

“I can say it depends on where you live if you live in a big city such as the capital, or in a small town, village or the countryside which is definitely more conservative,” Mo says. “It also depends on the place you hangout in the capital itself, your neighborhood, etc.”

 

Abandonment of Democratic Ideals in Favor of Economic Stability

Many hoped there would be a reset back to the democratic ideals of the revolution of 2011 in Tahrir Square when the military and el-Sisi finally ran out of patience with Morsi and overthrew his government in July of 2013.

Perhaps even more so, they hoped there would be a return to the economic stability that had vanished since former president and longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak was deposed. Hope that two years of protests might create enduring democracy and tolerance for dissent has been all but abandoned in Egypt. However, hopes for stability and even economic growth in el-Sisi’s Egypt are slowly being realized. According to the World Bank, Egypt’s economy grew at a rate of 2.5 percent (similar to the U.S.) in 2014. It predicts an economic growth rate of more than 3 percent this year in Egypt.

Still, unemployment in Egypt is at more than 13 percent, with more than 3.6 million people looking for work. Meanwhile, inflation in 2014 hovered between 8 percent and 12 percent, according to the Central Bank of Egypt

The modest economic rebound Egypt is currently enjoying would not be happening without massive support in the form of loan guarantees, investments and infusions of cash from wealthy gulf states. According to news outlet al-Aribya, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have buttressed the al-Sisi regime and the Egyptian economy to the tune of $10.6 billion during the country’s past fiscal year. All three monarchies have interests in both the stability of Egypt’s military regime and the suppression of democratic uprisings, such as the one that appears to have been crushed or abandoned, depending on how you look at it.

Yet the persistent stain of having overthrown a democratically elected government, albeit an Islamic-fundamentalist regime, by way of a military coup that came with a death toll in the thousands, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, means that Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has designated Egypt’s LGBT population as an easy, yet high-value scapegoat community.

 

LGBT Egyptians: ‘Perfect Scapegoats’

“We are a scapegoat that both distracts Egyptians from the president’s failings and embellishes his rule with the trappings of being more Islamic than the Islamists, [i.e., more Muslim than Mohammed Morsi],” says a source who is a gay man working at a prominent nongovernmental organization in Cairo, who asked to be attributed by the initials “R.K.,” which do not abbreviate his real name.

Meanwhile, “Mo” says the situation on the ground for gay and transgender Egyptians has always varied from person to person, situation to situation, and locale to locale.

“Gays and especially the obvious-looking ones, [you] name it feminine, ‘lady boys,’ transgender guys, could alway be subjected to a wide range of discrimination in terms of their place in society and their personal security,” he tells The Advocate. “There has always been harassment in the streets; catcalls or verbal and physical assault. Beatings are always possible, but they have been mostly rare.”

He recalls a particular incident that disturbed him from a few years back.

“I once saw a group of macho guys stalking an effeminate boy in the street, cursing him and when he ignored and kept walking,” Mo says, “he was grabbed, bullied, and slapped on the face, and no one gave a damn until two police informants intervened.”

Mo says his position of privilege has insulated him from a lot of the travails other men experience growing up gay in Egypt.

“I think I am more privileged due to my education, my opportunities, chances, social lifestyle, and my environment and where I hang out,” he says. “But I am still not excluded from the category of minorities under risk of discrimination and violence. I have been verbally harassed for being gay a couple of times, but I just ignored it.”

Mo has experienced what he calls “sexual harassment” twice, though he stops short of calling those experiences rape. He believes those incidents were perpetrated by a closeted, severely repressed gay man rather than a straight homophobe.

But there has been a fundamental change in the order of things for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people in Egypt since el-Sisi took the reins of power by force, according to LGBT people inside the country. More than ever, semi-out LGBT people in Egypt stay close to one another. For many, that means their worlds are growing smaller as they seek to evade informants, members of the media, and police officials who are encouraged by the government to expose LGBT people as “deviants.”

“I have my own group of gay, queer, liberal friends, and it is OK so far in terms of the places I go to with my friends,” says Mo. “But if the police decide to arrest a guy or entrap him one day, or raid a gay party, then you are unlucky and your life would be ruined. Even if you get away with it or get acquitted, the media will speak about it and you will be ashamed forever.”

But, he says, things could be much worse.

“So it is tough, but not that bad compared to other Arab and Muslim countries,” Mo tells The Advocate. “Downtown Cairo is filled with gay [cruising areas], cafés, and bars where gay guys usually gather and chill.”

Although homosexuality is technically not illegal in Egypt, LGBT people are regularly prosecuted for crimes such as “debauchery,” “perversion,” or “sexual practices against Islam.” That was the case after the December 7 bathhouse raid in the Ramses neighborhood of Cario’s Azbakeya District. Dozens of allegedly gay men were arrested on camera as security forces were led to the “hammam” by television journalist Mona Iraqi.

When the 26 men who had been arrested along with the bathhouse owner appeared in court two weeks later, many hid their faces, wept, and implored the court to believe in their innocence lest they and their families be destroyed. ”I am innocent,” Agence France-Presse quoted one man as saying. “I was in the hammam for therapy, I swear in the name of Allah.”

The men’s attorney noted that the bathhouse has been open for 100 years in Cairo, according to AFP. He also reminded the court that it is natural for people inside of a bathhouse to be dressed only in towels, as reporter Mona Iraqi told viewers in her “exposé” of the bathhouse — as if the arrested men wearing only towels indicated they were engaged in debauchery.

The men were acquitted this month — such an acquittal is rare, and the government has appealed — but LGBT Egyptians remain in danger.

Grindr, the ubiquitous gay hookup app, had to disable its GPS function in Egypt in September because authorities were using it to entrap gay men.

That same month, Egyptian police hunted down as many as 16 men who allegedly appeared in a viral video that purported to show a same-sex wedding that took place on a riverboat on the Nile. Despite “testing negative” for homosexuality and claiming the whole thing was a joke, eight of the accused were sentenced to three years in jail, found guilty of “spreading indecent images and inciting debauchery.”

“The reaction to their sentencing by quite a few human rights organizations was condemnation of the regime for the recent crackdown,” Mo says. “Of course it was met with shock, fear and concerns by the [LGBT] community in Cairo. However, the guys appearing in the video didn’t get the solidarity and support needed from nonhomosexual communities or ordinary citizens. If you read the comments on the video that was leaked, they were full of homophobia and incitement against them. Some people called for their killings; the media was tarnishing them. Very few [regional] outlets were objective and didn’t incite [harm] against them.”

Mo is quick to point out that the deposed Muslim Brotherhood is no more innocent regarding the oppression and arrests of the men in the “gay wedding” video than the military government that toppled them from power.

“Some members of the Muslim Brotherhood politicized the issue and blamed the so-called military coup for the ‘gay-wedding’ video,” he says. “They say it wouldn’t have ever happened during Morsi`s presidential term.”

 

Defiant LGBT Activism Growing Online, Underground

Yet despite the crackdown and the dangers for LGBT people that have existed for generations in Egypt and the Mideast moreover, some LGBT Egyptians are organizing. Ahmed is one of them.

“Naturally, I’m sure how aware you are of the situation in the Arab world in general and Egypt concerning the homophobic society we are living in,” he tells The Advocate. “Scattered and working individually, I realized that in order to have a powerful LGBT lobby in the Arab world, we will need to first unify ourselves, and create a solid front of LGBT Advocates. I started with Twitter and managed to get in touch with tens of Arab LGBT activists, some of [whom] I had the opportunity to meet in person.”

The key to change, says Ahmed, is opening a conversation about an off-limits topic.

“We are finally starting to align ourselves to be able to work as a network in the region, with an objective of encouraging and supporting those who support LGBT, which is the first step that needs to be remove the topic from being a taboo in the culture or media,” he says.

 

Find out how the LGBT community in Cairo is trying to mobilize against all odds in the second part of The Advocate‘s inside look at life for gay men in Egypt under the repressive el-Sisi regime. Future reports will explore what life is like for lesbian, bi, and transgender Egyptians.

Article source: http://editorial.advocate.com/world/2015/01/21/being-gay-man-egypt-terrifying-and-thrilling

LGBT health concerns need special attention: experts

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

By Andrew M. Seaman

(Reuters Health) – Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities have their own specific needs when it comes to health and medicine, according to experts.

Yet LGBT people often avoid seeking medical care because they’re afraid they might face discrimination or that doctors might not understand their special health needs, said Barbara Warren, an expert on LGBT health and health policy, speaking at a discussion on LGBT health sponsored by the Thomson Reuters Pride At Work chapter in New York City on January 15.

Or they may seek medical care, but not “come out” to their healthcare providers.

Does it matter if healthcare providers know whether a patient is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender? Yes, said Warren, who is director of LGBT Programs and Policies in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

Warren said LGBT health concerns should be discussed for several reasons.

First, people will have better health outcomes if they feel comfortable with their providers. Additionally, the LGBT community suffers from the stress of being a minority, which can impact people’s health. And certain clinical issues are different in the LGBT community.

For example, she said, members of the LGBT communities – especially lesbian and bisexual women – may be at an increased risk for some cancers and conditions if they don’t get regular healthcare.

“We do know that a percentage of LGBT people avoid and delay screening and care because of fear about or experience of stigma, discrimination or simply lack of knowledge about LGBT people and their health amongst providers,” said Warren. “If you avoid or delay screening and care and you have an issue that may be precancerous, by the time you get into screening and care you’re there because it has become acute and you already have a progressed disease.”

“All of those are factors that go into why it’s important both for your providers to be trained and sensitive and to get it, and why it’s important for you to come out to your providers as who you are and be as open as you can be,” Warren said.

She said the National LGBT Cancer Network advocates training providers to be sensitive in helping a person come out and to do all the screenings that are necessary.

While estimates vary, a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 97 percent of U.S. adults identify as straight, about 2 percent as gay or lesbian and about 1 percent as bisexual.

The LGBT community also faces an increased burden of mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety and substance abuse – but this doesn’t mean LGBT people are inherently mentally ill, Warren said.

Instead, she said, LGBT mental health issues are largely related to the stresses of belonging to a minority group. “We can change that by changing the way the world perceives, treats and includes LGBT people.”

Kellan Baker, also speaking at the Thomson Reuters event, said there has been a lot of progress on U.S. policy issues regarding LGBT health.

“We have seen an incredible explosion of initiatives that are inclusive of or focusing on LGBT communities from the federal government over the last five years,” said Baker, a senior fellow with the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

He highlighted Healthy People 2020, which lists the nation’s objectives on health and includes a topic area specific to LGBT health.

Also, Baker said, the 2010 Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – “has a lot to offer LGBT community members. One of the biggest things is simply the expansion of health insurance coverage.”

Baker said access to coverage ties into many of the topics Warren mentioned, such as getting screened for certain conditions and seeing a healthcare provider on a regular basis.

However, more work is needed to connect LGBT people with the information they need to get health insurance and access to healthcare, he said.

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/lgbt-health-concerns-special-attention-experts-205402565.html

Multimedia Platforms Inc. Captures North American LGBT Market Through the Acquisition of 33-Year-Old "FunMaps"

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL–(Marketwired – Jan 21, 2015) – Multimedia Platforms Inc. (MMP) (OTCQB: EAHCD) today announced it has signed a binding letter of intent to acquire Columbia FunMap, Inc. (FunMaps), a 33-year-old LGBT travel and leisure publishing company, delivering local and regional maps, information and advertising to more than forty (40) key North American cities. FunMaps distributes over 1.5 million map guides yearly, to destination cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, BC, Washington, DC, and many more.

“This acquisition adds an attractive complementary publication to our suite of proven products and, even more importantly, extends MMP’s footprint into FunMaps’ established markets throughout United States and Canada,” explained Bobby Blair, CEO of MMP. ”In FunMaps we not only acquire the print publication, with a readership of over five (5) million per year, but also the robust online directory/city guide, Gayosphere.com,” added Blair.

FunMaps’ award-winning publisher and CEO, Alan H. Beck, will remain with the company for a period of at least three years, and will assist MMP in integrating FunMaps into the infrastructure and help to lead the public company. 

“FunMaps’ online city guide, Gayosphere.com, is unique as an unbiased travel and hospitality business source. As part of the soon-to-launch MMP Social Media network, we will become a significant part of a comprehensive LGBT social media network,” said Alan Beck, CEO of FunMaps. “And, as a nationally certified LGBT Corporate Supplier of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, we also bring our own legacy of established advertising relationships with blue-chip companies that will benefit the whole group,” Beck added.

Multimedia Platforms Inc. has also identified several other established and profitable media companies that each will bring a wealth of assets, revenue and strategic market advantages to MMP, as well as profiting from the alliance in their own core businesses. The company will announce acquisitions as agreements are signed.

ABOUT MULTIMEDIA PLATFORMS, LLC
Multimedia Platforms, LLC (“MMP”) is an industry-leading Multimedia Technology and Publishing company that integrates print media with social media, and related online platforms, to deliver information and advertising to niche markets. MMP’s goal is to utilize their proven business model to deliver niche publications and online platforms that target one of the most sought after demographics in the world, the $850 billion dollar Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender global market. MMP has recently expanded their concept to include video and mobile applications reaching deep into the international LGBT community. MMP’s plan to interweave print, web and mobile delivery of the highest quality news and entertainment information via a variety of platforms crosses all cultural, generational and preferred modality barriers to reach an unprecedented audience.

