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The Inmates Of Litchfield Prison (AKA 'Orange Is The New Black' Cast) Want You To Celebrate Spirit Day: VIDEO

GLAADOITNB

Who better to tout GLAAD's annual LGBT Spirit Day than the most sexually and racially diverse cast on television? A couple of the ladies from Netflix's Orange is the New Black made a video to inform those outside the Litchfield Prison walls about the event, taking place on Thursday, October 16th. 

Selenis Leyva (above left), who plays Gloria Mendoza on the show, gets right to the point: "Did you know that half of all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students say they feel unsafe at school?" The solution, according to Yael Stone (AKA Lorna Morello, above right)? "Wear a whole lot of purple." That's right, GLAAD wants you to stand in solidarity with bullied LGBT youth by wearing purple from head to toe (or, you know, somewhere) and communicating your support. And if the cast of "OITNB" is doing it, why on earth wouldn't you?!

Check out the Spirit Day website here.

And watch the promotional video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Inmates Of Litchfield Prison (AKA 'Orange Is The New Black' Cast) Want You To Celebrate Spirit Day: VIDEO" »


MICHIGAN: Anti-Homophobia Art Piece Vandalized - VIDEO

Love does not harm

An art piece in Grand Rapids, Michigan that aims to raise awareness about how damaging homophobic rhetoric can be was vandalized last week, reports WOODTV.com.

The conceptual piece by Timothy Gabriel, which has since been restored, was damaged earlier this week when a passerby splattered some form of red paint or ink across the surface of the 8-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide installation.

The organizers of the event say that the work “depicts an androgynous silhouette, symbolizing the LGBT community, smeared with spiteful words on a cross of hateful quotes...The primary purpose of this piece is to raise awareness of the impact homophobic rhetoric has on the LGBT communities in Uganda, Russia, and around the globe. In many parts of the world, these minorities are oppressed, maimed, stoned, tortured, imprisoned for life, and executed. ‘Love Does Not Harm’ seeks to draw attention to the specific role many American Evangelicals play in this very real persecution.”

Explaining that he had allowed for a space on the back of the piece for feedback from locals, Gabriel said although most of the response has been positive, “it’s a shame that someone had to tarnish the front of it the way that they did.

He added:

"We were able to scrub most of it off the yellow section. But any attempt to move anything off the white left a stain or a residue. But it hasn't obstructed or destroyed it."

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "MICHIGAN: Anti-Homophobia Art Piece Vandalized - VIDEO" »


Ohio Gay Teen Crowned Homecoming Queen

Cooper robar

A high school in Lakewood, Ohio, has crowned a gay male student as homecoming queen, reports Cleveland.com.

Last September, a transgender student in Huntington Beach, California, was crowned homecoming queen. In August 2013, two out gay students in Illinois were named homecoming king and queen.

Instead of naming a traditional king and queen, Lakewood High School decided to crown three people after Cooper Robar won the race for homecoming queen. Also named as members of “royalty” were Tess Jones, who received the most votes among girls, and Xavier Pedro, who was elected king.

Cooper’s mother Wendy explained that what started out as a joke turned into a statement on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community:

"It was him being a goofball and saying wouldn't it be fun if he could be queen. I was pretty shocked [that we won]. I was surprised by the roaring of applause and the yelling for Cooper….We are very proud of him being able to stand up for himself and tell the world he is who he is and have no misgivings about it.”

She added that although Cooper is popular at school, she was surprised he didn't encounter any serious backlash from critics.

Lakewood Principal Keith Ahearn said there was nothing in the rules preventing a boy from running as queen and deciding to name three members of royalty was the fairest way to handle the situation.


PHILIPPINES: Quezon City Council Bans LGBT Discrimination, Includes Affirmative Action

Quezon cityQuezon City Council has become the latest Philippines city to approve an ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT people, reports FRIDAE.

Late last month, Agusan del Norte passed a similar anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) that protects people irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The ordinance was passed unanimously on September 29th.

The ADO improves on a 2003 resolution preventing discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace by providing venues to educate employers and educators on the rights of LGBT individuals.

Praising the inclusion of affirmative action in the ADO, Ging Cristobal, project coordinator for the Asia Pacific region of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and vice chairperson of the Quezon City Pride Council, said it will also be useful to everyone in the community, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

In an interview with Philippines LGBT magazine Outrage, Quezon Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte highlighted the importance of an ordinance that will protect the rights of LGBT individuals:

“There are many LGBT [people] in our city, and I believe they are such a strong and important force in our city’s progress and development. There’s so much they can do for the city if we help them.”

 


Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO

Kevin beckner

Florida’s Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to extend its Human Rights Ordinance to protect LGBT citizens, reports The Tampa Tribune.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, real estate transactions and county contracting and procurement.

The unanimous 7-0 vote reverses a 1995 decision that removed gay people from the county’s protection ordinance.

Several speakers at the commission meeting opposed extending protections to LGBT citizens. One speaker referred to homosexality as a “disfunction” and suggested that to extend protections would lead to special rights for pedophiles.

The vote was a victory for Kevin Beckner, the county's first out gay commissioner, who had assembled a business coalition in support of the amended ordinance, making it easier for some of the more-conservative commissioners to vote yes.

Members of the coalition argued that a more inclusive and diverse community is also more prosperous and attractive to highly trained workers.

Terry Wolfe, a resident who spoke in favor of the ordinance, said that the vote “goes a long way toward creating a climate of equality” in the county.

Watch a report on the leadup to the vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hillsborough County, Florida Extends Non-Discrimination Protections To LGBT Citizens - VIDEO" »


Russia Ends U.S. Student Exchange Program, Blames Elderly Michigan Gay Couple

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov

Russia has canceled a foreign exchange program with the U.S., alleging that a gay couple persuaded a man to stay with them and apply for asylum, reports The Guardian.

FlexSince 1992, the state department-financed Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) has brought 23,000 students aged 15 to 17 from Russia and former Soviet countries to study in U.S. schools and live with local families for one academic year.

Human rights organisations have accused the Russian government of promoting discrimination following the introduction of a "gay propaganda" law last year.

Announcing the end of the country’s participation in FLEX, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov [pictured above] said the couple became the legal guardians of the Russian student, after the student left his host family and stayed in the U.S. when the school year ended in May.

According to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass, the student met the couple - elderly veterans who had previously adopted two American boys - in church and the men offered to become his immigration sponsors and pay for him to study at Harvard University.

Astakhov explained on Twitter that the cancellation came about because of a “gross violation by the host country, the United States, of the obligation to unconditionally return students from Russia who travel there to study.”

In an interview with the official government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, he added that the student moved in with the two men in Michigan, “and they gradually developed – how can I say this carefully – close friendly relations.”

Anton Meshkov, a former FLEX student, said the fact that 15 young people are thought to have stayed in the U.S. after the program ended was not a “serious reason to take away the chance to travel from hundreds of kids”.

“It’s absurd to suppose that the program could facilitate the seduction of young Russians. As a participant in this program myself, I know what a serious selection process host families go through.”

Last year, Astakhov vowed he would do everything possible to ensure that Russian orphans were only adopted by heterosexual couples. 


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