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Deceased Transgender Woman Presented As A Man During Wake; Friends, Mentors Furious

Friends of a transgender woman who died suddenly in October were shocked to see their friend presented as a man in an open casket during her funeral service reports The Miami Herald. Jennifer Gable, born Geoff Gable, died suddenly on her shift with Wells Fargo as a customer service coordinator; an aneurysm is suspected of killing the otherwise healthy woman. Gable's friends attended the funeral, but upon seeing Gable's body in the casket they found themselves disgusted with what had been done to Gable's body.

Gable“I am disgusted. A great and dear friend’s mom went to the funeral today. It was not closed casket. They cut her hair, suit on. How can they bury her as Geoff when she legally changed her name. So very sad. Jen you will be missed and people who know you know that you are at peace.”Said Gable's friend, Stacy Dee Hudson, in a post on Facebook:

Gable's obituary explicitly referred to her as male, even though Gable legally changed her name to Jennifer long before her death. Meghan Stabler, a board member of the Human Rights Campaign and member of HRC’s National Business Council, expressed disdain for the lack of respect given to Gable's body and identity.

Said Stabler:

“No mention of the woman she knew she was and had lived as for several years. Just erosion of her identity and an old photograph of how the father perceived her to be.

"She had done what she needed to do legally to be seen as her authentic self. Her father erased her identity either though ignorance or arrogance, but who knows what the parent was going through?”

Stabler met Gable online after she reached out to her for advice on how to proceed with the transition process. Mike Parke of Magic Valley Funeral Home and Crematory in Twin Falls said Gable’s death certificate listed her as male and buried her accordingly.

Said Parke:

"The death certificate says Geoffrey AKA Jennifer Gable. The last few years she lived as Jennifer. They buried him as Geoff. A tormented situation for all those involved."


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article4055600.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article4055600.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article4055600.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article4055600.html#storylink=cpy

Mayor of Lubbock, Texas, Calls HRC Report 'Completely Bogus' After City Receives A Zero On Gay Rights

Robertson

Of the five cities nationwide, out of 353 rated, that received zeros on the Human Rights Campaign's 2014 Municipal Equality Index, four are in Texas, and one is Lubbock. 

But the mayor of Lubbock — a city of 240,000 in West Texas that is home to Texas Tech University — isn't the least bit happy about the score.

From The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Mayor Glen Robertson said no one from the HRC contacted his office, the city managers’ office or the head of human resources. The holes in their research, he said, makes the entire report “completely bogus.”

“This survey is not, in my opinion, designed to get facts. This survey is designed to create problems that aren’t there,” he said.

The report alleges Lubbock has no ordinances in place that protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Robertson said these issues are covered by federal and state laws. 

Needless to say, Robertson is dead wrong: Neither state nor federal law contains explicit protections against anti-LGBT employment discrimination. But Lubbock Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson has Robertson's back:  

“It’s not that we don’t include anyone. We include everyone,” Gibson said. “Are they wanting us to reach out to the gay and lesbian community specifically? Because in my opinion, that is discrimination. We don’t reach out to Asians or reach out to blacks, we reach out to everyone.”

Last I checked, Asians and blacks were protected against discriminatoin under state and federal law, and they can get married in Texas, which qualifies their spouses for city benefits. 

The story focuses on how the atmosphere for gay people in Lubbock has improved from 20 years ago. For example, they no longer have to worry about getting jumped leaving bars or hide the locations of their meetings: 

“The community as a whole — the actual living citizens that make up the city of Lubbock — has come a long way and does not warrant this,” said Tony Thornton, president of the Lubbock chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

Hell, Texas Tech even hosts an annual drag show fundraiser, according to the article, whereas drag queens only used to feel safe going out on Halloween. Doesn't that count for something?!

Actually, no, because the HRC survey doesn't claim to measure intangibles like overall quailty of life. It doesn't factor in the number of gay bars or LGBT organizations. Case in point: Houston received a 53, while Norman, Oklahoma, received a 60. Say what you want about Houston, and no offense to Norman, but as an LGBT person, where would you rather live?  

You see, folks, the HRC survey is merely a barometer of what city government has accomplished on a policy level to be LGBT-inclusive, and in the case of Lubbock, that would be a grand total of zilch. Lubbock doesn't have nondiscrimination protections for LGBT city employees, it doesn't offer domestic partner benefits, etc. 