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/multimedia-platforms-inc-captures-north-123000260.html

Leo Varadkar shows there’s no standard way to come out

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Most gay people won’t have to come out on national radio as Minister for Health Leo Varadkar did on Sunday. The Minister’s coming out was different, but there is no average story.

Speculation, and pressure to come out, is something that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) campaigner Ailbhe Smyth thinks is unfair. “There is still that pressure on lesbian or gay people to go public. There is something voyeuristic about it and it is about maintaining a difference,” she says. “ There is a responsibility on straight people now to wonder ‘how many people do we need to come out publicly’?”

David Carroll, executive director of BelongTo, a national organisation supporting LGBT young people , says coming out is prone to huge generalisations. However, “we can give guarded reassurance that for most young people, post-coming out they talk about it as a positive experience. It’s a difficult experience, it’s not always easy, but overall, a positive experience”.

Panti’s coming out

In Woman In The Making, the memoir of LGBT activist and drag artist Rory O’Neill (aka Panti), he recalls the moment he came out to his mother. “My mother, in the context of some long-forgotten conversation, said, ‘Well, it’s not like you came home and told us you were gay and have Aids’. “And in that moment, as my unsuspecting mother drove along the long, straight Curragh Line across the flat bog, I thought what she was really saying to me was, ‘I know you’re gay, son, so let’s just get that out of the way and while we’re at it will you just reassure me that there’s nothing more to worry about than a bout of hepatitis?’.

“And I, with some relief, replied, ‘Well, I don’t have Aids but I am gay,’ and my mother nearly drove off the road.”

Cormac Cashman (27) runs several gay club nights in Dublin. “When I was the welfare officer in Trinity, because I was gay and a welfare officer, I guess more people who were gay felt they could come in. You would have people getting kicked out of their houses. There were foreign students who were Muslim who were trying to deal with it. They were coming out to their friends here, but tentatively, because they couldn’t go back to where they were from and come out to their families, so it was a double life for them.”

For Cashman, even though he felt his parents would be supportive, coming out was still difficult. “I knew my parents were going to to be fine with it, but you still have that ‘I have to get these words out of my lips’ moment. I felt that the sentence was almost physically in my mouth and that I had to push it out.”

Continuous process

The process of coming out is also continuous, especially if you move from country to country. Sonya Donnelly (32) from Cork, works in human rights law with refugees and asylum seekers. She is currently based in Turkey with the United Nations.

“I’m out for 11 years, and I’ve never felt the need to hide my sexuality with friends before,” says Donnelly. “When I was working in Malawi, I had to hide it in the workplace, but not with my friends there. “Last year I was working in Somalia and living in a compound, and as a result I wasn’t able to come out. On my birthday, the newspapers were going wild with the Ugandan “Kill The Gays” Bill. I was sitting around with my colleagues, humanitarian workers all of them, and they started talking about how western groups were obsessed with ‘the gays’ and they should focus on real problems with developing countries,” she says.

“And then I knew I’d made the right decision in not coming out to them, but I had to leave the group to go and compose myself because I was so angry. It that’s kind of anger where you just want to cry. And I was in a compound, in Somalia, and I’ve never felt so alone.”

‘People love knowing your business’

Vickey Curtis (33) a theatre writer who works in RTÉ television, thinks interest in coming out stories is because “people love knowing other people’s business, first and foremost. They attach bravery and courage to it. It’s actually not about bravery and courage, it’s about honesty. Being brave is dismantling a bomb on a train,” she says.

“When I came out to my dad I said, ‘I need to tell you something,’ and he said ‘Did you run somebody over in the car?’ I said, ‘No! I’m gay!’ He started crying, and said ‘I love you’ . . . It took him a couple of years for him to be okay with it. But that’s fine. It took me 22 years to be able to come out, so I couldn’t expect my dad to be okay with it overnight.”

For Curtis, the end result of coming out is simple: happiness.“It is about a happier existence. Being honest is the easiest thing to do. Lying and telling people ‘Oh I went to Coppers’ when you went to The George – that wastes an awful lot of energy. Being happy is an easy thing. Not being at ease with yourself is the harder option.”

Article source: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/leo-varadkar-shows-there-s-no-standard-way-to-come-out-1.2073129

LGBT supporters gather to mourn dead teen

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Tears were swept from the faces of local LGBT supporters who gathered for a candlelight vigil in memory of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, who committed suicide in Ohio on Dec. 28.

Members of the Greater Evansville Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Tri-State Alliance, Tri-State Safe Zone and others gathered at First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Evansville on Tuesday to bring attention to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth suicide.

“It’s very important that we have an event like this,” said TSA Board Member Alex Kessler. “There’s a trans community here and everywhere. We’re having this event to raise awareness as people, as a community, as a society that we need to do better. We need to take care of people in the LGBT community.”

Kessler, who spoke at the event, said schools are the No. 1 place that need to adopt LGBT “safe zones.”

The 10 people who attended the meeting were given the opportunity to write Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. School Board President Mike Duckworth a handwritten letter to suggest ways to make school systems more welcoming to LGBT students. “Schools are where the issues begin,” said Kessler. “The bullying, the judgement, it begins in schools.”

Alcorn’s suicide reportedly stemmed from bullying in school, as well as her parent’s disapproval of her transition to becoming a woman. Alcorn’s parents reportedly banned her best friend from attending the teen’s funeral services after the friend took to social media to publish posts about accepting Alcorn’s “true identity”, according to Amanda Harris, who attended the vigil.

“Unfortunately, they (Alcorn’s parents) buried her as someone she wasn’t,” said Harris.

Harris is a follower of the Tri-State Alliance Facebook page, and considers herself a friend of Alcorn’s.

“I was actually a follower of Leelah Alcorn’s Tumblr page. We’d actually connected a few times and it was extremely shocking when she ended her own life,” Harris said.

Alcorn scheduled her suicide note to appear on her Tumblr page following her death, Harris said.

“Sitting there and messaging her over and over several times in a row and getting no response and then several days later finding out that she had taken her own life was very sad for several of us,” Harris said.

If someone you know is struggling with self-identity or is having thoughts of suicide, the best thing to do is offer support, Kessler said.

“Just be there for them. Be accepting, don’t judge, don’t push them. Just accept them no matter if they’re straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans,” Kessler said. “You just need to accept people and not question why they feel a certain way.”

Article source: http://www.courierpress.com/news/local-news/lgbt-supporters-gather-to-honor-mourn-dead-teen_07627913

Weber State University prepares to open LGBT resource center

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

WSU students previously had a lounge and some resources set side for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and supporters on the Davis campus, said spokeswoman Allison Hess. The new center is the first to have its own staffer and the first to open in Ogden. It’s housed in the Students Services Center.

In surveys in recent years, students said they would like to see more support for LGBT students. The University of Utah and Utah State University both have centers dedicated to LGBT resources.

Advocates hope the center will increase scholarships and mentoring, said Jayson Stokes, the center coordinator. Since the 1990s, the school has offered a scholarship in honor of Matthew Shepard, a gay man killed in a Wyoming hate crime.

Stokes says the center also aims to cater to community members.

Ogden “isn’t like Salt Lake, that has the Pride Center, which is very visible,” he said. “We’re very excited to be making steps in the Ogden area and also at Weber State.”

The center’s theme is “celebrating the fullness of who you are, where you are,” Andrews said. Its goal, she added, is to “cultivate a welcoming and safe environment.”

For about five years, the school has hosted “safe-zone” trainings on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for students and others.

Those are scheduled to continue alongside a book club, film series and campus events.

Trustees approved the center last year. An endowment will cover costs, Andrews said.

Karlee Berezay, a senior sociology major and the center’s student advocate says the new space will give the campus LGBT community a long-awaited home.

Until now, campus newcomers had no spot to go to if they didn’t know anybody on campus.

“There wasn’t a structure that you could wander into,” said Berezay, who said she identifies as queer. The new center “kind of gives the community a nucleus — like a place to be.”

aknox@sltrib.com

 

 

Article source: http://www.sltrib.com/news/2079705-155/weber-state-university-prepares-to-open

The LGBT Films of Sundance 2015

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Tickets go on sale today for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which runs from January 22 to February 1. This year’s festival has a lot to offer the LGBT moviegoer. From documentaries on Larry Kramer and Tig Notaro to an ex-gay drama starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto to a Pop-Up Porno, here are some of the queer highlights from Sundance 2015.

The Amina Profile / Canada (Director: Sophie Deraspe)

During the Arab revolution, a love story between two women — a Canadian and a Syrian-American — turns into an international sociopolitical thriller spotlighting media excesses and the thin line between truth and falsehood on the Internet.

 

Beaver Trilogy Part IV / U.S.A. (Director: Brad Besser)

A chance meeting in a parking lot in 1979 between filmmaker Trent Harris and a young man from Beaver, Utah, inspired the creation of an underground film that is now known as Beaver Trilogy. But the film itself is only part of the story.

 

The D Train / USA (Directors and screenwriters: Jarrad Paul, Andrew Mogel)

With his 20-year reunion looming, Dan can’t shake his high school insecurities. In a misguided mission to prove he’s changed, Dan rekindles a friendship with the popular guy from his class and is left scrambling to protect more than just his reputation when a wild night takes an unexpected turn. Cast: Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike White, Kyle Bornheimer.

Dope / USA (Director and screenwriter: Rick Famuyiwa)

Malcolm is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek to being dope to ultimately being himself. Cast: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson, Zoë Kravitz, A$AP Rocky.

 

Followers / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Tim Marshall)

Lynn, an elderly woman stricken with grief after her husband’s death, finds solace in an apparition of Jesus on the swimming trunks of a young gay man at her adult swimming class.

 

Girlhood / France (Director and screenwriter: Céline Sciamma)

Oppressed by her family, dead-end school prospects, and the boys’ law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of free-spirited girls. She changes her name and dress, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping to find a way to freedom. Cast: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh, Mariétou Touré, Idrissa Diabaté, Simina Soumaré.

 

Grandma / USA (Director and screenwriter: Paul Weitz)

Self-described misanthrope Elle Reid has her protective bubble burst when her 18-year-old granddaughter, Sage, shows up needing help. The two of them go on a daylong journey that causes Elle to come to terms with her past and Sage to confront her future. Cast: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Sam Elliott.

 

Hot Girls Wanted / USA (Directors: Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus)

Hot Girls Wanted is a first-ever look at the realities inside the world of the amateur porn industry and the steady stream of 18- and 19-year-old girls entering into it.

How to Dance in Ohio / USA (Director: Alexandra Shiva)

In Columbus, Ohio, a group of teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum prepare for an iconic American rite of passage — a spring formal. They spend 12 weeks practicing their social skills at a local nightclub in preparation for the dance.

 

I Am Michael / USA (Director: Justin Kelly, Screenwriters: Justin Kelly, Stacey Miller)

The controversial true story of a gay activist who rejects his homosexuality and becomes a Christian pastor. Cast: James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts.

 

It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise / USA (Director: Matt Wolf)

This portrait of Hilary Knight, the artist behind the iconic Eloise books, sees him reflecting on his life as an illustrator and his relationship to his most successful work.

 

Larry Kramer in Love and Anger / USA (Director: Jean Carlomusto)

Author, activist, and playwright Larry Kramer is one of the most important and controversial figures in contemporary gay America, a political firebrand who gave voice to the outrage and grief that inspired gay men and lesbians to fight for their lives. At 78, this complicated man still commands our attention.

 

The Mask You Live In / USA (Director: Jennifer Siebel Newsom)

Is there a “boy crisis” in America? Is our male population suffering due to our emphasis on power, dominance, and aggression? The Mask You Live In explores how our narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men, and society at large and unveils what we can do about it.

 

Nasty Baby / USA (Director and screenwriter: Sebastian Silva)

A gay couple try to have a baby with the help of their best friend, Polly. The trio navigate the idea of creating life while confronted by unexpected harassment from a neighborhood man called The Bishop. As their clashes grow increasingly aggressive, odds are someone is getting hurt. Cast: Sebastian Silva, Tunde Adebimpe, Kristin Wiig, Reg E. Cathey, Mark Margolis, Denis O’Hare. World Premiere

 

The Royal Road / USA (Director and screenwriter: Jenni Olson)

This cinematic essay, a defense of remembering, offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican-American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, butch identity and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo — all against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes. Cast: Jenni Olson, Tony Kushner. World Premiere

 

The Summer of Sangaile / Lithuania, France, Holland (Director and screenwriter: Alanté Kavaïté)

Seventeen-year-old Sangaile is fascinated by stunt planes. She meets a girl her age at the summer aeronautical show, near her parents’ lakeside villa. Sangaile allows Auste to discover her most intimate secret and in the process finds in her teenage love the only person who truly encourages her to fly. Cast: Julija Steponaityt?, Aist? Dirži?t?.

