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The Heterosexuality Experiment: VIDEO

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Youtuber Joseph Costello has conducted what he calls a "heterosexuality experiment" wherein he made his way around Austin, Texas asking people if they would vote for a heterosexual president. In doing so, he discovered that there are homophobes in that city who don't even know the definition of the word "heterosexuality."

Watch Costello's ignorant interviewees (some more disturbing than others) give their answers, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Austin Trans Woman Humiliated By Lingerie Store Staff Member

A lingerie store in Austin, Texas has been accused of humiliating a transgender customer, reports Jezebel.com.

On her Facebook page, Kylie Jack said that a staff member at Petticoat Fair asked her for ID stating she was female.  Jack was also told that she had to have undergone sex reassignment surgery in order to have a fitting.


Kylie jack comment facebook

According to its website, "every woman [at Petticoat Fair] is treated with respect and given one-on-one attention and is helped to feel comfortable and confident in properly fitted undergarments."

JackThe store’s owner Kirk Andrews has since posted a lengthy apology which reads in part:

"There seems to be a misconception that Petticoat Fair has a policy of not working with the transgendered community. That is not the case. In fact, we have served the transgendered community for most of our 50 years in Austin. What we do have is a policy regarding who may or may not enter our fitting rooms.

The dressing room area is a particularly private and vulnerable place for many women and girls, so it's a protected area. For that reason, we also have a completely separate dressing area for women who have undergone mastectomies and need post-surgical care.

Just as a gym won't allow men in a women's dressing room for the comfort and safety of its patrons, we don't allow men or boys above a certain age in our dressing area.

Despite our otherwise inclusive approach, those who might be or who outwardly appear to be men (regardless of how they are dressed) pose a delicate challenge, and in the case of imposters, can pose a safety risk to the Petticoat Fair staff.

We respect our customers at Petticoat Fair. All of them. I hope that with this explanation, you have some helpful insight to who we are, how we do business, and that we are open to a productive dialogue."

In a response to Kirk’s apology, Jack replied:

"Kirk is sincere in his efforts to do better, but only time and actual action will tell. I'll consider the issue resolved when a formal public apology is issued to the Austin trans community along with the steps they're taking to update their policies to be trans-friendly and trans-inclusive."


Drunk Driver Plows Through Crowd at SXSW, Killing 2, Injuring Dozens: VIDEO

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A drunk driver plowed through a huge crowd of people at Austin's SXSW festival at approximately 12:30 pm last night, killing two and injuring at least 23, KXAN reports:

Police say the suspect sped off, after being stopped on suspicion of DWI.

The driver almost hit a police officer with the car while trying to get away, according to police. The suspect then went the wrong way on Ninth Street, plowed through a barricade on Red River Street, and hit the people in the crowd.

The suspect then went through 10th and 11th streets before hitting a van. That’s when police say the driver jumped out of the car and began to run, but police managed to use a Taser and arrest the suspect.

Watch KXAN's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

The NYT adds:

The Associated Press reported that the driver was drunk and was evading arrest when his car crashed into people gathered on a busy street, injuring about two dozen of them. The Austin police chief, Art Acevedo, was quoted by The A.P. as saying that two people were killed on a moped that was hit as revelers were leaving a club at around 12:30 a.m. He told The A.P. that the driver had jumped out of his car and had tried to run away after hitting a taxi.

The Austin Police Department wrote on Twitter than an individual had been arrested. “We owe it to the victims and their families to gather the evidence we need to bring them justice,” Chief Acevedo was quoted as saying on the police’s Twitter account.

Our thoughts go out to the victims of the accident and their loved ones.

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Julian Assange Calls for Public Action to Defend Against ‘Rogue' NSA

Assange

During a virtual conversation with SXSW attendees in Austin on Saturday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange railed against the overreaching surveillance programs under the "rogue agency" NSA and stressed that citizens need to be aware of the growing "militarization" of the internet by governments. 

