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Gay Chinese Viral Sensation Suing Former Employer For Homophobic, Wrongful Termination

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Mu Yi inadvertently became something of an internet celebrity last year when he was recorded on camera in the midst of a dispute with another man who is thought to be gay.

In the video Mu and a man in a red hat appeared to be arguing as a Nanshan police officer mediated the dispute. Mu, who headed the sales department of a Chinese design company, is now claiming that being in that video effectively outed him against his will and gave his employer reason to fire him.

"During that time (when the video went viral) I was a total wreck. I couldn't go out. I couldn't answer the phone. I even lost my job," Mu explained. "I was the victim to begin with, it doesn't make any sense for my company [to punish me.]”

Now Mu is suing his former employer with what his attorney describes as the first sexual-orientation discrimination lawsuit to be filed in China. Though homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997 and the Ministry of Health removed it from its list of mental illnesses in 2001, there are few legal protections in place for LGBT individuals.

Re-watch the video that first sparked Mu's controversy AFTER THE JUMP... 

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Dover Police DashCam Catches Officer's Fabulous Lip Sync To Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' - VIDEO

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The Dover Police Department found rather interesting footage on one of their officer's dash-cams during a routine footage review and decided to share the video with the public on YouTube. Whether the video was staged or real is uncertain given the audio quality of the video.

Regardless, watch the officer get down to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off," which apparently was everyone's favorite song to dance and make videos with last year, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Passenger Gets Slap On Wrist For Drunken, Anti-Gay Assault Caught On Video At Dallas Airport

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The passenger who went on a drunken, violent, anti-gay rampage that was caught on video at DFW International Airport in October will pay $474 in fines for the incident, according to a court spokeswoman. 

BenhamMcCleish Christmas Benham (right), now 28, of Shelbyville, Tennessee, assaulted two people while yelling anti-gay epithets, before other passengers tackled him to the ground and he was arrested on Oct. 23. 

A bystander captured the incident on video and posted it on YouTube, where it's been viewed more than 5 million times.

Benham was charged with public intoxication and simple assault, both class-C misdemeanors each punishable by a maximum $500 fine, but no jail time. The case was referred to the Municipal Court in the city of Grapevine, Texas. 

Cindy Eteaki, court manager for the city of Grapevine, told Towleroad on Wednesday that Benham posted a cash bond to get out of jail and entered a conditional plea of no contest at the time. Because Benham failed to appear in court, his bond will be forfeited and he will be convicted on both counts, Eteaki said. Benham's bond was $262 dollars on the assault charge and $212 on the public intoxication, for a total of $474.

The FBI has declined to comment on whether it is investigating the incident as an anti-gay hate crime under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act of 2009. 

Expert Pete Schulte, an openly gay criminal defense attorney and former police officer from Dallas, has said he believes authorities mishandled the case — and Benham should have been charged with class-A misdemeanor assault, punishable by up to one year in jail: 

“I’m sure the individual who was punched felt a little pain based on the video,” Schulte said. “Class-C assault is offensive contact without any pain.

“He could be charged with resisting arrest if they decide the person who broke his ankle was attempting to arrest him,” Schulte added. “It appears that DFW airport police may have not done a great job in this case.”

Benham had previously been in trouble for theft and animal abuse.  

Watch video of the attack, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Police Search For Clues After Gay Man Is Mysteriously Beaten To Death In Northwest Georgia: VIDEO

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After a 2-mile walk, Paul Guerrant was just a few hundred yards from home on the evening of Dec. 22 — a cold, rainy night in Dalton, Georgia. 

Guerrant, 43, had been talking to a friend from out of state on his cell phone as he walked alone across the Northwest Georgia town, 90 miles north of Atlanta near Chattanooga, Tenn. 

At 9:28 p.m., the call ended, cell phone records indicate. Nine minutes later, a passerby called 911 to report Guerrant lying in the street unresponsive. Guerrant was rushed to a hospital, where he died from blunt force trauma to the head, having been struck multiple times with a hammer-like object.  

DaltonNow, police are offering a $10,000 reward as they search for clues about what happened during those nine minutes, in a case that has some telltale signs of an anti-gay hate crime. 