 

Take Me to the River / USA (Director and screenwriter: Matt Sobel)

A naive California teen plans to remain above the fray at his Nebraska family reunion, but a strange encounter places him at the center of a long-buried family secret. Cast: Logan Miller, Robin Weigert, Josh Hamilton, Richard Schiff, Ursula Parker, Azura Skye. World Premiere

 

Tig / USA (Directors: Kristina Goolsby, Ashley York, Screenwriter: Jennifer Arnold)

This documentary explores comedian Tig Notaro’s extraordinary journey as her life unfolds in grand and unexpected ways, all while she is battling a life-threatening illness and falling in love.

 

Shorts

Actresses / USA (Director and screenwriter: Jeremy Hersh)

The film follows the relationship between a young, aspiring actress and an established off-Broadway star.

 

One Year Lease / USA (Director: Brian Bolster)

In a story told almost entirely through voice-mail messages, Brian, Thomas, and Casper endure a year with Rita, their cat-loving landlady.

 

Pop-Up Porno: m4m / Canada (Director: Stephen Dunn)

A lonely traveler on a business trip to New York finds himself in a heated Grindr chat with his worst nightmare.

Article source: http://editorial.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/2015/01/20/lgbt-films-sundance-2015

America’s Best LGBT Vacation Destinations

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

January 20, 2015 5:00 AM

San Francisco (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Francisco (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

sf feature Americas Best LGBT Vacation DestinationsSan Francisco (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As more destinations are becoming more gay-friendly, many in the LGBT community are making plans and enjoying relaxing vacations where they can be themselves. Many cities in America welcome the gay community with open arms, making is possible for vacationers to enjoy time together and not be afraid to steal a kiss while overlooking the waterways or hold hands while touring the city.

Here are some of the best vacations destinations for both couples and singles in the LGBT community:

new orlans skyline Americas Best LGBT Vacation Destinations

(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

New Orleans, Louisiana

Mostly known for the fun festivities that surround Mardi Gras, New Orleans has quickly climbed the ranks of becoming one of the more accepting vacation destinations for the LGBT community. This city has plenty of things to enjoy, including festivals, parades and lots of flamboyant costumes and decorations. New Orleans is also home to the Southern Decadence Festival, which is often referred to as “the gay Mardi Gras.” This festival occurs annually over the Labor Day weekend. Even when there is not a festival happening, the city gets very little sleep with most activities continuing around the clock.

In addition the festivals, New Orleans is a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy the company of others who share the same interest as you. Top restaurants and bars in New Orleans include Clover Grill, Café du Monde, The Country Club, The Bourbon Pub and Parade, RawHide 2010 and Oz.

Gay-friendly hotels in New Orleans include the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, Harrah’s New Orleans, Hotel St. Pierre and Hotel Monteleone. Top tours in the area include French Market Tours and Cajun Encounters Tours.

Portland, Oregon

Definitely one of the funkiest cities on this list, Portland is one of the most eco- and gay-friendly vacation destinations in America. Though there is no specific gay district to explore in Portland, there are still plenty of things to do, including meeting new, laid-back people who will make you feel at home. This city is more popular among the ladies and is home to many lesbian clubs. However, men do not have to feel left out, because there is plenty there for the men to do too.

Top bars and restaurants among the LGBT community include CC Slaughters, Eagle Portland, Silverado, The Roxy Diner and the Cup and Saucer. Some of the best gay-friendly hotels in the area include Ace Hotel, The Nines and Hotel Rose.

miami sky Americas Best LGBT Vacation Destinations

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Miami, Florida

Nothing beats a tropical getaway and Miami is top on the list for the best LBGT vacation destinations in the Southeast United States. If you are looking for a party, Miami is the place where you will find wild weekends and exciting activities throughout the city. While in Miami, head to the South Beach area where you will find nightclubs, fancy restaurants, bars, live entertainment venues and so much more. Do not forget to stop at the LGBT Visitor Center, which is also located in the South Beach area.

Top bars and restaurants in the Miami area include Twist, Score, Big Pink and Spris. Gay-friendly hotels include Hotel Nash, The National and Hotel Gaythering. Then once you are done exploring everything Miami has to offer, Fort Lauderdale, another great LGBT vacation destination, is just to the north.

If you are having trouble finding a fun, exciting and gay-friendly vacation destination for your next getaway, consider one of the above listed cities. These cities are not only popular among those in the LGBT community, but they offer plenty of things to do, see and experience while feeling comfortable being yourself.

 

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Article source: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/top-lists/americas-best-lgbt-vacation-destinations/

Health Fair Highlights Services for Elderly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Residents of New York City

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Elderly LGBT adults will get free screenings for blood pressure, oral health, mental health, HIV, and Hepatitis C at a health fair to kick off the e-linc program.

Contact Information

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Available for logged-in reporters only

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Citations

UD7HP26907

WHAT: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults often have unmet health needs because they don’t receive care that is tailored to their unique circumstances. As they age, LGBT people are generally at greater risk of depression, certain cancers, and complications related to HIV than their heterosexual peers. A new project led by Jeffrey Kwong, DNP, ANP-BC, director of the adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner program at Columbia University School of Nursing, is working to eliminate health disparities in the LGBT population in New York City.

As the project director of the newly established Elder LGBT Interprofessional Care Program (e-linc), Kwong secured a $1.5 million cooperative agreement from Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) to help address common medical and mental health needs of the aging LGBT adult population. Walter Bockting, PhD, professor of medical psychology in psychiatry and nursing at Columbia, is associate director of the project.

In partnership with SAGE (Services Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender Elders), teams that include nurse practitioners, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists will provide culturally competent care to LGBT older adults in New York City.

“Many times older LGBT people remain a silent population because they don’t bring up their sexuality or talk about sex with their health providers,” says Kwong. “Our teams of health professionals are developing a comprehensive health assessment program that will help us identify treatment needs that might otherwise go unnoticed.”

FREE SCREENINGS AT E-LINC HEALTH FAIR

Elderly LGBT adults will get free screenings for blood pressure, oral health, mental health, HIV, and Hepatitis C at a health fair to kick off the e-linc program.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 21, 1:00pm to 4:00pm

WHERE: SAGE Center
305 Seventh Ave, 15th floor
New York, New York

PRESS AVAILABILITY

Interviews opportunities during the health fair with experts including:

• Jeffrey Kwong, DNP, ANP-BC, e-linc project director and director of the adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner program at Columbia Nursing
• Walter Bockting, PhD, professor of medical psychology at Columbia Nursing
• Sigrid Gabler, PhD, ANP-BC, e-linc nurse practitioner and instructor at Columbia Nursing
• Thomas Weber, director of care management at SAGE
• Catherine Thurston, senior director of services and training at SAGE

The e-linc program is being funded by the HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce Division of Nursing and Public Health Nursing Education and Practice Branch. (UD7HP26907). The information provided about e-linc should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, or the U.S. Government.”

Columbia University School of Nursing is part of the Columbia University Medical Center, which also includes the College of Physicians Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Dental Medicine. With close to 100 full-time faculty and 600 students, the School of Nursing is dedicated to educating the next generation of nurse leaders in education, research, and clinical care. The School has pioneered advanced practice nursing curricula and continues to define the role of nursing and nursing research through its PhD program which prepares nurse scientists, and its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), the first clinical practice doctorate in the nation. Among the clinical practice areas shaped by the School’s research are the reduction of infectious disease and the use of health care informatics to improve health and health care. For more information, please visit: www.nursing.columbia.edu.

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Article source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/628512/?sc=rsmn

'Gay school' proposals for LGBT pupils in Manchester divides opinion

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Plans to create Britain’s first ‘gay school’ in Manchester has split divided opinion among parents, teachers and church leaders.

LGBT Youth North West, based in the city centre, insisted proposals for a school offering places to gay, lesbian and transgender pupils are at a very early stage.

The organisation says the idea for an ‘inclusive’ school – which would be open to all children – was at a ‘very early consultation phase’.

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, welcomed potential extra provision for LGBT pupils struggling in mainstream education.

He said: “The Church of England has made its position very clear that we strongly oppose homophobic bullying in schools.

“We are committed to eliminating homophobic bullying in all Church of England Schools and we produce national resources and guidance for teachers to use.

The Rt Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester
The Rt Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester

 

“However we recognise that other schools are not there yet.

“If pupils are being bullied because of their sexual orientation I would support alternative provision for them within the council’s service.”

Yet some parents of gay and transgender children voiced concern about ‘segregating’ gay pupils.

One mum, who has a gay son and did not want to be named, said: “The problem of homophobic bullying has to be tackled in schools first.

“Simply separating pupils will only take our education system and our society a step backwards.

“Disabled children are educated in mainstream schools and it should be the same for lesbian, gay or transgender pupils.

“Separating them will only alienate them even more. I am totally against the idea.”

The group, based in the Joyce Layland Centre off Oxford Road, has received a £63,000 grant from the government to look at whether it can run an LGBT centre. The school would take 40 full-time students and offer up to 20 part-time places for students who want to continue attending a mainstream school.

Sally Carr MBE, operational director at Youth LGBT North West, said: “Some of the young people said they would love such a provision immediately because they are suffering in school.

“We do a lot of work with schools in the North West and some of them are great. However we know that in some schools, as with racism and sexism, homophobia and transphobia does exist.


 

“For us it’s about working with young LGBT people to find out what provision they think they should get.

“If there is suggestion they’d to set up alternative education provision that’s LGBT inclusive, we will look into that.

“It will not be exclusive because we know that LGBT people have to live in the real world.

“It will also be in addition to what we currently do now, which is train over 10,000 pupils and teachers in mainstream schools each year, so we can make all mainstream schools safer for all pupils.”

The money is intended to be used for staff training, building refurbishment and a consultation on what people would want at the centre.

Reports in the national press claimed the organisation planned to open a school based on the famous Harvey Milk School in New York, for pupils who have been bullied over their sexuality.

Annette Pryce, LGBT executive for the National Union of Teachers, said: “I know it’s not a new idea, as there are several in the US.

“I don’t for a second think that this is an attempt to segregate students in anyway, but it’s a real shame that it has had to come to this.

“If these students come from a range of different mainstream schools to this one, that means their own school isn’t doing enough to meet their needs.”

Article source: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/gay-school-proposals-lgbt-pupils-8463319

An LGBT school won't work, better education will

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

LGBT Youth North West have probably had more mainstream media coverage in the last 24 hours than they ever have after reports that they hope to set up an LGBT school.

Strategic director Ameila Lee had some tough questions to answer on Radio 4 this morning. Is this a step backwards? Is it encouraging segregation? How will this help rather than hinder the LGBT community?

Some background. LGBT Youth North West is not a driving force for segregation.

They already go into mainstream schools to ‘train more than 10,000 pupils and teachers’ each year, according to their blog post in defence of the proposals today.

They run campaigns, they supply education packs to schools on LGBT youth and they organise events that make young LGBT people feel less alone.

Get the latest updates and reaction to this story in our live blog

Although the proposals have rightly been questioned, that shouldn’t undermine the admirable and necessary work that they already do.

Secondly, they’re not standing at a site with hard-hats on ready to go. The proposals are just that. They have £63k feasibility funding from government (again, according to them) to build an LGBT centre.

Not a radical or new idea and, to be fair, probably a good one. The places in the village that used to be safe spaces for young people have changed a lot.

There have been two homophobic attacks in Manchester in recent months (that we know of) and the school proposals will come down to whether or not the LGBT community wants that.

Homophobia is rife in schools, or at least it was when I went through the state education system in the north west less than 10 years ago, and the tragic case of Lizzie Lowe proved that not too much has changed.

Suicide rates in among LGBT youth are still comparatively higher than the general population, it comes up in research time and time again, but an LGBT school is not the way to deal with it.

So much of homophobia relies on a lack of education and ignorance. Whenever we post about Manchester Pride on social media, we’re routinely asked, “When is straight pride”.

I can guarantee that the response to this story will be, “When is the straight school being built?” and, “If they did this for straight people there would be outrage.”

Or worse, “Why does this matter”, “Not news”, “Why do they feel the need to mention it all the time?”

If you asked that question to me and other LGBT people I knew in schools in the north west when we were kids, there would be a whole lot of rage coming your way.

Just because we’re not on the streets with placards doesn’t mean the fight is over, but change must come from within.

I think that as a safe space for the LGBT youth of Manchester, it could definitely work but a school that takes LGBT youth out of schools (even hypothetically and even as a last resort) is a mistake.

Dealing with homophobia is extremely difficult, especially at a time in your life when you’re already trying to work out who you are and you’re insecure and you feel different to everyone else.

We need to leave these kids in mainstream schools, no matter how badly they’re bullied and we need to offer them real support and let them know that they’re not alone.

They need to know that yes, they might spend the rest of their lives sporadically coming into contact with homophobia but that not everyone’s like that and it gets better. They need to know that we’re not going to let anyone hurt them because of their sexuality.

We need to educate homophobes (teachers and pupils) and come down a lot harder on them but we also need to teach them and combat ignorance.

Above all, we need to let LGBT young people join and lead the fight to educate their teachers and the people around them in a mainstream setting. That’s surely the only way that widespread change can continue to happen.

