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LGBT groups "shocked and disappointed" at Court of Appeal verdict

Friday, October 31st, 2014

SINGAPORE – The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community here are “greatly shocked and disappointed” by the Court of Appeal’s decision yesterday to reject the challenges to strike down Section 377A of the Penal Code

Section 377A criminalises acts of “gross indecency” between men, without distinctions on whether it is in a public or private space, and imposes a maximum jail term of two years.

The appeals court rejected the argument of gay couple Gary Lim, 46 and Kenneth Chee, 38, as well as 51-year-old Tan Eng Hong that the provision infringes their rights to equality under Article 12 of the Constitution and violates their rights to life and personal liberty under Article 9.

In a statement released today, the LGBT community said that despite claims by the authorities that the law would not be enforced, its existence had a wide-ranging effect not only on Singapore’s gay men, but also its lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, adding that it also gives carte-blanche for discrimination and reinforces prejudice.

The statement read: “It is not an imposition for a segment to seek the same rights as the rest of society. To be viewed as equal in the eyes of the law, to feel safe at home, and to be protected against discrimination, mistreatment, even physical and emotional harm, is a right to which every Singaporean should be entitled, and not denied on the basis of whom they love.”

The statement was jointly issued by a number of community groups, including LGBT counselling service Oogachaga, LGBT welfare network SAFE, gay rights movement Pink Dot and women’s gay rights group Sayoni.

The groups further added that the verdict represented a missed opportunity “to showcase Singapore as a truly accepting, open and inclusive society”.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

Article source: http://asiaone.feedsportal.com/c/34151/f/618414/s/3ffd8a26/sc/1/l/0Lnews0Basiaone0N0Cnews0Csingapore0Clgbt0Egroups0Eshocked0Eand0Edisappointed0Ecourt0Eappeal0Everdict/story01.htm

Biz, LGBT Leaders Congratulate Apple CEO Tim Cook On Coming Out As Gay

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Here’s what rights groups and other powerful people had to say about the Apple CEO’s announcement

Article source: http://time.com/3548950/apple-tim-cook-announcement-gay/

The LGBT rich are a fast-growing market

Friday, October 31st, 2014


Audrey Hepburn is shown in her role as Holly Golightly the film, “Breakfast at Tiffany's.”

The Upper East Side townhouse used in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” has gone on sale for $8 million, the Daily Mail reported.

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102137332?__source=yahoonews&par=yahoonews

Praise for EastEnders abuse plot

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

EastEnders has won praise for its storyline showing domestic violence in a LGBT relationship.

Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White) is in an abusive relationship with her girlfriend Fiona ‘Tosh’ Mackintosh (Rebecca Scroggs) and the latest episode of the BBC One soap saw Tosh punch Tina in the face during a row.

Jo Harvey Barringer, managing director of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) domestic violence charity Broken Rainbow UK, has told the EastEnders official website how important it is to highlight that this kind of abuse exists.

She said: “As an organisation we were thrilled to be asked to advise on the Tosh and Tina storyline, and saw it as a great opportunity to get the subject of LGBT domestic violence into the public domain.

“We were very conscious that the storyline needed to portray the very real experiences our service users tell us about.

“Although there are a number of similarities to women experiencing abuse in heterosexual relationships – the ways they can all experience psychological, sexual, physical and financial violence and abuse – the one main issue that differs is the lack of support services available to LGBT survivors or perpetrators.”

The charity said it is important to raise awareness of this kind of domestic violence to viewers to show that it is not acceptable in any relationship.

“Representation of our stories on mainstream television can only help raise awareness not just for service providers, but also from LGBT people affected by domestic violence who may recognise themselves or aspects of their partner in this storyline,” Jo continued, going on to explain the characters’ behaviour and motivations in more detail.

“The notion that behaviour like this isn’t OK and that they aren’t alone can be a powerful enabler to safety in itself. It was really important that the story portrayed the complexities of Tosh and Tina’s abusive relationship and how often an individual incident is not the whole story about the relationship.

“We need to know what the build-up was to the incident, what the motives are of each partner and what the impact is on each partner so that we can begin to – hopefully – get people thinking about how power is the key to understanding whether or not a relationship is, or behaviours are, abusive.

“In the episode where Tina slapped Tosh clearly that wasn’t OK but when put into context she was responding to yet another verbally abusive incident involving accusations and the slap was a ‘stop it!’ an expression of frustration with and/or retaliation to Tosh’s abuse.

“However the violent punch Tosh responded with was calculated to put Tina in her place and to punish Tina for challenging Tosh’s dominance in the relationship; a reminder that Tosh was in control and held all the power.”

Hollyoaks previously showed domestic violence in a gay relationship,when Ste Hay was abused by boyfriend Brendan Brady, a storyline that also won praise for highlighting the issue.

Article source: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/praise-eastenders-abuse-plot-145946932.html

LGBT community ‘shocked and disappointed’ by Section 377A verdict

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

[UPDATED on 30 October 2014 at 6pm: Adding statement from Pink Dot]

Singapore’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has spoken out about the latest ruling on Section 377A in a joint statement on the Pink Dot website.

“We are greatly shocked and disappointed by the Court of Appeal’s ruling against appeals brought forth by Kenneth Chee, Gary Lim, and Tan Eng Hong, thereby upholding the constitutionality of Section 377a of the Penal Code criminalising sex between men,” reads the statement.

“It is not an imposition for a segment to seek the same rights as the rest of society. To be viewed as equal in the eyes of the law, to feel safe at home, and to be protected against discrimination, mistreatment, even physical and emotional harm, is a right to which every Singaporean should be entitled, and not denied on the basis of whom they love.”

The lengthy legal road for repeal of Section 377A has ended for Tan Eng Hong, as well as for couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee.

On Thursday, Singapore’s apex court, the three-judge Court of Appeal, ruled that the country’s law that bans and criminalises sex between men is constitutional and does not infringe on human rights as detailed in the constitution.

“Indeed, many of the arguments tendered to this court, whilst valid (or, at least, plausible) in their own right, involved extra-legal considerations and matters of social policy which were outside the remit of the court, and should, instead, have been canvassed in the legislative sphere,” the judges wrote in concluding paragraphs of a 101-page judgement.

They stressed that Singapore’s courts can only consider legal arguments, and not legislative ones, which would come under the purview of Parliament instead. “If the court were to assume legislative functions, it would no longer be able to sit to assess the legality of statutes from an objective perspective,” it added.

“Whilst we understand the deeply-held personal feelings of (Tan, Lim and Chee), there is nothing that this court can do to assist them. Their remedy lies, if at all, in the legislative sphere,” they concluded.

Responding to the judgement on Wednesday evening, the pair said in a statement shared with Yahoo Singapore that they were “deeply disappointed”, but thankful that the Court of Appeal had taken the time to consider their appeal in detail.

“While the legal road for us has ended, we believe and hope that this case has inspired Singaporeans — straight, gay, bisexual and transgender — not to keep silent in the face of prejudice and inequality,” they said, adding their hopes that Parliament will be able to consider their appeal against Section 377A in detail.

“We hope that Singaporeans will see this as a minor setback for equality and fairness, and that we can as a country recognise the value of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people… this particular journey may have ended for us but it continues for the rest of the community,” the couple said.

Tan, 51, who was the first to challenge the validity of the section, was initially charged under Section 377A when he was arrested in 2010 for engaging in oral sex with another man in a toilet cubicle in a mall. His charge was later altered to committing an obscene act in public after his counsel, human rights lawyer M Ravi questioned the constitutionality of the law.

Ravi, who represented him pro-bono since 2010, expressed his “huge shock” at the court’s decision, saying that Section 377A “is particularly aimed at criminalising gay men, while female homosexuals are treated differently under the law simply because our society disapproves of one group over another”.

Tan’s challenge has been before the courts for four years and its precedent could be far-reaching, Ravi said in a statement. He added that the decision made by Justices Andrew Phang, Belinda Ang and Woo Bih Li “has legitimised discrimination against gay men and approved the criminalisation of the conduct of their private lives by statute”.

“This unequal treatment in the law is based on hatred for hatred’s sake and discrimination for discrimination’s sake and nothing else,” he said.

Article source: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/singapore-supreme-court-upholds-constitutionality-of-section-377a-criminalising-gay-sex-080706731.html

The LGBT Films of AFI Fest 2014

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

AFI Fest, an annual film festival organized by the American Film Institute, runs November 6-14 in Los Angeles. Some of the year’s best films from around the world will screen, and the fest is free and open to the public. But which to see? The Advocate has highlighted eight films that have LGBT themes, characters, or creators, ranging from an Yves Saint Laurent biopic to a portrait of Girlhood in France to a gender-bending teenage boxer in Slap. Check out the selection.

