LGBT Weekly Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:40:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Supreme Court declines emergency stay request from anti-LGBT Rowan County clerk Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:40:12 +0000 Kim Davis

Kim Davis

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined a petition from Kentucky’s Rowan County clerk Kim Davis for an emergency stay on a court order requiring her to immediately start issuing marriage licenses to all eligible applicants, including same-sex couples. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) welcomed the news as affirmation that personal religious opinions of public officials should not trump the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans.

“Ms. Davis’ choices are clear: she must either choose to follow the law or resign her public position,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “A public official’s personal religious opinion does not give her the privilege to trample over the rights of others.  Freedom of religion is important, and Ms. Davis has the fundamental right to believe what she likes. But as a public servant, she does not have the right to pick and choose which laws she will follow or which services she will provide. We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the stay.”

Aug. 12, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses, although he later temporarily stayed his order as Davis appealed his decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – which declined her request last Wednesday.

Davis is represented by the vehemently anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel.

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Russia cancels LGBT film festival Mon, 31 Aug 2015 22:57:06 +0000 Russia’s long running avant-garde film festival, Moscow Premiere, a champion of Russian LGBT and anti-fascist cinema, was cancelled last week and replaced by a “positive, youth-orientated” alternative, reports Dazed.

The new festival is being run by Yevgeny Gerasimov, a high-ranking member of Putin’s Kremlin. The organizer of Moscow Premiere said that there was no way he could work with Gerasimov.

The cancellation is seen as part of a wider crackdown by the Kremlin on LGBT activities in Russia.

According to Dazed, it’s illegal to show people under 18 any movies about homosexuality in Russia; so this emphasis on youth is a covert way of informing ground-breaking filmmakers and interested viewers not to bother.  Earlier this year, Russia also cut the line-up of the Moscow International Film Festival, but most of the films cleaved were those with any themes deemed undesirable.

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Another British pro-rugby player comes out Mon, 31 Aug 2015 20:51:00 +0000 Sam Stanley

Sam Stanley

Following in the footsteps of Keegan Hirst, Sam Stanley has become the second British pro rugby player to reveal publicly that he is gay.

Stanley, 23, has represented England at five tournaments and is the brother of Samoan international Michael Stanley. Stanley said he has kept his five-year relationship with partner Laurence a secret.

“I was 10 or 11 when I realized I was different to my friends,’ Stanley told the Sunday Times. ‘I didn’t want to accept it, I felt that being different wasn’t right. I had a girlfriend and I was thinking that, like some people say, maybe it is just a phase.”

Stanley revealed that at one point he even considered suicide, “I was standing on a bridge about four or five years ago, overlooking a motorway in Essex,” he explains. “However, looking back, the idea that I would jump was ridiculous but it was as if I was thinking that I could get rid of the pain in one go.”

Earlier this month Keegan Hirst, a professional rugby league player for Batley Bulldogs announced that he was gay and Stanley has followed suit after receiving advice from 2003 World Cup winner Ben Cohen, whose Stand Up Foundation campaigns against bullying, reports The Daily Mail.




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Steve Garvey to greet fans at free prostate cancer screening event at Sept. 3 Padres game Mon, 31 Aug 2015 17:15:42 +0000 Steve Garvey

Steve Garvey

SAN DIEGO – San Diego Padres legend and prostate cancer survivor Steve Garvey will greet fans at a free prostate cancer screening event hosted by Scripps Health and Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure (ERFFTC) at the Padres game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park on Sept. 3.

The screenings will be open to all male ticket holders at the game who are 50 or older (or 40 and older with a family history of prostate cancer). Screenings will begin when the ballpark’s Park at the Park gates open at 4:30 p.m. and will continue until the seventh inning at the Scripps Mobile Medical Unit, which will be located in the Park at the Park, beyond the right-field fence.

Garvey is expected to be at the Scripps Mobile Medical Unit from approximately 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to interact with fans before first pitch at 7:10 p.m. Following his own successful treatment for prostate cancer, the former Padres All Star has been active in raising awareness about the importance of screening for the disease. Garvey helped send the Padres to their first World Series with his walk-off homer in Game 4 of the 1984 National League Championship Series.

At the screening event, a team of Scripps phlebotomists will administer prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests, while Scripps physicians will administer digital rectal exams from the privacy of the Mobile Medical Unit. Participants will receive test results via confidential mail. Educational materials about prostate cancer will also be available.

“Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer,” said Ed Randall, founder and CEO of ERFFTC, a nationally recognized 501 (c) 3 charity devoted to education about and the life-saving benefits of early detection of prostate cancer. “We are proud to once again partner with Scripps Health on this year’s screening, as we did last year at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego. As a survivor myself, their work is very important to me.”

“PSA screenings save lives,” said Carl Rossi, M.D., medical director of the Scripps Proton Therapy Center. “The cure rate for prostate cancer has increased significantly since widespread use of PSA testing began in the early 1990s. When diagnosed early, at the local or regional stages, national survival rates are nearly 100 percent.”

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‘Downton Abbey’ final season trailer released (VIDEO) Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:36:14 +0000

The producers of the British period drama, Downton Abbey have released the trailer for the final season of the show.

“We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans,” director Gareth Neame explained. “We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up.”

The show premieres in the U.K. Sept. 20. View the trailer above.

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Pride At Work to all unions: Stop supporting HRC Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:57:37 +0000 The LGBT workers’ organization, Pride At Work has asked all unions to stop supporting the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). This weekend the organization approved a resolution that calls on member organizations to stop funding the HRC until the advocacy group addresses what Pride at Work sees as systemic issues and key problems with HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

The Advocate reported that after what the LGBT labor organization contends have been months of unfruitful conversations with HRC staffers about the importance of valuing companies with strong union practices in HRC’s CEI, the nonprofit organization, which represents LGBT union members and their allies, overwhelmingly approved the resolution at its triennial convention, held in Orlando, Fla., from Aug. 26-29.

“Through this resolution, the members of Pride @ Work are demanding that enough is enough,” Shane Larson, co-president of Pride at Work and a member of Communication Workers of America, tells The Advocate. “Working people are under attack every day, and a war on their rights to come together and fight for a voice on the job is being waged by many of the corporations that HRC asks the LGBT community to celebrate.”

The resolution lays out a long list of issues that Pride At Work has with HRC, particularly with its CEI. The resolution states that “the CEI should paint an accurate and complete picture about companies’ policies and practices when it comes to LGBT equality, but has fallen woefully short of this standard.”

The resolution pulls out the example of Walmart, who received a 90 percent CEI score despite the fact that the retail chain’s policies were ruled unlawfully discriminatory in a case filed by a lesbian employee after Walmart refused to allow her to add her cancer-stricken wife to her company insurance plan.

Finally the resolution calls for “… all labor unions, labor federations, and labor-affiliated organizations to cease funding HRC at all levels until these matters are addressed in a manner that shows HRC stands in solidarity with all working Americans for a fair, just and equal society.”

Read the entire resolution below:

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New national survey shows majority of Americans support open transgender military service Mon, 31 Aug 2015 01:45:46 +0000 WASHINGTON – Friday, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, responded to the results of a new national survey that show a majority of Americans support open service by transgender people in the U.S. military.  The results were released by University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office and were part of a survey aimed at “gauging attitudes towards transgender inclusive policies in health and healthcare, K-12 education, U.S. military, and in prisons.”

“Its clear that the majority of fair-minded Americans agree that when it comes to military service, what matters is the ability to get the job done, not someone’s gender identity,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “We are eager for the Department of Defense to complete its review of the outdated regulations that currently prevent transgender service members from serving openly and honestly. Our military families look forward to the day when all of our service members are supported and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

According to the University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office, the survey found:

“Overall, there is some uncertainty of U.S. Military policies on transgender persons serving openly in the military. Sixty-two percent of respondents report that they do not know if transgender persons can or cannot serve openly in the U.S. Military. This uncertainty is understandable due to the fact that the U.S. Military is currently undergoing a policy change and may be moving to dismantle the ban on service by openly transgender Americans. This policy is supported by the majority of Americans with 54 percent of respondents reporting that they support allowing transgender persons to serve openly in the U.S. Military and 58 percent supporting other military branches adopting the U.S. Air policy that states transgender airmen and airwomen will not face “separation” — release from active duty — for openly identifying as transgender or receiving a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. In addition, 66 percent of respondents report that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender persons from US military service.”

Last month, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made history with his announcement that the Department of Defense will finally update the outdated regulations which ban open service by transgender service members and will take six months to assess the impact of the change and work out the details.

In March of this year, AMPA launched an unprecedented joint report with the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) highlighting the tremendous harm the outdated regulations inflict on military families. The report notes, “The outdated regulations serve no purpose and only dehumanize and prevent qualified and capable individuals from enlisting and serving. The ban perpetuates trauma to all those involved, both the service member and their family.”

There are an estimated 15,500 transgender service members currently serving in silence.

For more information about the American Military Partner Association and LGBT military families, please visit our home on the web at

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Staying positive Sun, 30 Aug 2015 20:00:27 +0000 How difficult is it to be positive about life? Another suicide bomber strikes a marketplace in Iraq. Three indicted on child pornography charges. Four die in a drinking and driving accident. Another government scandal. Enough already!

We live in a sea of troubled waters. It is time to steer your ship toward the peacefulness of positivity. I want you to grab a paper and pen and write every positive thought you can conjure up in the next ten minutes. Then check back and see how our lists compare. My ten minutes starts now:

Walking a dog in the park.

Buying popsicles from the ice cream truck.

Taking a long hot shower.

Sitting around a fire pit on a cool spring night.

Watching Sunset Boulevard.