Let's check back in with Mayor Robertson: 

Equality in Lubbock, from Robertson’s perspective, doesn’t seem to be a problem. In his two-plus years as mayor, he’s heard few complaints from the LGBT community.

“I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen any problem. That doesn’t mean we don’t have it, but if we do, nobody’s being vocal about it,” he said. “Typically, if somebody’s being treated differently because of their gender or sexual orientation, they speak up, and I have heard nothing.”

Equality is not a problem, Robertson said, so it’s not a priority.

OK, this is getting ridiculous. Earlier this year, when Lubbock social worker Casey Stegall was fired for being gay, and it made national news, Robertson himself told this very same newspaper he was open to considering a nondiscrimination ordinance:

“If anybody brought that issue forward, I’d be open-minded and look at it," he said. 

Ultimately, though, despite his selective memory, Robertson's outrage over the goose-egg is perhaps a good thing. After all, if he were rabidly anti-LGBT, he'd be proud of the HRC score. 

Now, it's just a question of LGBT leaders talking some sense into the mayor, which is what Thornton, the PFLAG president, says he plans to try to do:  

“I think the city needs lots of work from the perspective of policy and administration in these areas,” he said. “And I want to work with the city. I want to work with the mayor and the City Council and the HR directors to fix this.”

It sounds like the biggest challenge will be convincing Robertson there's a problem to begin with. But at some point the question also becomes, even if you fix the HRC score, can you ever really fix Lubbock?  

 


HRC and Victory Fund Co-Founder Terry Bean Arrested, Charged With Sex Abuse of a Minor

Terry Bean, a prominent Democratic Party fundraiser and co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund was arrested Wednesday on sex abuse charges involving a 15-year-old boy, The Oregonian reports:

BeanBean's lawyer, Kristen Winemiller, said in a statement that Bean has cooperated with the investigation, adding that it's her client who was the "victim of an extortion ring'' by several men.

Winemiller released this statement: "Terry Bean is a highly respected community leader who has devoted his life to bettering our community. Over the course of several months in 2013-2014 Terry was the victim of an extortion ring led by several men known to law enforcement. This current arrest is connected to the ongoing investigation of that case in which Mr. Bean has fully cooperated. No allegations against Terry Bean should be taken at face value. We look forward to the opportunity to clear his name.''

The indictment charges Bean with two counts of third-degree sodomy, a felony, and one count of third-degree sex abuse, a misdemeanor. Police have declined to release any information about the case or indictment at this time. 

American Family Association spokeshater Bryan Fischer has already wasted no time jumping on the story:

Joe.my.god also points out Matt Barber has a new article up on his site with the headline "Homosexual HRC Founder Arrested for Raping 15-Year-Old Boy" 


NOM Is Near Death: HRC Reports Lack Of Funding And Support Crippling The Organization

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 1.12.17 PMThe Human Rights Campaign issued a press release today that contained results from a study they conducted on the National Organization for Marriage's funding and found the organization is rapidly losing support. HRC examined NOM's tax filings from 2013 and found that the organization's funding for the year dropped a whopping 50 percent from 2012, raising only $5.1 million in funds this year. Only two donors account for donating half of those funds alone, which indicates NOM's support base merely consists of a very few wealthy people and a minuscule amount of the general public.

The NOM Education Fund also dropped nearly $3.5 million in funding; a drop of almost 70 percent since the previous year. NOM ended the year more than $2.5 million in debt. Fred Sainz, the HRC Vice President of Communications, urges NOM to give up the ghost already.

Said Sainz:

“If I were Brian Brown, I’d be worried that my two or three mega-donors are soon going to come to terms with the fact that they’d largely be better off flushing money down the toilet.  Americans certainly aren’t buying what NOM is selling, and it’s only a matter of time before the trickle of money keeping the lights on at NOM HQ dries up.”

NOM fought to keep their 2013 990s secret however, HRC made an in-person request for the public financial documents on Monday morning and again Tuesday – in both instances, NOM didn't produce the documents. Federal law requires organizations to publicly release their 990s the same day an in-person request is made. HRC filed a complaint with the IRS in order to force NOM to abide by the law. 

