Gay Youth Hub




Founder Of Russian LGBT Teen Support Group Fined For Violating 'Gay Propaganda' Law

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The founder of Russia's version of the "It Gets Better" campaign has been fined 50,000 rubles for violating the country's "gay propaganda" law.

Journalist Elena Klimova (above), founder of the Children 440 group on the Russian social network VKontakte, was fined the equivalent of $775, BuzzFeed reports

Klimova launched the group shortly before Russia passed its anti-gay law in 2013. The name Children 404 is a reference to the “Page Not Found” online server error.

Most users who post photos on the site obscure their faces and include the message, "We exist." They also share stories and can interact with volunteer psychologists who offer counseling.

BuzzFeed reports on Thursday's hearing: 

LGBT activists said that Klimova’s lawyer could not attend today’s hearing for medical reasons and she was left without counsel when the judge declined to postpone the proceedings.

“Today the court has violated the article 48 of the Russian Constitution, according to which everyone shall be guaranteed the right to qualified legal assistance,” Maria Kozlovskaya, a lawyer with the Russian LGBT Network, said in a statement. “We are going to challenge this decision at all levels including the European Court on Human Rights.”

View photos from Children 404's Facebook page and watch a trailer for the film about the campaign, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Founder Of Russian LGBT Teen Support Group Fined For Violating 'Gay Propaganda' Law" »


California Judges Barred From Joining Boy Scouts Due To Discriminatory Ban on Gay Leaders

State judges in California can no longer be members of the Boy Scouts beginning next year — at least until the Scouts lift a ban on gay adult leaders. 

The California Supreme Court voted unanimously this week to eliminate an exception for youth nonprofits to a rule that prohibits judges from belonging to groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reports: 

Scouts“The people of California have a right to an impartial and unbiased judiciary,” Richard Fybel, a state appeals court justice in Santa Ana and chairman of the high court’s ethics advisory committee, said Friday. “This is important to accomplishing that.” ... 

In a statement that responded to the committee’s proposal last year, Deron Smith, a spokesman at Boy Scouts headquarters in Irving, Texas, said the Scouts “would be disappointed with anything that limits our volunteers’ ability to serve more youth. ... Today, more than ever, youth need the character and leadership programs of Scouting.”

The proposal had drawn a mixed response from judges. In written comments to the court, one opponent said the prohibition would elevate “gay rights above religious freedom rights,” and another said it would interfere with judges’ rights to raise their children as they choose.

California judges have been barred from membership in groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation since 1996 — with the exception of youth nonprofits. In 2003, the state's high court amended the rule to say judges who are members of the Boy Scouts must disclose their affiliation in gay-rights cases and recuse themselves if there's a conflict of interest. 

Last year, the ethics advisory committee recommended eliminating the exception altogether, and the proposal was backed by the California Judges Association, which represents three-quarters of the state's judges.

The Chronicle notes that judges can still be members of religious groups that discriminate, but not groups that discriminate based on religion. The Boy Scouts is not considered a religious group but does discriminate based on religion — barring atheists in addition to gays.

In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America voted to lift a ban on gay youth but continue to bar gay adult leaders. The organization recently reported that membership dropped 7.4 percent in 2014 in the wake of the decision.  


Dear Abby Defends Gay Grandmother Shunned By Homophobic Son And Daughter-In-Law

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 7.12.07 AMA gay grandmother wrote a heartbreaking letter to Dear Abby asking for advice on how to reconcile with her homophobic son, and religious daughter-in-law, who is keeping her from seeing her grandchildren claiming that he needs to protect his children from people that are gay and that he doesn't want them to know anyone who's gay, including their own grandmother. 

"Heartbroken's” letter reads:

I came out of the closet when my son was 4. I thought I had taught him not to judge because of a label.

He is now 30, with a wife and two adorable children who own my heart.

When my granddaughter was born, my partner and I were at the hospital. We have visited them often, and they have visited us.

But after my grandson was born last year, my son quit speaking to me.

I have asked him numerous times what the issue is.

His response is: "I have to protect my children from people who are gay. I don’t want them to know anyone who is gay."

His wife and her family are very religious, and I think this is the real reason. What can I do?

-Heartbroken Gay Granny

Dear Abby wisely responded, telling the heartbroken grandmother to redirect her maternal instincts toward LGBT youth whose parents have rejected them after coming out and justly commented on her son’s homophobic antics with Abby’s signature wit.

Abby’s response:

Dear Heartbroken: If your son is under the mistaken impression that he is going to somehow "protect" his children by isolating them from gay people, he must be living in an alternate reality.

Does he also plan to immigrate to the moon?

I suspect that you have put your finger squarely on the reason why your son is now ostracizing you.

His wife seems to wield the power in that family, and she could benefit by learning more about homosexuality and her religion, which I assume preaches love and tolerance for one’s fellow man rather than judgment and exclusion.

You can’t force your son and his wife to have contact with you if they don’t want to.

Leave open the possibility that they may, over time, reconcile their love for you with their faith.

For your own emotional well-being, it’s important that you find other outlets for your maternal instincts and go on with your life because any child would be blessed to be a part of it.

Sadly, a large number of LGBT young people are rejected by their parents when they come out.

These kids would benefit greatly from having a positive adult mentor such as you.

This could be your golden opportunity to make a significant, positive difference in someone’s life. Contact Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays at pflag.org to find out how to get involved.

Dear Abby, aka Jeanne Phillips, is known for her staunch support for LGBT people backing same-sex marriage and justly taking homophobic submitters to task while simultaneously offering polite, but direct constructive criticism.