Finding a five dollar bill in that jacket in the closet.

Your favorite song from 1988.

Wheel of fortune.

Washing your car.

Wrapping yourself in a warm towel from the dryer.

Chocolate nuggets from Hershey.

Sunsets behind the mountains.

Tax rebates.

Eight hours of sleep.

Plush carpeting.

Air conditioning in July.

Zero percent interest.

Thank you cards.

Twenty-four hour stores.

Police and fire protection.

Shrek and donkey.

Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

Photo albums.

Mystery novels on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Hummingbirds outside the kitchen window.

There are many positive thoughts just floating around. Don’t let the negative aspects of life block out your rays of sunshine. This positive exercise is just as important as those physical exercises in the gym.

Your health is very dependent on your frame of mind. When dark clouds are gathering next time, grab that paper and pen and spend ten minutes in the warmth of the positive realm of the world.

This wellness is brought to you by that guy who knows there must be a Roy G. Biv living next to someone in some neighborhood. That guy is Ron Blake and he can be found at the end of the rainbow at

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San Diego Human Dignity Foundation’s Reunion Party fundraiser was ‘biggest one yet’ Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:15:47 +0000 SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF) and the San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center) hosted the “Reunion on the Bay” fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 8 on the Bay View Lawn at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina at 1380 Harbor Island Drive in San Diego. Organizers say the fundraiser was the “biggest one yet,” attracting nearly 300 guests. Proceeds from the event provide a $25,000 grant to the San Diego LGBT Community Center for their Senior Resource program, and the remaining proceeds are given throughout the year as part of the SDHDF’s Aging with Dignity initiative.
Hal Sparks | Photo: Big Mike

Hal Sparks | Photo: Big Mike

At the fourth annual Reunion Party, guests enjoyed a silent auction, hosted bar, gourmet food and live entertainment, including performances by the Imperial Court de San Diego and special guest star, comedian and actor Hal Sparks. Sparks starred in hit shows like “Queer as Folk” and “Talk Soup,” and performed standup comedy from his one man show at the event.

The Senior Services at The Center program provides an inclusive community for LGBT seniors ranging from ages 50 to 90 years old. Senior Services – 50 and Better Together – strives to create a safe space where those 50 years and “better” will have access to important resources and referrals regarding health care, social services, and community activities. Reasons why funding for local LGBT seniors is important include that they are at a higher risk for a lack of access to healthcare and basic needs, at a higher risk for discrimination at the hands of healthcare and social service providers, as well as they are at a higher risk of abuse and neglect by healthcare providers and family members.
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Gender Odyssey Family 2015: A conversation with trans activist Kate Bornstein Sun, 30 Aug 2015 01:00:31 +0000 This article originally appeared on Seattle’s Child and is reproduced by permission.

This year’s Gender Odyssey Family conference, held at the Washington State Convention Center, tackled an enormous range of issues around gender and the family: How to support a trans child; the unique concerns of trans folks who are parents; how to create support networks of families whose kids may be gender nonconforming; and so very much more.

The conference, now in its ninth year, is an inclusive space for kids and adults alike, with an entire hall that’s been converted into a youth playspace. The supervised space features a dress-up corner with rows of colorful costumes and clothing, a quieter reading corner with cushions and tons of books, and room to roam and play.

Seattle’s Child had the opportunity to attend a few of the conference’s talks. The first, “Finding and Creating your Local Support Network,” touched on the ways that parents of trans kids can find support networks in the areas they live. The second, “My Kid Has a Crush – Now What?” addressed the concerns that parents of trans kids may have for their child’s interpersonal and sexual health.

The second talk in particular was incredibly sensitive, honest, and accessible, touching on the ways in which parents can model healthy sexuality for their kids while also supporting their trans or gender nonconforming kid’s own feelings, thoughts, and needs. Facilitator Kaden Sullivan offered parents age-appropriate sex-positive and body-positive tools that parents can use in supporting their trans kids through puberty and into young adulthood: “Sexuality,” he says, “can be a force for good.”

Sullivan suggested that parents can help their kid combat the dysphoria that trans youth often confront (the feeling of intense physical and emotional discomfort with one’s body) by “telling kids point-blank that it’s okay to experience sexual pleasure in the body you have.” Parents, he suggested, can and should model healthy, developmentally appropriate sexuality for their children: By teaching children verbal consent starting at a very young age and teaching them when, where, and to whom it’s appropriate to show your body; by giving children a healthy amount of privacy; and by having frank, honest conversations with your kid.

A family in attendance at this year's conference. Photo: Gender Odyssey Family

A family in attendance at this year’s conference. Photo: Gender Odyssey Family

Along with its many presentations and talks, the Gender Odyssey conference featured two keynote speeches. Trans activists Andrea Jenkins and Kate Bornstein, both renowned in their own right for their work in the trans community, gave this year’s speeches. We had the opportunity to chat with activist, playwright, and author Kate Bornstein before the conference to talk about navigating allyship and parenthood, the specific issues that trans youth face, and representation for trans folks.

SC: You’re one of two keynote speakers at this year’s Gender Odyssey Family conference. Can you tell us a bit about what you plan to tackle in your speech?

KB: I want make it inclusive generationally; I think one of the big problems we’ve got now in communicating “trans” out into non-trans-land is that there’s different language being used across generations, and that can get confusing. It’s confused me. So I want to hopefully straighten out or provide a way for people to acknowledge that there’s a different language or maybe be prepared to talk about that.

How can parents be allies simultaneously to being parents?

There’s a big difference between allyship and parenthood. First and most primarily, you’re a parent, and second, you watch out for your child’s trans needs. But first is the life and well-being of your kid, and you as the adult don’t ask. You ask the to the degree that the child is capable of responding in an informed manner. Beyond that you don’t ask.

“I need to wear my princess dress to school right this minute!” “All right, let’s examine that, honey.” And [parents should] talk about all the possible implications of going to school the first day in a princess dress. “You’re assigned male at birth; I don’t want you to get beat up, and that’s what could happen.” So, you don’t necessarily provide what a trans youth needs because first priority is parenting.

My mom, when I first told her I was trans, I was almost forty years old. For the whole time she was alive, she was [saying], “Are you safe? I don’t want you getting hurt.” And that was her big concern, that was the number-one concern, that people would see me and hurt me. That’s a big concern. It’s there for a reason, because of, frankly, the freak factor. It’s all well and good to call your child a brilliant unicorn of light; that’s not necessarily what their schoolmates are going to call them, so juggle that.

On the other hand, totally, if I was a kid, and my parents said to me, “Honey, was anything you did today criticized because they think you’re a boy, was there anybody who misgendered you, why do you think that was?” And get them to talk about the kind of hurt that trans people can have. Misgendering is way out of proportion to what’s actually going on. So what if someone misgenders you? Yet, because the decision is such a big one, to make a gender change, misgendering takes on a heightened importance, and a hurt.

[Parents could say] “Honey, if they don’t know you’re a girl, they’re being pretty silly for not knowing and recognizing you. I know you are and the people who love you know you are. Go ahead, honey.” It’s not allyship, it’s parenting. Really pull those two apart. Now if you wanna be an ally to trans people, great. But no, parenting is parenting.

You were a guest on a recent episode of I Am Cait (an E! television series documenting Caitlyn Jenner’s experiences). What are your thoughts on how the show represents trans folks as well as how it deals with issues specific to trans youth? What are your thoughts on how the show addresses what you term the “freak factor” of how transness is perceived? The show often focuses on how “normal” it is to be trans, constantly defining transness in relation to how “normal” it is; I guess I see a danger in that.

Yep. It raises expectations: “If I don’t pass, I’m a total failure.” And the fact is, most of us don’t pass. Most of us can be read as trans. “You’re a boy!” “No I’m not, I’m a trans girl,” that would be an appropriate response. Just suggesting to a child that they say that, that’s going to shut up the people who are teasing them. And that’s what I’m saying when I say “pride in the freakiness”: own what you are. You’re trans, that’s legit. And if people can’t see it, you correct them.

One scene in this episode of I Am Cait shows a twelve-year-old trans kid mentioning that they fined their parents a dollar for every time that their parents used incorrect pronouns […] It seems that kids often have to be the ones to educate their parents.

I was mixed on that a little bit; yes, there’s a delicate balance; who’s the teacher, who’s the student. Again, the whole thing about pronouns, I think it’s blown way out of proportion. The question of misgendering – does the parent by saying “she” to a young trans boy, who for 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 12, years have been calling “she,” does that mean they’re insulting and attacking and being transphobic? No, it just means they’re learning. People have different learning curves for how to gender a trans person […] I think it’s important that trans people remember that it took them a long time to come to terms with their current gendering, and grant that to other people.

What’s your take on representations like I Am Cait? I look at I Am Cait and I see simultaneously some really, really important conversations but then some really troubling ideas about womanhood and the emphasis on what Cait is wearing at any given time.

It’s a double-edged sword. I applaud I Am Cait because at least they are showing the other edge. Many other shows haven’t and wouldn’t. I think what’s important is that people are learning there’s another way to be trans. Like when they focus on the kids with pink and blue hair. You can be a little freaky kid if that’s what you feel you want to be. But so much of what has gone on in the assimilation of lesbian and gay identities into advertising and mass media; the clean, crisp, perfectly-mannered, the expectation to be like that in order to be gay, is heartbreaking. So a football player comes out as gay, alright, not all gay men are like football players or act like them, but okay. So that’s the danger: “If I transition, I’ll never be as pretty as Candis Cayne.” Very few people ever are. Setting an impossible standard has always been a danger for things feminine. That was one of the bases of second-wave feminism, was tearing down the false standards for femininity. Now trans is gonna have to maintain that, that’s all.