Article source: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/lgbt-school-wont-work-better-8459809

Live: Updates and reaction after 'gay' school plans for Manchester revealed

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

The M.E.N’s Social Media Editor Beth Ashton has written an opinion piece on the idea.

Here is what she thinks:

‘LGBT Youth North West have probably had more mainstream media coverage in the last 24 hours than they ever have after reports that they hope to set up an LGBT school.

Strategic director Ameila Lee had some tough questions to answer on Radio 4 this morning. Is this a step backwards? Is it encouraging segregation? How will this help rather than hinder the LGBT community?

Some background. LGBT Youth North West is not a driving force for segregation. They already go into mainstream schools to “train over 10,000 pupils and teachers” each year, according to their blog post in defence of the proposals today.

They run campaigns, they supply education packs to schools on LGBT youth and they organise events that make young LGBT people feel less alone. Although the proposals have rightly been questioned, that shouldn’t undermine the admirable and necessary work that they already do.

Secondly, they’re not standing at a site with hard-hats on ready to go. The proposals are just that. They have £63k Feasibility funding from the council (again, according to them) to build an LGBT centre.

Not a radical or new idea and, to be fair, probably a good one. The places in the village that used to be safe spaces for young people have changed a lot. There have been two homophobic attacks in Manchester in recent months (that we know of) and the school proposals will come down to whether or not the LGBT community wants that.

Homophobia is rife in schools, or at least it was when I went through the state education system in the North West less than 10 years ago and the tragic case of Lizzie Lowe proved that not too much has changed.

Suicide rates in among LGBT youth are still comparatively higher than the general population, it comes up in research time and time again, but an LGBT school is not the way to deal with it.

So much of homophobia relies on a lack of education and ignorance. Whenever we post about Manchester Pride on social media, we’re routinely asked, “When is straight pride”. I can guarantee that the response to this story will be, “When is the straight school being built?” and, “If they did this for straight people there would be outrage.”

Or worse, “Why does this matter”, “Not news”, “Why do they feel the need to mention it all the time?”

If you asked that question to me and other LGBT people I knew in schools in the north west when we were kids, there would be a whole lot of rage coming your way. Just because we’re not on the streets with placards doesn’t mean the fight is over but change must come from within.

I think that as a safe space for the LGBT youth of Manchester, it could definitely work but a school that takes LGBT youth out of schools (even hypothetically and even as a last resort) is a mistake.

Dealing with homophobia is extremely difficult, especially at a time in your life when you’re already trying to work out who you are and you’re insecure and you feel different to everyone else.

We need to leave these kids in mainstream schools, no matter how badly they’re bulled and we need to offer them real support and let them know that they’re not alone. They need to know that yes, they might spend the rest of their lives sporadically coming into contact with homophobia but that not everyone’s like that and it gets better. They need to know that we’re not going to let anyone hurt them because of their sexuality.

We need to educate homophobes (teachers and pupils) and come down a lot harder on them but we also need to teach them and combat ignorance.

Above all, we need to let LGBT young people join and lead the fight to educate their teachers and the people around them in a mainstream setting. That’s surely the only way that widespread change can continue to happen.’

Article source: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/live-updates-reaction-after-gay-8458770

Plans for LGBT school are criticised by Stonewall

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Plans to open a specialist state school for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils struggling in the mainstream education system have been criticised by Stonewall, the gay rights group.

The charity behind the scheme, LGBT Youth North West has been awarded £63,000 to conduct a feasibility study into the school, which would be based in the centre of Manchester and accept 40 full-time students.

But Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, said she did not see a specialist school as the answer to solving the difficulties faced by some young gay people. “We know that LGBT students still experience bullying and harassment. That needs to change,” she said.

“While we’re sympathetic to the aims and objectives of LGBT-only schools, we don’t see them as the answer.

“Our experience working with more than 12,000 schools across the country shows that it is possible to create safe and inclusive environments where all pupils can be themselves. This makes the learning environment better for all students – regardless of their sexual orientation – and is the key to eradicating homophobia in every single school in Britain.”

Manchester city council also clarified its position on the plans.

Councillor Sheila Newman, executive member for children’s services, said: “We fully support initiatives to support LGBT young people and to tackle homophobia in schools and wider society. We don’t support, however – and haven’t supported – the setting up of a separate school for LGBT young people.

“Schools should be inclusive supportive places for all pupils regardless of their sexuality,” she said.

The plans were also criticised by Tory MP and former education minister, Tim Loughton. He said: “We need to do a lot more to combat homophobic bullying and to create a more tolerant society but I cannot see how segregating a group of young people identified by their sexuality can aid better engagement and understanding.

“The way to achieve more integration, understanding and empathy is not by segregating members of one group, and this would seem to me to be a step backwards from achieving tolerance.”

Paul Nuttall, Ukip MEP and deputy leader and education spokesman for the party, said: “This idea does nothing but foster division. At a time that successive governments have closed all but a few special schools, why this sudden exception, if not for reasons of political correctness? Integration is the key to understanding, and it is utterly bizarre to be taking a step that highlights differences and adds nothing of value to a child’s education.”

Amelia Lee, strategic director of LGBT Youth North West, told the Guardian on Thursday that the school is about saving lives.

“Despite the laws that claim to protect gay people from homophobic bullying, the truth is that in schools especially, bullying is still incredibly common and causes young people to feel isolated and alienated, which often leads to truanting and, in the worst-case scenarios, to suicide.”

Article source: http://feeds.theguardian.com/c/34708/f/663828/s/42677408/sc/33/l/0L0Stheguardian0N0Cworld0C20A150Cjan0C160Clgbt0Eschool0Ecriticised0Eby0Estonewall0Egay0Erights/story01.htm

LGBT Couples Struggle With Inconsistent Laws

Saturday, January 17th, 2015








© Provided by IBT US
Same-sex marriage

When the U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday it would decide if the Constitution permits states to ban same-sex marriage, it gave hope to LGBT couples who want the same rights as heterosexual couples. It’s legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry in 36 states and Washington, D.C. That number could grow in June, when the Supreme Court is scheduled to rule whether marriage rights apply equally for all citizens or can be restricted by the states. (Oral arguments will take place in April.) In the meantime, LGBT couples struggle with inconsistent laws across the country. 

Hospital Visitation

In 2010, President Barack Obama called on the Department of Health and Human services to create a rule prohibiting hospitals and medical centers from stopping gay and lesbian couples from visiting their partners because of relatives-only policies.

“There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital,” the president said in a memo to the department, quoted by CNN. “Yet every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindness and caring of a loved one at their sides.”

The rules went into effect in 2011, with the federal government restricting Medicaid and Medicare funding for any hospitals that didn’t participate.

There are still reports of men and women being arrested at a spouse’s bedside for refusing to leave when hospital staff didn’t acknowledge their partnership. Roger Gorley was handcuffed and forcibly removed from his ill partner’s bedside, despite having power of attorney.

Tax Breaks

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced in 2013 that all same-sex couples who are married are eligible for federal tax benefits.

“Committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation’s federal tax laws, regardless of what state they call home,” Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, told the New York Times. “These families have access to crucial tax benefits and protections denied to them under the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”

Yet the lack of consistent state laws has made the various federal tax regulations a kind of patchwork of legislation. Married couples still have no choice but to file as individuals in the 14 states where same-sex marriage is illegal, for instance, and the Social Security Administration may have further confused things by using a “place of residence” to determine the level of spousal benefits.

Birth Certificates

The Supreme Court will decide on the case of four Ohio couples who are demanding that the state, which does not allow same-sex marriage, recognize their out-of-state marriages by allowing them to be listed as parents on their children’s birth certificates. Two widowed men are aiming to be listed as husbands on a death certificate.

“All of the [couples] seek an order that will establish for children and parents in families established through same-sex marriages the same status and dignity enjoyed by children and parents in families established through opposite-sex marriages,” said the suit filed by Cincinnati lawyer Alphonse Gerhardstein in 2013.

Article source: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/lgbt-couples-struggle-with-inconsistent-laws/ar-AA8gv2G?srcref=rss

With rainbow flags waving, LGBT activists welcome Pope Francis

Saturday, January 17th, 2015



mikey_bustos

January 17, 2015, 11:46 am Saturday

Everyone wants a teacup pot-bellied pig, but just so you know, all alleged “teacup” pigs grow this big and even bigger. Luckily, I did my research a year before buying and knew what to expect. ***FACT: There is no such thing as a teacup pig, and because of this pig-marketing lie, many teenaged and adult pigs end up in shelters and without a forever home. Kawawa sila talaga! #BePigWise #SanggolThePig

Article source: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/407253/news/nation/with-rainbow-flags-waving-lgbt-activists-welcome-pope-francis

The LGBT school in Manchester is a practical answer to a practical problem

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

A Manchester charity is proposing to open a state school that will specialise in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children. There has never been a better time to announce such an initiative. Unfortunately, there has never been a worse time either.

Obviously, there has never been a better time, in that just a generation ago such an idea would have been unthinkable. We are only a couple of decades on from the days when a teacher reassuring a child that it was fine to be gay could be interpreted as indulging in the proscribed activity of promoting homosexual lifestyles in schools.

It is sad, of course, that life for LGBT children has improved far more in theory than it has in practice. And it’s dreadful that children are still bullied and victimised because of their sexual identity (or anything else). But it is good that solutions that would recently have been considered outlandish can now be taken seriously.

The respect in which there has never been a worse time to discuss this idea is far more immediate. A huge number of issues have come to a head in recent days, and discussions about free speech and respect for difference continue to be heated. One recurring accusation is that the left has become an enemy of free expression in its eagerness to protect from offence the groups it champions.

LGBT people are certainly considered to be part of this constellation of groups favoured by the left. Homophobic speech is frowned upon, to say the least, as is sexist, racist or disablist speech. The fact that children are distressed enough by the hostility they endure in what should be a safe environment suggests, however, that not quite everyone in the nation lives entirely under the repressive torture of political correctness: “good manners” as its proponents prefer to style it.

For some on the left, these good manners should be extended to those whose creed is not post-enlightenment liberalism but religious faith. Which leaves one being respectfully courteous to people who consider their homophobia or their misogyny to be not just part of who they are, but also a duty they must zealously fulfil if they are going to have the smallest chance of entering paradise. (Although there’s no point in pretending that only those influenced by religion can be misogynistic homophones. Far from it.)

For other liberals, the ludicrous contradictions in such a position prompt them to seek clear distinction between a person’s physical and spiritual identity. One is what you are, and needs to be accepted; while the other is who you choose to be, and is All Your Own Fault.

It’s a bogus distinction. Religion is attractive to people who find it hard rationally to bear the idea that human existence is not part of some grand structure with a mysterious meaning beyond whatever an individual can provide for themselves. It fulfils a psychological need that exists without being chosen. And it also fulfils another unchosen psychological need: to feel like you belong. The left is good at attacking these particular psychological needs, but not as good at offering alternative systems that fulfil them just as well or better.

I may seem to have strayed far from a putative LGBT school in Manchester. But I’m getting back to it. The fact that there is a perceived need for such a school is disappointing to those who see comprehensive education as something of a panacea. It looks like an astonishing leftist hypocrisy that a glaring exception to the comprehensive ideal can be made for a group whose difference is celebrated. And that’s unfortunate at a time when bashing the left as the foolish crypto-allies of Islamic jihad is so marvellously popular.

But here’s the thing: the left is criticised most bitterly of all for its promotion of multiculturalism. Yet, what could be less multicultural than the idea that everyone gets educated in the same place with the same opportunities? The right, with its love of faith schools, grammar schools, sin-bin schools and free schools, has fought long and hard against pan-culturalism in education. None of this left-right stuff is as straightforward as partisan commentators (of which I am one) would like it to be.

This initiative in Manchester is a practical response to and for people who feel denigrated simply because of who they are to themselves. In a better world they wouldn’t be made to feel this way. Yet both the left and the right (or at least the two pantomime dames who represent them in the popular imagination) seem to delight in trying to make the people on the “other side” feel bad for being who they are.

Maybe it’s time for us all to start looking for what’s best in all of those we delight in seeing as our opponents – and deciding if maybe there’s anything there worth working with.

Article source: http://feeds.theguardian.com/c/34708/f/663828/s/4266d2e4/sc/7/l/0L0Stheguardian0N0Ccommentisfree0C20A150Cjan0C160Clgbt0Eschool0Emanchester0Eflaw0Ecomprehensive0Eideal/story01.htm

LGBT school: Could it stop the bullying?

Saturday, January 17th, 2015
Rainbow flag

The UK’s first school for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people could open in Manchester in a few years.

It would offer students who face homophobic bullying in mainstream education a safe place to learn.

Pupils would be referred to the school for full-time and part-time places.

But there are worries it could cause segregation and do nothing to promote tolerance.

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Newsbeat’s been finding out what people think:

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Leon Ward is a 23-year-old gay man who works with the young people’s sexual health charity, Brook.

Leon didn’t come out at school because he was bullied, but it doesn’t make him agree with opening an LGBT school.

“Segregation doesn’t work when you’re talking about creating equality,” he says.

“You have to deal with the core issues of bullying rather than forcing the victims to move.

“Isn’t there something more powerful about championing equality?

“The money would be better spent on education in mainstream schools.