Images and descriptions courtesy of AFI Fest.

Feature Films:

Saint Laurent
Lavish and visually seductive, director Bertrand Bonello’s biopic of iconic French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (Gaspard Ulliel) is also an intimate drama that covers the deeply personal landscapes of addiction and sexuality that underscore the story of Saint Laurent’s rise to international acclaim. The production design, costumes, and cinematography capture the luster and color of the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, emphasizing the correlation between the romantic and visual connections that Bonello builds between Saint Laurent’s artistic inspirations and oeuvre, and the mise-en-scène of the world of the film. Striking French actor and model Ulliel embodies the flair, melancholy, and conflict of Saint Laurent’s artistic soul. The internationally renowned supporting cast includes Léa Seydoux, Jérémie Renier, and Louis Garrel. —Jacqueline Lyanga

Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere
Huyen is pregnant and needs money for an abortion. When her boyfriend skips out on her, taking with him the cash he’d saved for her operation, Huyen must take matters into her own hands. She dabbles in prostitution with a strange first client, wealthy businessman Hoang, who has a tender yet obsessive fascination with Huyen’s pregnancy. The two go on a series of dates, all dreamy yet laced with mystery and the possibility of threat. Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere is a lyrical, enigmatic portrait of a young woman at a crossroads, confronting a decision over her body and grappling with the confusing nature of love and lust. With the rain-drenched city of Hanoi as a backdrop (gorgeously shot by cinematographer Pham Quan Minh), the film broaches issues of class and gender disparity through the lens of Huyen’s struggle to survive and to assert her independence. —Beth Hanna

Girlhood (Bande de Filles)
In her third feature, French filmmaker Céline Sciamma crafts an intimate coming-of-age story. Rugged tomboy Marieme has been told she must go to technical school due to her low grades. Instead, she drops out and finds acceptance with a gang of free-spirited girls. To assimilate into the group, Marieme assumes a new feminine identity named Vic, hoping this will be a way to freedom from the life she longs to escape. First-time actress Karidja Touré delivers a chameleonic performance as Marieme/Vic, expertly shifting as she explores different character facets throughout the film. Taking her inspiration from the blogs of teenage girls she encountered in Les Halles shopping center in Paris, Sciamma further explores the themes of feminine identity, societal restrictions, and taboos while anchoring this story in the political realities of today’s France. —Jenn Murphy

Mommy
Die, a widowed single mother, regains custody of her son, Steve, after he is kicked out of a correctional facility. Trying to make the best of this situation, Die decides to home-school Steve and enlists the help of her neighbor Kyla, a former schoolteacher on sabbatical after an incident that rendered her unable to communicate. Together this trio find a new sense of balance and regains the hope they once lost. Reuniting with actresses Anne Dorval (I Killed My Mother) and Suzanne Clément (Laurence Anyways), Québécois director Xavier Dolan returns to AFI Fest with a radiant tale of friendship, love, and courage. Expertly framed in 1:1 aspect ratio by cinematographer André Turpin, allowing the characters to be inescapably at the center of our attention, Dolan’s fifth film in five years is Canada’s official Oscar entry. —Jenn Murphy

Still Alice
Julianne Moore gives a powerful performance as Dr. Alice Howland, a linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Possessed of a brilliant mind, Alice is in a unique position to understand what her diagnosis holds in store. As she journeys through denial, diagnosis, and the decline of her mental capacities, she is forced to rely on her family and particularly her youngest daughter, Lydia (Kristen Stewart), who becomes her confidante, companion, and lifeline to the past. In their film, based on the best-selling novel by neuroscientist Lisa Genova, codirectors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (partners in work and life) have crafted a sensitive and dignified portrait of a woman grieving the loss of self from disease; it’s a devastating life transition that Alice bravely defies until the end. —Jacqueline Lyanga

Short films:

Hole
One of the standouts of “Short Programs Five,” Hole is a fearless portrait of a disabled man in search of intimacy. Written and directed by Martin Edralin, the Canadian film features the talents of Ken Harrower, Sebastian Deery, and April Lee.

 

One Year Lease
Partners Brian Bolster and Thomas Harrington (alongside their cat) document one year’s worth of their communication from their landlady, who has an itchy speed-dial finger and much to say.

One Year Lease Trailer from Brian Bolster on Vimeo.

Slap
Directed by Nick Rowland, the British short film follows a teenage boxer as he comes to terms with his true self. Part of “Short Films Two,” Slap features the talents of Joe Cole, Elliott Tittensor, Skye Lourie, and Stephen Bent.
 

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/2014/10/30/lgbt-films-afi-fest-2014

LifeBridge Health Hospitals Named 2014 Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

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Newswise — Baltimore, MD – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation has recognized Sinai and Northwest hospitals as leaders in the equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients and employees. The HRC is the educational arm of the largest LGBT civil rights organization in the United States.

The findings are part of the foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2014, a unique annual survey that encourages the same care for LGBT Americans that everyone else receives and recognizes healthcare institutions that meet or exceed certain guidelines.

To achieve recognition as 2014 Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality, Northwest and Sinai hospitals earned top marks using key criteria that involve patient and employee non-discrimination policies. They specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education and training for staff members.

“Being acknowledged by the HRC Foundation is extremely meaningful for our organization. LifeBridge Health values, above all else, compassionate, high quality health-related services provided to the community, regardless of sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, and financial status,” said Neil Meltzer, president and CEO of LifeBridge Health. “Giving the best care to every patient is tremendously important to our employees.”

Sinai and Northwest hospitals are among a select group of 426 healthcare facilities nationwide to receive this distinction.

The Healthcare Equality Index offers healthcare centers unique resources designed to help provide equal care to LGBT patients, as well as assistance in complying with new regulatory requirements and access to high-quality staff training.

Sinai and Northwest hospitals are part of LifeBridge Health, one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of healthcare in Maryland. Also part of LifeBridge Health are Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, and related subsidiaries and affiliates.

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Article source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/625414/?sc=rsmn

Reinstated Reverend Bucks Norms, Takes Pro-LGBT Teachings to College Town

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Rev. Frank Schaefer found out about his official reinstatement to the church in the most unceremonious of ways. After an emotional roller coaster of a year in which Schaefer lost his religious standing for officiating his gay son’s wedding, he learned of his re-frocking through a text message.

Schaefer was flying back from a book signing in Wisconsin when the United Methodist Church announced its decision.

“We were in the air and we landed in Denver and I turned on my cell phone to all these messages that said ‘congratulations!’ ” said Schaefer.

That’s when Schaefer knew that the Judicial Council, the church’s highest court, was reinstating his religious credentials. The announcement was made on Monday and comes after a long and bumpy road for Schaefer and his family.

“The first thing I want to do is, actually right now, enjoy a glass of wine with my wife,” he said Monday night.

It’s a well-deserved moment of celebration. In 2007, Schaefer officiated a same-sex wedding for his son, who had battled depression and suicidal thoughts after feeling rejected by the church because of his sexual orientation.

Six years later, after an anonymous phone caller tattled on Schaefer, the Church suspended him for 30 days and asked him to denounce gay marriage. He refused, and said that, in fact, if he were asked to officiate same-sex unions in the future, he would perform those as well.

“I really risked my career and I did lose it, but I would have risked my life for that,” said Schaefer.

He was defrocked (stripped of his religious standing) and quickly became an unintended poster child of LGBT rights in the church. Schaefer wrote a book about his recent experiences with the church and became the subject of a documentary film called An Act of Love. He appealed the church’s decision and in June, an appeals panel finally sided with Schaefer, ordering the church to reinstate him. The ruling became official when the church’s high court affirmed the decision on Monday.

Schaefer said the whole ordeal was worth the struggle because it opened up a dialogue in the church and has already begun to spur change in the way the LGBTQ community is treated.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the church will be better off for all of the struggles that we have gone through,” said Schaefer.

But the decision to reinstate Schaefer still reveals a church divided. In the Judicial Council’s written decision the members recognize that “some within the church do not support this outcome today.” It goes on to state:

Some may see a flagrant disregard for parts of the Discipline as reflected in the Decision of the Committee on Appeals. Some may have wished the trial court’s penalty had been differently constructed so as to meet the requirements of the Discipline and impose a harsher penalty. 

The “Discipline” this passage is referring to is the Book of Discipline, which outlines the laws of the United Methodist Church and states that they do “not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

These scripture passages have been taught for many years, said Schaefer, so he understands why some in his community may have a hard time seeing “another side.” As a result, he’s been called a “renegade” and been accused of destroying the church, said Schaefer.

