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U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu Introduces Federal Bill That Would Ban Ex-Gay Reparative Therapy

Lieu

LGBT conversion therapy would be considered fraud and outlawed in all 50 states through the Federal Trade Commission under a proposal introduced by a California Democrat on Tuesday. 

As a member of the California Legislature, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu authored the Golden State's ban on conversion therapy to change people's sexual orientation. However, his federal "Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act" would go further than the California law, applying to people of all ages and not just those under 18. The proposal would also explicitly prohibit therapy to change people's gender identity, an idea that has gained momentum in the wake of the death of Leelah Alcorn.  

BuzzFeed News reports: 

“The public views conversion therapy as quackery, as something that harms people,” Lieu told BuzzFeed News on Monday afternoon, just after landing back in D.C. from California. “Eventually, I believe Congress will catch up to that, but you do need to start somewhere, so that’s why we’re introducing this legislation.”

He faces an uphill battle: The legislation, which would label conversion therapy an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” that would be illegal under the Federal Trade Commission Act, is being introduced with less than three dozen co-sponsors — all of whom are Democrats.

Lieu does, however, have a powerful ally in his effort. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has signed on as an original co-sponsor of the bill.

California, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, D.C. are the only jurisdictions that have passed laws banning conversion therapy, but only for minors. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama came out in support of banning the discredited practice. 

David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, said the following of Lieu's bill: 

“This vitally important legislation has the potential to save countless lives across this country by helping to end a practice that uses fear and shame to tell LGBT people the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. We’re proud to work alongside Congressman Lieu and our partners to send a different message - a message of hope, acceptance, and love where such a demeaning and destructive practice isn’t promoted as useful therapy. Ending this harmful profit-making practice is something that all of Congress should be able to rally behind.”


This Documentary Film Chronicling the Surreal Life of Celebrity Impersonators Will Have You Seeing Stars: VIDEO

Almostfamous

With every celebrity comes hundreds of impersonators and look-a-likes. 

"There's a statistic somewhere in the world that says you have approximately two dozen to thirty-six doppelgangers in the world," states Bill Clinton impersonator Dale Leigh in the new film Just About Famous. The documentary, which recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign and is currently making its way through the film festival circuit, chronicles the surreal life of Leigh and other celebrity impersonators as they converge at the annual Sunburst Convention for Celebrity Tribute Artists in Orlando, Florida.  

The film features some spot on impersonations of Elvis, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Lady Gaga, KISS, Madonna, Hugh Hefner, Barack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg, Dame Enda Everage, Britney Spears, and other A-listers. 

Check out the trailer and a Towleroad exclusive clip featuring Lady Gaga impersonator Betty Atchison, AFTER THE JUMP...

(warning: autoplay)

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Continue reading "This Documentary Film Chronicling the Surreal Life of Celebrity Impersonators Will Have You Seeing Stars: VIDEO" »


Vice President Joe Biden Tells LGBT Leaders, 'This Is No Time To Let Up' - AUDIO

Biden

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of nationwide marriage equality in June, Obergefell v. Hodges will be remembered alongside the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, according to Vice President Joe Biden. 

Biden made the statement Saturday night during his keynote speech at the Gill Foundation's annual OutGiving Dinner in Dallas, which was also attended by attorney Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, who argued for the Obergefell plaintiffs at the high court last week. 

"If the court does the right thing, this is going to be as consequential, and Mary [Bonauto] is going to be as remembered as Brown versus school board and Thurgood Marshall, it's that fundamental," Biden said, referring to the NAACP's lead counsel in Brown, which ended state-sponsored segregation. 

Biden credited the LGBT community for the dramatic cultural shift of the last decade, pointing out that in 2004, 11 states passed same-sex marriage bans when President George W. Bush was re-elected. Today, same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states that are home to 224 million Americans, Biden said. 

"It's because so many of you, men and women in this room of character and consequence, were willing to step forward early, risking your positions, risking in some cases your physical security. You stepped up and you spoke out," Biden said. "You've changed the basic politics of this nation, because of all that you've done."

But there is still work to do, Biden said, noting that polls show nine in 10 Americans believe it's already illegal to discriminate against LGBT workers, when in fact only 22 states have banned it — which he said "shocks the conscience." He added that 15,000 LGBT youth are homeless, largely because of family rejection, and that LGBT students are twice as likely to be bullied in school. 

Biden said after he recently came out in favor of banning gay conversion therapy, he received 790,000 emails.   

"Folks, the American people are with us," he said. "The momentum is with us. This is no time to let up." 