“There should also be a more wholesome approach to sex education with teachers openly talking about gay, straight and bisexual sex,” he says.

“You know what kids are like: ‘We wanna beat up some gays so let’s go to that gay school and beat them up.’”

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Amelia Lee is from the youth charity behind the idea, LGBT Youth North West.

Amelia will be consulting young people, teachers and specialists about the need for a school based at an LGBT centre in Manchester.

“A lot of LGBT young people tell us they experience active hostility from other pupils,” she says.

“But they also suffer self hatred – they’re made to feel like freaks.

“They need specialist personal development support,” explains Amelia Lee.

“For example, for a trans child it can be really hard to work out how or when to come out and to who.

“It would be for all pupils regardless of whether they’re LGBT or not,” she continues.

“All are welcome, we’re not going to ask pupils to prove their sexuality.”

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James is an 18-year-old gay man who’s been visiting the LGBT centre in Manchester for five years.

James was bullied at school when he came out in Year 7.

“I told everyone I don’t care who knows,” he says.

“But that was a big mistake. Once they took my bags and books and wrote ‘Die in hell’ on there.

“My mental health suffered, I tried to kill myself.

“Schools are failing LGBT kids and we need a solution,” he goes on.

“In an ideal world we wouldn’t build a separate school, but it’s naive to think that mainstream schools are going to take steps to tackle homophobia.”

He says a school like this would have changed his life: “I would not have been so depressed and desperate.”

“It’s not so much segregation as training these young people to integrate.”

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Stonewall poster

Hannah Kibirige is from the the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, Stonewall.

Hannah’s sympathetic to the aims of setting up an LGBT school, but thinks there are better ways to make sure all students have a positive experience.

“The best way to make sure that happens is to train teachers to make sure they’re skilled up to deal with homophobic bullying,” she says.

“Some recent research we did shows that 9 out of 10 teachers feel they have a duty to tackle it, but most haven’t been trained.”

She explains: “We know that homophobic bullying is endemic, but we want every young person to be able to access support and that’s about making all of our schools inclusive.”

“Our approach remains that the only way to ensure no-one experiences bullying is to make sure all teachers can deal with it.”

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Councillor Sheila Newman is an executive member of Children’s Services at Manchester City Council.

The council told Newsbeat it supports LGBT Youth NW in their bid for funding to expand their premises and develop the good work they already do across the city to support LGBT young people.

“We fully support initiatives to support LGBT young people and to tackle homophobia in schools and wider society,” she says.

“We don’t support however – and haven’t supported – the setting up of a separate school for LGBT young people.

“Schools should be inclusive supportive places for all pupils regardless of their sexuality.”

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Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter, BBCNewsbeat on Instagram and Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/30849957

Diversity in the workplace given boost as inaugural list of top 50 LGBT executives in business is announced

Friday, January 16th, 2015

The first-ever Out at Work Telegraph Top 50 LGBT Executives in Business
has been announced. Eilidh Macleod reports on this significant step
towards greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Late in 2014, news that Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, had come out as gay
was plastered across front-page headlines worldwide, declaring him: “The
highest profile gay business CEO.” Cook’s move to publicly announce he is
gay is admirable, but with a working career spanning more than two decades,
he is just another name on a long list of people who wait until they reach
the pinnacle of their career to declare their allegiance to the LGBT
community.

It is fantastic that a chief executive of a major worldwide brand such as
Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPLnews) intends to use his new-found role as an LGBT figure to challenge
future inequality. But he is not the first openly gay business leader, and
unless he works tirelessly for the next 20 years he certainly won’t be the
one who has made the most impact.

Anthony Watson, for example, was, until last month, an openly gay executive of
a Fortune 500 company as the Global Chief Information Officer of Nike (Sao Paolo: NIKE34.SAnews) , Inc.
Watson dedicates much of his free time to LGBT organisations, such as
Diversity Role Models, a charity that hopes to eradicate homophobia and
bullying in schools, and of which he is a patron. He was also the first ever
non-US citizen, and first British citizen, to be appointed to the board of
LGBT media advocacy group Glaad (Gay Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation). In addition, he is chair and head judge of the European
Diversity Awards.

A great many business executives have worked without recognition throughout
their careers to promote positive change for LGBT people. For this reason,
Square Peg Media, the UK’s leading Diversity Inclusion events
company, has, in partnership with The Telegraph, compiled the Out at Work
Telegraph Top 50 LGBT Executives in Business list. This celebrates
individuals who are actively making a difference for LGBT people in
business, paving the way for future generations by proving that being out at
work doesn’t mean staying hidden or staying put.

The contribution these executives make to their workplace and the wider
community is helping to create real social change. Unlike other LGBT
business lists, The Out at Work Telegraph
top 50 list is open to all, and recognises those who
might ordinarily be overlooked due to their position in their company or the
size of the company. Founding partners, Barclays (LSE: BARC.Lnews) , Google (Xetra: A0B7FYnews) and Société
Générale, were carefully chosen for the part they have played in
contributing to workplace equality by supporting LGBT events, companies,
employee groups and rights.

A nationwide call for nominations saw thousands of entries submitted. Each
nominee was considered against select criteria and narrowed down to a
shortlist of 50 executives. This was then presented to a judging advisory
board of nine leading figures from the worlds of politics and business.
Chairing the board was Linda Riley, member of the board of directors at
Glaad, patron of the Albert Kennedy Trust and founder of the European
Diversity Awards and Out with the Family.

Lord Cashman of Limehouse

She was joined by Lord Black of Brentwood, executive director of Telegraph
Media Group; Lord Cashman of Limehouse, Labour’s worldwide LGBT rights
envoy, a member of the House of Lords, a former Labour MEP, and a co-founder
of gay rights organisation Stonewall; “Queen of Shops” Mary Portas,
designer, retail expert and government advisor; diversity advocate Curt
Hess, chief financial officer at Barclays; Aongus Hegarty, president of Dell
for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea); Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, head
of diversity, Emea, Google; Colin Campbell-Austin, Telegraph Media Group’s
head of talent and people development, and Sarah Garrett, founder of Out at
Work and founder and managing director of Square Peg Media.

“A lot of people are unsure about whether revealing aspects of their personal
lives will have a negative impact on their career,” said Riley. “It’s
understandable that most people would rather be known for their work than
their sexual orientation, but studies have shown that living with the fear
of being different stifles talent.”

The fact that the view of hiring a diverse workforce has slowly evolved from
that of merely a moral and legal obligation to being a business advantage,
should be attributed to those individuals who have helped their businesses
make progress.

The judges spent weeks considering each shortlisted nominee and their impact
at work and in the LGBT community. Key factors included each individual’s
impact on business, their social influence in educating the wider workforce
on LGBT issues, helping LGBT policies, legislation or inclusion, and their
role in inciting change through mentoring.

The shortlisted nominees gathered last night for a private launch of the list
in the State Rooms at Speaker’s House, House of Commons, by kind permission
of Mr Speaker, the Rt Hon John Bercow. Commenting at the event,
Campbell-Austin said, “I’m honoured to be on the judging panel for the first
Out at Work and Telegraph Top 50 LGBT Executives In Business list, and am
equally thrilled to have been introduced to such fantastic business leaders
tonight, each inspiring change in their own way.”

Aviva (Other OTC: AIVAFnews) ‘s Group Branding director Jan Gooding

Garrett said, “The executives on this list are probably not people you have
heard of but we believe each of them is changing the future for lesbians,
gays, bisexuals and transgenders at work. Whether it’s the associate who
champions their company’s diversity network and mentors other staff, or the
CEO who puts diversity on the agenda for their company and demonstrates that
out LGBT people can reach the top in the business world, their contribution
is inciting actual change.

“Each individual is inspiring the next generation of executives entering the
business world to be out at work. There were so many fantastic entries that
it was difficult to narrow them down. We hope this list will only continue
to grow until it is no longer needed. That’s the goal.”

Article source: http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/diversity-workplace-given-boost-inaugural-124700339.html

Out at Work: The top 50 list of LGBT executives

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Amid thousands of entries, the following 50 executives are officially
commended for their active role in making a difference for LGBT people in
business.

1 Antonio Simões

Chief executive officer, HSBC UK

Simões has increased the visibility of LGBT issues at HSBC, works with its
Pride networks and chairs the UK Diversity Inclusion (DI)
Committee. Lord John Browne dubbed him “a poster child for diversity” in his
book The Glass Closet.

2 Claudia Brind-Woody

Vice-president and managing director, global intellectual property
licensing, IBM

Brind-Woody is one of the most senior out executives at IBM (NYSE: IBMnews) and co-chairs its
Global LGBT Executive Taskforce, taking the lead in revolutionising training
on LGBT visibility and rights. She serves on LGBT boards and is an active
speaker at LGBT events worldwide.

3 Christopher Bailey

Chief creative and chief executive officer, Burberry

Responsible for more than 11,000 employees, Bailey’s role sees him as the
first openly gay CEO of a FTSE 100 company. Since joining Burberry as
creative director in 2001, revenues have increased fourfold.

4 Anthony Watson

Former global chief information officer, Nike (Sao Paolo: NIKE34.SAnews) , Inc.

Watson is the first British, and non-American, citizen to be appointed to the
Board of Directors of Glaad. He is also a patron of Diversity Role Models,
and chair and head judge of the European Diversity Awards.

5 Audrey Connolly

Head (Other OTC: HEDYYnews) , FOS operations, Lloyds Banking Group

Connolly is Lloyds Banking Group’s most senior out gay woman and co-chair of
its LGBT Rainbow network. She advises the Group on LGBT-related HR policy
improvements and LGBT-specific marketing activities.

6 Andy Woodfield

Partner and head, international aid development consulting, PwC

As a partner at PwC, Woodfield is the most senior out role model. He created
the LGBT network Glee@PwC, takes a keen interest in LGBT and Human Rights
challenges, and is a trustee for Diversity Role Models and Action Breaks
Silence.

7 Claire Harvey

Senior consultant, inclusive leadership, KPMG

Harvey chairs the Government Equalities Office Anti Homophobia
Transphobia in Sport initiative and is a patron for the Diversity Role
Models charity. A keen athlete, she was the Sitting Volleyball GB team
captain at the 2012 Paralympics.

8 Beth Brooke-Marciniak

Global vice-chair, public policy, EY

Named as one of Forbes’ “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women”, Brooke-Marciniak
helped unify EY’s LGBT networks globally, has spoken at LGBT events and was
featured in Lord Browne’s book The Glass Closet.

9 Vincent François

Managing director and regional chief audit executive, Société Générale

François leads Société Générale’s LGBT agenda. Founder and chair of the
Société Générale LGBT network, he won Diversity Champion of the Year at the
2013 Out in the City g3 Readers Awards, and was ranked 42nd in The
Guardian’s World Pride Power List 2014.

10 Margot Slattery

Managing director, corporate services, Republic of Ireland (Other OTC: IRLDnews) and Northern
Ireland, Sodexo

Slattery sits on Sodexo’s global LGBT network leadership team and chairs the
UK DI Sexual Orientation workstream. She is a non-executive director
for Out House, an Irish LGBT community and resource centre, and is on the
board of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) and Stonewall.

Nike’s former global chief information officer Anthony Watson

11 Harry Small

Partner and head of Global Technology Practice Group, Baker McKenzie

Small was instrumental in developing Baker McKenzie’s Global LGBT
initiative and helped form the company’s LGBT network. He also sits on the
legal panel for the Human Dignity Trust and is involved with Stonewall.

12 Robert Kerse

Executive director, resources, Circle Housing

As well as executive director of resources, Kerse is the executive and
strategic lead for DI and the executive sponsor for the LGBT Network
Group, working with LGBT charities, such as the Albert Kennedy Trust.

13 Nicholas Creswell

Vice-president, performance and talent management, Thomson Reuters

As UK lead for Thomson Reuters’ LGBT network, Pride at Work, Creswell has
helped to improve product content for LGBT employees. A Stonewall
ambassador, he also organises events and works with a variety of LGBT
organisations.

14 Stephen Frost

Global head of diversity, KPMG

Frost’s appointment as global head of DI at KPMG follows previous DI
posts with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and
Paralympic Games (Locog) and Stonewall. A Visiting Fellow at Harvard
University on the Women and Public Policy programme, he has also written a
book, The Inclusion Imperative.

15 Daniel Winterfeldt

Head, international capital markets, CMS Cameron McKenna

Besides his International Capital Markets position, Winterfeldt is the DI
partner at CMS Cameron McKenna. He is also a Stonewall ambassador, founder
of InterLaw Diversity Forum, has launched the Apollo Project, and most
recently embarked on the Purple Reign initiative highlighting LGBT role
models.

16 Gary Millar

Cabinet Member for Business, councillor for Liverpool City Council, and
chief executive of Parr Street Studios

Millar was the UK’s first out LGBT Lord Mayor and has raised money at more
than 1,500 LGBT events. He is a director of the Social Enterprise Network,
trustee of St George’s Hall Charitable Trust and chair of the Michael Causer
Foundation.

17 Wg Cdr Mark Abrahams

Wing Commander, Royal Air Force

Abrahams helped establish the RAF’s LGBT Forum, which he has chaired since
2006. He works closely with RAF ED Staffs and Stonewall, promoting
equality in the RAF and helping to shape conditions of service for LGBT
personnel.