“Some of the traditionalists in the church, part of the conservative faction of the church, have even attacked me and criticized the Judicial Council’s decisions,” he said.

But Schaefer plans to continue his work in a location in dire need of some spiritual guidance: Santa Barbara party town Isla Vista.

The reverend has been working for nearly three months at a “restart” church (an existing church in need of revitalization) near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Through coordinated outreach, Schaefer has attracted about 30 people to the church’s Sunday services. About one-third to one-half of these attendees are LGBTQ, he said.

There are hardly any “20-somethings” in the greater United Methodist Church, said Schaefer, a fact he attributes in part to the church’s history of exclusion. Creating a LGBT-inclusive church is not only the right thing to do, but is an effective step toward attracting younger members.

And what better place to start that than in Santa Barbara, where national headlines were made earlier this year when a 22-year-old mentally disturbed man went on a violent rampage killing seven people (including himself) and injuring 13 more.

“There’s been the shootings back in May, and there’s always been problems in Isla Vista,” said Schaefer. “Kids are asking questions about what all this means and whether they’re safe.”

With Halloween coming up, Schaefer said he was repeatedly warned to stay away from Isla Vista, known for its over-the-top parties that attract not only Santa Barbara students, but also revelers from across the state. But he’s not taking heed of the warnings. He wants to be at the church all weekend to provide a “safe place” for people who want to party “in a good way,” which, luckily, includes karaoke.

“If need be, I will sleep there,” said Schaefer. 

Related stories on TakePart:

New Rules Mean Gay Presbyterian Couples Can Have Church Weddings

Forgiven: Minister Reinstated After Being Defrocked Over Gay Son’s Wedding

Father, Son, a Holy Choice: Pastor Faces Defrocking Over Son’s Gay Wedding

Did the Mormon Church Just Take a Step Toward LGBT Love?

Original article from TakePart

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/reinstated-reverend-bucks-norms-takes-pro-lgbt-teachings-222002476.html

Gay Catholic Priest's New Vocation: Working for LGBT Equality

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

A gay Roman Catholic priest has launched a nonprofit initiative called Rising Voices of Faith to advocate for LGBT equality in the church. 

Father Gary Meier says that over the years the church has created an atmosphere of “silence and shame” regarding LGBT people and their concerns. Meier worries about the message that sends to LGBT people — particularly young people coming to grips with who they are.

Noting a recent Pew Research Center poll that found young Catholics largely supportive of LGBT people and marriage equality, Meier tells The Advocate he wants to highlight the “positive voices of faith.”

“You’ve got the voice from the pew and the voice from the pulpit,” Meier says. “The voice from the pew has always been acceptance, love, tolerance.”

He calls Rising Voices of Faith “an attempt to capture those voices, [to] give them a pulpit, if you will.”

The Rising Voices of Faith website includes a Voices tool through which LGBT and allied people can share their stories and supportive messages. The site also includes a blog where Meier plans to write about LGBT rights in religion generally and the Catholic Church specifically. He’s already posted about the apparent “shift in tone, not a shift in teaching” coming from the church under the leadership of Pope Francis.   

“Who knows,” Meier says, what will happen as Catholic leaders continue their discussions about same-sex couples. “But I do think the pope is moving us in a positive direction … at least the conversation is occurring.”

Meier himself has been part of a very public conversation about LGBT people and Catholicism since he came out in 2013. He was motivated by the 2012 election, which marked significant advances for same-sex marriage rights in the U.S. That was followed by a backlash; it “really heightened the antigay, hostile voices coming from the pulpit in the Catholic Church,” Meier says.

Concerned about how anti-LGBT rhetoric from church leadership would affect LGBT teens, Meier decided to come out. His anonymously penned book, Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest, was re-released in 2013 — this time with his name affixed.

“I didn’t know what to expect because it’s uncharted territory,” says Meier, noting that only a few priests have come out as gay (although more ex-priests have done so). “I was very scared and nervous … that being said, the response has been incredible.”

Out of the thousands of emails that Meier has received related to his coming-out, he says only a few have been negative — though he notes Internet comment sections are often not so friendly.

Officially, Meier is still a priest in the archdiocese of St. Louis, though he’s been on leave since 2012 in order to attend graduate school. Although his official status hasn’t changed, he notes that his stipend checks from the archdiocese ceased last summer — not long after his public coming-out.

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2014/10/29/gay-catholic-priests-new-vocation-working-lgbt-equality

Adding ‘allies’ to LGBT acronym sparks controversy

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Something as simple as doting a rainbow pin can show someone as an ally to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Recently, there have been discussions about whether or not allies should be included in the LGBT acronym, making it LGBTQA for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and ally.

Brad Freihoefer, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Services, said how people define what an ally is can depend entirely on context, location and that person’s role in the community.

Freihoefer said a person can be an ally whether they are in the LGBT community or not. Allies need to understand that they have a personal privilege and power and it affects them as an ally.

“It’s the structure that holds oppression in place,” Freihoefer said. “It’s really about where your position of privilege and power is in this structure of oppression.”

Freihoefer then gave an example to relate how privilege played a role in people’s lives even before they knew what privilege meant.

“When we think back to the days of coloring in Kindergarten, what crayon was labeled flesh tone? Generally white folks’ skin,” Freihoefer said. “It refers to my skin tone, and I had that privilege to have my skin tone as a color to color myself.”

He then explained how privilege affects his everyday life at Iowa State and at work.

“When I look at myself, I have a lot of things that get me things I did not earn. They’re just things I get because of my particular race, gender, sexuality, etc,” Freihoefer said. “People may think I have a higher degree than I do, or sometimes I walk into a room and automatically get respect. That’s just a privilege I have.”

Freihoefer said not looking at personal privilege can be a problem.

How does this play into being a supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community?

Adam Guenther, president of the LGBTA Alliance, said a lot of what the LGBT community has for rights today have been won as a result of ally support. These are people who were in a majority group and had leverage, he said. They understood what their privilege and power could do for the community.

“It was our allies that were able to, not necessarily speak for us, but support us and as a result, help fight for the rights that we deserve,” said Wayne Glass, an LGBT Student Services volunteer, intern and practicum coordinator.

One side of the acronym discussion feels allies shouldn’t be included just because they support the community. Supporting the community doesn’t mean they are a part of that lifestyle.

For example, just because a person can support African American rights and issues, does not make that person a part of the African American community, Guenther said.

Guenther said the other side of the argument says allies should be considered part of the community because they, too, have faced stigma and oppression even though the stigma appears to be declining in the U.S.

Oppression and stigma still have a strong presence in other countries where identifying as LGBT is illegal and can be dangerous.

Guenther said allies should be included in the acronym and community because they have been, and always will be, a part of a stigmatized group within the LGBT community. Allies share some of the same struggles LGBT members have and should be included for that reason.

The discussion continues today and Glass said he thinks it goes back to an individual’s interpretation of the acronym.

“It’s about how you as a person want to interpret the acronym,” he said. 

Article source: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_50e5e8f6-5edc-11e4-a17f-f77a797314c5.html

Adding ‘allies’ to LGBT acronym sparks controversy

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Something as simple as doting a rainbow pin can show someone as an ally to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Recently, there have been discussions about whether or not allies should be included in the LGBT acronym, making it LGBTQA for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and ally.

Brad Freihoefer, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Services, said how people define what an ally is can depend entirely on context, location and that person’s role in the community.

Freihoefer said a person can be an ally whether they are in the LGBT community or not. Allies need to understand that they have a personal privilege and power and it affects them as an ally.

“It’s the structure that holds oppression in place,” Freihoefer said. “It’s really about where your position of privilege and power is in this structure of oppression.”

Freihoefer then gave an example to relate how privilege played a role in people’s lives even before they knew what privilege meant.

“When we think back to the days of coloring in Kindergarten, what crayon was labeled flesh tone? Generally white folks’ skin,” Freihoefer said. “It refers to my skin tone, and I had that privilege to have my skin tone as a color to color myself.”

He then explained how privilege affects his everyday life at Iowa State and at work.

“When I look at myself, I have a lot of things that get me things I did not earn. They’re just things I get because of my particular race, gender, sexuality, etc,” Freihoefer said. “People may think I have a higher degree than I do, or sometimes I walk into a room and automatically get respect. That’s just a privilege I have.”

Freihoefer said not looking at personal privilege can be a problem.

How does this play into being a supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community?

Adam Guenther, president of the LGBTA Alliance, said a lot of what the LGBT community has for rights today have been won as a result of ally support. These are people who were in a majority group and had leverage, he said. They understood what their privilege and power could do for the community.

