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Trans Activists Storm LGBTQ Conference in Denver, Demand An End to Police Profiling of Queer Youth of Color

Denver
(twitter)

At the National LGBTQ Task Force's Creating Change conference in Denver last night, a group of nearly 100 trans people and allies rushed the stage to bring attention to the death of Jessie Hernandez, a queer Latina who was fatally shot by Denver police during a confrontation over a stolen vehicle last Monday.

The protesters, led by Bamby Salcedo, chanted "Jessie Presente!" as they stormed the stage with handmade signs, The Advocate reports:

Not only did Salcedo demand better accountability on the part of police and the criminal justice system, she also called for LGBTQ organizations to include transgender people on their boards and staffs as decision makers.

"If you serve us, you need to include us," Salcedo said to a crowd cheering and raising their fists in solidarity.

HancockAnother demonstrator said Denver police have the second highest rate of law enforcement killings. According to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Denver County has the second highest rate of law enforcement killings. 

After the activists vacated the stage, [Task Force deputy executive direcotr Russell] Roybal thanked them for the demonstration and then announced that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (pictured right) would not address the crowd as planned.

Later, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza, the three co-creators of #blacklivesmatter, chose to forgo a planned speech at the conference and instead use the time to read off the names of at least a dozen trans women who were killed this year in the U.S.

Activists later took to Twitter to voice their frustrations with Mayor Hancock, the Denver Police Department, and the wider issue of police profiling queer youth of color.


Cincinnati Police Chief Under Fire For Newsletter Condemning Religious Based Anti-LGBT Bigotry

BlackwellThe Cincinnati Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Angela Vance has come under fire for a recently published, intra-office newsletter condemning social conservatives who don’t support the queer community. Included within the 9-page newsletter were excerpts from a Huffington Post article written by Brynn Tannehill entitled “Not One More.” The piece focused on the role that homophobic, conservative religious culture played in the death of Leelah Alcorn.

Wrote Tannehill:

"If you belong to a religion that denies transgender identities and put money in the collection plate or pay your 10-percent tithe, you are bankrolling the slaughter of innocents,” the piece reads. “You can claim you love LGBT people all day, but as long as you're footing the bill for propaganda that's literally killing children, you are an accessory."

Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell received a number of complains from Cincinnati police officers in regards to the newsletter, prompting him to get in contact with City Manager Harry Black and two police department directors. Going forward, Blackwell explained, the language within the police department’s newsletter will go through more careful editing and revision by more than one person.

"It was a mistake of the mind, not the heart," Blackwell said, stating that Officer Vance would not be penalized and that the newsletter was mostly well received. "I've apologized because our quality of life and LGBT officers answer to me. We've vowed not to make the same mistake twice."

"(Officer Vance) is an excellent officer. She has excellent human relations skills and she's very compassionate about what she does. We've addressed it accordingly. She's been verbally counseled and we've already moved past it."


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... 

Continue reading "Gay Chinese Viral Sensation Suing Former Employer For Homophobic, Wrongful Termination" »


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 ...

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


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