18 Michael Brunt

Executive vice-president and managing director, global circulation, The
Economist

In addition to his role at The Economist, Brunt mentors LGBT staff, and is a
regular participant and organiser of diverse networking and LGBT events. He
has regularly used LGBT messaging and imagery within The Economist.

19 Denny Tu

Head, strategy and planning, BSkyB

Tu sits on Sky’s creative senior leadership team, serving as a mentor to
emerging LGBT talent. He is actively involved in Sky’s LGBT diversity change
programme, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Albert Kennedy Trust and
Stonewall.

20 Mark MacKenzie MBE

Capability development specialist, Transport for London

MacKenzie is a founding member of TfL’s LGBT network and led the group’s
support for Pride in London. He is also a member of various LGBT-rights
boards and an Ambassador of Hope for the grassroots DABs the Aids Bear
Project.

21 Emma Cusdin

Senior HR business partner, Thomson Reuters

In addition to her role at Thomson Reuters, Cusdin organises events for
greater understanding of transgender people. She is a facilitator of the
National Trans Youth Conference and founding member of Trans*formation
network.

22 Robert Annibale

Global director, microfinance and community development, Citi

Annibale has spearheaded Citi’s position against the US Defense of Marriage
Act (Frankfurt: 0LW.Fnews) (Doma) law and encouraged its engagement with LGBT organisations
internationally, including Stonewall’s Global Diversity Champions programme,
the Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network, Out on the Street (hosted
by Citi in May last year) and the Anti-Violence Project.

23 Steven Cox

Executive director, public sector, Fujitsu UK and Ireland

At Fujitsu, Cox has used his position on the executive board to start,
champion and visibly lead the LGB+ agenda, forming Shine, the company’s LGB+
networking group, and an LGB+ mentoring programme.

24 João Soares

Partner, Bain Company

Soares is the leader of Bain’s Emea LGBT employee network, BGlad support
group, and an advisor to prospective and current LGBT employees. He will
feature on the LGBT Leaders Conference panel in February.

25 Steve Wardlaw

Partner, Baker Botts

Wardlaw has been openly out at work, despite holding office in Russia, Saudi
Arabia and Nigeria. He has worked on diversity in Moscow and London, liaised
with organisations such as Stonewall and OUTstanding, and hosted regular
events and mentoring sessions.

26 John Dickinson

Stores implementation manager, Tesco Bank

Dickinson works across the Tesco Group and with the board to influence change
within Tesco (Xetra: 852647news) for LGBT-related issues, and furthers the company’s active
involvement in the LGBT community.

27 Liz Bingham

Partner, EY

Bingham is the most senior LGBT Partner at EY and is the DI co-sponsor.
She was 57th in the World Pride Power List 2014, has received the Women in
Banking Finance Award, and is a global Stonewall Role Model.

28 Paul Reed

Chief executive officer, integrated supply and trading, BP

Reed is an executive sponsor of BP’s Pride Affinity Network. Formerly a member
of BP’s Group Diversity Council, he chaired his own division of the
Diversity Council and helped launch the LGBT Professional Oil Industry
Network in Singapore.

29 Emma Woollcott

Associate, reputation protection team, Mishcon de Reya

Woollcott runs Mishcon’s Pride Network and founded Pink Law, a free legal
advice service for LGBT people. She also provides pro bono advice to the
national charity Broken Rainbow and is on the steering committee of the Gay
Women’s Network.

30 Mark McLane

Global head, DI, Barclays Bank

In his role at Barclays (LSE: BARC.Lnews) , McLane has introduced innovative approaches to
communication and product design for the LGBT community. He also developed a
global DI strategy focusing on gender, LGBT, disability,
multiculturalism and multigenerationalism.

31 Jacqueline Davies

Human resources director, Financial Conduct Authority

Davies sits on the FCA’s Diversity and Wider Operations committees. She was
executive sponsor for the LGBT network at Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays,
and a Stonewall trustee and chair of the Stonewall Board.

32 Alison Camps

Deputy chair, Quadrangle Research Group

Outside of Quadrangle, Camps is the director of marketing and advertising for
Pride in London, a voluntary youth worker, a school governor and a coach for
the Work Foundation’s Campaign for Leadership.

33 Roland White

DI leader, Europe, IBM

White is an openly out IBM employee working with boards and senior leadership
teams. He is also co-Chair of the IBM UK LGBT Network, giving guidance for
LGBT employee policies and procedures.

34 Jan Gooding

Group brand director, Aviva

Gooding sponsors the LGBT employee network Aviva Pride. She is also chair of
trustees at Stonewall and has participated on diversity panels for the Law
Society and Stonewall.

35 Jim McEleney

Chief operating officer, EMEA, BNY Mellon

In addition to his role as COO, McEleney is chair of BNY Mellon’s Regional DI
Council, regional representative on the Global DI Council, and EMEA
executive sponsor for the women’s network. He has launched several LGBT
initiatives.

36 Patrick Rowe

Managing director, UK and Ireland Legal Group, Accenture

At Accenture, Rowe engages with the board on LGBT equality issue strategies,
hosting LGBT networking events and representing the company at outside
events. He is also a formal mentor for LGB staff.

37 Simon Fillery

Global head of DI, Barclays Investment Bank

As well as his role at Barclays Investment Bank, Fillery is the global lead
for its LGBT Agenda. He also sits on the board as treasurer of the Albert
Kennedy Trust.

38 Amir Kabel

DI manager, Vodafone UK

Kabel’s role as diversity manager of Vodafone UK has seen him create a highly
inclusive working environment. He has hosted summits, set up LGBT networks
and written LGBT-rights guides for employers.

39 Javier Ruiz Del Rio

Senior account manager, Campaign Monitor

Del Rio was key in establishing the UK InterTech LGBT Network and has set up
a global LGBT Network and mentoring programme for LGBT staff. He is also
involved with Stonewall, Kaleidoscope and Cogam.

40 Tim Jarman

Assistant director, DI, EY

Jarman is committed to driving EY’s LGBT agendas. He regularly speaks at
diversity conferences, is involved with Stonewall, is on the National
Student Pride steering committee and champions LGBT inclusiveness in sport.

41 Tony Tenicela

Global leader, workforce diversity and LGBT markets, IBM Corporation

Recognised by multinational corporations as a thought leader in diversity,
Tenicela works to drive LGBT rights worldwide. He also manages IBM’s global
LGBT commercial strategy, facilitating numerous corporate community
partnerships across the globe.

42 Carole Anderson

Head of strategy and performance, Golden Jubilee National Hospital

At the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Anderson works to ensure that there
is a general awareness of LGBT issues across the company and that the
correct strategies are implemented. She is also actively involved with
Stonewall Scotland.

43 Geoff Pringle

Chief operating officer, University of Exeter

As chair of the University of Exeter LGBT Equality Group (LGBTEG), Pringle has
championed LGBT rights. He has also played a lead role in Exeter Pride and
as a board member of HospisCare.

44 Alison Berryman

Chief operating officer, Barclaycard UK

As chief operating officer, Berryman is responsible for the operations and
technology strategies of Barclaycard’s UK business. She is also a member of
its LGBT network, Spectrum, working to create an open and diverse workforce.

45 Marianne Roling

Managing director, operating channels, Central and Eastern Europe,
Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFTnews)

Roling sits on the board for the Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft
(Gleam), and speaks at events such as Women in Wireless and the Gay Women’s
Network (GWN).

46 Matt Batham

Senior tax partner, Deloitte UK

Batham acts as a mentor for staff at Deloitte through its UK Globe network of
260 people. Matt has also been a panel member for organisations such as
Interbank LGBT forum and speaks on LGBT panels.

47 Paul Maddock

Solicitor, DWF

Maddock chairs DWF’s LGBT employee Out Front Network, and has organised
events for them in conjunction with Stonewall. He also reviewed the firm’s
HR policies to help champion LGBT needs and has written articles on
diversity.

48 Vinay Kapoor MBA

UK head of DI, BNP Paribas (Xetra: 887771news)

As Head of DI at BNP Paribas UK, Kapoor is committed to driving the
success of the group’s DI agenda and founding its Diversity Week.

49 Alison McFadyen

Programme director, Standard Chartered Bank

As programme director of Standard Chartered Bank, McFadyen is an active
member of the Standard Chartered LGBT network and a regular speaker at its
LGBT events.

50 Deborah Sherry

Director, Partners Solutions, Google UK

Sherry has more than 18 years of experience in the online space and has
continually strived to create an inclusive environment for LGBT staff. She
is openly out both professionally and personally.

—–

Cast (Paris: FR0000072894news) your vote for 2016

You don’t have to be a top executive to feature on this list. If there’s a
person who you believe should be recognised for their work both in the
office and the LGBT community, then you’ll have a chance to nominate them
for the 2016 list. When compiling the Top 50 LGBT executives, a panel of
expert judges will consider each individual according to various criteria.
Nominations for next year’s list open in June 2015.

Visit outatworktop50.com for
more information

Article source: http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/top-50-list-lgbt-executives-130258778.html

School for LGBT pupils planned for Manchester

Friday, January 16th, 2015

The first school in Britain for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people could open its doors within the next three years. Based in the centre of Manchester, the specialist state school plans to take 40 full-time students from across the area and will offer up to 20 part-time places for young people who want to continue attending a mainstream school.

“This is about saving lives,” said Amelia Lee, strategic director for LGBT Youth North West, the youth work charity behind the plans. “Despite the laws that claim to protect gay people from homophobic bullying, the truth is that in schools especially, bullying is still incredibly common and causes young people to feel isolated and alienated, which often leads to truanting and, in the worst-case scenarios, to suicide.”

Last September 14-year-old Elizabeth Lowe hanged herself in a Manchester park because she feared telling her parents that she was gay. “Lizzie felt the only option was to kill herself. There was another girl with a similar story in Bolton,” said Lee. “This is not about making a little, safe enclave away from the real world: we work with 9,000 mainstream pupils and 1,000 teachers a year to help educate them about homosexuality. In addition, the support this new school will offer to part-time pupils could happen in their mainstream school, if that’s what they want,” she said.

“But we have an education system that sets up 5%-10% of pupils to fail through fear and structure, because it routinely fails to recognise and incorporate the needs of young people struggling with their identities. We can either hope every school is going to be inclusive, or we can recognise we are not there yet and so, for the moment, we need more specialised schools,” she added.

The school will be specifically designed for LGBT young people who are struggling in mainstream schools, but will be open to other children, including young carers, young parents and those with mental health problems. “It will be LGBT-inclusive, but not exclusive,” said Lee.

A £63,000 feasibility study into the plan is under way thanks to a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government. The charity has also been involved in discussions with Manchester city council about how it can provide an alternative education for LGBT children in the area.

Lee, who said she hoped the school would act as a trailblazer and inspiration for other areas, said it was unlikely that it would be a free school. “The consultation has a long way to go, but free schools tend to operate at arm’s length from local government, while we are thinking more along the lines of an alternative education provider that’s networked through the local pupil referral units, who will refer children to us for whom mainstream education isn’t working,” said Lee.

A year at the school, which will be funded by the government, will cost £16,000, the same as other specialist schools. But Lee claims that the charity is saving other council services about £1.3m through early intervention and support for struggling children.

“The school will have a gentle, supportive atmosphere. Its curriculum will be closely tailored to each child’s needs and incorporate academic work with youth-work techniques, such as building self-esteem and functional skills by working in the charity’s cafe or community garden,” she said. “It is about trying to develop something that helps people that need extra support.”

Ellie (not her real name) turned to the LGBT Youth North West charity after she was outed by a school friend. “School was awful,” she said. “The PE teacher made me change clothes with the lads because she said I wasn’t attracted to them.

“It annoyed me so much that I stopped going to PE, which meant I got in trouble for missing the lessons,” she added. Ellie eventually changed schools at 16. “There were comments all the time, in most of the classes and in the corridors, and none of the teachers did anything to help me.”

Rob (also not his real name) said homophobic bullying made his education in a mainstream school horrendous. Teachers need to teach about how homophobia is bad and how it affects the lives of LGBT people, he said.

“They need to help us feel safe in our own environment of school. And they should teach the other students how LGBT people just want to be like anyone else. But none of this happens and, as a result, LGBT pupils routinely experience bullying that, if it was racist or sexist, wouldn’t be accepted by the school for a second.”

The new school is being planned as an extension to Manchester’s Joyce Layland LGBT Centre, currently a council-owned, site dedicated for LGBT organisations, incorporating a meeting space, offices, an LGBT library and a cafe.

Sue Saunders, national chair of Schools Out UK, which has been campaigning for the rights of LGBT people in education for 40 years, said a specialist state school focusing on the needs of gay children was a crucial enterprise.

“We are only too aware of how some schools leave their LGBT and questioning students to flounder and we know the high level of attempted suicides,” she said. “We strongly support this exciting and important venture.”

A spokeswoman for Manchester City Council confirmed that the council had been in discussions with the charity about providing an alternative education facility for LGBT children in the area.