We have this idea that to be a trans woman means you’re hyperfeminine, and I think that does push other trans presentations and other trans identities to the side in favor of a really hyperfeminine presentation. Even the trans women who are able to have success are very feminine and very beautiful, unilaterally.

Yep. And the other part of being trans is something called nonbinary or genderqueer. That is a large part of trans [identity], and I hope that people are informing their kids that that’s an option. You don’t have to be one end of the binary or another. They can be bright and shiny unicorns, which are not horses and they’re not cows, they’re their own wonderful creation.

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Book review: ‘The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQI Activism’ Sat, 29 Aug 2015 19:55:28 +0000 Right Side of HistorySomebody got you started.

That’s the hard part and, oftentimes, that’s all you need: a forward-thinking person to lay the framework so you can roll with a project, adding, subtracting, shaping, refining. Somebody just needed to get you started; you can take it from there, as you’ll see in The Right Side of History by Adrian Brookes.

Like most years, this summers’ Pride Parade was a raucous event. And why not? There’s plenty to celebrate: new laws, old friends, and a sense of better – which can make it hard to remember that “Such gains didn’t occur in a vacuum…” says Brookes. This book, “a chorus of voices untamed,” is a collection of explanation.

To begin, Brookes writes of Isadora Duncan, a “free spirit” who, when ladies were expected to be proper, danced on-stage with abandon, bared her breasts in public, and slept with whomever she pleased – male or female.

Hayden L. Mora writes of gay life in the early twentieth century, when clubs for “same-sex attraction” began to appear in larger cities, though being caught in a compromising situation then could result in a loss of citizenship. For Henry Gerber, the choice was mental institution or U.S. Army; he picked the latter and came back from World War I, “determined to begin organizing gay men…”

The “father of the gay liberation movement” and founder of the Mattachine Society got his fire from another organization’s strike. A well-liked gay African American boy, lovingly called “Pinhead” as a child, grew up to be Martin Luther King, Jr’s “right-hand man,” while a nerdy white doctor (who happened to sleep with men) changed our notions of male sexuality. Activists today fight for intersex infants, asking doctors to delay sex-assignment surgery. Conversation launched a lesbian organization, and people have stepped into activism roles because of Anita Bryant, out-of-the-closet writers, politics, personal discoveries, and a 54-ton quilt.

And that parade you marched in? If you lived in San Francisco, you might like to know that Pride Parade routes are exactly the same as a funeral march walked by strikers and their families in 1934…

Lately, it seems as though I’ve been seeing a plethora of books on Stonewall, as if that one event is where LGBTQI activism began. It’s not, of course, and The Right Side of History proves that.

Though it’s far from definitive, author Adrian Brooks collected his own work and that of several contributors to inform and inspire readers who likewise want to make change or to know where change came from. I liked browsing the short biographies here, but I noticed one quirk: some of the profiles seemed to be a reach. Yes, they were very interesting, and yes, they were about people who stood their ground, but were they LGBTQI activists? Perhaps not always …

Even so, what you’ll read here may make you want to do something. At the very least, it’ll give you understanding for those who paved the way. And if that’s information you need, then find The Right Side of History … and just start it.


The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQI Activism by Adrian Brooks, foreword by Jonathan D. Katz, PhD

c.2015, Cleis Press                                  

$18.95 / $27.50 Canada                        

243 pages

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Bus driver would rather quit his job than drive a rainbow bus Sat, 29 Aug 2015 14:15:37 +0000 BusA Canadian bus driver has said he would rather quit his job than drive a rainbow painted bus.

The City of Calgary introduced the new rainbow bus to celebrate the city’s Pride parade. The bus will rotate through different routes in Calgary in the build-up to its Pride parade Sept.7, reports Pink News.

Driver Jesse Rau claimed that driving the bus would be promoting a lifestyle he “can’t condone” and would be against his Christian faith.

Rau told CTV, “I’m concerned that if I say that this bus is against my beliefs that I might not have a job.

“I’m a Christian so, as a Christian, there are things like homosexuality that I just can’t condone. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, the accusation is that you hate the person.”

Calgary Transit, unlike some Kentucky officials,  has affirmed that drivers can’t just refuse to do their job because a bus has rainbows on it.

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Telling Trans Stories: Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst of ‘Transparent’ (VIDEO) Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:29:26 +0000

Today, the Emmy-nominated co-creators and producers of This Is Me (Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Programming) Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst sat down with YouTube content creator Raymond BraunZackary and Rhys talk with Raymond about how working as consultants and producers on the Emmy nominated show Transparent  inspired this documentary series that explores lives of several gender nonconforming people.

Watch above as Zackary and Rhys chat with Raymond to talk about their personal journeys, their work on This is Me, and how they are changing media for the trans community.

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DNC unanimously approves a resolution in support of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:20:48 +0000 Thursday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) body unanimously approved a resolution in support of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout the country.

The Washington Blade reports, “Same-sex marriage is a constitutionally guaranteed right nationwide and can no longer be denied by state laws,” reads the resolution. “The ruling now recognizes same-sex marriages all across this nation and these families will now be protected under the law from the discrimination and mistreatment to which they have long been subjected.”

The resolution also describes the ruling in the Obergefell case as “an important victory for the LGBT community” and “a monumental step forward for our nation.

“The Democratic National Committee applauds this Supreme Court decision and will continue its work in achieving real progress and supporting the LGBT community,” it reads.

The DNC is expected to ratify the resolution later today.

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New children’s book highlights experience of transgender youth Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:55:44 +0000 GeorgePublishing company Scholastic has just released one of the first children’s books to deal with transgender issues.

Aimed at Grades 3-7, the book is authored by Alex Gino who who identifies as genderqueer and uses they/them/their pronouns.

On its Web site, Scholastic describes the book as:


When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.


Alex Gino

“I wrote it because it was the book I wanted to read,” Gino told The New York Times. “I wanted trans voices telling trans stories.”

Scholastic is aiming to turn the book into a mainstream success. It increased the first printing to 50,000 from 35,000 based on strong preorders and sent Alex to meet with booksellers and librarians at the ABC Children’s Institute in Pasadena, Calif., and at BookExpo in New York. They hired Jamie Clayton, a transgender actress, to narrate the audiobook.



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Houston Unites airs first radio ad Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:19:18 +0000 Houston Unites

HRC Field Director Marty Rouse; Kathy Miller, President of Texas Freedom Network; Terri Burke, Executve Director of ACLU-Texas; Chuck Smith, Equality Texas

This week, Houston Unites launched its first radio ad in support of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a measure to protect Houston residents and visitors from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, reports Hayley Miller on the HRC Blog.

“As Christians, my wife and I believe in treating others the way we want to be treated, that’s what we’ve taught our children,” Rev. Dr. Will Reed, pastor at Servants of Christ United Methodist Church, says in the ad. “We’re hearing about HERO – Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, and concerns some have raised about privacy in public bathrooms. What’s being lost is that it’s ALREADY illegal to go into a bathroom to harm or harass someone. This law won’t change that.”

Earlier this month, the Houston City Council voted to send HERO to the ballot on November 3 as “Proposition 1.”

HERO protects people in employment, housing and business services on the basis of 15 different characteristics, including sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity and pregnancy.

“In most cases, without local protections, Houstonians literally have to make a federal case out of it to get legal help with discrimination,” Rev. Reed added.  “That’s why we’re voting ‘yes’ on one, to keep Houston’s equal rights ordinance. We’re all God’s children and we should all be protected from discrimination.”

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California Senate passes Mark Leno’s E-cigarette bill Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:34:22 +0000 e-cigarettesSACRAMENTO – The Senate today, as part of the Legislature’s extraordinary session on health, passed legislation calling for new statewide regulations on electronic cigarettes. SB X2-5, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, protects the public against exposure to e-cigarettes by ensuring they are accurately defined as tobacco products and fall under the state’s existing smoke-free laws. It also requires that all e-cigarettes and liquids for e-cigarettes be sold in child-resistant packaging.

“Studies show that e-cigarettes are growing in popularity among a new generation of young Californians who are drawn to candy flavors like bubble gum and gummy bears,” said Sen. Leno, S-San Francisco. “The rate at which middle and high school students are picking up e-cigarettes – before having smoked anything else in their lives – is alarming. We must take action now to address this public health crisis, for our children, and for the public health of non-smokers and smokers alike.

The state’s Smoke Free Act prohibits smoking at workplaces, schools, daycare centers, restaurants, bars, hospitals and on public transportation, protecting Californians from secondhand smoke and reducing the acceptability of smoking in general. E-cigarettes, however, do not fall under this existing law and are largely unregulated, despite a restriction on sales to minors. SB X2-5 fixes this loophole and aligns state law with proposed federal regulations that define e-cigarettes as tobacco products. The bill is co-sponsored by a coalition of national health organizations, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association.

The bill will be heard next in the Assembly.

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Free POZ Life Weekend Seminar in San Diego, Sept. 19-20 Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:21:05 +0000 POZ LifeThe POZ Life Weekend Seminar, Sept. 19-20 in San Diego is a free healing and transformational workshop for people with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones.

The POZ Life Weekend Seminar is a place where compassion, education,community and love is offered unconditionally. It’s a place HIV+ men, women, youths and family members can come be themselves, feel comforted and support in their effort to learn how to either live a long healthy productive POZitive lifestyle, or help someone they know and love overcome the fears associated with being HIV+.

The diverse group of presenters, volunteers and a staff at the POZ Life Weekend Seminar can effectively reach out and relate to the specific issues that can concern an equally diverse group of men, women, people of color, gay men and heterosexual HIV individuals. Age is not relevant in most cases, however each community and culture has specific needs for support, and each is addressed in breakout or concurrent sessions according to the specific demographic majority of the enrolled number of participants.

