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Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO

404 film

A Russian television channel has created controversy surrounding the screening of a documentary about gay teens last month at the Pacific Meridians festival in Vladivostok, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

According to People's Patriotic Channel, despite the 18+ rating of the documentary Deti 404 (Children 404), tickets to the screening were sold to minors without a proper ID check.

404404 refers to an online forum for Russian-speaking LGBTQ teens and to an error message displayed on Russian computer screens when people attempt to navigate to a web page that doesn't exist. 

People's Patriotic Channel claims that the documentary violates Russia's "gay propaganda" law.

A screening of the film in St Petersburg last April was disrupted by Orthodox Christian activists and police.

The festival's organizers have said the theater is to blame for the incident but added that the inclusion of the film into one of the festival's sections was important as it deals with a major social issue.

Festival programming director Natalia Timofeyeva said “this film is very useful because we are striving for a tolerant society in which people who are different can also exist.”

Watch a trailer for Deti 404, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Controversy Surrounds Screening Of Gay Teen Documentary in Russia - VIDEO" »


Pro-LGBT Republican Donors To Meet At Secret Washington Conference Today

Singer

Pro-LGBT Republican advocates are today to host the confidential and off-the-record American Unity Conference of high-dollar donors seeking to make the party more LGBT-inclusive, reports the Washington Blade.

The same advocates are behind the American Unity Fund and the American Unity PAC, related groups that seek to elect pro-LGBT Republican candidates and encourage party support for LGBT rights. Both organizations are funded by philanthropist and billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who backs LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)Singer - whose sone Andrew is gay - is also scheduled to deliver remarks this morning to kick off the event.

GriffinAccording to sources, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is due to speak at the event although his role will be limited to an introduction of Theodore Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general who was lead counsel in the federal lawsuit against California’s Proposition 8 and pending litigation challenging Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. 

Singer and Griffin have worked together on LGBT advocacy issues in the past. In January, HRC under Griffin organized two events on international LGBT rights with Singer at the World Economic Forum.  Americans for Workplace Opportunity, which was set up by Griffin as a collaborative project with other pro-LGBT groups to pass ENDA, also reportedly received a donation of $375,000 from Singer to encourage House members to vote for the bill.

Other scheduled speakers include Ken Mehlman, the former chair of the Republican National Committee who later came out as gay and has since worked to advance marriage equality; Rep. Charlie Dent, one of four House Republicans advocating for same-sex marriage and a House Republican co-sponsor of ENDA; and Dan Innis, a gay former dean of business at the University of New Hampshire who recently lost his bid to represent the state’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House.


California Governor Jerry Brown Extends Minority Provisions To LGBT Business Owners

BrownCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a historic bill that will result in new opportunities for certified businesses owned by LGBT people, reports SDGLN.com.

Brown is known for his pro-LGBT advocacy. Last week, he outlawed the "gay panic" defense in court. In August, he signed a bill that will provide unprecedented protections for transgender students in California.

The new law means that starting in 2015, public utilities in the state will be required to extend to LGBT certified business owners existing provisions already granted to those owned by ethnic minorities, women, and disabled veterans.

The law - which came about through testimony and advocacy by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) - is believed to be the first bill of its kind in the United States. It defines an “LGBT business enterprise” as one that is at least 51% owned by an LGBT person or persons, or, in the case of any publicly owned company, at least 51% of the stock is to be owned by a LGBT individual or individuals.

Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president of NGLCC, said:

"Gov. Brown has further added to his impressive record on economic development and LGBT issues with his signing of this bill into law. We are very proud of the hard work of our team, all seven of our California Local Affiliate Chambers, our certified LGBT business owners, the California Small Business Association and other allied organizations that made this law not only our priority, but also their priority. We also are grateful for the wide support of this law from diverse business communities and the unwavering and consistent support from AT&T and Southern California Edison.”

NGLCC co-founder and CEO Chance Mitchell added:

“The LGBT business community owes a huge debt of gratitude to [lead sponsors] Assemblyman Gordon and Sen. Leno for their hard work in passing this bill that will have real impact on the lives of LGBT California business owners and the many Californians employed by them.”