“We supported LGBT Youth NW in their bid for funding to look at the feasibility of expanding their premises and developing the work they do,” she said. “One of their development ambitions is around how they might make additional educational support available to LGBT young people. We’ve had an initial discussion with them about that but there are no current plans that we’re aware of to open a LGBT school in the city.”

  • This article was amended on 16 January. The original said Elizabeth Lowe killed herself last month. This has been corrected.

Article source: http://feeds.theguardian.com/c/34708/f/663828/s/4260e52e/sc/7/l/0L0Stheguardian0N0Ceducation0C20A150Cjan0C160Cschool0Efor0Elesbian0Egay0Ebisexual0Etransgender0Epupils0Emanchester/story01.htm

Plans for Britain's first LGBT school unveiled

Friday, January 16th, 2015
  • Centre for 60 teenagers is by taxpayer-funded LGBT Youth North West
  • Group says it could prevent suicides like that of Elizabeth Lowe, 14
  • But MPs said idea would not reduce prejudice in mainstream schools
  • Tory Tim Loughton: ‘It seems a step backwards from achieving tolerance’

Jack Doyle

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A taxpayer-funded youth group has drawn up controversial plans for Britain’s first school for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pupils.

LGBT Youth North West wants the school to cater for children aged 13 and older who have been bullied and hopes the idea will be copied across the country.

Organisers yesterday denied that the school would become a ‘ghetto’ for gay children and said mainstream schools can be ‘one of the last bastions of homophobia’.

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Controversial: A  youth group has unveiled plans for Britain's first all-LGBT school (posed by model)

Controversial: A youth group has unveiled plans for Britain’s first all-LGBT school (posed by model)

But critics said the move would amount to segregation and would harm efforts to improve tolerance of gay people.

Amelia Lee, the group’s strategic director, said the idea was based on the Harvey Milk School in New York, named after the American politician later played by Sean Penn in a Hollywood movie.

She visited the Harvey Milk school last year, and said she had secured a meeting with officials at the Department for Education.

But Tory MP and former education minister Tim Loughton said: ‘We need to do a lot more to combat homophobic bullying and to create a more tolerant society.

Elizabeth Lowe, 14, killed herself in misplaced fear that her Christian parents would reject her

Elizabeth Lowe, 14, killed herself in misplaced fear that her Christian parents would reject her

‘But I cannot see how segregating a group of young people identified by their sexuality can aid better engagement and understanding.

‘The way to achieve more integration, understanding and empathy is not by segregating members of one group, and this would seem to me to be a step backwards from achieving tolerance.’

Miss Lee said her organisation has carried out a survey of gay, lesbian and transgender young people which found many felt teachers had been unsupportive and in some cases simply urged them to ‘ignore’ bullying.

‘Teachers in mainstream schools have problems in tackling issues like homophobic bullying and coming out,’ she said. ‘Unfortunately, schools can be one of the last bastions of homophobia.

‘We have also seen tragic cases such as that of Elizabeth Lowe, a 14-year-old who committed suicide in a park in Manchester because she was struggling with coming out and was worried about telling her parents.

‘It’s to combat problems like those that we want to work with schools and pupil referral units to help young people who are struggling in mainstream education.’

The group received a grant for £63,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government to enable it to purchase the building where it is based, the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre in central Manchester.

And it used part of the funding to conduct a feasibility study into setting up a school. Miss Lee paid for the visit to the U.S. out of her own pocket.

Miss Lee said that by coincidence Education Secretary Nicky Morgan was also visiting the Harvey Milk School last year at the same time she was there.

She also praised the ‘climate of change’ within the department towards homophobic bullying in schools.

City: City council officials in Manchester (pictured) say they are open to the idea, which is in early stages

City: City council officials in Manchester (pictured) say they are open to the idea, which is in early stages

A source close to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told the Mail: ‘There is simply no way that we will approve a free school specifically for LGBT young people.

‘Pupils regardless of their sexuality should be educated in mainstream schools which should be equipped to tackle any bullying that should occur.’

Miss Lee said the proposed school would also be open to pupils who were not gay or transgender but felt more comfortable in such an environment and those who are questioning their sexuality.

Critic: MP Tim Loughton said the idea would segregate students from one another even more

Critic: MP Tim Loughton said the idea would segregate students from one another even more

The group said it had already had backing from Manchester City Council as well as the Schools Out anti-homophobic bullying campaign.

LGBT Youth North West is a regional organisation that seeks to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people in the North West of England.

It receives funding from a raft of state funded bodies, including the region’s councils and parts of the NHS. It also says its work is ‘supported by’ the National Lottery, Comic Relief and Children in Need.

Miss Lee said she intends to wait until after the General Election to decide whether to go ahead with an application to set up a free school, with the first pupils starting in around three years’ time.

She said around two-thirds of the anticipated 60 pupils would be full-time, with the rest attending for around a day a week from their usual schools.

‘The last thing we want is for young people to fall out of mainstream education permanently, or for this to become a ghetto for lesbian, gay and bisexual students,’ she said.

‘This would be somewhere that students who are struggling with the negative effects of issues like bullying could attend classes for a period of time while ensuring they get the grades they are capable of.’

She said children would not be enrolled in the school as their first-choice secondary, but referred there if they were having problems in mainstream education, potentially staying for a year or more.

A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government said the grant was to help the group purchase the community centre from Manchester City Council and was not to set up a school.

A spokesman said: ‘The Department for Communities and Local Government has not funded this school.’

‘Rather, through the organisation Social Investment Business, grants have been given to local areas wishing to run buildings for community uses.’

A spokesman for Manchester City Council said: ‘We supported LGBT Youth NW in their bid for funding to look at the feasibility of expanding their premises and developing the work they do.

‘One of their development ambitions is around how they might make additional educational support available to LGBT young people. We’ve had an initial discussion with them about that, but there are no current plans that we’re aware of to open a LGBT school in the city.’


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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2912249/Britain-s-gay-school-Youth-group-unveils-controversial-plan-help-bullied-LGBT-pupils-Manchester.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Goa LGBT row: Opposition demands minister's removal

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Panaji, Jan 14 (IANS) The opposition Wednesday stepped up pressure on the BJP-led Goa government, demanding the resignation and an apology from Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ramesh Tawadkar for his plans to set up camps to “cure” LGBT youth.

Demanding his removal from the cabinet, Nationalist Congress Party state vice-president Trajano D’Mello Wednesday said Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar should sack Tawadkar, who brought international infamy on Goa through his “insensitive” remarks.

“Through his senseless comments Tawadkar has brought shame and infamy to Goa on an international level. Parsekar himself said the comments were made in ignorance. Does he want Goa to be ruled by ignorant ministers? He should be sacked immediately,” D’Mello told a press conference.

Tawadkar, while speaking to the media on the sidelines of a function held to launch the Goa State Youth Policy 2015, Monday said the state government was contemplating starting centres on the lines of Alcoholics Anonymous in order to make lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth normal.

“We will train them and (give them) medicines too,” the minister had also said.

After an avalanche of criticism in India and in the international media, Tawadkar Tuesday claimed that he had been misquoted, even as the chief minister denied any plans on the government’s part to “cure” LGBT youth.

Parsekar, while speaking to reporters Tuesday at the state secretariat, even rapped Tawadkar for his ignorance.

But subsequently in another interview to The New York Times, Tawadkar insisted that the state government would go ahead with the plan to set up “camps” for LGBT youth and went on to say that homosexuality was a “big problem”.

“We will tell them what to do, and how to get over same-sex feelings,” Tawadkar was quoted as saying in the NYT interview.

The report published on the NYT web site late Tuesday further claimed that in a telephonic interview Tawadkar said (yoga guru) Ramdev’s yoga expertise would be used to counsel the LGBT youth.

Following the NYT interview, the Aam Aadmi Party in Goa has demanded an apology from the minister for his comments.

“The AAP would like to categorically state that such assertions, by a youth affairs minister no less, are against any established medical consensus which clearly states that LGBT sexuality is a natural occurrence and not a lifestyle choice, let alone a disease that can be ‘cured’,” AAP spokesperson Oscar Rebello said in a statement here.

“The AAP demands that the minister immediately apologise for his remarks and the Goa government make public the details of the youth policy that includes such sick proposals,” the AAP statement said.

Article source: http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/goa-lgbt-row-opposition-demands-ministers-removal-113821681.html

LGBT row: NCP seeks resignation of 'ignorant' Goa minister

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Article source: http://timesofindia.feedsportal.com/c/33039/f/533916/s/424fe72a/sc/7/l/0Ltimesofindia0Bindiatimes0N0Cindia0CLGBT0Erow0ENCP0Eseeks0Eresignation0Eof0Eignorant0EGoa0Eminister0Carticleshow0C458875340Bcms/story01.htm

LGBT groups seek audience with Pope Francis during PH visit

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

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InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

–>
InterAksyon.com file photo.

InterAksyon.com file photo.

Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups are seeking an audience with Pope Francis during his apostolic and state visit on January 15 to 19.

In an open letter (http://www.scribd.com/doc/252015071/Letter-to-Pope-Francis-From-Filipino-LGBT-Groups) published Thursday, representatives of GANDA Filipinas, The Red Whistle Campaign, GAYON-Albay, Pinoy FTM, CURLS-Cebu, SHINE-SOCCSKSARGEN, STRAP, Akbayan LGBT Collective, Task Force Pride, GALANG Philippines, TLF Share, Babaylanes Inc., and University of the Philippines Babaylan said they wanted to have a “constructive and meaningful dialogue” with the leader of the Catholic Church.

“(Y)ou are arriving at a moment of great challenges for the Filipino LGBT community. The widespread belief that we are accepted in the country conceals the deeply embedded stigma and discrimination that dehumanize our existence and our lives, exposing many of us to harm and danger,” they wrote.

The groups cited the murder of transwoman Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo City in October last year, where she was apparently strangled, her body marked with cuts and wounds. United States Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton is now facing murder charges over Laude’s death.

“Her story is a narrative familiar to many trans people who face physical abuse and hate crimes simply for identifying with the gender that they’re born with. It is a story known to lesbians who encounter sexual assaults that are meant to correct their sexual orientation and sexual behaviors,” the groups said.

At least 20 transgender people have been killed in the Philippines since 2008, according to GANDA (Gender and Development Advocates) Filipinas. 157 cases of hate crimes against members of the LGBT community, meanwhile, were recorded by Philippine Hate Crime Watch from 1996 to 2011.

The LGBT groups added in their letter to Pope Francis that there was also a rise in the number of gays, bisexuals, other men who have sex with men, and trans people living with HIV. There were more HIV-related deaths in the LGBT community as well, they said.

They attributed this to the “lack of access to sex and sexuality education and the exclusion of LGBTs from sexual health services.”

More than that, the LGBT groups said that they experienced “stigma and various human rights violations” due to “faith-based prejudices” and “interpretations of the Catholic doctrine.”

They accused Catholic leaders of promoting “homophobic and transphobic notions” which rationalized abuses against LGBT children, in particular, by their own families.

“Your Holiness… you are in the best position to dismantle faith-based stigma and the human rights violations that it fuels,” they said.

They called on the Holy Father “to openly condemn the dehumanization and human rights violations experienced by LGBTs.”

Article source: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/102985/lgbt-groups-seek-audience-with-pope-francis-during-ph-visit

Goa CM raps 'ignorant' minister for LGBT comment

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Panaji, Jan 13 (IANS) An avalanche of criticism in India and in the global media has forced the Goa government to deny any plans to “cure” LGBT youth, even as Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ramesh Tawadkar Tuesday claimed he was misquoted on the issue.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, in a bid to douse the controversy sparked by Tawadkar’s claim that Goa will set up centres to train and medicate youth with alternative sexuality, also said alternative sexual orientation was a “natural thing”, rapping his cabinet colleague for “ignorance”.

Earlier through the day, the social media, civil society, national and international media as well as the opposition castigated Tawadkar for his controversial comments.

Comments with hashtag #ClinicBharo were dedicated to his statement by the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community on Twitter and took several digs at the Goa minister.

Tawadkar, while speaking to the media on the sidelines of a function held to launch the Goa State Youth Policy 2015 Monday, said the Goa government was contemplating to start centres on the lines of Alcoholics Anonymous to make the LGBT youth “normal”.

“We will train them and (give them) medicines too,” the minister also said.

Buckling under pressure, Tawadkar Tuesday insisted he was misquoted. “I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths,” Tawadkar told reporters.

But the import of Tawadkar’s comments Monday was not missed out on the international media, with the BBC online website running a story which said Tawadkar’s statement on his plans to “cure” gays “has led to outrage in India with many people condemning it on social media sites like Twitter”.

Incidentally, Tawadkar’s comments came on the same day UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during his visit to New Delhi Monday said he “staunchly opposed the criminalisation of homosexuality” in India.

The opposition Congress party has criticised Tawadkar for what it calls making an “unscientific, illogical and brainless” statement.

“Everyone has a right to live their life the way they want to. This statement is similar to the statement made by Baba Ramdev in 2013, when he also offered to ‘cure’ homosexuality. Is the BJP government in Goa towing the (Yoga guru) Ramdev line?” asked Congress spokesperson Durgadas Kamat.