To Register, log onto  for our online reservation form and organizers will contact you to complete your registration.  Or call Sunnie Rose at 888-208-8081.

September 2015 Seminar is sponsored in part by:  Gilead Sciences, Janssen, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, Building On A Positive Life,  AHF Pharmacy and Courtyard Marriott Old Town.


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The City: Top to Bottom Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:15:35 +0000

Faithfully – A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Journey

thursday, aug. 27

Faithfully – A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Journey

From “the city by the Bay” to international rock stardom, Journey truly was one of the powerhouse arena rock acts of the 1980s. They created the anthems of a generation. Relive the 1980s with Journey’s hit songs “Open Arms,” “Who’s Crying Now” – and the enduring “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Hear those classics as performed by Faithfully, a tribute band as big and bold as the original.

Embarcadero Marina Park South, 206 Marina Park Way in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets from $20, 619-235-0804,

Allison Adams Tucker

friday, aug. 28

Allison Adams Tucker

With a voice “supple as silk” (eJazzNews), and “mesmerizing, whether in English, Japanese, French” (, multi-lingual vocalist Allison Adams Tucker creates a unique montage of jazz-driven melodies and rhythms in six languages that is turning heads. From Brazilian to straight ahead, French chansons to Mediterranean and beyond – ”expect the unexpected.” (Scott Yanow)The Allison Adams Tucker Quartet features Danny Green, piano, Justin Grinnell, bass and Julien Cantelm, drums.

Croce’s Park West, 2760 Fifth Ave. in San Diego, 7p.m., $10 cover, 619-233-4355,

Taylor Swift

saturday, aug. 29

Taylor Swift

Raised in Wyomissing, Penn., Taylor Swift moved to Nashville, Tenn., at the age of 14 to pursue a career in country music. She signed with the independent label Big Machine Records and became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. The release of Swift’s self-titled debut album in 2006 established her as a country music star. Her third single, “Our Song,” made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a No. 1 song on the Hot Country Songs chart. She received a Best New Artist nomination at the 2008 Grammy Awards.

Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd. in San Diego, 5 p.m., for more information and ticket availability visit


sunday, aug. 30


Originally from Peoria, Ill. Stellita now lives in America’s Finest City. Growing up in a musical household, she was exposed to a range of sound; including jazz and blues, Motown, R & B, rock, and country. Influenced by hypnotic voices like Billie Holiday, Diana Ross, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole and later – Sade, Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston, Stellita now gives performances that are reminiscent of old times, infused with the soul of today!

Humphreys Backstage Live, 2241 Shelter Island Dr. in San Diego, 10 a.m., 619-224-3577,

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed

monday, aug. 31

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed

Discover what archaeologists know about the ancient Maya as well as the unresolved questions they continue to investigate. Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed explores the fascinating social, natural, and spiritual realms of the ancient Maya through the eyes of powerful kings and queens and the lesser-known people who were the backbone of Maya society. Explore the richness of Maya culture by examining centuries-old authentic artifacts, traditions, and worldview. Experience immersive life-size recreations of classic Maya architecture, and explore the hidden worlds of the Maya past and present.

San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado in Balboa Park, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., adult tickets $29, 619-232-3821,

Belinda Carlisle

tuesday, sept. 1

Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Jo Carlisle is an American singer who gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of The Go-Go’s, one of the most successful all-female bands of all time. The group sold more than seven million albums in just three years and she later went on to have a successful solo career with hits such as “Mad About You”, “I Get Weak”, “Circle in the Sand”, “Leave a Light On” and “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” among others, which were major successes in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as internationally.

Sycuan Casino, 5485 Casino Way in El Cajon, 8 p.m., tickets from $50, 1-800-2-SYCUAN,


wednesday, sept. 2


San Diego’s longest running home-grown musical hit is back! Mixtape is a massively entertaining collection of your favorite memories of the ’80s, with the music of Journey, Duran Duran, Peter Gabriel, The Cure, Dire Straits, Sting, Madonna, the B52s, Michael Jackson … and much more. It’s a celebration of that most awesome of decades, performed by a multi-talented cast and San Diego’s hottest band!

Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Ave. in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets from $32, 619-437-6000,

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Legislation introduced to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians from discrimination Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:02:35 +0000 HARRISBURG, Penn. — Wednesday, the Pennsylvania General Assembly introduced  the bipartisan Pennsylvania Fairness Act. Introduced by Representatives Dan Frankel (D-23) and Thomas H. Killion (R-168) in the House of Representatives and Senators Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr. (D-1) and Patrick M. Browne (R-16) in the Senate, this  legislation would update the state’s non-discrimination law to explicitly include protections for LGBT people from discrimination at work, in housing, and in public places.

According to a recent survey, 95% of Pennsylvanians believe that everyone needs to be able to earn a living – including LGBT people – and that employees should be hired, fired or promoted based on their qualifications, experience and the jobs they do – nothing more, nothing less.  An incredible 78% of Pennsylvanians support updating the state’s non-discrimination law to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pennsylvania’s economy is the sixth largest in the country with nearly 6 million Pennsylvanians going to work every day to support themselves and their families. A statewide, uniform non-discrimination law protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity would provide certainty and clarity to Pennsylvania employers and employees.  34 Pennsylvania municipalities have passed separate ordinances to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Erie, Harrisburg, Scranton, and Philadelphia.

“All Pennsylvanians deserve to be able to live, work, and thrive in their communities free from unfair discrimination or harassment,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “The time for LGBT Pennsylvanians to have the critical legal protections from discrimination that they deserve is long overdue.  We urge Pennsylvania’s lawmakers to promote fairness and equality by quickly passing  the Pennsylvania Fairness Act and sending it to Governor Wolf’s desk without delay.”

]]> 0 Facebook apologizes to transgender fashion line for rejecting ads under ‘Adult’ classification Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:27:09 +0000 The Trans Fashion Landing Page rejected by Facebook Ad Staff (PRNewsFoto/Suddenly Fem)

The Trans Fashion Landing Page rejected by Facebook Ad Staff (PRNewsFoto/Suddenly Fem)

PHILADELPHIA — For over 20 years, the fashion line Suddenly Fem has been serving the transgender community with fashion forward clothes designed for trans women. Suddenly Fem ( specializes in clothes, padding, and undergarments for transgender women as well as fashionable crossdressers.

When the online and catalog based company tried to advertise through Facebook in summer 2015, in order to reach transgender customers, their ads and content were rejected as “adult” by the social media website.

After the first “not approved” advertisement, VP of Marketing and Production Tyler DeSouza redesigned the content. “There were some possible sexy poses on the page and ad, so I removed and replaced with other pictures that I knew would be quite acceptable. I must have placed at least 6 to 8 ads over this time, each not approved, wondering what needed to be changed.”

Facebook claimed that the ads were “rejected because [they don’t] follow our advertising guidelines. Ads may not promote the sale or use of adult products or services (ex: sexual enhancement products, seduction techniques, adult clubs and shows).”

However, none of these products or services are offered, sold, or promoted by the company. No content within the advertisements or on the Suddenly Fem website violated these guidelines.

In early August, the company adjusted ad copy and content to be as conservative as possible, so when an ad containing only a headshot of a transgender model was rejected, it seemed that the ads were rejected not because of their content, but possibly because of the community they represented. Misunderstanding and discrimination against the transgender community is still widespread, even with media figures such as Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner receiving national attention.

On August 6, DeSouza opened a new case with Facebook over the rejection of the company’s advertisements. His case stressed that the company sells only clothing, jewelry, bras, and shapewear to transgender women—and that the company does not sell any adult products or depict any sexual imagery.

Later that day, Facebook apologized for disapproving the advertisements. A member of the Facebook ad team said, “It appears your ads were mistakenly disapproved, and we’ve re-reviewed and approved them. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this caused.”

Facebook’s policies towards transgender users have received both praise and criticism recently. In early 2014, Facebook allowed users to select from a wide variety of gender descriptors, ranging from transgender to genderqueer, instead of the limited male or female options.

Although there is still a long way to go for transgender equality, it’s reassuring that companies such as Suddenly Fem are able to have a dialogue with Facebook and reach an understanding. With greater visibility and education about gender identity, misunderstandings such as these will hopefully become a thing of the past. As society progresses, it is important that large corporations such as Facebook treat transgender shoppers and retailers with equal recognition and respect.

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Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denies emergency motion from anti-gay Kentucky Clerk Wed, 26 Aug 2015 22:12:50 +0000 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today denied a request from Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis of Kentucky to issue a stay on a lower court’s ruling that orders her to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses – including to same-sex couples – regardless of her religious objections to marriage equality. U.S. District Judge David Bunning had temporarily stayed his order directing her to do so while Davis appealed his decision to the Sixth Circuit.

The judges found that “it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”

“Public servants have a responsibility to serve the entire public, including LGBT people,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC senior vice president for Policy and Political Affairs.  “Freedom of religion is important, and Ms. Davis has the fundamental right to believe what she likes, but as a public servant she does not have the right to pick and choose which laws she will follow or which services she will provide. If Ms. Davis feels as though she cannot fulfill her responsibilities, she should resign her public position.”

Davis is represented by the vehemently anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel.

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First look at the ‘Stonewall’ movie poster Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:38:11 +0000 Stonewall posterOut revealed the first look at the official movie poster for Stonewall, describing it as a riotously colorful tribute to the past.