S2_sxsw“Now that the internet has merged with human society … the laws that apply to the internet apply to human society,” Assange said. “This penetration of the internet by the NSA and [British intelligence agency] GCHQ is the penetration of our human society. It means there has been a militarization of our civilian space.”

Assange warned of the U.S. and other governments’ efforts to introduce “a new international regime of censorship” with various trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership. He also spoke at length about how it is no longer viable for everyday citizens to ignore privacy and security concerns.

“It’s not the case any more that you can hide from the state, and keep your head down, and hope that by sucking up or by being innocuous you can be spared,” Assange said. “So we have no choice but to try to manage the behaviour of the state that we have been forced to be part of.”

Towards the end of the talk, Assange briefly touched on future plans for Wikileaks, saying that it is preparing an “important” new release of material, but warned that he prefers not to give “the alleged perpetrator” the ability to prepare with “counter-spin” on what will be released. 


Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor Explains Athletes' Silence on Gay Rights in Sochi

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On a SXSW panel discussion about the intersection of LGBT issues and sports, Athlete Ally’s Hudson Taylor shared his thoughts on the surprising lack of Olympic athletes who publicly spoke out in Sochi about Russia’s anti-gay laws. 

S2_sxswTaylor said he was originally optimistic about using the international spotlight of the Olympic platform to advocate for LGBT equality and pointed to the numerous current and former athletes (and even Rihanna) who embraced his Principle 6 protest campaign before the Games began. Ultimately, however, Taylor said that the dozen or so Olympic athletes who both competed in Sochi and were also backers of his Principle 6 campaign failed to garner the medals that would have provided them with the necessary media coverage to truly make a lasting statement. 

'68 olympicsTaylor also pointed to the iconic 1968 Olympic photo of John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their fists in protest of racial injustice and lamented the reality that a similar push for gay rights failed to materialize in Sochi. 

But despite the missed opportunity, Taylor said he was looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup in Russia) and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as future opportunities to use an international sporting event to shine a light on discriminatory laws. Qatar remains one of the countries where homosexuality is still illegal

In my skinIn the meantime, Taylor stressed the need for LGBT athletes and their straight allies to stand up and speak out against the culture of homophobia in sport. He pointed to fellow panelist Brittney Griner (who was there discussing her new book In My Skin) as a great example of an athlete who is changing the sporting world just by being out and proud. Ultimately, however, Taylor said there is much work to be done in order to make the sporting world a more comfortable place for LGBT athletes. 

“While the reality is we’ve seen a lot of progress in the sports world over the last few years, we still have a long way to go,” Taylor said. “There are still a lot of closeted athletes. There are still people being bullied, being isolated because of their sexual orientation. We still only have one [gay athlete] in the NBA and maybe one in the [upcoming] NFL.”


Dentist Gives Gay Hate Crime Victim Free Six-Figure Dental Reconstruction: VIDEO

Dentist

Some of you may recall the anti-gay attack which took place in Austin, Texas in September 2012 targeting Andrew Oppelman and his friend Nick Soret while they were waiting for a slice of pizza from a mobile food truck in the Warehouse District.

A_oppelmanOppelman had nine teeth knocked out in the attack.

But a good samaritan has since stepped in, KVUE reports:

An Austin dentist who heard about the story wanted to help Oppelman. Dr. Gary Cash, D.D.S. stepped in, and for a year and a half has provided free dental reconstruction, including implants for Oppelman.

On Friday, Oppelman got to see his new upper implants, which gives him more of a reason to smile.

“It's just been hard on the inside more for me than the outside, not because of how people see me, but how I feel about myself,” said Oppelman.

Cash said he did the procedure for free because Austin has given so much to him in the three years the Detroit native has lived here. “People have been so warm and welcoming to me here. I figured that's not the way someone should be treated from out of town,” said Dr. Cash. The dentist also says that the Victim’s Relief Fund helped to pay for a huge portion of the work which would cost six figures.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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