With Tawadkar’s statement drawing across the board condemnation, Chief Minister Parsekar was forced to clarify that his government has no plans to set up centres to “cure” LGBT youth with medicine and training and that alternative sexual orientation was a “natural thing”.

“No no. It is a natural thing,” Parsekar said when asked about the government position on the orientation of the LGBT community.

Asked to comment on Tawadkar’s controversial statement made on the sidelines of a government function, Parsekar first tried to dodge the media but later said: “I don’t feel he will say that, but if at all, it could be ignorance then.”

Article source: http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/goa-cm-raps-ignorant-minister-lgbt-130426776.html

Op-ed: How Discrimination Affects Our Health

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

2014 was a big year for LGBT rights. The number of states with marriage equality more than doubled, President Obama signed an executive order protecting more than 25 million American workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and bold members of Congress stepped forward to call for comprehensive legislation that ensures no LGBT American — no matter where they live — has to fear discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.

Our progress has been powerful. But there’s so much more to be done to make certain that each and every LGBT person across America is able to enjoy the rights our movement is fighting so hard to secure. Because despite the advances we’ve made over the last several decades, our well-being as LGBT people here at home and around the globe continues to be under siege by social forces frantic to criminalize or erase us, by employment discrimination that traps LGBT workers in low-wage jobs with no benefits, and by health insurance carriers that have historically overlooked or dismissed our health care needs.

Health, including access to the insurance coverage we need to protect ourselves and our families, is an LGBT equality issue. That’s why talking with our families, friends, and allies about the importance of getting health insurance coverage during National LGBT Outreach and Enrollment Week is a vital part of our movement’s fight for the rights and protections we need to stay healthy, stay safe, and stay strong.

Fortunately, we’re not starting from scratch in establishing nondiscrimination laws that protect access to the coverage and care we need as LGBT people. The Affordable Care Act includes extensive nondiscrimination provisions that specifically protect LGBT people in every state. These provisions apply to insurance carriers, health insurance marketplaces, health care providers, and the enrollment assisters who offer free local assistance to help people understand their new coverage options.

What’s more, starting January 1, 2015, same-sex spouses in every state have access to the same family plans as different-sex spouses — regardless of whether the state they live in recognizes their marriage. 

And the Affordable Care Act does more than just introduce LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination in insurance coverage and health care. It also provides sliding-scale financial assistance to help individuals and families get coverage that fits their budgets. Under the law, insurance carriers may not deny coverage on the basis of preexisting conditions such as HIV or cancer, and they must cover a robust slate of health services across 10 broad categories of care, such as doctor visits, hospital stays, mental health and substance use services, prescription drugs, and preventive screenings.

The challenge before us now lies in turning these policy provisions into concrete benefits for LGBT people and our families across the country.

Despite the changes introduced by the Affordable Care Act, for instance, recent research from the Center for American Progress emphasizes that LGBT people — especially those with incomes that might qualify them for financial assistance to purchase coverage through a health insurance marketplace — are still more likely than the general population to be uninsured.

As advocates familiar with the games that partisan politicking plays with the lives of real people, it’s clear to us that a major reason why 26 percent of low- and middle-income LGBT people remain uninsured, even in the era of health reform, lies in the continuing efforts of some politicians and commentators to score political points by obscuring the real benefits of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, many LGBT people, particularly those living in states that have not yet meaningfully implemented the Affordable Care Act, are unable to find information they can trust about what health reform might mean for them.

So during National LGBT Outreach and Enrollment Week, let’s get out there and share the good news — like the fact that 87 percent of people who purchased coverage through the marketplace got a subsidy to make their coverage affordable. Let your friends living in a state waiting for marriage equality know that the protections of the Affordable Care Act already include same-sex couples and our families. Pass along word about the Out2Enroll campaign’s new Web locator tool, which allows LGBT people to search by zip code for free LGBT-friendly enrollment assistance in their local area. And don’t be shy about getting yourself a little something too — head over to Out2Enroll or HealthCare.gov today to learn more about your own options for getting covered before the February 15 deadline rolls around.

Being proud of who you are means taking care of yourself. Be you. Be proud. Be #Out2Enroll.

CHAD GRIFFIN is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization.

WINNIE STACHELBERG is the executive vice president for external affairs at the Center for American Progress, a research and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action.  

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/01/13/op-ed-how-discrimination-affects-our-health

LGBT community hopes for apology from Goa Minister

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

“The community needs to do lot more to sensitise and make these politicians aware of the fact that it is not anything abnormal,” he added.

He further said that he was hoping for an apology or a backtracking of the statement by the Goa minister.

Darshana, a lawyer working with the Alternative Law Forum, said there was a need to humanise the movement.

“It’s very surprising after all that has happened in the country, the number of pride marches have happened, and we still think that LGBT people are not normal. I think that’s questionable. I agree that there’s a need to humanise the movement except that the movement has already been humanised to a great extent,” she said.

According to reports, the Goa minister said that the LGBT youth would be trained and administered medicine in order to make them ‘normal’.

According to an affidavit filed by the Government in 2012, India has an estimated 25 gay population. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states that any unnatural sexual activity is illegal. (ANI)

Article source: http://www.sify.com/news/lgbt-community-hopes-for-apology-from-goa-minister-news-national-pbnnJledgjffc.html

LGBT remark: Goa minister does U-turn, CM says colleague ignorant

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

PANAJI: With his remarks on medical treatment to the LGBT community creating a storm, Goa minister Ramesh Tawadkar on Tuesday made a U-turn saying he was “misquoted” while chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar sought to pour oil on troubled waters calling his colleague “ignorant”.

“I was misunderstood and misquoted. I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths,” Tawadkar said as even TV news channels continued to air the footage wherein he was shown assuring medical treatment for LGBT youths to make them “normal”.

“We will make them normal. We will have a centre for them. Like Alcoholic Anonymous centres, we will have centres. We will train them and give them medicines too,” Tawadkar, Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, had said yesterday while announcing the state’s policy for the youth.

As Tawadkar’s remarks drew flak from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, chief minister Parsekar attempted to calm things down, saying the minister must have been ignorant about the issue and that their sexual preferences were “natural”.

“He must be ignorant about the issue. They (LGBT) are natural. They don’t need any treatment,” Parsekar told PTI.

He said the minister had himself clarified the matter and that “there is no controversy”.

“Youth policy speaks about drug addicted youths and sexually abused youths as a focused group. There are provisions in the central government sponsored Social Justice Scheme for such youths which can be implemented in Goa,” Tawadkar said.

He said when journalists asked him about LGBTs, “I told them I am not expert on the issue.”

Though the minister today refused to acknowledge LGBT as a focused group, the youth policy document, already in the public domain, has mentioned them as one.

“Like in the case of other target groups such as juvenile offenders, drug afflicted youth, marginalised or migrant youth, geographically disadvantaged youth, a detailed survey would be carried out among state LGBT community, so that their problems could be specifically addressed,” he had said yesterday.

On a day the Goa minister’s comments on sexual preferences generated controversy, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had opposed criminalising homosexuality, saying it breeds intolerance by violating basic rights to privacy and freedom.

“I staunchly oppose criminalisation of homosexuality. They violate the basic rights to privacy and freedom. These laws breed intolerance.

“We have to fight for the equality of all members of our human family regardless of any differences, including sexual orientation,” Ban said in New Delhi at an event to mark the 70th anniversary of United Nations.

Article source: http://timesofindia.feedsportal.com/c/33039/f/533916/s/42441ab8/sc/7/l/0Ltimesofindia0Bindiatimes0N0Cindia0CLGBT0Eremark0EGoa0Eminister0Edoes0EU0Eturn0ECM0Esays0Ecolleague0Eignorant0Carticleshow0C45870A2160Bcms/story01.htm

'LGBT is not a disease!'

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Konkona Sen SharmaA look at the top tweets from your favourite Bollywood celebrities:

Goa minister Ramesh Tawadkar continues to draw flak for his controversial remarks over the LGBT community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). Celebrities took to Twitter to slam him. Here’s what they said:

Konkona Sen Sharma: LGBT IS NOT A DISEASE!

Shruti Seth: Mr. Ramesh Tawadkar first work on the safety for women from the heterosexual rapists in your town. The LGBT are fine without your help.

Shobhaa De: Goa Minister who is offering a “çure” for homosexuality has obviously never noticed the beauty of a rainbow spanning the vast sky.

Wendell Rodricks: They seem #lost in the #Goa mist. Talk about a quick backtrack on the #LGBT #treatment #centres in #Goa.

***

Sudhir Mishra: Crazy Cukkad Family is very funny

Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra, who recently watched Prakash Jha’s latest production Crazy Cukkad Family, is all praise for the film.

‘Crazy Cukkad is mad, heartwarming and very very funny. My kid brother Swanand Kirkire reveals a side of himself I was totally unaware of !! The other performances in Crazy Kukkad r terrific. Go c it for them as well as for d story telling skill of Ritesh Menon. Salaam Prakash Jha,’ Mishra tweeted.

Shreya Ghoshal wrote: ‘Just out of the screening of #CrazyCukkadFamily simply brilliant!! Hilarious, heartfelt! The cast is amazing! @swanandkirkire u rocked it!!’

The comedy film, which stars Swanand Kirkire, Shilpa Shukla, Zachary Coffin, Nora Fatehi, Kushal Punjabi Jugnu Ishiqui, and Anushka Sen, will release on January 16.

***

Amitabh Bachchan: Let’s educate our girls

Amitabh Bachchan, who has associated with many social causes, recently shot for an advertisement to promote gender equality in India.

‘Worked on the promotion of educating the girl child .. came across some distressing visuals and stories .. lets educate our girls !’ the 72-year-old actor tweeted.

Bachchan will return to the silver screen with R Balki’s latest film Shamitabh, which releases on February 6.

***

‘Wishing you all a happy Lohri!’

Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in Veer Zaara

Several Bollywood celebrities turned to Twitter to wish their fans for the festival of Lohri. Here’s what they said:

Preity Zinta: Lo aa gayi Lohri veh…. Happy Lohri everyone Lotza love always. Xoxo. 

Sridevi wrote: Wish you all a very Happy Lohri. May this day bring luck, prosperity, peace and happiness in your lives.

Hema Malini: Wishing all of u a very Happy Lohri ! May all good things happen in all ur lives!

Sidharth Malhotra: Happy LOHRI people may the #Lohri Fire burn away all your sorrows, enjoy family time.

Sonakshi Sinha: Lohri di lakh lakh wadhaiyaan!

Madhur Bhandarkar: Wishing all Happy Lohri. May the fire burn all the evil around your lives and bring happiness and peace #Lohri.

***

Lauren Gottlieb signs another Hindi film

Lauren Gottlieb

American performer and actress Lauren Gottlieb, who made her debut in Bollywood with ABCD: Any Body Can Dance, is going to star in Tips’ upcoming production.

Confirming the news, Lauren shared a picture of herself (above) and wrote: ‘Signed my first film of 2015. It’s going to be a rocking year ahead! Thx to all my fans for always supporting me. I had a great first day! script readings, character development, wardrobe trials. Starting 2015 with a Bang Bang.’ 

Gottlieb will be next seen in Remo D’Souza’s ABCD 2.

Article source: http://www.rediff.com/movies/report/lgbt-is-not-a-disease/20150113.htm

Indian state slams plan for centers to make LGBT youths 'normal'

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

By Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The chief minister of the Indian beach state of Goa on Tuesday slammed plans by his youth affairs minister to set up treatment centers for young lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people(LGBT), a move that had enraged activists.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said Ramesh Tawadkar’s plan to set up centers providing treatment, training and medication “to make them (LGBT youths) normal” was announced in ignorance.

“Homosexuality is a natural gift,” Parsekar told NDTV news station, after television stations, social media sites and national newspapers widely reported the controversial plan.

Tawadkar, the sports and youth affairs minister, who is from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, told journalists on Monday that the planned centers for LGBT youths would be like centers for alcoholics.

“We will make them (LGBT youth) normal. We will have a center for them. Like Alcoholics Anonymous centers, we will have centers. We will train them and give them medicines too,” said Tawadkar, releasing the state government policy on youth issues.

“As in the case of other target groups such as juvenile offenders, drug-afflicted youth, marginalized or migrant youth, geographically disadvantaged youth, a detailed survey would be carried out of the LGBT community so that their problems could be specifically addressed,” the minister said.

Gay sex is illegal in India. The country’s top court reinstated a ban on gay sex in 2013, ending four years of decriminalization that had helped bring homosexuality into the open in this deeply conservative country.

The Supreme Court ruled that only parliament could change British colonial-era section 377 of the penal code, widely interpreted to refer to homosexual sex.

The law, which dates back to 1860, prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” Violation of the law can be punished with up to 10 years in jail.

Activists say that since the ban was reinstated, there has been a surge in crimes against sexual minorities in the world’s largest democracy, including rape, assault, blackmail and harassment.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that he was staunchly opposed to the criminalization of homosexuality.

“I am proud to stand for the equality of all people -including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” Ban said in a speech during a visit to India.

“I speak out because laws criminalizing consensual, adult same-sex relationships violate basic rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination. Even if they are not enforced, these laws breed intolerance.”

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla; editing by Tim Pearce)

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