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Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO

  Michelle Kosilek

The full First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must provide an incarcerated transgender woman with medically-necessary gender reassignment surgery, reports Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

The Court of Appeals issued an initial ruling in January upholding an earlier finding that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) engaged in a pattern of “pretense, pretext and prevarication” to deny Michelle Kosilek (above) treatment against the recommendations of multiple doctors, including those hired by the DOC itself. Born Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife Cheryl (below, right) in 1990.

Cheryl KosilekThe latest decision was divided with a 3-2 majority and two sharply worded dissents.

Predicting that the case will not stand the test of time, Judge Thompson wrote:

“I am confident that I would not need to pen this dissent, over twenty years after Kosilek’s quest for constitutionally adequate medical care began, were she not seeking a treatment that many see as strange or immoral. Prejudice and fear of the unfamiliar have undoubtedly played a role in this matter’s protraction.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD, said:

“I am appalled by this decision, which means that Michelle Kosilek will continue to be denied the life-saving medical care she needs and has been seeking for years.  

"It is difficult or impossible to imagine a decision like this one – that second-guesses every factual determination made by the trial court – in the context of any other prisoner health care case.  

"This decision is a testament to how much work remains to be done to get transgender people’s health care needs on par with others in the general public.

“There is no scientific or medical basis for denying transgender people their health care needs. The consensus position of the medical community is that surgery may sometimes be essential treatment.”

Watch a report on a television interview with Kosilek, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO" »


Russian LGBT Group Added To 'Foreign Agents' List

Russia's institutional homophobic bigotry makes another step forward with the classification of LGBTI group Rakurs, an Archangelsk-based organisation dedicated to LGBTI rights, as a "foreign agent" by the Russian Ministry of Justice this past Monday.

Vice_RussiaA statement from ILGA-Europe reads in part:

Since November 2012, NGOs involved in what is vaguely defined as "political activity" and who are in receipt of funding from abroad have been subject to increased scrutiny from Russian authorities. Many Russian organisations refused to register themselves as "foreign agents", a term loaded with stigma. However, amendments to the legislation made during the summer mean that NGOS can now be unilaterally added to the list of "foreign agents" by the Ministry of Justice, without their consent.

Since June 2014, 18 NGOs have been registered in this manner. This includes Rakurs, the first LGBTI organisation on the list.

We reported this past summer on LGBT group Coming Out also receiving this designation, which subjects groups to extra governmental audits, additional regulations, and strips them of the ability to attempt to affect any change within the government.


Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In Scotland - VIDEO

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Same-sex couples can legally marry in Scotland now, reports Equality Network.

In February, Scotland became the seventeenth country in the world to legalise gay marriage. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 received Royal Assent in March and government has since been implementing the new law, including passing required secondary legislation.

Equality network scotlandScotland is considered to have one of the most progressive marriage equality laws in the world. The legislation differs from same-sex marriage laws in England and Wales in a number of respects including better protections for transgender people. The law also allows any religious or belief body to opt in to conducting same-sex marriages and does not ban religious or belief bodies from opting out.

Religious and belief organisations already authorised to conduct same-sex marriages include the Humanist Society Scotland, the Quakers, the Liberal Jewish Community, the Metropolitan Community Church, One Spirit Interfaith Foundation and the Open Episcopal Church in Scotland.

Scottish couples in civil partnerships also now have the option to convert to marriage through a free administrative process. Same-sex marriages performed abroad will also now be recognized in Scotland.

The first couple to make use of the new law were Douglas Pretsell and Peter Gloster, who converted their Scottish civil partnership to a Scottish marriage at the British Consulate in Melbourne, Australia.

Scott and David Barclay will be the first couple to take advantage of the new law by converting their civil partnership to a marriage in Scotland.

With the standard 15 day notice period required, it is expected the first same-sex marriages will take place on Hogmanay (December 31st).

Watch a Huffington Post report on the legalization of same-sex marriage in Scotland, AFTER THE JUMP...

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British Columbia Vetoes Approval of Anti-gay Trinity Western Law School

Twu

British Columbia has revoked its approval of a Christian university's plan to open a law school following stiff resistance from LGBT-supportive lawyers who objected to the school's covenant against homosexuality that students and faculty are required to sign.

Said TWU president Bob Kuhn via statement:

“It is difficult to conceive of a justifiable basis for the Minister [of Advanced Education Amrik Virk] to have revoked his approval of the school of law program...We believe in diversity and the rights of all Canadians to their beliefs and values.”