Project Q Atlanta reports: 

The severity of the attack indicates that Guerrant knew his killer, Dalton police spokesperson Bruce Frazier told Project Q Atlanta on Tuesday.

"When you see this kind of violence, typically the attacker and the victim know each other," Frazier says. "That level of violence can occur in a random encounter but it is much more likely that it is somebody that knew the victim and that there was a personal motivation behind it. We don't know that for sure, but that is the assumption you would make from this level of attack."

Frazier says detectives have ruled out any of Guerrant's known associates such as friends or ex-boyfriends as suspects in the homicide. But whether Guerrant's sexual orientation was a factor in his murder isn't clear, he says.

"Whether the victim being gay is motivation for the attack, we really don't know the answer to that. At this point, we have not identified a suspect or motive for the attack. It's possible but it's not something that we're ready to identify as the reason for the attack," Frazier says.

According to The Times Free Press of Chattanooga, Guerrant had struggled with alcoholism and homelessness, but had recently celebrated 17 years of sobriety and been baptized in a local church.

Guerrant's Facebook page shows signs of a recent relapse, as well as intense anger about an ex-boyfriend's plans to marry another man. But on the night of his murder, Gerrant was walking home from an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. 

From The Times Free Press

Guerrant, 43, had grown up in Dalton but left some time after graduating high school in 1991, longtime family friend Sally Higgins said. She said he recently returned to Dalton but wasn't in contact with local family members.

"He was trying to get on the right path," Higgins said. "He'd made big strides over the past year." ... 

At Rock Bridge Community Church, Guerrant had grown involved in several small group ministries, the pastor said. And he served on a technology team to help with the church's productions. Turley remembers him always being full of joy and enthusiasm.

"We were excited about the journey he was taking with God," Turley said. "This has just been a terrible tragedy for us as a church. We're heartbroken. We would love to see justice. But we're also very grateful to have been a part of a process in his life to where now we know where he is. For that part we're relieved."

Anyone with information about Guerrant's murder is asked to contact Detective Brian Shirley at 706-278-9085, dial 9 and then enter extension 189.

Watch WRCB-TV's report on Guerrant's murder, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Freedom To Marry Launches TV Ads In Texas In Advance of 5th Circuit Hearing: VIDEO

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In a new TV ad from Freedom To Marry, Fort Worth Police Detective Chris Gorrie is flanked by three of his colleagues (below right) at a restaurant table.  

"Chris makes a sacrifice every day along with the rest of us," FWPD Detective Monica Jackson says. 

"He puts his life on the line just like I do," FWPD Officer Jay Doshi says. 

Gorrie explains that he and his partner, Justin (shown above), live together and would like to get married someday. 

Gorrie2"Texans believe in freedom and liberty, and part of that is to be able to marry whoever you love, so Chris should be able to marry whoever he loves," Doshi says. 

The ad is airing across Texas this week in advance of a key federal appeals court hearing Friday, according to The Houston Chronicle

The $100,000 TV buy will air Sunday and Monday, just days before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is slated to hear arguments in a case challenging Texas’ constitutional ban on gay marriage.

The ads, which feature gay and lesbian Texans talking about their desire to marry, will air in eight of Texas’ 20 markets including Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley, Waco and Wichita Falls. ... 

“The aim is to show gay Americans are really completely integrated into the fabric of our society,” said Mark McKinnon, a former advisor to President George W. Bush and Texas chair of Southerners for the Freedom to Marry. He called the ads an “electronic blanket” to reinforce a recent wave court cases validating LGBT Americans right to marry in other states.

The ad is part of Freedom To Marry's newly launched Texas For Marriage campaign. The campaign included a town hall earlier this month in Austin where 16-year-old Mason Marriot-Voss, who has two moms, delivered a rousing speech in support of marriage equality

More on Texas For Marriage from Lone Star Q

The campaign will be led by Ward Curtin, three-time deputy campaign manager to Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and Mark McKinnon, a former advisor to President George W. Bush.