“It was our allies that were able to, not necessarily speak for us, but support us and as a result, help fight for the rights that we deserve,” said Wayne Glass, an LGBT Student Services volunteer, intern and practicum coordinator.

One side of the acronym discussion feels allies shouldn’t be included just because they support the community. Supporting the community doesn’t mean they are a part of that lifestyle.

For example, just because a person can support African American rights and issues, does not make that person a part of the African American community, Guenther said.

Guenther said the other side of the argument says allies should be considered part of the community because they, too, have faced stigma and oppression even though the stigma appears to be declining in the U.S.

Oppression and stigma still have a strong presence in other countries where identifying as LGBT is illegal and can be dangerous.

Guenther said allies should be included in the acronym and community because they have been, and always will be, a part of a stigmatized group within the LGBT community. Allies share some of the same struggles LGBT members have and should be included for that reason.

The discussion continues today and Glass said he thinks it goes back to an individual’s interpretation of the acronym.

“It’s about how you as a person want to interpret the acronym,” he said. 

Article source: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_50e5e8f6-5edc-11e4-a17f-f77a797314c5.html

Italian LGBT people among Europe's most discriminated

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Italy performs badly on offensive language, jokes, legislation

(ANSA) – Brussels, October 28 – People belonging to the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Italy
are among the most discriminated in Europe, according to a study
by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
published Tuesday.
Some 54% of LGBT people in Italy said they suffered
discrimination, putting the country ahead of only Lithuania,
Croatia, Poland and Cyprus.
Further, just 8% are always open about their sexual
orientation as a result of the hostility, FRA said.
Italy also performed badly with regard to the use by
politicians of offensive language, everyday jokes and the
absence of legislation upholding gay rights.
The study was presented on the occasion of the first-ever
high-level EU conference on LGBT rights called by the current
Italian presidency of the Council of the EU in Brussels.
“The EU has a clear responsibility to promote equality,
respect and tolerance for everyone, including LGBT people,” said
Italian Reforms Undersecretary Ivan Scalfarotto.
“With this important conference the Italian Presidency
wants to show its commitment to working with our EU partners to
combat LGBT discrimination and build a more inclusive society
for all.”
“Too often, too many LGBT people face discrimination and
hostility for simply being themselves,” said FRA Director Morten
Kjaerum.
“The tide is changing and there has been positive momentum
in many Member States.
We must build on this.
As the new
European Parliament and Commission take office, the time is now
ripe to put equality and non-discrimination of LGBT people back
on the EU’s agenda”.<!– –>

Article source: http://www.lagazzettadelmezzogiorno.it/notizia.php?IDNotizia=763846&IDCategoria=2694

Italian LGBT people among Europe's most discriminated

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Italy performs badly on offensive language, jokes, legislation

(ANSA) – Brussels, October 28 – People belonging to the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Italy
are among the most discriminated in Europe, according to a study
by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
published Tuesday.
Some 54% of LGBT people in Italy said they suffered
discrimination, putting the country ahead of only Lithuania,
Croatia, Poland and Cyprus.
Further, just 8% are always open about their sexual
orientation as a result of the hostility, FRA said.
Italy also performed badly with regard to the use by
politicians of offensive language, everyday jokes and the
absence of legislation upholding gay rights.
The study was presented on the occasion of the first-ever
high-level EU conference on LGBT rights called by the current
Italian presidency of the Council of the EU in Brussels.
“The EU has a clear responsibility to promote equality,
respect and tolerance for everyone, including LGBT people,” said
Italian Reforms Undersecretary Ivan Scalfarotto.
“With this important conference the Italian Presidency
wants to show its commitment to working with our EU partners to
combat LGBT discrimination and build a more inclusive society
for all.”
“Too often, too many LGBT people face discrimination and
hostility for simply being themselves,” said FRA Director Morten
Kjaerum.
“The tide is changing and there has been positive momentum
in many Member States.
We must build on this.
As the new
European Parliament and Commission take office, the time is now
ripe to put equality and non-discrimination of LGBT people back
on the EU’s agenda”.<!– –>

Article source: http://www.lagazzettadelmezzogiorno.it/notizia.php?IDNotizia=763846&IDCategoria=2694

Pope: Christian Family, Marriage Under Attack

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Over the weekend, Pope Francis told an audience of more than 7,000 that the Christian family and marriage “have never before been under attack like today.”

Indeed, the Catholic News Agency’s report used “Gay Marriage” as one of its tags, and its headline— “What Is Being Proposed Is Not Marriage’ — sure sounds like an anti-equality talking point.

But media reports on Pope Francis’s remarks — made during a Spanish-language QA Saturday at a gathering of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement at the Vatican — suggest that he was focused not on same-sex marriage but on divorce, cohabitation outside of marriage, and a perceived failure of couples to adequately prepare for or commit to marriage.

Here is one of the relevant questions and answers as reported by AsiaNews, which broke down individual questions and answers (none of which mentioned LGBT people specifically) in its report:

Q. How can we help people who do not feel welcome in our church, and engaged couples seeking to a path to the fullness of life in marriage?

A: “The question you have asked is very sad and painful. I think the Christian family, marriage have never before been under attack like today. Directly or indirectly. I may be wrong but I think Church historians will speak about this in years to come, but I think the family is being bastardized as if it were simply an association of people to join at will. In that way anything can be called a family … there’s just a crisis of the family. This is because it is being attacked from all sides, and is being injured. …

“We could limit ourselves to make a nice speech and some nice sounding statements of principle on this issue. Of course, this should be done. It must be said loudly: ‘What you are proposing is not marriage,’ it must be said clearly. But first and foremost we need a ministry of help which, in this case, must be ‘person to person’: accompanying, spending some time with those who have problems. The great master of wasting time was Jesus, who wasted time in accompanying and maturing consciences. Accompany means to walk together. …

“How can you lead engaged couples to marry after only two courses? You can not! It is a sin of omission on our part, of the priests. Marriage preparation must start from far off. Many do not know what they are doing when they hey get married, without knowing what it means. The conditions that they promise are important: they all say ‘yes,’ but do they realize that this culture of the provisional — not only in the family but also in the Church – destroys? We need to recuperate many things that are proper to the family, but we cannot be scandalized by the crisis. …

“[People] who just live together, who choose ‘part-time’ cohabitation. … Here are the new forms, totally destructive and limiting the greatness of marriage. That’s why we have so many separations, divorces. …”

Vatican Radio’s coverage emphasized the pope’s statements that modern culture is temporary or throwaway but that marriage is forever. The concept of a throwaway culture came up again, Susy Hodges reported, with the pope’s comment that “our present-day culture is one that destroys the human bonds that bind us together.”

Though the remarks didn’t specifically mention LGBT people or same-sex marriage, the pope’s comments over the weekend struck a different tone than some of his previous statements about nontraditional families.

Famous for asking “Who am I to judge?” on the issue of gay priests, the pope has taken a more conciliatory approach toward LGBT people than his predecessors. During the recent synod in which bishops discussed topics related to family, the Vatican released a document that said the church should recognize positive “gifts and qualities” of gay people and positive aspects of same-sex relationships. Faced with conservative backlash, the Vatican quickly offered a “clarification” and emphasized that the document was an interim report rather than the final word on the matter. The final report did not include the positive language about gay people and same-sex couples. The pope himself appeared to admonish bishops whose efforts blocked the more affirming language in a sermon positing that “God is not afraid of new things.”

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2014/10/28/pope-christian-family-marriage-under-attack-1

Pope: Christian Family, Marriage Under Attack

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Over the weekend, Pope Francis told an audience of more than 7,000 that the Christian family and marriage “have never before been under attack like today.”

Indeed, the Catholic News Agency’s report used “Gay Marriage” as one of its tags, and its headline— “What Is Being Proposed Is Not Marriage’ — sure sounds like an anti-equality talking point.

But media reports on Pope Francis’s remarks — made during a Spanish-language QA Saturday at a gathering of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement at the Vatican — suggest that he was focused not on same-sex marriage but on divorce, cohabitation outside of marriage, and a perceived failure of couples to adequately prepare for or commit to marriage.

Here is one of the relevant questions and answers as reported by AsiaNews, which broke down individual questions and answers (none of which mentioned LGBT people specifically) in its report:

Q. How can we help people who do not feel welcome in our church, and engaged couples seeking to a path to the fullness of life in marriage?

