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Ohio Gay Teen Crowned Homecoming Queen

Cooper robar

A high school in Lakewood, Ohio, has crowned a gay male student as homecoming queen, reports Cleveland.com.

Last September, a transgender student in Huntington Beach, California, was crowned homecoming queen. In August 2013, two out gay students in Illinois were named homecoming king and queen.

Instead of naming a traditional king and queen, Lakewood High School decided to crown three people after Cooper Robar won the race for homecoming queen. Also named as members of “royalty” were Tess Jones, who received the most votes among girls, and Xavier Pedro, who was elected king.

Cooper’s mother Wendy explained that what started out as a joke turned into a statement on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community:

"It was him being a goofball and saying wouldn't it be fun if he could be queen. I was pretty shocked [that we won]. I was surprised by the roaring of applause and the yelling for Cooper….We are very proud of him being able to stand up for himself and tell the world he is who he is and have no misgivings about it.”

She added that although Cooper is popular at school, she was surprised he didn't encounter any serious backlash from critics.

Lakewood Principal Keith Ahearn said there was nothing in the rules preventing a boy from running as queen and deciding to name three members of royalty was the fairest way to handle the situation.


Lesbian Teen Crowned Homecoming Queen of Texas High School: VIDEO

Swartz-larson

Here's a sweet story straight out of northern Texas. On Friday night, April Swartz-Larson became the first open lesbian student to campaign for (and win!) McKinney High School's homecoming queen title.

Perhaps more notable than her sexuality was her choice to rock her own style for the award. Though she donned the obligatory tiara (above), she wore a tuxedo for the ceremony. Said Swartz-Larson:

Swartz-larson2It would have been funny to see me out there in a dress. [...] I'm not the typical choice for homecoming queen at all. I'm gay, first of all, and I'm gay living in McKinney.

Said the newly-crowned queen's father, Darrin Larson "First I was nervous, like I was afraid someone was playing a joke on her, but then when I found out it was serious I was just so happy for her." The friend who nominated Swartz-Larson said that her friend was "perfect" for this award, because she is the "kindest person I know."

A camera captured the moment at a Friday football game when the crowd went wild for Swartz-Larson. Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Lesbian Teen Crowned Homecoming Queen of Texas High School: VIDEO" »


Russia Ends U.S. Student Exchange Program, Blames Elderly Michigan Gay Couple

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov

Russia has canceled a foreign exchange program with the U.S., alleging that a gay couple persuaded a man to stay with them and apply for asylum, reports The Guardian.

FlexSince 1992, the state department-financed Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) has brought 23,000 students aged 15 to 17 from Russia and former Soviet countries to study in U.S. schools and live with local families for one academic year.

Human rights organisations have accused the Russian government of promoting discrimination following the introduction of a "gay propaganda" law last year.

Announcing the end of the country’s participation in FLEX, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov [pictured above] said the couple became the legal guardians of the Russian student, after the student left his host family and stayed in the U.S. when the school year ended in May.

According to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass, the student met the couple - elderly veterans who had previously adopted two American boys - in church and the men offered to become his immigration sponsors and pay for him to study at Harvard University.

Astakhov explained on Twitter that the cancellation came about because of a “gross violation by the host country, the United States, of the obligation to unconditionally return students from Russia who travel there to study.”

In an interview with the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, he added that the student moved in with the two men in Michigan, “and they gradually developed – how can I say this carefully – close friendly relations.”

Anton Meshkov, a former FLEX student, said the fact that 15 young people are thought to have stayed in the U.S. after the program ended was not a “serious reason to take away the chance to travel from hundreds of kids”.

“It’s absurd to suppose that the program could facilitate the seduction of young Russians. As a participant in this program myself, I know what a serious selection process host families go through.”

Last year, Astakhov vowed he would do everything possible to ensure that Russian orphans were only adopted by heterosexual couples. 