“Nearly every state and federal court from last year on, more than 50 – with judges appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents and governors – has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry and moving the country forward,” Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said. “Texas families should not be left behind. Government has no business interfering in important freedoms like who Texans marry, and no business putting obstacles in the path of families and employers trying to do the right thing. Our new campaign will show that Texans are ready for the freedom to marry, and so is America.”

In addition to a website unveiled Tuesday, TxForMarriage.org, the campaign will feature statewide TV ads, townhall meetings and a Republican-led effort by young conservatives.

“Gay marriage was barely a blip on the radar this past election cycle in Texas, as it was in the rest of the country,” McKinnon said. “That’s because discrimination doesn’t sell like it used to — and because Texans from all walks of life, from big cities to small towns, believe strongly in freedom and family. Supporting gay couples marrying is squarely in line with these Texas values.”

As we reported last week, even though the 5th Circuit Court is among the most conservative in the nation, there is hope for a favorable ruling. In addition to the Texas case, the 5th Circuit will hear oral arguments Friday in marriage cases from Louisiana and Mississippi. 

Watch Freedom To Marry's Texas ad, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Salt Lake County Prosecutors Pursuing Hate Crime, Assault Charges In Attack On Two Gay Men

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Salt Lake County prosecutors are pursuing hate crime and assault charges against a pair of Wyoming men for allegedly attacking two gay men outside a Salt Lake City home on Dec. 21 reports The Salt Lake TribuneThe assault on Dec. 21 began with a volley of gay slurs, including explicit sexual references, aimed at Rusty Andrade and Maxwell Christen. A physical attack quickly followed and left the two friends bruised, bloodied and emotionally shaken. The two had just returned from a holiday party at Christen's boyfriend's house nearby, exchanging a hug outside Andrade's garage when the suspects approached.

CrimeSaid Christen:

"I let go and then these two guys were just standing there. They started calling us faggots … one of them pushed Rusty and then they hit both of us. It was just quick."

An account of the attack in a Salt Lake City police report says the two suspects returned after the attack to search for a lost wallet at the same time a patrol officer arrived in response to a 911 call; the two suspects both denied participating in the fight when police questioned them. However, one of the men said he'd been drinking at a bar and couldn't remember what happened according to the report. The man admitted that if there was an altercation then he was "probably involved," which seems like a contradicting statement to what he said previously. He also had cuts on his face but claimed he couldn't remember how he got them. The other man still flat-out denied any involvement in the assault.

Neither suspected assailants were arrested or cited, and initially the case was not being investigated as a hate crime according to responding Patrol Officer Sgt. Robin Heiden. A detective began a follow-up investigation and spoke with the victims a second time and discerned that a hate crime may have occurred. Andrade and Christen believe it was certainly a hate crime.

Said Christen:

"Once they found out we were gay, it was absolutely clear why they attacked us. It was a complete hate crime. If feel like if I could have done something, I would have."

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill (top photo) said his office is reviewing police reports to determine what charges might be supported in regards to evidence and, if necessary, would conduct a follow-up investigation. Gill said his office is taking the charges seriously, regardless of whether it's based on a person's gender, religion or culture.

Nationally, 5,928 hate crimes were reported by law enforcement agencies in 2013, data from the FBI’s annual crime statistics report released in December show. Of those offenses, about 20 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation-related bias and most of the victims were gay men. A Utah report from the state Bureau of Criminal Identification for 2012, the latest year with readily available figures for Utah, shows the overall number of hate crimes dropped 29.31 percent to 58 percent. Of those, the report says fewer than 10 were sexual orientation motivated.

Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, says the attack sent a disturbing message to the wider community, especially in Salt Lake City and county where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals say they generally feel safe in. Williams also noted that the assault coincides with the anniversary of the surprising court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah.

Said Williams:

"When you attack one member of the LGBT community, you really attack all of us. That’s the cruel irony of it ... Biases still exist.

"We’ve had these amazing legal victories, but prejudice against us because of who we are is still pervasive in society. This is an ugly, brutal reminder of that."

As of Dec. 31 it's unclear how soon a decision about criminal charges will occur.

[photo via QSaltLake]


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