With Danny (Jeremy Irvine), Ray/Ramona (Jonny Beauchamp), Marsha P. Johnson (Otoja Abit), and others caught in a joyous embrace, director Roland Emmerich told Out the design deliberately hearkens back to the time of the Stonewall riots: “This image famously used by the Gay Liberation Front in 1970 was my inspiration for the Stonewall poster. It perfectly captures the triumphant, jubilant feeling of the time.”​

The movie has been heavily criticized for ignoring the role drag queens, the transgender community, and people of color played in the 1969 riots and the release of this poster is unlikely to quell that criticism.



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New documentary brings attention to bullying in schools (VIDEO) Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:18:46 +0000

Halangarde Pictures in association with Skydive Films, knapptimecreative, and Casting Life Films have released the first trailer for the upcoming school bullying documentary Hear Me Now. Written,directed and shot by Bill Cornelius, Hear Me Now is a candid examination of school bullying and how it can be dealt with, told by those who experienced it first hand.

Stylistically dark, colorful, and cinematic, accompanied by an edgy soundtrack, the film has a youthful energy that speaks directly to its target audience, young people.

Featuring compelling and informative on-camera interviews with Columbine survivor Craig Scott, anti-bullying activist Kirk Smalley, who tragically lost his son to suicide, and dozens who have been affected by bullying and continue to be affected, giving viewers a candid look inside the world of bullying and the inspiration to find hope amidst the darkness.

Hear Me Now strives to become the quintessential school bullying documentary in order to change lives as well as save lives and give youth the reassurance that they are not alone and that there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Watch the first trailer above. Second trailer out Sept. 7.

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Transgender Law Center condemns raid Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:04:28 +0000 Yesterday, federal agents  raided the offices of, and arrested the CEO of, Jeffrey Hurant, and six employees on charges of racketeering and promoting prostitution.

The Transgender Law Center has issued a statement condemning the raid, reiterating a call to decriminalize sex work. The release states:

This bust comes at a time when human rights advocates globally are uniting around a call to decriminalize sex work and at a time when the United States has the largest prison population in the world, with people of color, particularly Black people, representing a vastly disproportionate percentage of the incarcerated.

With this raid, the U.S. federal government is not only jeopardizing countless people’s lives and only source of livelihood, but sending a clear and troubling message that the country is less invested in addressing systemic issues of racial, economic, and anti-LGBT injustice than in further criminalizing the individuals most marginalized by those systems.

Last week, Transgender Law Center and four other U.S.-based LGBT advocacy organizations issued a statement in support of Amnesty International’s call to decriminalize sex work. Yesterday’s action by the federal government is a clear demonstration of why LGBT organizations and people must be invested in this work to protect the human rights of sex workers. Laws criminalizing sexual exchange impede sex workers’ ability to negotiate condom use and other boundaries, and force many to work in hidden or remote places where they are more vulnerable to violence. Actions like the government’s raid contribute to the unjust and unacceptable systems and society we have today, from the disproportionate incarceration of Black transgender and gender non-conforming people to the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color.


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More young adults are identifying as bisexual Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:29:03 +0000 Recent studies in the U.S. and the United Kingdom suggest that increasing numbers of young adults are identifying on the spectrum of sexual identity, somewhere between exclusively gay and exclusively straight, writes Beth Sherouse on the HRC Blog.

A study from YouGov asked 1,000 respondents to identify their sexuality along a modified Kinsey Scale of sexuality, with zero being “completely heterosexual” and six being “completely homosexual.” Among Americans ages 18-29, 29 percent identified somewhere between zero and six, indicating at least some level of sexual attraction to more than one gender.

The study also showed that the proportion of respondents who identified with “varying degrees of bisexuality” was markedly lower among U.S. adults in older age brackets. While 24 percent of those between the ages of 30-44 put themselves somewhere between one to five on the Kinsey scale, only eight percent of those 45-64 and seven percent of those 65+ indicated the same.

A similar study in the United Kingdom found these trends to be even more pronounced, with 43 percent of those ages 18-24 placing themselves from one to five on the Kinsey scale.

These studies are significant in that they suggest a growing acknowledgement of and identification with sexual fluidity. Moreover, only 78 percent of Americans said they were exclusively heterosexual. That calls into question more conservative estimates about the overall size of the LGBTQ community, which have suggested that as few as 3.5 percent of Americans identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and only 11 percent admit some level of same-sex attraction.

For information on supporting bisexual youth, visit

]]> 0 offices raided by federal agents; CEO and six employees arrested Tue, 25 Aug 2015 22:32:19 +0000 A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging the CEO of, Jeffrey Hurant, and six employees with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution. The defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go at the United States Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The charges were announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Glenn Sorge, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

As alleged in the complaint, is a male escort advertising site founded in 1997 which hosts thousands of paid advertisements. While the site has disclaimers stating that the advertisements are for companionship and not sexual services, is designed primarily for advertising illegal prostitution. The Web site charges subscribers a minimum monthly fee of $59.95 and up to several hundred dollars to advertise sexual services. Once the fee is paid, subscribers can select from a number of categories created by the sexual services they are willing to perform and the price charged. Subscribers can also include their physical descriptions and provide links to another Web site where their sexual services are rated by prior customers.

“As alleged, attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this Internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” stated Acting United States Attorney Currie. Mr. Currie thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Field Office in New York, and the District Attorney’s Office for New York County for their assistance in the investigation.

In addition, earlier today the government served warrants authorizing the seizure of over $1.4 million of alleged criminal proceeds from six bank accounts. The government also took steps to restrain the domain name

The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted each defendant faces up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Duran Duran set to release new album (VIDEO) Tue, 25 Aug 2015 21:32:37 +0000

Multi-platinum superstars Duran Duran will release their 14th studio album, Paper Gods, Sept. 11 via Warner Bros. Records. A Deluxe version of Paper Gods is currently available for pre-order at all participating retailers.

Singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor recorded Paper Gods in London with producers Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Josh Blair, and Mr Hudson. The record features special guests Janelle Monáe (on the first single “Pressure Off”), former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, Canadian Juno-Award winning singer Kiesza, British singer/songwriter Mr Hudson, violinist Davidé Rossi and actress Lindsay Lohan.

The songs — already being heralded as the band’s best work since Rio — capture the true essence of Duran Duran, with the duality and sense of conflict that has always been at the heart of their music. Visceral and daring, the album mixes hard-edged, contemporary pop with the band’s darker more experimental side to create a body of work that is epic in its scope.

Listen to the lead single “Pressure Off” above.

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Q Camp invites incoming UC San Diego students to discover campus’ LGBT community Tue, 25 Aug 2015 21:09:00 +0000 UCSanDiegoThe Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center at the University of California, San Diego will host Q Camp on September 23, a day-long program for incoming LGBT freshman, transfer and graduate students as well as returning students who are newly out. The goal is to introduce students to LGBT life on campus as well as resources that support equity, diversity and inclusion.

One hundred students are expected to attend Q Camp, which was launched in 2002 to welcome and support incoming students interested in joining or learning more about the LGBT community on campus. The program is free for participants and is held the day before formal classes begin. The event includes a Q Fair featuring student organizations and campus resource center information booths; a Q&A panel; tours of the LGBT Resource Center, housing information and a workshop geared for graduate students.

Red Galura Jr., a UC San Diego alumnus, took part in Q Camp as a sophomore in 2005. The event helped connect him with peers he could confide in as he was coming out. It was also the first time he learned about the LGBT Resource Center and the wide variety of student organizations and LGBT resources on campus.

“Q Camp connected me with a community who helped me become the person I wanted to be,” said Galura. “After participating in the camp, I became heavily involved at the LGBT Resource Center, where I realized my passion for social justice.”

Red Galura Jr.

Red Galura Jr.

After participating in Q Camp, Galura was motivated to take on two leadership positions at the LGBT Resource Center. As a speaker’s bureau intern, he organized panels of diverse student, staff and faculty speakers to conduct open conversations with those interested in learning more about the LGBT community. He also served as the inaugural Audrey Lorde Intern for Liberation and Healing, a role that involved creating events and workshops to promote healing in areas such as body image, self-acceptance, coming out and more. The experience helped him clarify his goals, and he switched his major from bioengineering to sociology with an emphasis on social inequality.

“Q Camp is a way for us to welcome students and cultivate a sense of belonging among LGBT students, faculty and staff at UC San Diego,” said Shaun Travers, campus diversity officer and director of the LGBT Resource Center. “It is crucial to reach Red Galura Jr.out to incoming students in the fall when they are looking to find peers to relate to and a place to call home.”

For the first time this year, Q Camp is completely supported by donations through CrowdSurf—UC San Diego’s new crowdfunding platform. More than $5,000 has been raised to support meals, supplies, literature and programming for students who will participate in this year’s Q Camp. In addition, two participants will also receive a $500 scholarship, to be awarded randomly at the conclusion of the event.

Galura has remained engaged at the LGBT Resource Center since graduating from UC San Diego in 2010. He was chosen as the alumni speaker for the 2014 Rainbow Graduation—a celebration hosted by the LGBT Resource Center for graduating LGBT students—and was instrumental in garnering support for this year’s Q Camp fundraising campaign. He currently works as a peer specialist for Next Steps Program, a nonprofit in partnership with the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital that provides resources and health mentorship for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Q Camp is one of many programs offered at UC San Diego’s LGBT Resource Center. The space is open to all members of the university community to explore issues relating to sexual and gender identities, practices and politics. It develops student leadership, builds workplace equity, promotes academic research and provides resources. The center challenges existing definitions of variant genders and sexualities by engaging in community building both on and off campus.

For those who are interested in supporting Q Camp, visit the crowdfunding site here. To help sustain and grow programming at the LGBT Resource Center, consider giving online here.