A: “The question you have asked is very sad and painful. I think the Christian family, marriage have never before been under attack like today. Directly or indirectly. I may be wrong but I think Church historians will speak about this in years to come, but I think the family is being bastardized as if it were simply an association of people to join at will. In that way anything can be called a family … there’s just a crisis of the family. This is because it is being attacked from all sides, and is being injured. …

“We could limit ourselves to make a nice speech and some nice sounding statements of principle on this issue. Of course, this should be done. It must be said loudly: ‘What you are proposing is not marriage,’ it must be said clearly. But first and foremost we need a ministry of help which, in this case, must be ‘person to person’: accompanying, spending some time with those who have problems. The great master of wasting time was Jesus, who wasted time in accompanying and maturing consciences. Accompany means to walk together. …

“How can you lead engaged couples to marry after only two courses? You can not! It is a sin of omission on our part, of the priests. Marriage preparation must start from far off. Many do not know what they are doing when they hey get married, without knowing what it means. The conditions that they promise are important: they all say ‘yes,’ but do they realize that this culture of the provisional — not only in the family but also in the Church – destroys? We need to recuperate many things that are proper to the family, but we cannot be scandalized by the crisis. …

“[People] who just live together, who choose ‘part-time’ cohabitation. … Here are the new forms, totally destructive and limiting the greatness of marriage. That’s why we have so many separations, divorces. …”

Vatican Radio’s coverage emphasized the pope’s statements that modern culture is temporary or throwaway but that marriage is forever. The concept of a throwaway culture came up again, Susy Hodges reported, with the pope’s comment that “our present-day culture is one that destroys the human bonds that bind us together.”

Though the remarks didn’t specifically mention LGBT people or same-sex marriage, the pope’s comments over the weekend struck a different tone than some of his previous statements about nontraditional families.

Famous for asking “Who am I to judge?” on the issue of gay priests, the pope has taken a more conciliatory approach toward LGBT people than his predecessors. During the recent synod in which bishops discussed topics related to family, the Vatican released a document that said the church should recognize positive “gifts and qualities” of gay people and positive aspects of same-sex relationships. Faced with conservative backlash, the Vatican quickly offered a “clarification” and emphasized that the document was an interim report rather than the final word on the matter. The final report did not include the positive language about gay people and same-sex couples. The pope himself appeared to admonish bishops whose efforts blocked the more affirming language in a sermon positing that “God is not afraid of new things.”

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2014/10/28/pope-christian-family-marriage-under-attack-1

Dolly Parton affirms her support for LGBT fans

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

NASHVILLE, Oct. 28 (UPI) – Dolly Parton says she loves her LGBT fans.

The 68-year-old singer affirmed her support for her gay fans in an interview with Billboard last week. Parton told the magazine she accepts her LGBT fans the same way she would anybody else, and expressed her disapproval of Christians who would try and pass judgment.

“If people want to pass judgment, they’re already sinning,” she asserted. “The sin of judging is just as bad as any other sin they might say somebody else is committing. I try to love everybody.”

“[My LGBT fans] know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people,” she related. “I’ve struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I’ve had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself. I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love.”

Parton released her 42nd album, Blue Smoke, in May. The record debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, her highest charting album ever, and includes the singles “Home” and “Try.” The singer acknowledged her success in the interview, but admitted she still feels “like the same girl” who came to Nashville in 1964.

When asked what advice she has for women going into business, Parton told Billboard “You need to really believe in what you’ve got to offer, what your talent is — and if you believe, that gives you strength.

“In my early days, I would go in, and I was always overmade, with my boobs sticking out, my clothes too tight, and so I really looked like easy prey to a lot of guys — just looked easy, period. But I would go in, and if they were not paying close attention to what I was saying, I always said, “I look like a woman, but I think like a man and you better pay attention or I’ll have your money and I’ll be gone.”

In that line of discussion, she was asked what she thought of Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In. She wasn’t familiar with it and joked, “I’ve leaned over. I’ve leaned forward. I don’t know what ‘leaned in’ is. Lean in to God.”

Article source: http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/2014/10/28/Dolly-Parton-affirms-her-support-for-LGBT-fans/6781414511647/

Reinstated Rev. Bucks Norms, Takes Pro-LGBT Teachings to College Town

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Rev. Frank Schaefer found out about his official reinstatement to the church in the most unceremonious of ways. After an emotional roller coaster of a year in which Schaefer lost his religious standing for officiating his gay son’s wedding, he learned of his re-frocking through a text message.

Schaefer was flying back from a book signing in Wisconsin when the United Methodist Church announced its decision.

“We were in the air and we landed in Denver and I turned on my cell phone to all these messages that said ‘congratulations!’ ” said Schaefer.

That’s when Schaefer knew that the Judicial Council, the church’s highest court, was reinstating his religious credentials. The announcement was made on Monday and comes after a long and bumpy road for Schaefer and his family.

“The first thing I want to do is, actually right now, enjoy a glass of wine with my wife,” he said Monday night.

It’s a well-deserved moment of celebration. In 2007, Schaefer officiated a same-sex wedding for his son, who had battled depression and suicidal thoughts after feeling rejected by the church because of his sexual orientation.

Six years later, after an anonymous phone caller tattled on Schaefer, the Church suspended him for 30 days and asked him to denounce gay marriage. He refused, and said that, in fact, if he were asked to officiate same-sex unions in the future, he would perform those as well.

“I really risked my career and I did lose it, but I would have risked my life for that,” said Schaefer.

He was defrocked (stripped of his religious standing) and quickly became an unintended poster child of LGBT rights in the church. Schaefer wrote a book about his recent experiences with the church and became the subject of a documentary film called An Act of Love. He appealed the church’s decision and in June, an appeals panel finally sided with Schaefer, ordering the church to reinstate him. The ruling became official when the church’s high court affirmed the decision on Monday.

Schaefer said the whole ordeal was worth the struggle because it opened up a dialogue in the church and has already begun to spur change in the way the LGBTQ community is treated.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the church will be better off for all of the struggles that we have gone through,” said Schaefer.

But the decision to reinstate Schaefer still reveals a church divided. In the Judicial Council’s written decision the members recognize that “some within the church do not support this outcome today.” It goes on to state:

Some may see a flagrant disregard for parts of the Discipline as reflected in the Decision of the Committee on Appeals. Some may have wished the trial court’s penalty had been differently constructed so as to meet the requirements of the Discipline and impose a harsher penalty. 

The “Discipline” this passage is referring to is the Book of Discipline, which outlines the laws of the United Methodist Church and states that they do “not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

These scripture passages have been taught for many years, said Schaefer, so he understands why some in his community may have a hard time seeing “another side.” As a result, he’s been called a “renegade” and been accused of destroying the church, said Schaefer.

“Some of the traditionalists in the church, part of the conservative faction of the church, have even attacked me and criticized the Judicial Council’s decisions,” he said.

But Schaefer plans to continue his work in a location in dire need of some spiritual guidance: Santa Barbara party town Isla Vista.

The reverend has been working for nearly three months at a “restart” church (an existing church in need of revitalization) near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Through coordinated outreach, Schaefer has attracted about 30 people to the church’s Sunday services. About one-third to one-half of these attendees are LGBTQ, he said.

There are hardly any “20-somethings” in the greater United Methodist Church, said Schaefer, a fact he attributes in part to the church’s history of exclusion. Creating a LGBT-inclusive church is not only the right thing to do, but is an effective step toward attracting younger members.

And what better place to start that than in Santa Barbara, where national headlines were made earlier this year when a 22-year-old mentally disturbed man went on a violent rampage killing seven people (including himself) and injuring 13 more.

“There’s been the shootings back in May, and there’s always been problems in Isla Vista,” said Schaefer. “Kids are asking questions about what all this means and whether they’re safe.”

With Halloween coming up, Schaefer said he was repeatedly warned to stay away from Isla Vista, known for its over-the-top parties that attract not only Santa Barbara students, but also revelers from across the state. But he’s not taking heed of the warnings. He wants to be at the church all weekend to provide a “safe place” for people who want to party “in a good way,” which, luckily, includes karaoke.

“If need be, I will sleep there,” said Schaefer. 

Related stories on TakePart:

New Rules Mean Gay Presbyterian Couples Can Have Church Weddings

Forgiven: Minister Reinstated After Being Defrocked Over Gay Son’s Wedding

Father, Son, a Holy Choice: Pastor Faces Defrocking Over Son’s Gay Wedding

Did the Mormon Church Just Take a Step Toward LGBT Love?

Original article from TakePart

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/reinstated-reverend-bucks-norms-takes-pro-lgbt-teachings-222002476.html

Three LGBT Activists Survive Harrowing Experience in Russia

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

A trio of LGBT rights activists was swarmed by about 100 angry, antigay nationalists in the southern Russian city of Lipetsk last weekend, reports The Moscow Times.

