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Vicious Mob Attack On Two Gay Teens No Longer Considered A Hate Crime: VIDEO

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Atlanta police have decided that a violent group attack on two gay students will no longer be designated a hate crime, reports Daily News.

Four students were charged after allegedly participating in the attack on two gay teens at Carver School of Technology.

16-year-old Tim Jefferson said that he was leaving the school with his friend when classmates began shouting racial and homophobic slurs. He claims that one student jammed a screwdriver right next to his eye and that the school principal stood by and did nothing to help.

AttackCell phone video shows dozens of students huddled around during a “5-round fight with punches being thrown by as many as 20 students at one point.”

Jefferson’s mother said that he has been attacked about eight times this year because he is gay. She is transferring her son to another school because a student involved in the attack promised to shoot him if he returns.

A police report filed on Tuesday described the assault as two friends being jumped by a mob of 20 teens “because they were gay.” However, a spokeswoman said that video surveillance has changed the department’s take on the attack which is no longer considered a hate crime.

The school has declined to comment.

Watch a report, which includes the disturbing cell phone footage, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Judge Denies Abused Transgender Inmate Ashley Diamond's Transfer Plea: VIDEO

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Abused trans Georgia inmate Ashley Diamond has been denied a request to be transferred to a lower-security prison for her own safety, reports the New York Times.

Earlier this month it was reported that Diamond has been denied access to her hormones, assaulted and raped at least seven times by other inmates. She filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) in February after years of unsuccessfully trying to convince officials to provide her proper medical treatment and protection.

In a federal court appearance yesterday, Diamond said that she has come to blame herself for being a victim.

Addressing Judge Marc T. Treadwell, she said:

“If I wasn’t so feminine, maybe if I didn’t talk the way I talked or move the way I moved, I would be less of a victim that way. I also feel a little less human because when I did report things, the very people I wanted help from, Your Honor, would tell me things like, ‘You brought this on yourself.’”

The hearing only addressed Diamond’s transfer request. Allegations that corrections authorities had failed to protect her from serious harm were not considered.

Treadwell said that the state had made a persuasive argument that Diamond had been transferred to Georgia State as a “positive” reaction to her lawsuit. She is housed in the system’s smallest unit which offers supported living for rape victims and for inmates with special mental health needs.

However, Diamond said she had been sexually harassed and forced to pay protection money since her arrival. She added that when she declined to be put in protective custody, prison officials coerced her into signing affidavits saying she was doing well, a claim which has been denied.

It was also stated that the prison’s psychologist did not appear in court because he had told Diamond he could lose his job if he testified “truthfully.” Treadwell admitted that this gave him cause for “lingering concerns.”

Earlier this month, Elton John and Michael Stipe issued a joint statement calling on the GDC to ensure Diamond's safety and provide her with hormone therapy.

Watch a Southern Poverty Law Center report on Diamond, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Department of Justice Weighs In on Lawsuit Against Transphobic Georgia Prison System

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In the three years since Ashley Diamond has been an inmate at Georgia State Prison she’s been denied access to her medically prescribed hormones, assaulted, and repeated raped by other inmates. Diamond, who is a transgender woman, first filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Corrections in February after years of unsuccessfully trying to convince corrections officials to provide her proper medical treatment and protection.

When the Department of Corrections wasn’t flat out ignoring Diamond’s pleas it fell back on Georgia’s freeze-frame policy that determines how prisons recognize inmates as they enter the system. When inmates are first processed they are typically given full health panels so as to assess any pre-existing medical conditions that may arise during their incarceration.

In her lawsuit Diamond describes that she was made to disrobe in front of male inmates despite asserting her female identity and physically presenting as a woman. It was determined that Diamond was a man, and thus should be put into the general male population within the prison. Over the weekend the Department of Justice issued a statement of interest regarding Diamond’s lawsuit and highlighted how the freeze-frame policy was being used to discriminate against trans-identified people.

"Freeze-frame policies and other policies that apply blanket prohibitions to such treatment are facially unconstitutional because they fail to provide individualized assessment and treatment of a serious medical need," the letter reads.

In fighting for her own rights Diamond is drawing attention to the very real obstacles facing transpeople who are tied up in the penal system. Part of what makes Diamond’s argument compelling is the fact that she began transitioning as a young teenager and reads physically as a woman. The larger issue that she’s tackling through her lawsuit, however, are transpeople’s fundamental right to assert their identities regardless of their physical appearances.

Diamond’s case is scheduled to be heard for the first time in court on April 13. Read the Department of Justice’s letter of interest in full AFTER THE JUMP...

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These Georgia Florists Are Proud to Say They'll Refuse to Serve Gay Couples (But Adulterers are Welcome): VIDEO

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Georgia's "religious freedom" bill may be dead for now, but that isn't stopping some in the state from proudly speaking out in support of the legislation.

CNN's Gary Tuchman visited five florists in rural Jeff Davis County, Georgia who all said they support the new law that would shore up their ability to turn away gay customers.

Jeffcoat"[Jesus] died on the cross for me, so that's the least I can do for Him," said florist Melissa Jeffcoat, whose son Carlton (pictured above) is studying to become a Southern Baptist pastor. Asked by Tuchman if she'd serve adulterers and other Biblically-defined "sinners," Ms. Jeffcoat said she would, adding:

"[Homosexuality] is just a different kind of sin to me and I don't believe in it."

Luckily for these bigots, it's already completely legal to discriminate against LGBT Georgians even without the state's "religious freedom" bill. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Related, "Indiana Pizza Shop Won't Cater to Gays, Is Happy with 'Religious Liberty' Law" 

Continue reading "These Georgia Florists Are Proud to Say They'll Refuse to Serve Gay Couples (But Adulterers are Welcome): VIDEO" »


Lead Sponsor of Georgia's 'License to Discriminate' Bill Says Legislation is Dead This Session

The lead sponsor of Georgia's discriminatory "religious freedom" bill says that the bill is dead this legislative session, Insider Advantage reports:

Mckoon“I do not expect further developments,” Sen. Joshua McKoon, R-Columbus, said in an email about his Senate Bill 129. McKoon says the legislation would prevent government from intruding into religious practice, while opponents claim it would cause discrimination against gays.

The bill, approved by the Senate, has been tabled in the House Judiciary Committee since last week. Committee Chairman Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, and Senate President Pro Tem David Shaffer, R-Duluth, were negotiating over a compromise anti-discrimination amendment to allow the bill to reach the House floor before the session ends Thursday night, but a deal has not been reached, McKoon said. He’s vowed to try again next year.

 


Is Georgia's Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Bill Quietly Being Killed By State Republicans?

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The fate of Georgia's discriminatory 'religious freedom' bill appears uncertain after a specially called House Judiciary Committee meeting was cancelled Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

The committee was to meet at 10 a.m., to likely decide the fate of a controversial bill for this year. But a member of the committee, who asked not to be identified for fear of angering leadership, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the meeting was off. The committee member did not know if it would be rescheduled, but with lawmakers only meeting in session Tuesday and Thursday before ending their 2015 session, time is rapidly expiring on Senate Bill 129.

Last week, the state's House Judiciary Committee voted to table the bill after an amendment (supported by a number of GOP state reps) was added to keep the bill from allowing discrimination - a move that irked supporters who claimed the amendment had effectively "gutted" the bill's intent. 

Perhaps business-minded Republicans are making sure #BoycottGeorgia doesn't become a thing? We'll find out later this week...


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