Teen Hospitalized After Fighting Back Against Anti-gay Bullies Is Now being Charged With Assault: VIDEO

Martin

A Virginia teen who spent nine days in the hospital after fighting back against his anti-gay bullies at high school is now being charged with assault, NBC 12 reports:

Martin2[Eric's mother Mary Martin] admits Eric threw the first punch, but she says he was a victim of bullying. She says he was constantly hit with gay slurs. The Martins are fighting back with the help of family advocate Tammy Motola.

"It's always the perpetrators that get away with the crime," said Motola. "When the victims have finally had enough, after being verbally attacked and bullied for years and they snap...they are the ones that are penalized."

Eric was initially prevented from coming back to any Henrico school until he signed a student threat documentation form over allegations he threatened the school.

Mary Martin refused to sign any documentation and launched a campaign called Letters for Eric in support of her son.

NBC 12 adds:

"He has been called names," said Martin. "He has been called gay. He has been called a f------."

The Martin family is pleading for help as Eric remains on suicide watch.

"Bullying is real," cried Martin. "And bullying can take your children away from here if you don't pay close attention."

Watch a news report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

(h/t Jezebel)

Continue reading "Teen Hospitalized After Fighting Back Against Anti-gay Bullies Is Now being Charged With Assault: VIDEO" »


Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO

404 film

A Russian television channel has created controversy surrounding the screening of a documentary about gay teens last month at the Pacific Meridians festival in Vladivostok, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

According to People's Patriotic Channel, despite the 18+ rating of the documentary Deti 404 (Children 404), tickets to the screening were sold to minors without a proper ID check.

404404 refers to an online forum for Russian-speaking LGBTQ teens and to an error message displayed on Russian computer screens when people attempt to navigate to a web page that doesn't exist. 

People's Patriotic Channel claims that the documentary violates Russia's "gay propaganda" law.

A screening of the film in St Petersburg last April was disrupted by Orthodox Christian activists and police.

The festival's organizers have said the theater is to blame for the incident but added that the inclusion of the film into one of the festival's sections was important as it deals with a major social issue.

Festival programming director Natalia Timofeyeva said “this film is very useful because we are striving for a tolerant society in which people who are different can also exist.”

Watch a trailer for Deti 404, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO" »


Delaware School Board Member Opposes Curriculum's Discussion Of Homosexuality, Gender Identity

DelawareDelaware has not had the best school board-related news of late. In August, the Cape Henlopen school board voted to remove a coming-of-age book about a lesbian girl from its summer reading list (after which the summer reading program was removed altogether). Now, the Indian River school district board of education is facing a particularly irate and talkative member who opposes any mention of homosexuality and gender identity in the curriculum.

Pink News reports:

Last week, Shaun Fink, Indian River School District Board of Education member, spoke out at a school board meeting against lesson plans that would address issues of gender identity and sexual orientation in Indian River high schools...

He said: “I am objecting publicly to anything that discusses gender identity, homosexuality. Schools have no role in teaching someone ‘if you’re gay you’re normal.’ That is not the school’s role. When did the school become the arbiter of what’s normal and what’s not normal?”

One response? Schools have always been arbiters of normalcy, and leaving definitions of varied identities out of the curriculum only furthers some students' lack of understanding. Nina Lou Bunting, another member of the school board, had an appropriate response at the ready as well.

She said: “Whether you go into transgender, cross-dressing, all the different aspects, is that really so important? It’s just if someone is different, we are to respect them as human beings as we wish to be respected.”

It turns out that Mr. Fink also opposes lessons about STI, HIV, and pregnancy prevention, citing Title 14, which enforces an abstinence-focused education.

He said: “You can’t teach both sides of it. Condoms don’t belong in a classroom. End of story.”

Miseducation, or an utter lack of education, has never been a means to fight misunderstanding. Hopefully Fink's comments will not derail further discussion of these issues in the Indian River school district.


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