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David Chiu and coalition to all on Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the Equal Protection for All Families Act Tue, 25 Aug 2015 19:10:16 +0000 David Chiu

David Chiu

Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) will join a coalition of LGBT and family advocates to urge Gov. Brown to sign Assembly Bill 960, the Equal Protection for All Families Act. The Assembly passed the bill on Monday, and it now heads to the governor’s desk.

AB 960 would update current assisted reproduction laws in three ways. First, unmarried couples using assisted reproduction to become parents would be recognized as such on the same terms as married parents from the moment their child is born. Second, the bill would remove the requirement from Family Law that couples must involve a doctor when using assisted reproduction in order to ensure that the donor is not a parent. Finally, AB 960 provides clear direction for how egg donors should be treated under California law.

“This bill provides crucial legal relief for many couples, especially LGBT individuals, who are trying to become parents by using assisted reproduction,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Many families, especially our LGBT families, hesitate before having children through assisted reproduction for fear that they may not be legally recognized as the parents they’ve always wanted and intended to be. The fear of possibly never having parental rights as intended is a heartbreaking scenario that needs to stop in California.”

Assemblymember David Chiu will be joined by Polly Pagenhart of Our Family Coalition, Cathy Sakimura of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Jo Michael of Equality California, Wednesday 9 a.m. on the steps of the Earl Warren Building in San Francisco.

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Campus Pride releases Top 25 list of the ‘Best of the Best’ LGBTQ-friendly campuses across the nation Tue, 25 Aug 2015 18:04:22 +0000 Campus Pride--Campus Pride announced today the 2015 Campus Pride Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities. For seven years, the listing has highlighted the most LGBTQ-inclusive colleges and universities when it comes to policy, program and practice in higher education.

Locally, San Diego State University was included in the Top 25.

This is the first year Campus Pride has released a Top 25 list based on the higher LGBTQ benchmarks recently released on the updated version of the Campus Pride Index. The Top 25 listing is based on the final responses to the Campus Pride Index, a national benchmarking tool which self-assesses LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices. The tool is free of charge and can be found online at

“As time goes on, the needs of LGBTQ college and university students change,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “Therefore, we have updated our Campus Pride Index assessment to reflect that, with higher standards for campuses and a higher focus on trans and gender nonconforming students.”

Unlike some well-known LGBTQ rankings and other commercial ratings, the Campus Pride Index is based in research on policy, program and practice and is conducted for and by LGBTQ experts in the field of higher education. Each campus updates their index annually and uses the Campus Pride benchmarking tool to make improvements for LGBTQ life on campus.

According to Windmeyer, “there is a lot to be learned” from the Top 25 campuses on this listing. Many of these campuses are specifically addressing recruitment and academic retention efforts for LGBTQ students as well as concerns for transgender student safety, as reflected by their willingness to be the first campuses to take the updated assessment.

Campus Pride also has a new national partnership with Noodle, an education website helping parents and students make better decisions about learning. Starting this fall, college and universities will have the opportunity to have their Campus Pride Index star rating listed as a link on the Noodle search engine. This feature will generate more web traffic for the Campus Pride Index and greater visibility for LGBTQ youth to find LGBTQ-friendly campuses. Additionally, this partnership allows Campus Pride to support Noodle consumers in two ways: 1) Campus Pride will contribute new LGBTQ articles to be published on 2) Campus Pride will provide answers and advice via the “Ask a Question” feature on

In order to be in the Top 25 listing, an institution had to score the highest percentages in the LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks. The listing this year includes colleges with student populations from 1600 to over 50,000, public and private schools alike. The Top 25 list is in alphabetical order, as follows:

Cornell University

Elon University

Indiana University, Bloomington

Ithaca College

Macalester College

Montclair State University

Princeton University

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick

San Diego State University

Southern Oregon University

The Ohio State University

The Pennsylvania State University

Tufts University

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Louisville

University of Maine at Machias

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

University of Oregon

University of Pennsylvania

University of Vermont

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Williams College

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UN Security Council meeting challenges international community to develop more effective protections for LGBT persons Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:46:04 +0000

The UN Security Council held its first-ever meeting on the persecution of homosexuals by Islamic State terrorists, Monday.

The closed-door session, sponsored by the U.S. and Chile,focused on LGBT rights and issues. According to The U.N. Security Council heard from two homosexual Arab men, including a Syrian named Subhi Nahas who has been resettled in the United States. The other gay man, who fled Iraq, phoned in from the Middle East

“It was a very moving meeting,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said after the session. “Again, we’re getting this issue into the DNA of the United Nations, but until today the Security Council had never broached this topic, and so today also represents a small but historic step.

“Everybody has read about what ISIL and what others are doing to LGBT people around the world, but it’s another thing entirely to hear personal testimonies. While others spoke, including members of the Security Council and other member States, photos also were projected that depicted what ISIL is doing to LGBT persons or those suspected of being LGBT.”

Power said that Monday’s meeting is a sign that this issue is getting ” …injected into the mainstream at the United Nations.”

Watch Power’s statement above.

White House NSC Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement following the meeting, “… Today’s session focused on ISIL’s atrocities targeted against LGBT persons and those perceived to be LGBT in Syria and Iraq. In highlighting acts of horrific brutality that these individuals have endured, today’s discussion challenged the international community to develop better and more effective protections for LGBT persons …”

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‘Where the Bears Are’ Season 4 starts with a bang! (VIDEO) Mon, 24 Aug 2015 23:00:24 +0000

In the fourth season opener, the Bears throw a wedding shower in their backyard to celebrate Nelson and Todd’s upcoming nuptials, but things go south fast when Nelson’s mother Doris starts taking potshots at Todd, Nelson invites Todd’s estranged brother Jimmy without telling him, and a spiteful party crasher makes an insulting toast that threatens to ruin the entire event.

Where the Bears Are is a web series following the exploits of three bear roommates sharing a house in the hills of Silverlake. It is The Golden Girls meets Murder She Wrote with big, hairy, gay men. Season 4 premieres today! Watch above.

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In a historic first, U.N. Security Council convenes to discuss LGBT rights Mon, 24 Aug 2015 22:45:06 +0000 Samantha Power Cristián Barros Melet

Samantha Power and Cristián Barros Melet

The U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and her Chilean counterpart Ambassador Cristián Barros Melet are holding the first ever U.N. Security Council meeting on LGBT rights later today.  Open to all U.N. member states, the gathering will focus on the appalling abuse and violence being perpetrated against LGBT people in areas in which ISIS exerts control.

As it continues its path of destruction across Iraq and Syria, ISIS has released several images and videos documenting the brutal execution of those accused of being LGBT. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has created a timeline of attacks against allegedly LGBT people, including executions that often involve throwing men from roof tops or stoning them to death. In a particularly shocking example, ISIS released videos of the public execution of four gay men on Twitter on the same day the U.S. Supreme  Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, using the hashtag “Love Wins.”

Ambassador Power and the Obama Administration have made clear that the rights of LGBT people are intrinsically part of America’s foreign policy and national security strategies. In 2011, President Obama declared that the “struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.” More recently, President Obama explained in the 2015 State of the Union that protecting individuals, including those who are LGBT, is in the national security interests of the United States. Earlier this year, under the leadership of Secretary of State John Kerry, Randy Berry was appointed the first ever Special Envoy for LGBTI Human Rights.

“The gruesome images and videos documenting ISIS’s horrific violence are a haunting reminder of humankind’s capacity for evil,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By convening this meeting, Ambassadors Power and Melet have made clear that these human rights abuses against LGBT people are not only deeply heinous and inhumane, but also a matter of utmost importance to global security.”

The situation for LGBT people around the world varies widely. As some countries embrace equality, in others, LGBT people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution, and violence.

·  19 countries now have marriage equality and in two countries same-sex marriage is legal in certain jurisdictions.

·  But in 10 countries worldwide, same-sex activity is punishable by death, and 75 countries criminalize same-sex relationships. Hundreds of transgender individuals have been brutally murdered in the last year.

·  In a growing number of countries, governments have sought to silence equality advocates and organizations with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws and legislation.

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Gay men and the pressure to be ‘masculine’ (VIDEO) Mon, 24 Aug 2015 22:27:26 +0000

YouTube content creator Raymond Braun sat down with Instagram star Barret Pall to discuss the pressure gay men face to be “masculine” from both inside and outside the gay community. Watch above as Raymond and Barret talk about the pressure they have personally felt to act more “masculine” and how living their authentic self has brought them unparalleled happiness.

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Jerusalem Gay Pride attacker charged with murder Mon, 24 Aug 2015 19:35:30 +0000 Today, Jerusalem’s District Court indicted Yishai Schlissel for murder for last month’s deadly attack during Jerusalem Pride, along with multiple attempted murder charges for those he wounded.

Last month, Schlissel went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem Pride killing Shira Banki and wounding five others.

Last Thursday, Schlissel was deemed fit to stand trial following a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation.

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GOP candidates duck on the Equality Act (VIDEO) Mon, 24 Aug 2015 18:36:54 +0000

HBO’s Last Week Tonight reported last night that the entire field of Republican candidates for president refused to answer a simple yes or no question about whether they would support the Equality Act. The segment also noted that Gov. Bobby Jindal and Gov. John Kasich both weakened non-discrimination protections for LGBT people during their tenure.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton announced her support for the Equality Act after its introduction in July, and Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee told Last Week Tonight that they would support a federal nondiscrimination bill.

The Equality Act is a landmark federal non-discrimination bill that would finally extend key civil rights protections to LGBT Americans.