Within the last year NOM suffered crippling blows to its core purpose and mission with the number of states allowing gay marriage jumping from 15 to 33 states, with 62 percent of the nation's population living in states that allow same-sex marriage. Both Democratic and Republican appointed judges are striking down marriage bans and the Supreme Court of the United States judges decreed that federal court rulings granting marriage rights to same-sex couples to become the law of the land in 11 states in the last two years: California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Recent poll results show that NOM’s radical and exclusionary brand of anti-LGBT rhetoric is falling on deaf ears. An HRC survey of 1,200 registered voters conducted June 6-10 this year by Republican pollster Alex Lundry of TargetPoint Consulting, found that the number of Americans strongly opposed to national marriage equality dropped to 28 percent. Of the people polled, only three percent would challenge the Supreme Court of the United States judges if they struck down marriage bans across the country.

NOM President Brian Brown, realizing his organization is becoming obsolete in the states, took his rhetoric to Russia to support a bill – now law – banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples or parents living in countries where marriage equality is legal. Although Brown would experience success in Russia, NOM's death knell is ringing loud and clear here in the states, but the organization continues to shuffle on like an undead zombie; aimless and spouting incoherent nonsense. 


Three Arizona Cities Receive Perfect Scores In Human Rights Campaign LGBT Civil Rights Index

A report from the Human Rights Campaign's annual Municipal Equality Index indicates that the Arizona cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson received perfect scores of a 100 on a scale of 0-100 reports One Community. HRC's index scores 353 municipalities from all 50 states on how they treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, specifically in regards to what cities promote inclusiveness and provide equal rights for LGBT residents and workers. The three cities also were among 23 others designated "All Stars," for excelling on matters of equality without relying on state law.

Picture 4In 2013 Tempe received a score of 72, however the city unanimously approved Proposition 475 this year that bans workplace discrimination against LGBT workers. Additionally the city also passed an ordinance earlier this year in February that bans LGBT discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels, but includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs. The cities of Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff have similar ordinances in place as well.

However, some local Arizona politicians fear an uphill battle is looming after state Republicans, including new Gov. Doug Ducey, saw big wins in the recent election. Tempe councilman Kolby Granville, a major proponent of gay rights, expressed the state legislature may further stall LGBT civil rights protections.

Said Granville:

"When you look at the makeup of our state Legislature, particularly given this election last Tuesday, the politics are not there for state change as it relates to employment discrimination, as it relates to equal treatment and as it relates to health benefits,"

"If the cities can muster the votes they should move forward and let the state catch up."

Arizona's total score average is 68 out of a 100 points, which is above the national average of 59. the city of Peoria received the lowest score with a total of 33 points. With the legalization of gay marriage in Arizona, the overall score of the state should rise in the future should marriage remain unchallenged. The full report, along with a FAQ page on why certain cities are chosen for the survey, is available on the HRC website.


White House Appoints New LGBT Community Liaison

The White House's new LGBT Community Liaison, Aditi Hardikar, started her new role on Monday as the White House's Associate Director of Public Engagement in the Office of Public Engagement reports The American Bazaar Online.

Screen shot 2014-11-11 at 1.07.33 PMHardikar, a University of Michigan graduate where she earned her B.A. in economic and political science, also serves as liaison to the Asia-American and Pacific Islander community. Hardikar replaces outgoing Gautam Raghavan, who is retiring from the position. 

Said Raghavan of Hardikar:

“Aditi has served President Obama for many years, including on his 2012 campaign and at the DNC, with distinction, integrity and grace."

"She will bring fresh energy and perspective to the position and its portfolio. I also think it’s worth noting that she will be the first woman of colour to serve as the White House LGBT Liaison — reflecting the talent and diversity of the LGBT movement as well as this President’s Administration.”

Hardikar's credentials include working as the LGBT finance director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee in 2013, executing events and organizing progressive young Americans for the Campus Progress team at the Center for American Progress, serving as deputy director of LGBT Voter Outreach and LGBT Finance for the 2012 Obama-Biden Presidential Campaign reports The Washington Blade.

Stephen Peters, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said his organization is keen to collaborate with Hardikar on equality issues.

Said Peters:

"Aditi Hardikar has already been a tremendous advocate for our community in her work with the Democratic National Committee. We are thrilled she will be joining the White House team and look forward to working with her on important issues in our ongoing fight for full equality."


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