Despite a nationwide ban on the “promotion” of so-called gay propaganda, young LGBT Russians remain defiant — including the two young women and one man who carried pro-LGBT banners and a Pride flag to the town’s central square on Sunday.

“[We are] fighting homophobia, discrimination and violations of the Constitution and of the rights of LGBT people,” one of the women who said her name was Reida Linn, told local news site LR News.

Local police protected the protesters from the mob, arresting one man who lobbed a tomato at the trio of LGBT rights demonstrators. The man said the LGBT rights protesters had no place on Russian soil.

Police eventually put the three activists into a van for their protection as the crowd grew more volatile, according to The Moscow Times. But that’s when things got really bad: police had to call in reinforcements to repel the mob, who began rocking the van and threatening to tip it over — with police and the LGBT activists inside.

The crowd was ultimately contained, and remarkably, no injuries were reported.

Although The Moscow Times appears to imply that the activists had municipal permission to hold their rally, it is nearly impossible for LGBT activists to do anything is Russia without being harassed, arrested, or worse. Even non-activist lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people walk a tightrope in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, thanks to a draconian antigay law enacted in 2013, that bans the promotion of so-called called gay propaganda.

While the law purports to be aimed strictly at preventing the “promotion” of “nontraditional sexual relations” in forums that are open to minors, it is often used a pretense to stifle any discussion of LGBT identities or pride. The law has been blamed for fostering increasingly violent homophobia in Russia, yet has been repeatedly upheld by the Russian constitutional court.

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/world/2014/10/28/three-lgbt-activists-survive-harrowing-experience-russia

Affirmations LGBT community center in Ferndale continues search for executive director

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Former Affirmations Executive Director David Garcia pictured here in 2012. DETROIT, MI – Ferndale-based nonprofit LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community center, Affirmations, retained search consultant WBB+McCormack to assist in the hunt for a new executive director.

Cassandra Varner, spokeswoman for Affirmations, said in a press release that WBB+McCormack provides specialized executive search services nationally for nonprofit organizations, focussing on healthcare, social services and social justice.

WBB+McCormack also specializes in diversity recruiting, and has placed “hundreds of staff at LGBT organizations.”

Frank Aiello, board president at Affirmations, said he is excited to work with the search team because of their ties to LGBT communities.

“Having a strong connection to the LGBT non-profit community across the county will allow us to be proactive in finding the best candidate for the Center. We are also confident that the firm’s extensive experience in this area will allow us to complete the search as quickly as possible.”

Opened in 1989, Affirmations provides a place where people of all sexual orientations can find acceptance, according to a press release.

Affirmations community center is one of the 10 largest LGBT centers in the country, and the largest center of its kind in Michigan.

Ian Thibodeau is the entertainment and business reporter for MLive Detroit. He can be reached at ithibode@mlive.com, or follow him on Twitter.

Article source: http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2014/10/affirmations_community_center.html

WATCH: Bill Clinton Trumpets Both HRC and Hillary's Accomplishments at Annual Gala

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Former president Bill Clinton gently talked up the accomplishments of his his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the Human Rights Campaign’s National Gala in Washington, D.C., Saturday night.

“I love the HRC. The initials are great,” Clinton said with a smile, which was rewarded with laughter and applause. “But the other person with those initials once famously said, as secretary of state, the gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”

Bill Clinton spoke to a packed room of HRC supporters and members Saturday night, as the country gears up for midterm election next week and Hillary Clinton continues to appear a possible candidate for the 2016 presidential election. The former president largely focused on the progress of the LGBT movement, the Human Rights Campaign’s involvement in that progress, and the need to keep pushing to finish the fight for LGBT rights both domestically and abroad.

“I was thinking of all the things that you’re taking for granted tonight that shook the earth the first time they happened,” Clinton said. “When I nominated Roberta Acthenberg from San Francisco to be assistant secretary of [Housing and Urban Development], and she brought her partner to her confirmation hearing in the Senate and she had a good hearing. Roberta was smart and there were some people who were sort of snipping around the edges looking for some way to derail her because she was the first open lesbian to ever get a job like that in HUD. After the hearing, she knew she was on television and she kissed her partner and you would’ve thought somebody had set off fireworks in the Capitol building. Now, if she had a hearing and she didn’t kiss her partner you would think she was cold-blooded. And I say that because you’ve pushed open so many doors and you deserve the credit. You and people like you all over this country for the progress that has been made.”

Also at the gala, Elton John and his partner, David Furnish, received the HRC National Equality Award. The award recognizes those whose outstanding efforts utilized their time, energy, and spirt to help the LGBT community. John recently announced a $7 million partnership with the U.S. government to create an AIDS-free society. The efforts will focus more on the expansion of HIV services to gay and transgender people throughout Africa.

Check out the rest of Bill Clinton’s keynote address below.

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/bill-clinton/2014/10/27/watch-bill-clinton-trumpets-both-hrc-and-hillarys-accomplishments-annual-gal

LGBT activist assaulted ahead of Montenegrin parade

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Albanian PM wants Serbia “to recognize Kosovo”

October 23, 2014 | 11:06 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (33) | Send comment

TIRANA — “The sooner Serbia formally recognizes that Kosovo will never again be its part, the better for Serbia and the region,” says Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Article source: http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2014&mm=10&dd=27&nav_id=92036

It Gets Better: Even the Meanest High Schools Can Become More LGBT-Friendly

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

The Gay-Straight Alliance at Ohio’s Norwood High School is a small, but tight-knit bunch. Amira Bauer-Hutsell, a senior at the school, is president of the group that meets once a week to talk about everything from school gossip to current events. For one transgender member who has no support at home, it is the only place to open up and vent.

“It kind of just gives people in the LGBT community somewhere to go, where they can talk and not feel judged,” said Bauer-Hutsell.

The GSA has become an in-house LGBT family, she said, where upper classman look out for younger students and even the principal gets schooled once in a while on LGBT etiquette.

“I taught him that queer wasn’t a dirty word,” said Bauer-Hutsell.

The club has also slowly opened up the rest of the student body to the gay and transgender community. Joann Payne is a social worker who has worked in the district for 14 years and helped create Norwood’s GSA. She saw the club’s tangible effects last year, when two boys were seen holding hands on the front steps on the school.

Payne recalls a fellow teacher coming up to her to say: “Before GSA, that could never have happened without a whole lot of ridicule.”

Norwood is just one school in the Cincinnati area that’s taking concerted measures to improve LGBT inclusivity on campus. Supportive staff, strict anti-bullying policies, on-campus gay-straight Alliances and LGBT-inclusive curriculum are key steps to reducing homophobia and harassment at schools, according to report released last week by the Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network.

This biennial survey looks at the conditions for LGBT students across the country. The year’s questionnaire was conducted online, with nearly 8,000 students from all 50 states answering questions about how they are treated at school. The study shows some marked improvements for LGBT students overall, from lower rates of verbal and physical harassment based on their sexual orientation, to the decline of the common campus phrase “that’s so gay.”

But 55 percent of students still reported feeling unsafe because of their sexual orientation, and 71 percent of students said they heard “gay” used in a negative way on campus.

“Progress is being made in our nation’s schools,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. “But when more than half of LGBT youth continue to report unsafe or even dangerous school climates, we all have a responsibility to act.”

In 2011, Ohio schools were deemed “not safe” for most LGBT secondary school students, and nine in ten students reported hearing slurs like “fag” or “dyke,” according to GLSEN. But school liaisons like Shawn Jeffers are trying to change that. Jeffers is the lead trainer for GLSEN Cincinnati, where he visits area schools and helps teach students and staff about how to create more inclusive environments.

Ohio is the perpetual “swing” state in every election, said Jeffers, a mixed back of far-right and far-left leaning communities, making it an interesting case study when it comes to LGBT students.When he began visiting schools a few years ago the mere mention of the words  “gay” or “lesbian” in GLSEN’s name made teachers uncomfortable, he said. They’d often have to get his visit cleared by an equally uncomfortable school principal, as administrators were hesitant to invite LGBT discussion onto campus in fear of angry parent phone calls or threatened job security.

“I think schools by their nature tend to be risk averse,” said Jeffers.

But things soon reached a tipping point. In 2009 and 2010, there was a dramatic rise in teen suicides across the country, said Jeffers, often by kids who were “out” or assumed to be LGBT.

There was Seth Walsh, a gay California teen who couldn’t take the relentless bullying by his classmates and hanged himself in his backyard. Then there was Asher Brown, a 13-year-old Texan who was taunted at school and then shot himself after he came out. And these are just to name a few. 