31 states across the country lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT Americans – including many states that the 2016 candidates call home. Among the states that currently lack fully-inclusive LGBT non-discrimination protections are Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

In July, GQR’s Democracy Corps Survey found that 59 percent of likely 2016 voters are less likely to support a candidate for president who opposes non-discrimination protections for LGBT people – including 61 percent of Independent voters who say they are less likely to support a candidate who opposes these protections, and 54 percent of blue collar voters.  The same survey also found bipartisan support for federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people. Support included nearly two-thirds of Republicans, and 90 percent of Democrats.

“The time has come for full federal equality. We all deserve to know whether the candidates support the Equality Act, or whether they want to continue to live in a country where in 31 states, LGBT people are at risk for being denied a job or denied service at a business because of who they are, or who they love,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of Policy and Political Affairs for the Human Rights Campaign. “The Equality Act is a simple idea, that everyone should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Our simple question deserves a simple yes or no answer. So we are asking the Republican presidential candidates: do you support the Equality Act or not?”

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Man found with Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter Chelsea charged Mon, 24 Aug 2015 15:51:41 +0000 Steven Sheerer | Photo: Courtesy Ocean County Prosecuter's Office

Steven Sheerer | Photo: Courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office

The man found with Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter Chelsea has been charged with  endangerment of a child and public communication of obscenity.

Steven Sheerer, 25,  was taken from his Village Drive home in Barnegat, New Jersey,  Friday and charged, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced.

Chelsea O’Donnell went missing on Aug. 11 and was found by police on Tuesday. O’Donnell had reached out on Twitter asking for help in finding her daughter.

According to the Huffington Post, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said that after searching the teenager’s phone, police found “evidence of inappropriate communications over the last several weeks” between Chelsea O’Donnell and Sheerer. The statement also notes that Sheerer could face up to ten years in prison for the charges.

“[Sheerer] was involved with a minor, and Rosie’s concern has been and always will be the health, safety and well-being of her daughter,” Rosie O’Donnell’s publicist told The Associated Press in a statement. “Rosie is profoundly appreciative for the work the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has done and the diligence of the local police.”

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Man who went on stabbing rampage at Jerusalem Pride deemed fit to stand trial Mon, 24 Aug 2015 01:45:04 +0000 Schlissel

Yishai Schlissel

Yishai Schlissel, the man who went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem Pride killing Shira Banki and wounding many others has been deemed fit to strand trial.

The decision was made after Schlissel was examined by a court-appointed psychiatrist during a 48-hour detention at a psychiatric hospital. A previous psychiatric evaluation was inconclusive, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Schlissel, 50, who is ultra-Orthodox and from Modi’in Illit in the West Bank, was released from prison three weeks before the July 30 attack after serving 10 years of a 12-year sentence for committing a similar crime at the 2005 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade.

Since his arrest, he has refused representation and rejected the state’s authority.

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Book review: ‘Holy Cow!’ by Boze Hadleigh — A book that isn’t just horseplay! Sun, 23 Aug 2015 22:00:02 +0000 Holy CowFrom the time you were old enough to communicate, you took to words like a duck to water. You’ve verbally hammed it up ever since.

Yes, it’s probably driven your friends and family batty, all this talk-talk-talk of yours. And yes, there are times when what you say is a bunch of bull, but you’re not trying to start a beef. You’re just having fun because, as in the new book Holy Cow! by gay author Boze Hadleigh, language isn’t for the birds.

No doubt about it, we humans love our animals. We love them so much that we sprinkle references to them in our daily conversation, mostly without even thinking about it. Our shaggy dog stories are sometimes just that – but where did those old sayings, clichés, discouraging words, and tender nicknames come from?

The truth, as Hadleigh shows, is an interesting, yet convoluted, tail.

In many cases, animalistic words came about as description: Oxford, England, for instance, was once a place where oxen forded a river. Tell someone there’s a dogleg in the road, and they’ll know what you’re saying – plus, a road like that might make them sick as a dog.

And then there are the words that really make you scratch your head: Great Britain’s hedgehog pudding isn’t made of the spiny mammals, and dogs and monkeys are much more likely to ape you than is a copyCAT. And about that famed cat curiosity? It might’ve been targeted at another type of animal…

Or, let’s say somebody’s made you mad. Calling him a dog goes back many years – perhaps back into the mid-1800s when “the only good dog was a useful dog.” The word-that-rhymes-with-witch has always been directed at women; its first near-appearance in film was in 1939, and that was pretty scandalous. Call someone a rat and, well, that’s rather self-explanatory.

The modern street use of the word “heifer” is pretty wrong, unless you’re in a barn.

There really is more than one way to skin a cat (catFISH, that is). A sawhorse and a clotheshorse are similar in origin. And if you think a kitty really has nine lives, well doggone it, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Ahh, language lovers. I can practically hear you howling for this book now – and for good reason. Like a dog with a bone, you won’t want to let Holy Cow! go.

Starting with canines and ending with birds, bees, and bugs, author Boze Hadleigh goes whole hog in explaining where many of our favorite expressions originated. But this book isn’t just horseplay – Hadleigh includes words that are archaic (but need resurrection), as well as localisms and words you’ll want to add to your vocabulary. That all adds up to fun that’s useful and, for dyed-in-the-wool linguists, it’s a golden egg.

So let’s talk turkey: if it’s been a dog’s age since you last read a book about language, it’s time you find this one. You won’t sound hackneyed or feel like a dinosaur with Holy Cow! Naw, this book is the cat’s meow.


Holy Cow! by Boze Hadleigh

c.2015, Skyhorse Publishing                       

$14.99 / $19.99 Canada                 

303 pages

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Ellen Page serves Ted Cruz ‘Equality on a Stick’ at Iowa State Fair for defending LGBT discrimination (VIDEO) Sun, 23 Aug 2015 19:00:28 +0000
ABC Latest News | Latest News Videos

Friday, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz found himself on the defensive in Iowa after his speech on the Des Moines Register Soap Box after taking questions from actress Ellen Page, who came out in 2014 at HRC’s Time to Thrive conference. Page has since become an activist and role model for LGBT youth, and also stars in “Freeheld” with Julianne Moore, an upcoming film that documents the struggle of real life lesbian couple Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree to overcome discrimination.

In the exchange, Cruz, claimed that business owners were facing discrimination by being asked to serve all customers – including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers – equally. Contrary to his claims, HRC’s polling of self-identified LGBT Americans found that nearly two-thirds of LGBT people have experienced discrimination. Watch the exchange above.

Ted Cruz also bizarrely claimed that the abuses against LGBT people around the world are going unnoticed while suggesting that activists like Page made too big a deal of challenges in the U.S. In fact, the U.N. Security Council is scheduled to convene to discuss ISIS’s horrific violence against LGBT people in a special session this Monday, and the Human Rights Campaign is one of several organizations that proudly works to stem hate and advance LGBT equality around the world.

“Ted Cruz showed today that he is living in another era where he thinks it’s acceptable to treat LGBT people differently and allow businesses to refuse service to someone just because of who they are, or who they love,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy of Political Affairs. “Today Ted Cruz was served an important reminder that in a country like ours that values the free market economy, businesses should serve all law-abiding customers who can afford to pay equally, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

Last month, the Human Rights Campaign commissioned polling by GQR’s Democracy Corps that showed that a majority of 2016 likely voters oppose using religion as an excuse to discriminate. HRC’s July survey found that a 56 percent majority believe small business owners should not be allowed to refuse service to someone because they are gay or lesbian, even if it violates their religious beliefs. Nearly half (46 percent), strongly oppose giving small businesses the right to discriminate, including 55 percent of white millennials.

Previously, HRC’s polling showed after the right to discriminate debate in Indiana that Hoosiers believe businesses should serve all customers equally, even businesses that cite so-called “religious freedom,” when denying services to LGBT couples.

In the Senate, Ted Cruz voted against bills that would have created explicit, permanent federal protections against discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace and education.

Ironically, Cruz made his comments at the state fair in Iowa, which became the fourth state in the country to achieve marriage equality in 2009 and which is home to some of the most LGBT friendly municipalities in the nation according to HRC’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI).

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Russian film festival to screen gay-themed movie, ‘I Am Michael’ Sun, 23 Aug 2015 14:00:34 +0000 James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

The AmFest Film Festival in Russia, which runs Sept. 16-27 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, has added the gay-themed drama I Am Michael to its lineup.

The U.S. Embassy in Russia is a main sponsor of the festival, which highlights new American independent cinema.

According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, in light of the Russia’s anti-gay laws, which make illegal the promotion of a gay lifestyle to minors and other so-called “gay propaganda,” planning to screen I Am Michael looks like as much of a political as an artistic decision on the part of AmFest organizers and backers.

The movie, directed by Justin Kelly tells the true story of a gay activist (James Franco), who, after a health scare, is “saved” from his homosexuality and becomes a Christian pastor with a girlfriend. I Am Michael debuted in Sundance this year and also screened in Berlin.

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Warwick rowers launch their 2016 calendar campaign (VIDEO) Sun, 23 Aug 2015 01:45:19 +0000

Warwick Rowers 2016 Crowdfunder from Low Fat Media on Vimeo.

The Warwick rowers are at it again. The British athletes have just released their crowdfunding campaign video for their 2016 calendar, and it is even more cheeky than usual!

The campaign benefits Sport Allies, an organization that combats homophobia in athletics, and its fundraiser runs until Sept. 20.

To buy a calendar, book or more go here.

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College Humor’s take on 31 words that sound like slurs but aren’t (VIDEO) Sat, 22 Aug 2015 22:00:42 +0000

College Humor’s latest offering is their take on words that sound like slurs but aren’t! Set in an office environment the guys go into a song and dance routine to illustrate their point to somewhat bemused and sometimes offended co-workers.

Watch the video above.

