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UK Teen Who Committed Suicide In 2010 Had Allegedly Been In Relationship With TV Star

In December 2010, 18-year-old UK fashion student Ben Cowburn (right) overdosed on drugs, killing himself and leaving behind a baffling and unnerving story. Cowburn, who had moved to London in 2009, had reportedly been in a relationship with a famous television actor that may or may not have led him to a compromised emotional state. Fueled in part by promises of gifts (in exchange for Cowburn's styling work), the romantic relationship was also heavily infused with drugs, alcohol, and, as some believe, unwanted sexual attention.

BencowburnPinkNews reports:

The comedian, who in the inquest was referred to only as “Mr X” to protect his identity, allegedly showered the teenager with gifts before taking him to drink and drug-fuelled parties.

The inquest also heard of how Mr Cowburn was persuaded to strip in front of a group of men and of how the comedian occasionally crept into his bed for sex.

Cowburn's parents were reportedly wary of the situation from the beginning as the comedian likely already had a stylist and did not need the student's help. When their relationship did end, Cowburn attempted suicide several times before being admitted to Longreach hospital. 

David Taylor, a nurse, told the inquest that the student had felt embarrassed and ashamed and thought he had been groomed by the man, although claimed the sexual relationship had been entirely consensual.

A different story from the Metropolitan Police claimed that when Cowburn could not pay for a cab to leave one of the actor's parties he was offered a bed and woke up to find the man lying next to him. The police noted that Cowburn's sister, Laura, said that she had been led to believe that he had been raped.

However, police decided there was no conclusive evidence that the teenager, who had sent Facebook messages to the celebrity, had been physically coerced into sex and therefore there were no grounds for questioning Mr X.


Jamaican Court Allows Gay Youth To Continue Living In Sewers: VIDEO

Gay Jamaican Youth In Sewers

Jamaica has the distinction of being a country that is particularly hostile to gays, thanks in no small part to U.S. evangelical speakers attempts to sow hatred there. The fallout of the hostility includes GLBT youth being forced into the sewers, having nowhere else to go after being kicked out by families and suffering abuse in shelters.

On Ash Wednesday, police in New Kingston forcibly evicted a gay youth encampment from the sewers. An abandoned building they had previously settled in was torn down and a gully encampment was burned down on the pretext that the encampment "attracted criminals," so many of them resisted as they had nowhere else to go.

When taken to court, the judge fined them for swearing, but told the arresting officers that the sewers are a public space and the youth have a right to be there. Once released, the youth returned to living in the sewers.

You can watch a video report on the encampment AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jamaican Court Allows Gay Youth To Continue Living In Sewers: VIDEO" »


British Man Attacked in Anti-Gay Hate Crime, Posts Story On Facebook

Richard Scott Kennedy, a British student at University of Central Lancaster, was reportedly attacked in an anti-gay hate crime last week. He posted a photo and his story on Facebook:

RichardkennedyHere is my face after a homophobic attack, 4 of my teeth are gone, not fallen out but deep inside my gums and cheek, one is sitting under my cheek inside my gum on the right side bottom of my nose. My face is swollen and it was worse yesterday, both my knees are badly injured and I struggle to walk and my hole face is constantly throbbing and i'm now on 4 tablets a day for pain and infection and may require surgery to sort the damage.

All of this and what was their motive? because of my f--king sexuality. something that doesn't concern ANYONE else minus me and the person I fall for, either man or woman. A sex life is private and has nothing to do with no one, needless to say it's absolutely disgraceful to violently attack someone because of who they are. My confidence has gone, im utterly embarrassed to be seen in public, the only reason I am putting this picture up is because I want you to see me as an example. An example why homophobia is wrong and it's disgusting that it's still around in 2014. Society needs to get a grip, people are who they are, people are different, people are gay, straight, bi, transexual, black, white, asian, fat, skinny, small and tall but regardless of who they are and what they look like they are still human. There is more to people than their sexual preference and what they look like. 

This is just another homophobic attack that happens every day, but it needs to stop, this is wrong, this is disgusting and using sexual preference as a motive to be violent and abusive is utter inhumane.

Richard's post has been shared more than 176,000 times since he posted it on February 26.


Maryland Teen Makes History as Openly Gay Eagle Scout

Pascaltessier

Pascal Tessier was blown away last night when he became one of, if not the first openly gay youths to receive his Eagle Scout ranking. The resolution allowing gay scouts, which passed last May, went into effect on January 1st, and many people believe that Tessier, a member of Troop 52 in Chevy Chase, MD, is the first to achieve the prestigious ranking while being completely open about his sexuality.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is no easy task, requiring twenty-one merit badges, a community service project, and a meeting with a board of review, and Tessier's road was even more difficult to traverse. The teenager spoke, and was open about being gay, to media last year while participating in a demonstration prior to the Boy Scouts of America's vote regarding gay members. The outcome was positive, but Tessier easily could have jeopardized his standing with the Scouts, who still will not allow openly gay adults to participate.

