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'Orange Is The New Black' Stars Join Thousands Rallying in NYC Against Police Violence

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The ladies of Orange is the New Black were spotted alongside thousands of protesters on the streets of New York City yesterday for the #MillionMarchNYC demonstration protesting police violence and the grand jury decisions surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. 

Vicky Jeudy, who plays Janae Watson on the acclaimed Netflix series, posted the above photo on Twitter. She was joined by Jackie Cruz (Marisol Gonzales), Kimiko Glenn (Soso), Lea DeLaria (Big Boo), Danielle Brooks (Taystee), and Emma Myles (Leanne Taylor). 

In a separate rally in DC yesterday, the Rev. Al Sharpton led thousands of demonstrators down Pennsylvania Ave demanding better oversight of policing. 

More photos and video from the rallies, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Egyptian Police Arrest Large Group Of Men At Bathhouse 'Group Sex Party'

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Egyptian police raided a bathhouse in Cairo on Sunday night and arrested a large group of men on charges of “perversion,” reports Buzzfeed.

Egyptian television reporter Mona Iraqi posted images of the raid on Facebook revealing “the biggest den of perversions in the heart of Cairo.”

According to Iraqi, her team had notified police “about what is happening in the baths” on December 3rd but Al-Qahira wal Nas television waited to broadcast their report “to give security institutions a chance to close down the baths.” She added that the group of men were “caught in the act during a group sex party” and “immediately transported to the prosecution with no clothes.”

She has promised to reveal “the whole story of the dens spreading AIDS in Egypt” tomorrow.

The arrests come as part the crackdown on LGBT rights under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In September, Grindr sent a message to all Egyptian users warning that police officers may be “posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you.”

On November 1st, eight men were sentenced to three years in prison after taking part in an alleged same-sex wedding which was recorded and posted to YouTube.


New Minnesota Policy Allows Trans Students To Compete On Sports Teams 

Minnesota has become the 33rd state to adopt a formal transgender student policy after the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) last week voted to accept a policy that will allow transgender students to join sports teams that correspond with their gender identity, reports the Guardian.

The new policy creates a protocol to determine if someone who identifies as female but was born male can compete on female school sports teams.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c7152718970b-800wiIn opposition to the policy, anti-gay Minnesota Child Protection League published a transphobic ad in several newspapers which read:

"THE END OF GIRLS' SPORTS? Her dreams of a scholarship shattered, your 14-year-old daughter just lost her position on an all-girl team to a male ... and now she may have to shower with him. Are you willing to let that happen?"

The same group sponsored another ad in October which asked "A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are YOU ok with that?"

Anti-gay activist group the Minnesota Family Council had proposed a bylaw change stipulating that a student’s sex at birth be used to determine eligibility. However, the proposal wasn’t considered.

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07ba2ec6970d-800wiWhile MSHLS executive director Dave Stead acknowledged that support for the policy wasn’t unanimous among the league’s member schools, he added:

“I’ve heard from a limited number of schools that say, ‘I don’t like the idea,’ and then once we’ve talked about it they said, ‘I still don’t like the idea, but I’m supportive of the initiative of trying to give us direction.’

“There was nothing that was done today that would prevent a school from being a member of the High School League. Not one scintilla.”

Elliot Kunerth, a 17-year-old transgender male, said:

“The passing of this will change the lives of so many transgender people who are going through hell. With the passing of this, I hope it will erase the ignorance and help people understand that trans kids are just looking for equal opportunities."

In a statement, Democratic Representative Keith Ellison rebuked those in opposition to the law:

“Too often when trans kids speak out, they’re told that they’re sick, or joking, or just plain wrong. Many of the people who opposed the MSHSL’s policy suggested that trans students might threaten other students’ safety. These depictions are bigoted and do not protect our students.”

To establish eligibility under the new ruling, students will have to produce written statements from their parents or guardians and health professionals affirming their gender identity. School activities directors will make the final decision on each application. Private schools with religious affiliations are exempt from the policy, which will take effect in the 2015-2016 school year.


