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Bullied Transgender California Teen Dies In Apparent Suicide: VIDEO

Taylor Alesena

A Fallbrook, California trans teen who spoke on YouTube about being the victim of bullying has taken her own life, reports ABC 10 News.

In a video posted last November, Taylor Alesena talked about her loneliness at Fallbrook High School, saying "I've lost friends - tons of friends - and it's been hell.”

Max Disposit, executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside, said that Taylor was constantly cyber-bullied and called names in school but nothing changed when she complained to counselors.

The Fallbrook Union High School District issued the following statement:

"One of Fallbrook High School's students tragically passed away during the spring break, on Thursday, April 2.

“We are attempting to honor the family's request for privacy while also helping our students and staff who have been impacted by this sad event. The district has had counselors on site to support our school community.

“Fallbrook High has a continuum of appropriate services (social, emotional, academic) to ensure every student is supported and successful at Fallbrook High School. It is never easy when something like this happens, but we are working to move forward together and stronger than before."

Last month 16-year-old North Carolina trans teen Ashlyn Haffner died close to his family’s Indian Trail home when he stepped into the path of an oncoming vehicle, the same way Ohio transgender teen Leelah Alcorn died in December of last year.

Watch an ABC 10 report on Taylor’s death, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bullied Transgender California Teen Dies In Apparent Suicide: VIDEO" »


Openly Gay California Police Chief Accused Of Harassing And Firing Subordinate

Screenshot 2015-04-07 03.13.33

Chris Magnus, the openly gay and married police chief to the city of Richmond, California, is being sued by a former officer who alleges that Magnus repeatedly made untoward sexual advances before firing him. Thomas Hauschild (pictured right), the officer who filed the lawsuit last Friday, claims that Magnus was responsible for a bogus internal investigation that ultimately led to his being fired.

Screenshot 2015-04-07 03.18.32Issues between the men, the lawsuit recounts, first began when the police department received word of a potential attack on Magnus’s house. Hauschild was assigned to a special team responsible for guarding Magnus’s residence and one night, during Hauschild’s rounds, the police chief allegedly touched his arm and upper leg.

In the following days Hauschild claims that Magnus made a number of phone calls directly to his cell phone for reasons unrelated to work. When Hauschild rejected his superior’s advances, he says, he was immediately punished--removed from the special SWAT detail, and subjected to heightened internal scrutiny.

An investigation was launched into Hauschild’s personal life in the wake of a domestic dispute that led to his arrest and the confiscation of eight unregistered firearms. Soon after, Hauschild was terminated from the police force. Hauschild alleges that Magnus engineered his dismissal as an act of retaliation for rejecting his sexual advances. 

"It appears that having assessed (that) some other claim of bias wasn't his best option, this officer and his attorney apparently decided to exploit the fact that as a police chief who happens to be gay, I would be 'vulnerable' to this particular type of accusation," Magnus responded in a lengthy Facebook post.

"If the goal of the plaintiff and his attorney is to embarrass, intimidate, or otherwise bully me for doing my job when it comes to addressing misconduct within my department, I can assure you it's not going to happen."


New York Corrections Officer Resigns After Threatening To Shoot Gay Neighbors

Cheektowaga

A New York part-time prisoner cell block attendant who was arrested following a Facebook exchange with family and friends that included threats to shoot gay people has since resigned from his job, reports the Buffalo News.

Richard “Rick” Pilarski Jr. resigned from the Cheektowaga Police Department last Saturday after he acknowledged the Facebook exchange which was spurred by a news account about California’s proposed “Sodomite Suppression Act” ballot which calls on the death penalty for gay men and women who are sexually active.

One of the offending comments read:

“Wouldn’t this be the greatest thing in the world??? The guys around the corner would be the first 2 faggots in my sights. What you do in your house is one thing but when you fly flags of equal rights and the rainbow flag in a small quiet neighborhood is another.”

Pilarski replied to a relative for sticking up for gay people:

“... shut up you sound like a retard u wana love gays u love them I hate them. I’m not raising my kids to love them if you wana raise your to then go ahead.”

Assistant Police Chief James J. Speyer confirmed:

“We brought him in today and he decided to resign from the position. He was remorseful and apologetic. It is one of those situations where he never intended it to be something that would come out...It should never have happened. We don’t condone it. The Cheektowaga Police Department stands for integrity, honor and respect.”

33-year-old Pilarski was also placed on administrative leave from his job as full-time state corrections officer at Attica Correctional Facility. His Facebook profile has since been deleted.


California Attorney General Kamala Harris Steps In To Block Monstrous 'Sodomite Suppression Act'

HarrisIn late February Matt McLaughlin, a practicing attorney based in Huntington Beach, California, began collecting signatures and processing paperwork that would allow him to put up his “Sodomite Suppression Act” for a statewide referendum. The tone of the proposal language in McLaughlin’s proposed bill is like a cross between the rhetoric of a religious conservative and a draconian “Kill The Gays” bill.

"Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God's just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst,” The proposal reads. “The People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method."

Unsurprisingly, there is a Change.org petition in place agitating for his disbarring.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is fighting back to keep the bill from ever making its way to a ballot vote. Though Harris is currently in the process of ramping up her bid for Barbara Boxer’s vacant Senate seat, she felt it her duty to stop the ridiculous law in its tracks before it was even fully formed.

“This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible and has no place in a civil society,” Harris explained. “Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the [Sacramento County Superior] Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the 'Sodomite Suppression Act.' If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism.”

In accordance with California’s direct democracy style of legislating McLaughlin has had 180 days since February 26th to collect over 360,000 signatures in support of his bill. Though it’s highly unlikely that he would have ever been able to meet all of the requirements by his deadline, Harris’s move to attempt to block him entirely is admirable, if somewhat driven by her current Senatorial aspirations.


California Activist Responds To 'Kill The Gays' Ballot Initiative With 'Intolerant Jackass Act'

Laws

Earlier this month we told you about the "Sodomite Suppression Act," the disgusting proposed ballot initiative in California calling for gays to be "put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.” 

The initiative is the work of attorney Matthew McLaughlin, who paid the $200 fee and submitted his proposal to the attorney general's office. The Los Angeles Times reports that due to California's loose rules for ballot initiatives, officials are virtually powerless to stop the measure from proceeding to the signature-gathering process.

In order to qualify for the ballot, the initiative would need 365,000 signatures in 180 days, which The LA Times calls "a high bar even for well-financed efforts." And even if McLaughlin's initiative were to qualify for the ballot and be approved by voters, courts would almost certainly strike it down as unconstitutional.  

From The LA Times

McLaughlin's proposal calls same-sex intimacy "a monstrous evil" and says it would be better for gay people to die than for Californians to "be killed by God's just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst."

It also would make the spreading of "sodomistic propaganda" punishable by a $1-million fine, 10 years in jail or deportation from the state. And it would ban gay people from holding public office.

The Sodomite Suppression Act has sparked debate about whether California should reform its initiative process, and one bill in the Legislature would increase the filing fee from $200 to $8,000. 

The Sodomite Suppression Act has also now drawn a response from activist Charlotte Laws, who planned to file her own ballot initiative Monday called "The Intolerant Jackass Act," according to Slate. The Intolerant Jackass Act would require anyone who proposes a ballot initiative calling for gay people to be killed to attend one year of sensitivity training and donate $5,000 to a pro-LGBT group. From Slate:  

I spoke to Laws about her initiative—which, she readily acknowledges, is not necessarily designed to become law.

“I’m fighting fire with fire,” she told me. “The only way to counter [the Sodomite Suppression Act] is … to let people know that most people in California don’t agree with something as incendiary and hateful as what this one attorney proposed.” Laws recognizes the merit of having a content-neutral initiative system, but she believes “we have a very open-minded state and country. This is one guy, and there are millions of us who do not agree with this.”

In addition to Laws' initiative, the Sodomy Suppression Act has inspired a Change.org petition calling for McLaughlin, who is apparently in hiding, to be disbarred. The petition, which has more than 20,000 signatures, accuses McLaughlin of "moral turpitude" and calls him "a disgrace to the practice of law."

We'd say that's an understatement.   


FDA Approves Further Study Of Promising Gene Therapy HIV Treatment

Whitecell

Experimental stem cell gene therapy that could act as functional cure for HIV infection has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to move into early human test trials. Unlike other treatments that use healthy stem cells from uninfected donors, this form of therapy uses cells harvested from a positive person’s own body. The stem cells are genetically manipulated to develop into white blood cells that are missing the key cellular receptors that the HIV virus uses to insert its genetic code into healthy cells. The modification effectively models a HIV-positive person’s white blood cells after the cells of people who have a natural resistance to HIV.

After introducing the modified white blood cells into a positive person’s bloodstream, researchers reason, the cells would naturally proliferate, effectively revitalizing their immune system to be able to fend off the virus indefinitely. A small testing pool of 12 volunteers have undergone the therapy in controlled trials being conducted by Calimmune, a California-based pharmaceutical research firm.

The preliminary results have been promising, with uncompromised white blood cells remaining present in test subjects’ bloodstreams for up to four years. In theory, later versions of the treatment would result in permanent rejuvenation of healthy cells after a single round of treatment.

The FDA’s authorization of further tests means that a larger group of people will be able to participate in a future study exploring the therapy’s efficacy. As of now trials are planned for California’s City of Hope medical research center with funding help from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

“This kind of work is too important to just try one method at a time and sit back and wait to see if it is effective,” CIRM board chair Dr. Jonathan Thomas explained to Imperial Valley News. “We have a mission to find treatments for patients in need. By trying several different approaches, taking several shots at goal at the same time if you like, we feel we have a better chance of being successful.”


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