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Commentary: Selma envy to Selma Pride flag Sat, 22 Aug 2015 19:00:53 +0000 Critics of our community, even after decades of civil rights victories, still laugh at comparison of our struggle for civil rights with that of African Americans in the 1950s and ’60s. They see nothing similar to our struggle for justice as a minority group with that of our African American brothers and sisters.

The signal event of the civil rights movement for African Americans took place in Selma 50 years ago. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign in Selma was a long effort that resulted in “Bloody Sunday,” “Turnaround Tuesday,” and “Glory,” the title of the Golden Globe and Academy Award winning song from the film “Selma,” on the successful conclusion of the 50-mile five-day trek on March 25, 1965.

My late father, James G. Patterson, served with the Alabama National Guard at the final Selma march to Montgomery. It was a life changing experience for marchers, Guardsmen, reporters, and the world and free from physical violence if not hate speech. My father told me a white woman spit on his Guard uniform and called him a “white N-word.” Tragically, Viola Liuzzo, a white Detroit homemaker and mother, was killed after the march.

Among the people my late father and thousands of other troops guarded were Dr. King, future Congressman John Lewis, future United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, out gay organizer Bayard Rustin, celebrated author James Baldwin, and activist Dick Gregory, many others.

Hate was in session in Selma when the famous march took place just like the hate that was in session at Stonewall Inn in 1969. The bar was raided by police one time too many and a riot ensued that sparked a movement that grows stronger every day in New York, in the country, and in the world.

For me, as a gay youth in the 1960s Alabama, I can argue down any critic or fool who denies the gay rights movement is just as important to the civil rights movement in our country as the historic events I saw unfold in the 1960s. The LGBT community does not have Selma envy; we have Selma pride.

To honor my late father, the Alabama Film Commission arranged for me to have a role as a reporter in the Oprah Winfrey production “Selma.” My scenes were filmed in Atlanta over Father’s Day weekend of 2014.

As I waited in my hotel for my costume fitting, makeup, 1960s era haircut, and eventual filming call, I became emotional and telephoned longtime friend Rev. Pat Bumgardner at the Metropolitan Community Church on West 36th Street in New York. I was grateful she took time from her schedule to pray with me over the phone.

One year later, I honored my late father again, this time in New York on Father’s Day weekend again, at the Metropolitan Community Church on West 36th Street. The occasion was the consecration of Rev. Pat Bumgardner to Bishop.

Jerrold Nadler, my former congressman before temporarily relocating to the West Coast, had two U.S. flags raised over the Capitol in Washington in honor of my late father on March 25, the 50th anniversary of the end of the successful Selma march.

Just like the small role I played in the film “Selma,” I played a small role in Bishop Pat’s consecration. I presented one of the Selma flags in honor of Bishop Pat’s personal and religious leadership for equality of LGBT people in New York and around the world through her global ministry.

I wanted Bishop Pat and the MCC congregation to know my father was in the struggle for LGBT civil rights in spirit just as he was in the struggle for civil and voting rights at Selma 50 years ago. I did this, in prayer and in memory of my late father, before I heard the term “Selma envy.”

Though I was not in New York during the Stonewall Inn riots and the birth of LGBT Pride, as soon as I graduated high school in the mid-1970s, I was Stonewall bound. I wanted to experience the sexual liberation I had read about and seen, mostly condemned, on TV where the movement was born.

New York in the 1970s was joyous and free for the time I was there. It was also about “smashing gay oppression” and being openly gay without fear. It was about being a part of a community struggling together for the promises the American flag made but were unfulfilled even until today.

I am convinced the pride I saw on the faces of African Americans in Alabama after Selma was alive in New York in the 1970s. I am in New York several times a month and LGBT pride is undiminished. In fact, we are close to having the freedom our flag has always promised.

The civil rights struggle of Stonewall and Selma are not just a part of my life. They are my life. My late father would be proud to know a United States flag honoring him rests among the LGBT congregation of MCC New York.

I hope to place the other “Selma Pride” U.S. flag in another historic LGBT location in New York by the end of this year. I promise to let readers know when and where that happens.

Human Rights Advocate Jim Patterson is a writer, speaker, and lifelong diplomat for dignity for all people. In a remarkable life spanning the civil rights movement to today’s human rights struggles, he stands as a voice for the voiceless. A prolific writer, he documents history’s wrongs and the struggle for dignity to provide a roadmap to a more humane future. Learn more at

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Denver Council stall on approving Chick-Fil-A’s return to airport due to company’s anti-LGBT stance Sat, 22 Aug 2015 14:00:51 +0000 Chick-Fil-AFast-food company Chick-Fil-A’s return to Denver International Airport may be in jeopardy because of their anti-LGBT stance. A number of City Council members this week passionately questioned a proposed concession agreement, reports The Denver Post.

Councilman Paul Lopez called opposition to the chain at the airport “really, truly a moral issue on the city.”

His position comes despite ardent assurances from the concessionaires — who have operated other Denver Airport restaurants — that strict nondiscrimination policies will include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Robin Kniech, the council’s first openly gay member, said she was most worried about a local franchise generating “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.” Four of the six committee members also had questions about the store’s ability to abide by local nondiscrimination laws. Ten of the full council’s 12 members attended the committee meeting; none spoke in favor of the proposed franchise.

“We can do better than this brand in Denver at our airport, in my estimation,” new council member Jolon Clark said at the meeting, according to The Denver Post report.




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Watch as this black, gay dance troop prance past jeering homophobes in Alabama Fri, 21 Aug 2015 18:26:18 +0000

Over ONE MILLION people have watched this black, gay dance troop, The Prancing Elites, prance past jeering homophobes in Alabama … watch above and see how homophobia has to stop now. Even if you have seen it … it is worth watching again.

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Florida marriage licenses to become gender-neutral Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:56:44 +0000 A year after a federal judge ruled Florida’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, the state is finally taking steps to make the necessary updates to marriage and death certificates.

Friday is the anniversary of District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling. But even after it took effect Jan. 6, Florida’s marriage applications and certificates would allow entries only for “Husband” and “Wife.”

The new forms, expected to be available by mid-September, will provide a place for the name of each “Spouse.”

As the state Bureau of Vital Statistics sought public comment on the proposed change this summer, Equality Florida submitted 1,266 signatures in support of this inclusive update.

“Equality Florida is committed to making sure the state of Florida fully implements marriage equality and treats LGBT families equally under the law,” said Hannah Willard, the organization’s marriage issues coordinator.

A separate challenge by Equality Florida and three lesbian couples over the state’s refusal to allow same-sex spouses to be listed on birth certificates in the same way that different-sex spouses are is pending. State officials currently insist that only the birth mother be listed on a newborn child’s birth certificate and that she be listed as single even if she is married to a woman.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights filed suit on behalf of Equality Florida and the three couples on August 13.

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New Ugandan LGBT publication makes huge impact (VIDEO) Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:03:12 +0000

A new Ugandan LGBT publication, Bombastic Magazine, is looking to protect the community by telling their authentic stories. Kasha Jacqueline, one of the founders of Bombastic Magazine and the LGBT movement in Uganda, says that, “changing the hearts and minds of regular Ugandans I the most crucial step in triggering real change.” She goes on to write that it is, “better able to build empathy rather than just educate. Nothing sways public opinion faster than storytelling.”

According to a report on GLAAD, 20,000 copies were distributed of Bombastic’s first edition, and they had a huge impact. The Ugandan media covered the issue, Kasha was featured in TIME Magazine, and both the highest levels of government and most isolated members of the LGBT community were exposed to it. However, in order to publish a second edition of the magazine, print enough copies to reach the whole country, and continue making huge change for LGBT Ugandans, Bombastic needs support. To help, the international LGBT organization IGLHRC has set up this fundraising campaign, and you can find more information about Bombastic here.

Bombastic has created an inspiring video explaining its foundation and mission. In it Kasha explains, “We’ve seen the media calling for the hanging of homosexuals, and this is the only message that Ugandans get, so it was important for us to bring another narrative to the stories that are portrayed in the media… [It’s important for] people to see the stories and know that what they are going through, they’re not going through alone.”

Watch the video above.

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Illinois governor signs bill protecting LGBTQ kids from conversion therapy Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:41:52 +0000 Gov. Bruce Rauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner

Thursday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 217 into law, making Illinois the fifth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and Oregon—to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy.

House Bill 217, which protects LGBTQ youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through these practices, which are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide, was overwhelmingly approved by the Illinois House of Representatives and General Assembly. The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

“We are thrilled that Illinois has joined the rapidly growing number of states leading the way to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy,” said the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Samantha Ames. “Illinois families can now have confidence that the mental health professional they turn to in times of uncertainty may not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain. Most importantly, Illinois kids can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous and discredited treatments to fix who they are. Today brings us one step closer to the day when all LGBTQ youth know they were born perfect.”

“With this tremendous step, LGBT youth in Illinois are now protected from a dangerous and appalling practice based on junk pseudoscience that amounts to nothing less than child abuse,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. “Discredited by every major mental health, medical, and child welfare organization, conversion ‘therapy’ uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find love and acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. We thank Governor Rauner, as well as members of the state legislature on both sides of the aisle, for putting politics aside and the well-being of children first. We will continue to work with our allies to secure these crucial protections in every state across the nation.”

NCLR and HRC, in conjunction with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Equality Illinois, and other groups, played a key role in organizing the coalition behind the bill. A broad range of groups supported HB 217, including national LGBTQ organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, and civil rights organizations.

NCLR and HRC have partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice, including laws passed in California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, and now Illinois.

Last year, NCLR launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Illinois is the third state to pass such a law in 2015 alone.

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