School administrators were forced to start addressing LGBT issues on campus, said Jeffers, and in Ohio, much of this support came from the top down. The state passed a law requiring all schools to enact anti-bullying policies and then in 2012, an additional law was passed requiring a cyber-bullying policy be created as well.

Although these measures are now fairly common in states across the country, the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education took things one step further in 2013. They voted to adopt specific language into their anti-bullying policy that explicitly protects students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Only 10 percent of students reported having a school policy like Cincinnati’s, according to the GLSEN report, but those that did have one were less likely to hear homophobic slurs on campus and more likely to have staff intervene when these remarks were made.

So although national progress is slow, it is being made. Its success will rely on administrators making LGBT inclusivity part of the school culture, said Jeffers, and putting the needs of their students first, no matter what their personal beliefs.

As was the case at Norwood High, when the Gay-Straight Alliance was first formed about six years ago.

“Our principal was supportive, and forthcoming that this was an issue that’s a little bit out of his comfort zone,” said Joann Payne. “But he welcomed the group into the school.”

Related stories on TakePart:

America’s Highest-Paid Female CEO Is Transgender

Solving the Country’s LGBT Homelessness Crisis, One Midsize City at a Time

LGBTQ Homecoming Kings and Queens Are Winners—but Is It Progress?

A $37,000 Newspaper Ad Just Attacked Transgender Athletes

Original article from TakePart

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/gets-better-even-meanest-high-schools-become-more-235015479.html

BNY Mellon's Jim McEleney named in Top 100 list of most inspiring LGBT business role models

Monday, October 27th, 2014

LONDON, Oct. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Jim McEleney, chief operating officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa at BNY Mellon, a global leader in investment management and investment services, has been named in a list of the Top 100 LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) business role models.

OUTstanding’s second annual list of Top LGBT executives has doubled in length in 2014. McEleney was placed at no35 in the OUTstanding in Business list, which recognises LGBT executives who deserve to be acknowledged for their role in the wider campaign to encourage greater diversity within firms and their boardrooms.

Commenting on the methodology for putting together the rankings, Suki Sandhu, OUTstanding’s founder, notes that they asked what nominees had done inside and outside the workplace to make it more welcoming to LGBT individuals and looked for information about the candidate’s influence within the business as well as recent significant achievements.

“We are exceptionally proud to see Jim recognised for his leadership in championing a positive, diverse and collaborative culture at BNY Mellon,” notes BNY Mellon’s EMEA Chairman, Michael Cole-Fontayn.  “Through showcasing how LGBT executives are already succeeding, hopefully all LGBT leaders will be inspired to aim high and be well supported as they do.  Everyone should feel they are in a world where talent can rise to the top.” 

McEleney has over 27 years of financial services industry experience, including more than 22 years with BNY Mellon or its affiliates, with direct experience across a diverse set of strategic and client-facing roles in asset servicing, asset management and wealth management.

He chairs BNY Mellon’s EMEA Diversity Inclusion Council and represents the region on the Global Diversity Inclusion Council’s Operating Committee. McEleney is the Executive Sponsor in EMEA for the women’s employee resource group and as an openly gay senior executive, he is also a member of PRISM, the company’s LGBT employee resource group.

McEleney has been the sponsor of BNY Mellon EMEA’s annual Diversity and Inclusion Week since its inception in 2012 which celebrates global cultural awareness. 

Joanna Symes, BNY Mellon’s EMEA Head of Diversity Inclusion, adds: “Jim works extremely hard to promote inclusion across the company. His involvement in this year’s OUTstanding list demonstrates to our employees, future employees, as well as our clients, that diversity continues to be high on our company’s agenda.  As business leaders, it is our responsibility to create work cultures where our teams believe and feel they can achieve their greatest potential.”

Notes to editors:
BNY Mellon is a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle. Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment management and investment services in 35 countries and more than 100 markets. As of Sept. 30, 2014, BNY Mellon had $28.3 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, and $1.6 trillion in assets under management. BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BK). Additional information is available on www.bnymellon.com, or follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon.

Contacts: Louisa Bartoszek
                   +44 30 7163 2826 
                   louisa.bartoszek@bnymellon.com

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bny-mellons-jim-mceleney-named-in-top-100-list-of-most-inspiring-lgbt-business-role-models-221974677.html

Article source: http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/bny-mellons-jim-mceleney-named-094000684.html

Alvin cabar pemimpin pembangkang tegakkan hak LGBT

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Hak LGBT ini harus dipertahankan, walaupun akan kehilangan undi daripada Muslim kerana melakukan tindakan tidak bermoral.

alvin tan 4PETALING JAYA: Blogger seks kontroversi, Alvin Tan dalam satu kenyataan di dalam Facebooknya telah mencabar pemimpin politik pembangkang untuk menyatakan pendirian mereka dalam isu lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT).

Menurutnya, hak LGBT ini harus dipertahankan, walaupun akan kehilangan undi daripada Muslim kerana melakukan tindakan tidak bermoral.

“Menentang hak LGBT, hilang undi daripada  penduduk liberal bandar hanya kerana diskriminasi,” tulisnya di dalam facebook.

Sebelum ini, Alvin telah bercakap kepada sebuah portal dan mendakwa bahawa beliau telah menasihatkan aktivis Ali Abd Jalil untuk melarikan diri ke luar negara bagi mencari suaka politik.

Bahkan, Ali sendiri mendakwa mendakwa polis, samseng, NGO PERKASA, kumpulan sayap kanan Melayu, kumpulan dalam UMNO sedang mencarinya.

Bahkan, Ali turut mendakwa ada di antara mereka telah mengugut untuk memukul serta membunuhnya.

“Bahkan ada yang mengatakan bahawa saya pengkhianat dan saya tidak sepatutnya diperlakukan seperti manusia.

“Kebanyakan kumpulan Melayu (seperti) PERKASA mengatakan saya seperti sampah dan polis tidak mempertahankan saya,” kata Ali yang sekarang kini berada di Sweden, Stockholm.

Alvin dan Ali merupakan dua rakyat Malaysia yang telah melarikan diri ke luar negara bagi mencari suaka politik. Alvin telah melarikan diri ke Amerika Syarikat manakala Ali melarikan diri ke Sweeden.

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Article source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/bahasa/2014/10/27/alvin-cabar-pemimpin-pembangkang-tegakkan-hak-lgbt/

Gay Republican House Candidate Hasn't Won Fans In LGBT Community

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This year, two men could become the first Republicans who are openly gay when they’re elected to Congress. One is in Massachusetts. The other is in California, and our next story focuses on him – San Diego’s Carl DeMaio.

He’s expected to have a real shot at unseating the Democratic incumbent, but the LGBT community isn’t embracing his candidacy. Claire Trageser from member station KPBS has our report.

CLAIRE TRAGESER, BYLINE: On the night of California’s June primary, Carl DeMaio prepared to make a victory speech. He hugged his partner and delivered a line referencing his sexual orientation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CARL DEMAIO: Wow. Some in the national media think my candidacy is unique because of who my love or who I choose to spend my life with. I disagree entirely with that view.

TRAGESER: DeMaio has the full support of both the National Republican Congressional Committee as well as Speaker John Boehner, despite some recent allegations of sexual harassment. But the openly gay Republican is finding many in the LGBT community aren’t cheering.

The political action committee Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund didn’t endorse DeMaio, and gay rights groups like Equality California and the Human Rights Campaign endorsed DeMaio’s straight opponent, Democrat Scott Peters. That’s because DeMaio’s record on LGBT issues is spotty according to Human Rights Campaign’s Fred Sainz.

FRED SAINZ: We have no idea where he is on a whole host of issues. If elected to Congress, he would certainly be expected to champion legislation that is important to him and his community, and we’ve seen absolutely no evidence of the fact that he would do so.

TRAGESER: Sainz’s criticism chows the fine line gay Republican candidates have to walk. LGBT groups point out that DeMaio hasn’t stood up for gay rights. He also can’t be too outspoken and risk upsetting socially conservative voters. Instead, DeMaio says gay rights aren’t anything the government should be involved in. DeMaio declined to be interviewed for this story. Here’s how he described his stance on the Fox News Channel earlier this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOX NEWS BROADCAST)

DEMAIO: I don’t think that either political party ought to be talking about social issues. I think we ought to let the individual decide those issues themselves in the context of their own faith – their own family beliefs, and get government out of it.

STAMPP CORBIN: When you talk about our civil rights as a social issue, it’s personally offensive to the majority of LGBT people in America.