South Africa LGBT-Friendly Mosque May Close Down Barely A Week After Opening - VIDEO

Open Mosque South Africa to close down

South Africa’s first gay-friendly mosque could be shut down barely a week after it opened because it has violated municipal by-laws by not having any parking spaces, reports AFK Insider.

According to Taj Hargey, the director of the “forward thinking” organization Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and Imam of the university’s Islamic Congregation, the Open Mosque in Wynberg, a Cape Town suburb - which opened last Friday - welcomes all genders, religions and sexual orientations. The mosque also allows women to lead prayers.

Taj hargeyHargey said that he has received many positive responses to the mosque but confirmed that he has also received “a lot of death threats.”

The Muslim Judicial Council, an umbrella organization of the South African Islamic clergy, condemned the mosque, stating that Hargey’s establishment cannot be considered a true mosque given that it does not adhere to both the Qur'aan and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

However, Hargey told the BBC that although his “autonomous and independent” mosque has been targeted by the City Council using “ridiculous bylaws,” he “will not be threatened by them or anyone else.”

Protesting outside the mosque, Imam Bilal Ghorieb said that his argument against the mosque is personal and "not part of the religion['s] understanding, my understanding, a selfish understanding."

Elsabeth Muirhead said that, as a Unitarian, she went to the opening to support the mosque's message of "tolerance, interfaith dialog and equality with women."

Watch a report on the opening of the Open mosque, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "South Africa LGBT-Friendly Mosque May Close Down Barely A Week After Opening - VIDEO" »


Iowa High School Coach Describes 'The Power Of Coming Out' To Homophobic Friend

Writing on OutSports, Evan Risk, a junior high school track & cross-country coach in rural Iowa, has explained what happened when he came out to his homophobic friends.

RiskRisk explains how at a basketball game, a friend told him about a “great” idea to change the word “beer” to “queers” in a team chant.

The friend suggested that "In heaven there is no beer that's why we drink it here, and when we're gone from here our friends will be drinking all the beer” could be changed to “In heaven there are no queers, that's why we kill them here, and when we're gone from here our friends will be killing all the queers.”

Risk continues:

“I thought about what I should do for the next few days. Then we went to another basketball game and he said to me during the game, ‘Yeah in my town people say we never had any gay people but that's not true, we killed them all before they were eight.’

“After the victory that night, he sang the killing queers song. Just as before, I had no idea what to do. I didn't say or do anything at the time.

“Regardless of the outcome I knew I had to come out to him. I didn't want to hear the homophobic comments anymore.”

Risk says that when he finally came out, his friend replied:

"I'm really glad you told me. And I'm sorry about what I said earlier.  I'm really glad I know that about you. We're definitely still friends."

Describing how coming out had a positive effect on his friend, Risk says:

“After I came out to him in December we remained friends and on the last game of the season his roommate came with us the final game in March.  

“[The roommate] was talking about something the other team was doing and said ‘That's so FUCKING GAY.’

“I put my head down, not sure exactly what to say.

“My other friend quickly chimed in - ‘Don't say that. Don't say that word.’

"That is the power of coming out."

Check out Risk's full story over at Outsports HERE.

 


GLAD Sues Walmart on Behalf of Employee Denied Health Coverage For Same-Sex Partner

Cote

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has filed a charge of discrimination on behalf of Jacqueline Cote [right], a Walmart employee in Swansea, Massachusetts who was denied spousal health insurance for her wife, reports The Rainbow Times.

Cote’s wife, Diana Smithson is currently battling ovarian cancer.

According to GLAD, Walmart’s refusal of health insurance for Smithson violates both state and federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment.

Between 2006 and 2012, Cote attempted to add Smithson to her insurance. However, when she entered her spouse’s gender as “female,” Walmart’s online system would stop her from proceeding further.  When she called the retailer’s home office to investigate further, she was told that Walmart did not offer health insurance coverage to same-sex spouses.

By the time Walmart announced that it would change its policy in 2013, Cote and Smithson had racked up medical bills of more than $100,000.

Janson Wu, senior staff attorney at GLAD, said “all that Jackie wanted was to be treated like all other Walmart employees and to take care of her spouse. Instead, Walmart chose to discriminate against its gay and lesbian employees.”


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