Federal Law Enforcement to Adopt Stricter Polices on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Profiling

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today the Department of Justice will begin taking steps to bar profiling by federal law enforcement agencies in regards to national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, and sexual orientation. 

Via DoJ statement:

In announcing the new policy, the Attorney General said that biased law enforcement practices not only perpetuate negative stereotypes and promote mistrust of law enforcement, but also are counterproductive to the goal of good policing.

"As Attorney General, I have repeatedly made clear that profiling by law enforcement is not only wrong, it is profoundly misguided and ineffective,” Attorney General Holder said. “Particularly in light of certain recent incidents we’ve seen at the local level, and the widespread concerns about trust in the criminal justice process, it’s imperative that we take every possible action to institute strong and sound policing practices.”

The Attorney General added: “With this new guidance, we take a major and important step forward to ensure effective policing by federal law enforcement officials and state and local law enforcement participating in federal task forces throughout the nation. This Guidance codifies important new protections for those who come into contact with federal law enforcement agents. And it brings enhanced training, oversight, and accountability to federal law enforcement across the country, so that isolated acts of discrimination do not tarnish the exemplary work that’s performed by the overwhelming majority of America’s hard-working law enforcement officials each and every day."

The new policy, which is spelled out in a memorandum circulated Monday, instructs that, in making routine or spontaneous law enforcement decisions, officers may not use race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity to any degree, unless listed characteristics apply to a suspect description. Under the policy, federal law enforcement officers will be prohibited from acting on the belief that possession of a listed characteristic by itself signals a higher risk of criminality. 

The news joins the DoJ's newly announced limits on racial profiling in response to the continued nationwide protests in the Eric Gardner case. 


Vladimir Putin Denies Persecution Of Gays In Russia - VIDEO

PutinVladimir Putin has said his support for “traditional family values” will not lead to the persecution of gay people in Russia, reports ZeeNews.

In January, Putin said that Russia should cleanse itself of homosexuality.

In a state-of-the-nation address last Thursday, the Russian president said "healthy family" and traditional values were among the country’s top priorities.

However, he added that although “traditional family” is preferable, “this should not look as if we intend to persecute people of some non-traditional orientation."

Despite introducing a controversial anti-gay law last year which bans the “promotion” of homosexuality and has been seen as an excuse to crackdown on LGBT people, Putin added that criticism from other countries is merely "a label."

Watch Putin defend Russia's anti-gay laws, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Labor Department Takes Final Step Towards Implementing LGBT Anti-Discrimination Executive Order: VIDEO

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The Labor Department yesterday announced that a new rule required to implement President Obama’s executive order banning workplace discrimination against LGBT government employees is now final, reports the Washington Blade.

Signing the executive order on July 21st, Obama said:

"It doesn't make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.  And that's wrong. We're here to do what we can to make it right -- to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction."

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73defccdf970d-200wiAlthough the order was signed in July, the process wasn’t yet complete because the Labor Department and the Office of Management & Budget had to draft a rule to implement the measure.

Once this final rule is published, it will become effective 120 days later and apply to federal contracts entered into or modified on or after that date.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a statement:

“Americans believe in fairness and opportunity. No one should live in fear of being fired or passed over or discriminated against at work simply because of who they are or who they love.

"Laws prohibiting workplace discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity are long overdue, and we’re taking a big step forward today to fix that.”

Patricia Shiu, head of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which is responsible for enforcing the order, said:

“We are building on the work of presidents and members of Congress from both parties who have expanded opportunities for America’s workers.

"This rule will extend protections to millions of workers who are employed by or seek jobs with federal contractors and subcontractors, ensuring that sexual orientation and gender identity are never used as justification for workplace discrimination by those that profit from taxpayer dollars.”

The Labor Department has published Frequently Asked Questions for the final rule, known as EO 13672 Final Rule.

A group of about 140 religious leaders and advocates for religious freedom had petitioned the president for an exemption for faith-based groups.

Watch President Obama announce the executive order a White House reception celebrating LGBT Pride Month, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Labor Department Takes Final Step Towards Implementing LGBT Anti-Discrimination Executive Order: VIDEO" »


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