Jeff White of Walls, Mississippi came out to his family in 1996 while still a student at Bethel Baptist School. His family in turn went to the church to try and figure out what to do, and the church promised that they could "cure" White of his homosexuality. This cure, evidently, consisted of attempting to rape the gay out of him.
According to White, teacher Steven Barnes was his conversion therapy counselor, and his preferred method of treatment was to rape and sexually assault White "to convince him that being gay was more painful than suppressing his sexual orientation." White dealt with ten years of emotional damage and turmoil from enduring three years of brutal "therapy", but is speaking up now in response to the National Center for Lesbian Rights' #BornPerfect campaign and its attempt to end conversion therapy in the next five years. Said White,
After growing older and witnessing so many who are still harmed by the church and by efforts to correct homosexuality through traumatic and damaging tactics like the ones used against me, I finally realized that it is my duty to stand up against those who have harmed me. By speaking out against the wrongdoings that were committed within the walls of Bethel Baptist School, I hope to shed light on the darkness that is so easily hidden within the church, and to help ensure that no one else suffers the pain that I had to endure.
NCLR helped White file a complaint with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department against Bethel Baptist School. White is now the executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center, the first LGBT center in the state. Barnes is now the Assistant Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Walls, MS.
In June, NCLR launched the #BornPerfect campaign to protect LGBT kids from the harms caused by attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Studio 69 in Almaty, Kazakhstan set up shop at the intersection of Pushkin and Kurmangazy, streets named after Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and Kazakh composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly. To make the club's location memorable, an ad poster was designed showing Pushkin and Kumangazy themselves intersecting...at the lips. Cue moral outrage.
20 activists filed a lawsuit on August 25th claiming the poster "insulted both Kazakhs and Russians," while a descendant of Kurmangazy is threatening to file suit for defamation. Meanwhile, everyone is overlooking that the poster, in addition to being clever and memorable, riffs on the photograph from 1979 of East German leader Erich Honecker and the Soviet Union’s Leonid Brezhnev kissing in East Berlin. Still, even though the poster won an award for advertising firm Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan, the firm backpedaled saying, "[W]e officially announce that this poster will not be printed, posted or published in paid media.”
Fortunately, everything lives forever on the internet so it's only a matter of time before an individual prints his own posters to hang.
In 2012 the Williams Institute, UCLA’s national think tank, published a study estimating that up to 40% of homeless youths (minors between the ages of 12-17) identified themselves as LGBT. An overwhelming 68% of participants in the study reported having experienced rejection from their families and about 54% were abused as a result of their being LGBT. Moreover, over 80% of the respondents to the study were racial minorities.
More often than not, queer youth across the country make a disproportionate percentage of cities’ homeless populations. Despite that fact many cities, like the District of Columbia, suspect rely on statistical reporting methods that are likely underreporting the actual numbers. Most of the research being done on the makeup of homeless youth populations relies on numbers reported by adoption networks that queer kids are avoiding.
In a study published earlier this week the Williams Institute found that on average, LGBT adoptees were twice as likely to experience poor treatment within the foster care system as compared to their straight-identified peers. Similar to D.C., LA is dealing with an incredibly large homeless queer youth problem and a dangerous shortage on shelters to house the population. The study, according to chief executive of the Los Angeles LGBT Center Lorri L. Jean [pictured below], is the first of many steps necessary to draw attention to a group of at-risk people that are generally invisible.
"We need to know who these kids are because only if we know who they are can we help them," she told the LA Times. "People refer to it as the 'dirty little secret' that there are so many LGBTQ kids in foster care, but nobody's been able to document it."
In addition to publishing statistics that could better inform the ways in which public resources could be better allocated to service the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans youths within Los Angeles, the authors of the study hope to spread awareness within the youth community that they are not alone.
Ex-Michele Bachmann aide Kent Sorenson pleads guilty to charges that he concealed payments received in exchange for defecting to Rep. Ron Paul's rival campaign during the 2012 Presidential elections. Sorenson faces up to 25 years in prison.
Terrifying fact of the day: severed snake heads can still bite - and often do.
Chelsea Clinton has announced that she will be leaving NBC News to focus on her baby and other work.
Liam Hemsworth buys himself (and his beard) a new $6.8 million home in Malibu.
Walking Dead showrunner Robert Kirkman confirms a gay male character will appear in the show's upcoming 5th season. Will it be Daryl Dixon?
According to the Irish Mirror, a gay flight attendant has been jailed for one year for sexually assaulting a sleeping straight man while at a party.
Rep. John Lewis reflects on gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin. "[Rustin] was a good organizer, a good planner, just brilliant. He was very concerned about how the march would go. And one thing that I will never ever forget, a few days before the march he wanted to know whether we had enough latrines. He said, “We cannot have any disorganized pissing on the mall.” And everybody thought that was so funny."
Robert Downey Jr. takes his ego out of the equation and admits Guardians of the Galaxy is the "best Marvel movie ever" Did you think so?
Last June, Chicago couple Steven White and Matt McCrea were kicked out of a taxi for sharing a closed-mouth second-long kiss. In October, Lambda Legal stepped in to file a complaint on behalf of the couple with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, then commented, "A taxi-cab company, like any other business in Illinois that offers services to the public, is bound by the Illinois Human Rights Act to not discriminate based on sexual orientation, among other protected categories." However, as NBC 5 Chicago reports, that complaint was rejected "because the department said it had no jurisdiction over corporate entities." The couple has now filed a lawsuit against the taxi cab company:
"It's ludicrous to suggest that a cab company is not responsible for the discrimination enacted by its drivers," the couple's lawyer, Christopher Clark, said. "They should be liable under the law for the conduct of their agents."
The suit claims the driver, who is not named in the suit, complained the men were "making sex" in the cab in May 2013. McCrea and White, who were heading into the city from O'Hare, say the driver began flashing the interior lights of the vehicle and then swerved on to the shoulder of the Kennedy Expressway and demanded they get out miles before their intended destination.
Meanwhile, the driver was issued several violations and fined close to $2,000 because of the incident.