The Washington Post reports:

“It’s just really amazing, and it honestly hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Tessier, a senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. “We didn’t know if it was going to happen at all.”

Both Zach Wahls, outspoken executive director of Scouts for Equality, and Eric Andresen, father of Ryan Andresen, who was denied his Eagle Scout rank due to his sexual orientation just last year, commented on Tessier's achievement.

“I don’t know of any other Scouts out there who have said, ‘I am gay and I defy BSA to kick me out’ — and Pascal has done that,” said Eric Andresen...

“The fact that Pascal is now able to get his award is directly because of what Ryan unfortunately went though,” Andresen said...

“We certainly think this is a day to celebrate,” Wahls said. “As we see more Pascal Tessiers coming up though the program, getting their Eagle Scouts, other scouting parents and other scouting leaders who might be a little more conservative will see there is nothing to be afraid of, that Pascal is a phenomenal young man and people like him make scouting better.”

Tessier and his mother, Tracie Felker, were overjoyed at the news, but hesitant about the limitations still placed on gay scouts. And for good reason: Tessier's older brother, Lucien, is also an openly gay scout.

Even as he celebrated Monday night, Tessier was well aware of how the partial policy change could affect him. He will turn 18 in August.

“It’s kind of a backhanded acceptance: We accept you for now,” he said. “It says to you you’re a monster of some sort.”

...

Felker said the problem with the Boy Scout’s new policy is that it suggests something changes in her children once they hit 18.

“What no one really wants to talk about is the suggestion that gay adults are child abusers, and that is infuriating,” she said.

“It’s impossible to believe that the creme de la creme of the Scouts, just because they turn 18, are no longer suitable to participate in the programs,” Felker said.

For now, though, Tessier sets an amazing example of what openness and honesty can achieve. A formal ceremony will be held for him and other Eagle Scout honorees in June. Congratulations, Pascal! 


Study: Gay and Bisexual Teen Boys Use Steroids at a Rate 6 Times Higher Than Straight Peers

A new study reveals that gay and bisexual teens are using steroids at a rate six times higher than their straight peers, the AP reports:

SteroidselfieReasons for the differences are unclear. The study authors said it’s possible gay and bi boys feel more pressure to achieve a bulked-up “ideal” male physique, or that they think muscle-building steroids will help them fend off bullies.

Overall, 21 percent of gay or bisexual boys said they had ever used steroids, versus 4 percent of straight boys. The difference was similar among those who reported moderate use — taking steroid pills or injections up to 40 times: 8 percent of gay or bi teens reported that amount, versus less than 2 percent of straight boys. The heaviest use — 40 or more times — was reported by 4 percent of gays or bi boys, compared with less than 1 percent of straight teens.

The study was released in the journal Pediatrics and is culled from government surveys between 2005 and 2007 involving 17, 250 teen boys with an average age of 16, 635 of whom were gay or bi. Although the data was collected six years ago, experts believe the results remain consistent in today's youth:

Dr. Rob Garofalo, adolescent medicine chief at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, said the differences aren’t surprising, since it is known that gay youth often have “body image issues.” But he said, “It is still shocking. These are dramatically high rates.”


Bill Seeking Ban On Gay Conversion Therapy Fails In Virginia House Committee

After a series of testimonies from both its proponents and detractors, a bill seeking to ban gay conversion therapy failed in the Virginia House's Health, Welfare and Institutions Subcommittee. The bill was sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope (right), a democrat from Arlington County, and the subcommittee gave no reason for their opposition to it. 

PatrickhopeThe Virginian-Pilot reports:

Gail Dickert, a 35-year-old Alexandria woman, said she was subjected to conversion therapy by people from the various churches her family attended growing up.

As young as age 5, those parishioners told her she was “confused and lost” because she had a crush on a female classmate. They said she would be bullied for “not being right with God” and that she couldn’t pursue her desired career in the church if she didn’t change.

And they convinced her her attraction to women was brought about by repressed memories of sexual abuse, which she falsely accused her father of, she said. It took her more than 20 years to recover from the emotional scars the therapy inflicted, scars no child should have to bear, Dickert said.

Christopher Doyle also took the stand, claiming that after years of hardship and therapy surrounding his sexual orientation, he has been happily married to a woman for seven years and now works as a counselor "to assist other people who struggle with homosexuality."

Hope believes that his bill would have fallen in line with both the American Psychiatric and Medical Association's condemnation of conversion therapy. It would have mirrored bills that passed in California and New Jersey, prohibiting licensed medical professionals from performing conversion therapy on minors. The bill would not have applied to clergy. 

“I think that people in Virginia still believe that homosexuality is some sort of mental disorder,” Hope said after the vote. “But I think hearts and minds are changing every day. ... And we’ll come back every year until this becomes law.”


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