Listen to audio of Biden's remarks, beginning at the 41:00 minute mark, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Vice President Joe Biden Tells LGBT Leaders, 'This Is No Time To Let Up' - AUDIO" »


Ohio Highway Patrol Issues Final Report Regarding Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn’s Suicide

Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers have released a final report regarding transgender teen Leelah Alcorn's suicide reports WLWT 5. Troopers say Alcorn died from blunt force trauma after she stepped in the path of a 2006 Freightliner semi-truck on Interstate 75 in Turtlecreek Township in December. Investigators found Alcorn's backpack with her laptop inside at the scene of the crash. Upon examination detectives found searches for suicide prevention and runaway assistance in the computer's search history but found no suicide note in the computer's system.

Troopers also noted that Alcorn's parents found their daughter's handwritten suicide note next to her bed the night before she died. Alcorn's mother originally threw it away but retrieved it at the investigators request. Investigators also uncovered an iChat on Alcorn's computer where she discussed ending her life with her friends:

Alcorn"I had my jacket and clothes and shoes on. My suicide note was queued on Tumblr, and I was ready to jump off the bridge next to my house that goes over I-71, but I decided to call a transgender suicide hotline and I basically cried my eyes out for a couple hours talking to a lady on there.

"This is very important to me, it's not like something that I want to do just because I want to (such as someone wanting to dye their hair) like this is something I have to do. If I don't, I will kill myself. That’s how serious it is. I am so uncomfortable with my body and myself that if I don't do this I wouldn’t be able to help myself but commit suicide."

Alcorn's suicide garnered attention in the media, spurring LGBT activists to create a rallying cry for trans rights. Earlier this month President Obama announced he supports banning LGBT conversion therapy for minors in response to a "We the People," petition drafted by LGBT activists dubbed "Leelah's Law," urging the government to ban the dangerous practice of LGBT conversion therapy.


Watch: President Obama's Full, Hilarious Remarks at the White House Correspondents' Dinner — VIDEO

Obama

"I feel more loose and relaxed than ever," President Obama said of the fourth quarter of his presidency, "those Joe Biden shoulder massages, they're like magic."

The White House Correspondents Dinner offers the President an annual opportunity to poke fun at the media, his fellow politicians, and himself in a way that few other forums offer, so the jokes fly loose and fast, and this year was no exception. It doesn't hurt that Obama is exceptionally skilled at delivering them.

"I am determined to make the most of every moment I have life. After the midterm elections, my advisers asked me, 'Mr. President, do you have a bucket list?' And I said, 'well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list'...Take executive action on immigration? Buck-it. New climate regulations? Buck-it."

Watch the full speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Obama also mused on the way he's aged after 6 years in office, Obamacare, Cuba policies, and the 2016 Republican field.

Trump"And Donald Trump is here. Still. It's amazing how time flies. Soon the first presidential contest will take place, and I for one cannot wait to see who the Koch brothers pick. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker. Who will finally get that red rose? And the winner gets a billion dollar war chest. the runner up gets to be the bachelor on the next season of The Bachelor. Seriously. A billion dollars from just two guys. Is it just me or does that feel a little excessive. It's almost insulting to the candidates. The Koch brothers think they need to spend a billion dollars to get folks to like one of these people."

He took aim at some of his conservative enemies, wielding barbs at Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Dick Cheney:

"A few weeks ago Dick Cheney says he thinks I'm the worst President of his lifetime. Which is interesting, because I think Dick Cheney is the worst President of my lifetime."

He spoke about the economy and how Americans are living in times of "deep uncertainty", pivoting to a joke about Hillary Clinton:

"I have one friend. Just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year. And she's now living out of a van in Iowa."

Obama also spoke about the Secret Service and recent security breaches at the White House, and then displayed the photo below. "They've finally figured out a foolproof way to keep people off my lawn."

Mccain

While talking about his friendship, with Joe Biden, Obama made a joke about the recent news out of Indiana during the debate over the anti-gay Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

"He has been at my side for seven years. I LOVE that man. He's not just a great Vice President, he's a great friend. We've gotten so close that in some places in Indiana they won't serve us pizzas anymore."

There are many more jokes in his full remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: President Obama's Full, Hilarious Remarks at the White House Correspondents' Dinner — VIDEO" »


WATCH LIVE: White House Correspondents' Dinner

Whitehouse

Hollywood and the Hill converge tonight at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. The red carpet portion is underway, with the dinner itself set to start around 7:30. SNL's Cecily Strong serves as this year's celebrity host. 

See how many celebs and politicians you can spot, AFTER THE JUMP...(live feed for the dinner portion included)

Continue reading "WATCH LIVE: White House Correspondents' Dinner" »


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