Discrimination Hub




Utah ESL Blogger Fired for 'Promoting a Gay Agenda' With Post About Homophones

TorkildsonTim Torkildson, a social media manager for a Utah English school for ESL students, has been fired for blogging like homophones after his employer Clarke Woodger expressed concern that students might misinterpret the word as a reference to gay sex. Homophones, words that sound the same but mean different things.

“I didn't know what the hell you were talking about.” Torkildson recounted Woodger telling him. “We don't teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it's extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I'll have your check ready."

Woodger corroborated Torkildson’s account of the conversation to the Salt Lake Tribune, insisting that "People at this level of English may see the 'homo' side and think it has something to do with gay sex."

Homophones are often thought to be one of the more challenging aspects of the English language for those new to it. Torkildson is of the school of thought that the class of words are  crucial and “one of the first subjects tackled when teaching ESL” because the language is rife with them.

London-based filmmaking duo Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston’s short film Skwerl about what English sounds like to non-English speakers highlights Torkildson’s point perfectly. Check it out AFTER THE JUMP...

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The Declining Wage Gap for Gay Men

Gay-moneyThe wage gap between certain portions of the gay male population and their heterosexual counterparts is on the decline according to a study published in the Kyklos International Review for Social Sciences. Unmarried gay men over the age of 25 who work “blue-collar, male-documented occupations” and cohabitate with their same sex partners are, on average, earning more than unmarried straight men living with their girlfriends.

“These estimates support the view that the overall improvement in people’s perception regarding homosexuality has contributed to reduce the wage gap against gay men in the U.S.” Economists Bruce Elmslie and Edinaldo Tebaldi wrote in their findings.

The gap between married heterosexual men and gay men has similarly shrunk, falling from just below 8% in the 90s to 4.5% in the early 2000s. Elmsie and Tebaldi attribute the shift to an “overall improvement in people’s perception regarding homosexuality,” but warn that their findings shouldn’t suggest that there isn’t more work to be done.

Gay men in sales-oriented and managerial occupations continue to make anywhere from 11-16% less than straight men, and gay men in rural areas and small towns saw significantly lower earnings regardless of their type of work.


Russia Designates LGBT Rights Group As A 'Foreign Agent'

Coming out russia

On July 21st, a court in St. Petersburg, Russia designated LGBT rights group Coming Out as a “foreign agent,” reports 76Crimes.com.

Organizations registered as "foreign agents" in Russia are subject to extra governmental audits and other measures that limit their efficacy.

Coming Out has been fighting the designation for 16 months.

Following the ruling, the group issued a statement on Facebook which reads in part:

"The label 'foreign agent' on all the public materials of the organization would be a sign for wider society that the idea of protecting the rights of LGBT people is something 'foreign', and, therefore unnecessary and even harmful. An organization registered as a 'foreign agent' would also be subject to extra governmental audits, and further measures that would limit its capabilities to work.

"'Coming Out' will appeal the court’s decision, but there is no guarantee that the organization will not be registered by the Ministry of Justice in the nearest future, as it happened also with five major human rights organizations.

"This decision marks an end of the 16-month saga during which 'Coming Out' invested considerable time, effort, and resources to explain to the courts, mass media, and the general public that defending universal human rights of Russian citizens is in the interests of those citizens, and of Russia. We are hoping that, regardless of the final outcome, this message was able to reach the hearts and minds of many people.

According to The Advocate, although Coming Out did not directly mention Russia's ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" as the source of the initial complaint, reports suggest that the law has created an untenable situation for LGBT Russians.


Orlando, Florida Towing Company Owner Arrested for Targeting 'Gay Days' Attendees

Jason-Combs-jpg--1-On Friday, the owner of an Orange County towing company was arrested for illegally towing vehicles during the county's yearly Gay Days celebration.

County deputies say the towings appeared to have specifically targeted Gay Day attendees.

The owner in question, Jason Combs (pictured), has been charged with several things: grand theft, failure to release vehicle, failing to maintain records, failure to post towing contracts, failure to notify the sheriff's office within 30 minutes of a tow and violating an Orange County ordinance.

The Gay Days event was held in early June.

[via ClickOrlando]


Fired Editor Sues for Religious Freedom to Write About 'Gaystapo'

Robert Eschliman, former editor-in-chief of the Newton Daily News, is suing his one-time employer on the grounds that he was terminated because of his religious beliefs. Eschliman was ousted last May after taking to his personal blog to express his thoughts on what he understood to be the “LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo effort to reword the Bible to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.”

ImagesWhile Eschliman wasn’t using the Newton Daily News to voice his opinions, the paper nonetheless felt the need to distance itself from him after its readers expressed their outrage.

“The First Amendment does not eliminate responsibility and accountability for one’s words and actions,” wrote John Rung, president of Shaw Media which owns the paper. “As previously stated, he has a right to voice his opinion. And we have a right to select an editor who we believe best represents our company and best serves the interests of our readers.”

In his lawsuit Eschliman describes the entire situation as pure religious persecution.

“That blog post described my sincerely held religious beliefs regarding Holy Scripture and the definition of marriage,” Explaind. “My comments on my blog were personal in nature and reflective of my sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Read Eschliman’s full intake questionnaire detailing his side of the story AFTER THE JUMP...

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The Most Dangerous Line in the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby Ruling

AlitoBY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

The most dangerous line in the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby doesn’t come until page 46. It reads as follows:

The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.

That doesn’t sound too bad; indeed, it is probably one of the few statements in Justice Alito’s opinion that many of us would endorse.

Its danger, particularly to the LGBT community, rests in what is not said.

As we have discussed at length, Hobby Lobby allowed a family-run, for-profit arts and crafts company to deny its female employees access to certain contraception simply because that contraception violates the religious beliefs of the company owners.

GinsburgJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent cautioned that the Court was opening a door to allow anyone to use the pretext of religion to opt out of antidiscrimination or public accommodations laws. Justice Alito’s response was to deny the charge, arguing that where the government has a compelling interest in preventing discrimination, as it does in preventing discrimination on the basis of race, the Hobby Lobby exemption would not succeed.

But what happens when the government does not have that “compelling interest”?

Justice Alito chose a convenient example to respond to Justice Ginsburg’s concern. Most people agree that discrimination on the basis of race is not just bad, but absolutely anathematic to our constitutional tradition. But no one in the Court’s five-justice conservative majority has ever said that the state has a compelling interest to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Even Justice Kennedy, the author of the Supreme Court’s three gay rights decisions, has carefully declined to declare that antigay discrimination merits heightened scrutiny or that the government has a compelling interest to permit gays to marry. We might believe that the same compelling interest that gives the state the power to prevent discrimination on the basis of race gives the state the same power to prevent discrimination on another status that has nothing to do with an individual’s ability to contribute to society—namely, sexual orientation or gender identity. But there are many judges out there who are not yet there. Congress isn’t even there yet.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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