Indian Youth Affairs Minister Suggests Government-Sponsored 'Cure' for LGBT Youth

Goa is India's fourth smallest state in population. Speaking at the opening for Goa’s 2015 National Youth Day, Goa’s sports and youth affairs minister, Ramesh Tawadkar, said that the Goan government was considering a state-sponsored program for LGBT youth similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. The program, which has not been formally announced, would work to “cure” queer youth through a mixture of counseling and medical intervention.

3565_lead06"We will make them normal,” Tawadkar said. ““We will train them and (give them) medicines too.”

Tawadkar went on to explain that the Goan government has plans to carry out an extensive survey within the country’s LGBT population to better gauge the community’s social needs. As news of Tawadkar’s remarks drew the attention of the LGBT press, the minister made further statements saying that he had been misquoted.

“I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths," he explained. "Youth policy speaks about drug addicted youths and sexually abused youths as a focused group. There are provisions in the central government sponsored Social Justice Scheme for such youths which can be implemented in Goa.”

Listen to Tawadkar's remarks AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: Tawadkar backtracks:

"I was misunderstood and misquoted. I was not talking about the LGBT (youths) but about drug addicted and sexually abused youths," Tawadkar told PTI, as local channels in Goa continued to air the footage in which he assured medical treatment to LGBT youths to make them "normal".

"Youth policy speaks about drug addicted youths and sexually abused youths as a focused group. There are provisions in the central government sponsored Social Justice Scheme for such youths which can be implemented in Goa," the Sports and Youth Affairs minister said, a day after he was widely criticised for his statements.

Continue reading "Indian Youth Affairs Minister Suggests Government-Sponsored 'Cure' for LGBT Youth" »


As Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn Is Laid To Rest, Her Death Begins To 'Mean Something' - VIDEO

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Transgender suicide victim Leelah Alcorn (below right) was laid to rest Friday morning in a private service, after her family moved the funeral in response to alleged threats, according to a report from NBC News

Tim Tripp, the family minister at Northeast Church of Christ in Cincinnati, told NBC News the funeral had been moved to a private location because "the times and dates had been publicized, and the family's received threats." Tripp wouldn't specify what threats surrounded the funeral, other than to say the family had heard there would be "disruptions." Mourners arriving at the church Friday found a sign on the door announcing the service's postponement. Jeff Hartmann, of Hodapp Funeral Home, said the private service was held there Friday morning. He said Alcorn's body was to be cremated.

AlcornMeanwhile, the LGBT community and its supporters honored Alcorn at candlelight vigils in Cleveland, Columbus (above) and other cities on Friday night. Additional vigils are planned outside Alcorn's former school today, and as far away as Orlando and London

A petition launched in the wake of Alcorn's suicide calling for a federal ban on transgender conversion therapy has garnered more than 240,000 signatures. Another petition calling for Alcorn's correct name to be placed on her headstone has garnered more than 70,000 signatures. 

As we reported, Leelah's mother, Carla Alcorn, told CNN she'd never heard her daughter's chosen name prior to her suicide. But that isn't surprising given that Leelah's parents likely would have used the name as another reason to punish their daughter, since they didn't support her gender identity due to their religious beliefs. 

WCPO-TV reported Thursday night that Leelah's father, Doug, sent the station an email in which he continued to misgender his daughter and use her birth name: 

WCPO has made several attempts to speak with her parents at their Kings Mills home. 

After an attempt Thursday, the girl’s father, Doug, sent WCPO an email with the subject line: “Joshua Alcorn and your visit this morning.”

Doug Alcorn's message reads in part:

“We love our son, Joshua, very much and are devastated by his death. We have no desire to enter into a political storm or debate with people who did not know him. We wish to grieve in private. We harbor no ill will towards anyone. ... I simply do not wish our words to be used against us.”

Needless to say, it's a little late for that, but actions speak louder than words, and Leelah's parents' actions as described in her Tumblr post were largely confirmed by her mother's statements to CNN.  

Not surprisingly, the original Tumblr post itself has been removed, but you can find an archive of it here, and the unprecedented national media coverage of Leelah's suicide continues, with some advocates calling her death the transgender community's "Matthew Shepard moment." 

Watch GLAAD spokesman Tiq Milan discuss the tragedy on MSNBC, as well as WCPO's report on Leelah's father's statement, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "As Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn Is Laid To Rest, Her Death Begins To 'Mean Something' - VIDEO" »


Candlelight Vigil Remembering Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn Scheduled for Jan. 3

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Marriage Equality Ohio has announced they will be hosting a candlelight vigil in honor of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn who recently took her own life. The vigil we be held at 5:30 PM this Saturday, January 3rd at Kings High School, which Alcorn once attended, outside of Cincinnati. Said the group on their Facebook page:

It is time for all of us regardless of our sexual orientation to stand together to remember someone we lost. Every time I see someone claim their life, I get upset. Acceptance should not be something granted to few. Acceptance should be given to everyone, we are a diverse world of people. Join us in a night to spread ACCEPTANCE and show the world we are here, and we care, and that bullying and intolerance is UNACCEPTABLE!

As we previously reported, Leelah took her own life on Sunday morning, stepping in front of a semi truck on Interstate 71. Leelah realized she was transgender when she was 14. Though she sought support from family, she received none. She posted a haunting suicide note to her Tumblr page, imploring parents not to react negatively if their child comes out as transgender, writing, "Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say [to someone that they are wrong], especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me." For Alcorn, the situation sadly felt hopeless:

Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse. 

Alcorn ended her note with a call to action, imploring society to stop ignoring the struggles faced by trans youth:

The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.


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