Back in October, we reported on a poll conducted throughout the province that found 75 percent of practicing lawyers agreed that the Trinity Western University's law school should not be given accreditation due to the school's anti-gay policy. Specifically, the policy forbids all sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

Said Victoria-based lawyer Michael Mulligan at the time:

“The large return and clear result sends an important message about the core values of the legal profession that include upholding the legal rights of all persons. The clear message to TWU is this: if you wish approval from the legal profession in B.C. you will need to cease your discriminatory practices. The discipline or expulsion of students and staff for private sexual activity is unacceptable.”

[via Metro News]


Tony Perkins: Ban On 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Will Help Recruit LGBT Youth - VIDEO

PerkinsTony Perkins, the leader of rabidly anti-gay listed hate group the Family Research Council, has issued a press release condemning the introduction of a law banning gay “conversion therapy” in Washington, D.C., reports Joe My God.

Writing on the hate group’s website, Perkins takes a positive spin on a harmful practices condemned by the American Psychological Association, promulgates the idea that LGBT youth choose to take part and compares “conversion therapy” to “counseling aimed at helping kids make the transition into another sex.”

“In Washington, D.C., destructive behavior isn’t just encouraged -- efforts to stop it are punished! If kids are looking for a way out of their same-sex attractions, they’ll have to start outside of the nation’s capital. Under a measure just passed by the D.C. Council, counselors can lose their license just for offering the kind of therapy these children seek. Like California and New Jersey, the District is radically opposed to helping young people shake the unwanted sexual feelings they have for members of the same sex.

“It’s all part of the new Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Act, which makes it a crime for therapists and mental health practitioners to coach children out of the sexual confusion they’re experiencing. Council member and author Mary Cheh insists that the District’s move is “a crucial step in the long battle” against “the counterproductive anti-homosexual mindset.” The fact that children are seeking this help doesn’t seem to matter to D.C., which is intent on locking kids into a lifestyle with devastating health, emotional, and societal consequences. Instead, the District wants to make it an offense to help children come to grips with their natural biology -- opening a frightening chapter in the liberal recruiting of LGBTs.

“In a twisted irony, the Council made it quite clear that counseling aimed at helping kids make the transition into another sex is perfectly acceptable. It’s a ludicrous double standard -- one that should draw the ire of every parent who rightly believes they should be the final authority on the kind of treatment their child should receive.”

Watch David Pakman on Perkins' claim to be on the winning side in the fight for same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last month, Perkins hinted at a possible boycott of Apple after CEO Tim Cook came out as gay. He has also said that gay rights are part of a wider "anti-life" agenda to end humanity as we know it.

Continue reading "Tony Perkins: Ban On 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Will Help Recruit LGBT Youth - VIDEO" »


Thousands Take Part In Gambian Anti-Gay March - VIDEO

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Thousands of people took part in an anti-gay protest in The Gambia last Tuesday.

GambiaDemonstrators were joined by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who earlier this year signed a new law imposing life imprisonment for homosexual acts. Last month, the Gambian government said it would never allow the acceptance of gay rights to be a precondition for accepting Western aid.

According to the report on AllAfrica, protesters denounced “attempts by outside forces - development partners - who advocate for homosexuality and lesbianism; vices forbidden by the laws of The Gambia.”

Those demonstrating are said to have carried placards with messages including "Homosexuality is Inhuman", "Even cows don't do it!" and "Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam".

The cow argument is not new: Uganda's First Lady Janet Museveni said earlier this year that humans shouldn't be homosexual because cows arent. .  Of course, cows can be gay as can many other animals.

A petition read by the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government Saihou Sanyang read in part:

"Your Excellency Mr. President, it goes without saying that our intolerance with the unnatural and abominable malpractices of homosexuality and lesbianism on the one hand, and the other, our government's position are not negotiable.

It is on the basis of such religious, social, moral and ethical upbringing built on high moral grounds that we stand by our government's position to zero tolerance to either homosexuality or lesbianism or both. There shall not be any turning point and that the people are ready for eventuals in good defence of the people and country's independence".

One protester brought up the animal issue again, saying "The Gambia is a decent country of decent people. Man to man marriage or woman to woman marriage will not be accepted because it is not acceptable by our tradition and cultures. Even animals know that it is not decent".

Watch The Young Turks discuss Jammeh's threat to catch and kill Gambians seeking asylum from persecution, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Thousands Take Part In Gambian Anti-Gay March - VIDEO" »


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