TRAGESER: That’s Stampp Corbin, publisher of the San Diego LGBT Weekly. He also criticizes DeMaio for taking campaign donations from people who oppose marriage equality.

CORBIN: It would be bizarre if I, as an African American, took money from people who didn’t support African American civil rights.

TRAGESER: But San Diego gay activist Nicole Murray Ramirez says DeMaio shouldn’t have to make his sexual orientation a focus of his campaign.

NICOLE MURRAY RAMIREZ: What does he need to do – go in drag? He doesn’t shrink away from discussing his support from equality and who he is and his partner.

TRAGESER: A gay candidate who doesn’t talk about gay rights issues could be the future for LGBT politics – so says Stephen Engel, a politics professor at Bates College. As marriage equality spreads, he says there could be a schism in the gay political movement.

STEPHEN ENGEL: Do you then take a whole raft of issues that historically have linked gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders together, and link them together with other allies traditionally on the left? And you simply take them off the table.

TRAGESER: Engel says as wealthy gay couples gain marriage rights, they may begin voting instead according to their economic self interest.

ENGEL: Then it becomes a question of how invested are you in other – say, for example, progressive issues that have historically been linked to gay rights whether we think about women’s equality issues, abortion access issues, race equality concerns.

TRAGESER: Engel says if marriage equality is no longer an issue, Democrats will need to continue to mobilize LGBT voters because in our deeply divided electorate, even just a few new LGBT republicans might tip the scales in elections to come. For NPR News, I’m Claire Trageser in San Diego.

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Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/10/14/356177208/gay-republican-house-candidate-demaio-hasnt-won-fans-in-lgbt-community?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=us

Bill Clinton urges US LGBT activists to continue equality push

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

“I’ve never seen a civil rights movement, at least in our country, move as far and as fast as your movement, ever” Clinton said in Washington at the annual gala for LGBT rights group Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Same-sex couples can now marry in 32 of the 50 US states, as well as the District of Colombia, following a raft of recent court decisions.

At the beginning of October gay marriage was allowed in only 19 states plus Washington.

“But don’t kid yourself… there are still barriers that need to be brought down,” Clinton said.

“All over the world there are young people who still have to cower in fear of their governments, their leaders and sometimes their families,” Clinton said.

HRC, which advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, is also active abroad, especially in Africa.

“We will prevail in a dangerous world if we have the best model of freedom and justice, equality and opportunity, the kind of things people want to be a part of, where everybody can be who they are,” Clinton said.

Clinton, a former governor of Arkansas, also applauded an HRC awareness campaign in three southern Conservative states — Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.

The former Democratic president has publicly expressed regret that he signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law while he was president in 1996, denying federal benefits to married gay and lesbian couples by strictly defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The US Supreme Court struck down the law in 2013.

Clinton, who was given an ovation by the crowd of more than 3,000, also stressed the commitment of his wife, Hillary Clinton — a possible candidate for the 2016 presidential election — to gay rights.

Article source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/Bill-Clinton-urges-US-LGBT-activists-to-continue-e-30246275.html

Taiwan's gay parade calls attention to LGBT diversity

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

In carnival splendor or even cross-dressed, participants in the 2014 Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade posed for selfies with onlookers, comfortable and extravert in their lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender skins.

The parade, now in its 12th incarnation, attracted thousands of LGBT rights supporters from across the globe, who took to Taipei’s streets on Saturday afternoon for “A Walk in Queer Shoes”, celebrating the diversity of LGBT groups.

“There are as many possible gender identities as there are people,” said organizers Taiwan LGBT Pride Community’s Albert Yang.

“The public may just know about lesbians and gays. That still comes out of the gender binary mindset,” Yang said. “We want to make ‘the minority of the minority’– people who are bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual — more visible.”

This year, Yang and his cohorts focused the disadvantaged: HIV carriers, sex workers and the disabled. “Those people also need attention as they may relate to the LGBT groups. For example, a handicapped gay,” Yang said.

First held in 2003 with about 500 participants, the parade has grown to be one of the most talked about annual events in Taipei. In 2013, a record 60,000 people took part, making it the largest gay pride event in any Chinese community.

Yang estimated that Saturday’s bash attracted at least 50,000 people as they meandered along the route. Departing from Kaidagelan Boulevard in west Taipei, revelers divided into two groups, one heading north and the the other moving southward. When the two groups converged again on Renai Road, they held up leaflets in six colors to form an image of rainbow flag.

Having marched for about two and a half hours, the parade returned to their starting point for a rally, where they sang the chorus of “Embrace”, this year’s theme song by Taiwanese band Mayday, and joined in a giant group hug.

The organizers had made a video of “Embrace” in sign language to appeal to the deaf, reinforcing the inclusive theme of the 2014 parade with the spotlight on disabled members of LGBT community.

About 140 groups from universities and established companies such as Google and Ernst Young, took part. The parade also attracted supporters from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.

Article source: http://en.ce.cn/main/latest/201410/26/t20141026_3776849.shtml

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

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related stories on TakePart:

Obama Sidesteps Do-Nothing Congress to Protect LGBT Employees

Obama Sidesteps Do-Nothing Congress to Protect LGBT Employees

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

ACLU Just Came Out Against Antidiscrimination Law Designed to Protect LGBT

Original article from TakePart

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

Philippine Transgender Murder Becomes a Rallying Point for LGBT Rights

Friday, October 24th, 2014

A Filipino activist holds flowers and a slogan during prayers in suburban Quezon city, Philippines on Thursday Oct. 23, 2014, to call for justice for the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude.
Aaron Favila—AP

Activists say the death of Jennifer Laude highlights the vulnerable position of trans people in the Philippines

The burial of transgender woman Jennifer Laude has sparked a “National Day of Outrage” in the Philippines, with LGBT organizations staging candlelight vigils across the country on Friday.

Article source: http://time.com/3536215/philippines-transgender-murder-jennifer-laude-lgbt-rights/

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

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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

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

Here’s a snippet of what Santorum said: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related stories on TakePart:

Obama Sidesteps Do-Nothing Congress to Protect LGBT Employees

Obama Sidesteps Do-Nothing Congress to Protect LGBT Employees

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

ACLU Just Came Out Against Antidiscrimination Law Designed to Protect LGBT

Original article from TakePart

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

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

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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

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

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

home office general

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEE ALSO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will ExxonMobil Finally Protect LGBT Employees?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sings of change on LGBT issues in the Catholic Church

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

Christopher Cappiello, West Hollywood

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

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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

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

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Retirement Crisis Facing Gays And Lesbians

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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

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

Retirement Concerns That Are Severe

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

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

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

A few specifics from the survey:

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

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

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

(MORE: LGBT Senior Programs)

Why Older LGBT People Have Greater Money Concerns

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

Op-ed: 22 Reasons Queer History Is Important

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Porque all our stories matter. (pezowl)

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

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

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

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

School districts celebrate LGBT History Month

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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

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

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

lRelated LGBT history month
OpinionLGBT history monthSee all related

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

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

Copyright © 2014, Sun Sentinel

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

LGBT researcher speaks at Cymplify Central Pride event

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

LGBT

LGBT

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



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

LGBT researcher speaks at Cymplify Central Pride event

Sarah Hernandez, Alligator Contributing Writer

The Independent Florida Alligator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

    NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    # # #

    About W Hotels Worldwide

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

    About Jennifer Hudson

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

    About Human Rights Campaign

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

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

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

    LGBT Jamaicans 'targets of violence'

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Continue reading the main story

    Start Quote

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

    End Quote
    Graeme Reid
    LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch

    ‘Beaten or killed’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Rights group: LGBT Jamaicans targets of violence

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ____

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

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

    LGBT: The 'T' Is for Tyranny

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
    • Matt Barber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And it’s rooted in madness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    BARBER: LGBT, The 'T' is for Tyranny

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And it’s rooted in madness.

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

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

    Yay “gay rights”!

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

    Rosa Parks in drag, I guess.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Casarez is survived by her wife and mother.

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

    Kaiser Permanente Recognized as a Leader in LGBT Health Care Equality

    Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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

    Kaiser Permanente Logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Westminster: LGBT community responds to Synod final document

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Catholic LGBT activists urge inclusiveness as Vatican meetings end

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

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

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

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

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

    lRelated Section: Gay in Maryland
    EntertainmentSection: Gay in MarylandSee all related

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reuters contributed to this article.

    cmcampbell@baltsun.com

    twitter.com/cmcampbell6

    Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun

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

    LGBT community hits Trillanes’ bill

    Monday, October 20th, 2014

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

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

    How the gay community shamefully lets Clintons off the hook

    Sunday, October 19th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Chad GriffinPhoto: Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       
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